Yerevan: Kramnik and Aronian win their white games

5/5/2007 – The rapid chess match in Yerevan, Armenia, between Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian began with two exciting, impressive games. In the first the world champion smashed his opponent's Marshall in ground-breaking style, in the second Aronian outmaneuvered his Russian opponent in a 76-move game. The mood on the Playchess server was: great games guys, keep it up! Report with pictures.

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The Aronian-Kramnik Rapid Chess Match takes place in Yerevan, Armenia, from May 4th to 6th, 2007. It goes over six games, played at the rate of 25 min for the entire game with a increment of 10 seconds per move. The match will be played over three days, in the Yerevan Opera House, with the games beginning at 18:00 hrs and 19:45 hrs local time (GMT + 4). That is 15:00h CEST, 14:00h London and 09:00 a.m. New York for the first game; 16:45h, 15:45h and 10:45 a.m. for the second. Click on the Yerevan times above to get your own local time.

Day one report

The first game was a very impressive win by Vladimir Kramnik, who dealt in world championship style with Levon Aronian's Marshall Attack (the official web site calls Aronian a "Marshall revivalist and asks after this game "What is the future of the Marshall Attack?"). Kramnik was well prepared for the game and the course it took, playing the openings moves very rapidly. He selected a rare line with 19.f3 (it has only been seen twice before in tournament praxis) and followed the game Bernhaupt-Billaudelle 2004 up to moves 25. The predecessor game had ended in a 31-move draw. Kramnik improved wonderfully and forced his Armenian opponent to retire after 45 moves.

Kramnik,V (2772) - Aronian,L (2759) [C89]
Rapid Match Yerevan ARM (1), 04.05.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Be3 Bg4 16.Qd3 Rae8 17.Nd2 Re6 18.Qf1 Qh5 19.f3 Nxe3 20.Qf2 Nd5 21.fxg4 Qxg4 22.Qf3 Qg5 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Ne4 Qg6 25.Qe2 [25.Qd3 h5 26.Nf2 Qf7 27.Qe2 h4 28.Kg2 a5 29.Ne4 Be7 30.Nd2 Qg6 31.Bxd5 exd5 1/2-1/2 Bernhaupt,E (2346)-Billaudelle,F (2354) 2004] 25...Nf4 26.Qc2 Nh3+ 27.Kg2 Qg4 28.Bxe6+ Qxe6 29.Qb3 Nf4+ 30.gxf4 Qxb3 31.axb3 Bxf4 32.Rxa6 Rc8 33.Nc5 Kf7 34.Nd3 g5 35.Nxf4 gxf4 36.Kf3 Ke6 37.Kxf4 Kd6 38.c4 Rf8+ 39.Ke3 Kc7 40.Ra7+ Kb6 41.Rxh7 Rf1 42.Rh6 Kb7 43.Rh5 Rb1 44.Kd3 bxc4+ 45.Kc2 1-0.

The second game saw Levon Aronian fight back and, in a Queen's Gambit Declined a long positional struggle ensured. With patience, imagination and fast play – at move 43 Kramnik was down to two minutes and in serious time trouble – Aronian was able to wrestle the tenaciously defending world champion to the ground. The game ended in victory after a marathon 76 moves.

Aronian,L (2759) - Kramnik,V (2772) [D17]
Rapid Match Yerevan ARM (2), 04.05.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.f3 c5 8.e4 Bg6 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Qxd4 Qxd4 11.Bxd4 Nfd7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bxc4 a6 14.h4 Rc8 15.Ba2 h6 16.Rc1 Rg8 17.Ke2 Bc5 18.Bxc5 Rxc5 19.Nb1 Ke7 20.Rxc5 Nxc5 21.h5 Bh7 22.Rc1 Nd7 23.Nd2 g6 24.hxg6 Rxg6 25.Kf2 Rg5 26.Rc7 b5 27.a5 Rc5 28.Rxc5 Nxc5 29.Ke3 Kd6 30.b4 Nd7 31.Nb3 e5 32.Nc1 f5 33.Nd3 fxe4 34.fxe4 Nf6 35.Nc5 Bg6 36.Bb3 Ng4+ 37.Kd2 Nf6 38.Bc2 Kc6 39.Bd3 Nd7 40.Nxa6 Bf7 41.Be2 h5 42.g3 Bg6 43.Ke3 Bf7 44.Kd2 Bg6 45.Bd3 Bf7 46.Bf1 Be6 47.Kc3 Bg4 48.Bd3 Bf3 49.Bc2 Kd6 50.Kd3 Kc6 51.Bb3 Kb7 52.Be6 Nf6 53.Nc5+ Kc6 54.Ke3 Bg4 55.Bf7 Bc8 56.Bb3 Bh3 57.Bd1 Bg4 58.Bc2 Bc8 59.Bd3 Ng4+ 60.Ke2 Nf6 61.Nb3 Be6 62.Nd2 Ne8 63.Nb1 Nc7 64.Nc3 Bd7 65.Kd2 Be8 66.Be2 Bf7 67.Nd5 Bxd5 68.exd5+ Kd6 69.Bxh5 e4 70.Bf7 Na6 71.Kc3 e3 72.Bh5 Kxd5 73.Be2 Nc7 74.Bf3+ Ke5 75.Bb7 Kf5 76.Kd3 1-0.

Standings

 
1
2
3
4
5
6
Total
Levon Aronian
0
1
       
1
Vladimir Kramnik
1
0
       
1

Pictures from Yerevan


Dignitaries: FIDE and Kalmykian President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (standing), the President of the contested Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Arkady Ghukasyan (2nd from right) and the President of the Armenian Chess Federation (and Defence secretary) Serge Sargsyan.


Federation President Sargsyan toasts Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian


An Armenian dance group entertain the guests at the centrally located restaurant across the street from the Opera House, where the match is being played.


At the sumptuous dinner buffet Kramnik is accompanied by his wife Marie-Laure, Aronian by Australian chess player Arianne Caoili, whom he met at a party in Turin.


The drawing of colours – Kramnik gets white in game one (and every odd game)


The two champions in a congenial mood a day before the hostilities began

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