Zurich Challenge G5: Draw in 43 moves

by ChessBase
4/27/2012 – Coming into the penultimate game tied at 2.5-2.5 Vladimir Kramnik deviated from game one on move eight, but his opponent Levon Aronian was well prepared with a quiet line in the Moscow Variation. The Armenian was able to equalise and offered a draw. But his Russian opponent pressed on and introduced some lively complications. At move 43 they repeated moves for a draw.

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Zurich Chess Challenge: Kramnik vs. Aronian

The Zurich Chess Club announces a six-game chess match between Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Levon Aronian (Armenia) from 21 to 28 April 2012. The numbers two and three of the world ranking will meet in the time-honored Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville at Paradeplatz, the venue of many a famous chess event in the past. Kramnik and Aronian are the winners of the two most prestigious tournaments of the last months. While the 36-year-old Kramnik gained a convincing victory at the London Chess Classic in December, the 29-year-old Aronian won the famous tournament in Wijk aan Zee with an outstanding score.

Game five

Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik before the start of game five

[Event "Zurich Chess challenge Kramnik vs Aroni"] [Site "Zurich"] [Date "2012.04.27"] [Round "5.5"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2801"] [BlackElo "2820"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 {Maybe the fans' hearts skipped a beat here - would Kramnik dare play Bh4 and go into the dangerous waters of the Anti-Moscow?} 6. Bxf6 {Alas, no. This positional approach still presents Black with a fair amount of problems though.} Qxf6 7. e3 Nd7 8. Be2 { Rare, but surely it will just transpose to 8.Bd3} (8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 g6 {is a modern tabiya.}) 8... Qd8 {But Aronian is not so cooperative. The game starts to go into uncharted waters, but it seems a little unpleasant for Black, who is always almost equal.} 9. O-O {0.17/0} Be7 {0.17/0} 10. Qc2 {0.18/0} O-O {0.19/0} 11. a3 {0.06/0} b6 {0.04/0} 12. Rfd1 {0.06/0} Bb7 {0.03/0} 13. Rac1 { 0.06/0} Qb8 {0.19/0 Deep, positional chess. Don't try this at home.} 14. cxd5 { 0.16/0} cxd5 {0.18/0} 15. Qa4 {0.17/0 Long story short: White has some pressure on the queenside because he has better piece placement and Black has some light square deficiencies. Black has to play with some care. If Kramnik was playing you he'd win every time. But he is playing Aronian.} Nf6 {0.09/0} 16. Ba6 {0.11/0} Bxa6 {0.09/0} 17. Qxa6 {0.07/0} Qc8 {0.00/0} 18. Qxc8 {0.00/0} Rfxc8 {0.00/0} 19. Ne5 {0.00/0} Bd6 {0.00/0} 20. Nd3 {0.00/0} Ne8 {0.07/0} 21. Kf1 {0.00/0 Around here Aronian offered a draw, and gave a small smile when Kramnik turned it down.} Kf8 {0.08/0} 22. Ke2 {0.08/0} Ke7 {0.21/0} 23. h3 {0. 05/0} Rc4 {0.06/0} 24. b3 {0.04/0} Rcc8 {0.04/0} 25. a4 {0.08/0} Ba3 {0.06/0} 26. Rc2 {0.02/0} Rc7 {0.08/0} 27. Ra1 {0.08/0} Bd6 {0.04/0} 28. Kd2 {0.04/0} a5 {0.00/0} 29. Rcc1 {0.02/0} Rac8 {0.00/0} 30. f3 {0.03/0} f5 {0.08/0} 31. g4 { 0.01/0 Probably the first serious attempt to do something in the past who knows how many moves. White doesn't have much. Black doesn't either as his doubled up rooks won't do anything.} g6 {0.08/0} 32. Ne2 {0.07/0} Rxc1 {0.13/0} 33. Nexc1 {0.09/0} Nf6 {0.08/0} 34. Ne2 {0.12/0} Nh7 {0.11/0 This move might actually be a little on the risky side as the knight is out of play for a move or two. But Aronian's got it covered.} 35. Ne5 {0.00/0} (35. gxf5 gxf5 36. h4 Nf6 37. Ndf4 Bxf4 38. Nxf4 Rg8 {doesn't seem like a serious winning attempt either but maybe White can put a rook on c1, transfer the king to f2 and put his knight somewhere. It's about as serious of a winning attempt as anything that's happened this game.}) 35... Ng5 {0.63/0} 36. Nf4 {0.00/0} (36. Nxg6+ Kf7 37. gxf5 exf5 38. Ngf4 Nxf3+ 39. Kd3 Bb4 $1 {and the Ne1+ threat makes this very unappealing.}) 36... Bb4+ {0.12/0} 37. Kd1 {0.00/0} Rc3 {0.00/0} 38. Rc1 { 0.08/0} Rxe3 {0.00/0} 39. Rc7+ {0.00/0} Kd8 {0.00/0} 40. Rg7 {0.00/0} Kc8 {0. 00/0} 41. Rg8+ {0.00/0} Kb7 {0.00/0} 42. Rg7+ {0.05/0} Kc8 43. Rg8+ Kb7 {A very peaceful day, but everyone needs one of those considering the constant action we've been seeing from this match. No rapid bloodspill today, unfortunately, but hopefully the match will finish with a bang tomorrow!} 1/2-1/2

Aronian ponders over unexpected complications late in the game...

...as does his opponent Vladimir Kramnik, while IM Werner Hug and GM Yannick Pelletier comment
for the local audience and in a live stream for visitors of the official web site

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site, and naturally on Playchess. In addition there was a video broadcast with commentary and images from the playing hall. If you missed it you can follow the entire four hours of action and the press conference in this video stream:


Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik  

Remaining schedule

Round 6 Saturday April 28 13:00h CEST

Commentary on game five by Andrew Martin


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