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GM Adams - GM Aronian Annotated by GM Balogh

User Rating: / 11
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 26 October 2013
By GM Csaba Balogh, Hungary, FIDE 2632

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The decisive game of the Bilbao Masters tournament. We are in the penultimate round, when Adams and Aronian were leading the event with the same score.

Adams (2753 ) - Aronian (2795)
Photo: ChessBase

Adams,Mi (2753) - Aronian,L (2795) [C84]

6th Final Masters Bilbao ESP (5), 11.10.2013

[Balogh Csaba]

View the game

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.00 Be7 Aronian was heading to his favorite Marshall Gambit and Adams decided to avoid it by the recently highly popular continuation.

Black delays playing b5. It has the advantage that after b5 Bb3, White cannot start a direct attack against the weakened queenside pawn structure with a4, but it has a minus as well, that after the text move, the white bishop is ready to retreat to the c2 square and it does not need to lose a tempo on the Bb3 move. [6...b5 is the other main line.]
7.c3 00 8.Re1
By overprotecting the e4 pawn, White is ready to occupy the center with d3d4! The forthcoming black reaction is a typical fight against this plan.
8...b5 9.Bc2 d5
Marshall players especially like this motif.

[In comparison to the Marshall, where the bishop stands on b3, after 10.exd5 Black does not need to sacrifice his e5 pawn and is able to recapture with the queen: 10...Qxd5]
White is usually happy to see this slightly committing move, but on the other hand it leads to a highly unbalanced game, which was exactly what Aronian needed in this game. Black's optimal position would be to have the c7 pawn on c5. Now he is facing some difficulties in dealing with the d4 pawn, as the dxc3 bxc3 changes of the pawn structure clearly favor White as it strengthens his center. [10...dxe4 is the main line, which leads to a calm position where White's chances are considered to be slightly better. 11.dxe4]
Useful prophylaxis against Bg4.
Black improves his knight by transferring it to c5, where it could press the d3 pawn.

White prevents Nc5 and tries to force Black to take on c3. Black has only one way to continue from a positional point of view. [12.Bb3!? is another motif that shows the drawback of the f6 knight's regrouping. White would like to install his bishop to d5.]
12...a5! Black saves his d4 pawn by the intermediate move of attacking the b3 knight, however it also allows White to improve his pawn structure on the queenside.
Using the fact that Black cannot hold his b5 pawn anymore. [13.cxd4?! a4 14.Nbd2 exd4 would be completely fine for Black. Next move is Nc5.]
13...bxa4 14.Nbd2! White intends to take back the pawn with the bishop and immediately transfers his knight to the nice c4 square after getting rid of the b5 pawn. [14.Rxa4 is a worse version than in the game. Black could play 14...Nb6 15.Ra1 a4 16.Nbd2 with a complex game.]
[If Black tries to control the c4 square with 14...Nb6 15.Bxa4 Nxa4 otherwise the e5 pawn falls 16.Qxa4 Bd7 17.Nc4
we end up in a slightly similar position to the game and White is better.]
15.Nc4 f6 16.Bxa4 Nxa4 17.Rxa4
[It made sense to lure the bishop away from the a6 square by attacking c6. 17.Qxa4!? Bd7

Followed by cxd4 exd4 and Bd2 . White should be better with his strong knights and the target on a5.]
17...dxc3 18.bxc3 Ba6!
Black is looking for counterplay with the idea of Bb5 and when the rook leaves a4, he will play Bxc4.
White temporarily saves the c4 knight by pinning the king, but later on it moves into the tempo Rb8 or Qb8.
19...Kh8 20.Rd1
After protecting the d3 pawn, White threatens to take on a5.

20...Qb8! An excellent move! Aronian foresees the consequences and establishes the right placement of the pieces. [20...Rb8 was more natural, but it would have been an inaccuracy in view of 21.Qc2 Bb5 22.Ra1 Bxc4 (Black cannot save the a-pawn by playing 22...a4 23.Na3! as White will soon win the a4 pawn.) 23.dxc4 Qc8

Followed by Qa4, Be3 and Black is lacking active counterplay. White could also try to collect the a5 pawn by playing Nd2b3 later on. The doubled c-pawns are not bad at all, moreover the c3 pawn is especially strong as it controls the very important b4 and d4 squares.]

21.Qc2 [The tactical justification lays behind the d1 rook. White cannot win the a5 pawn because of 21.Qxb8 Rfxb8 22.Nxa5? is met by 22...Bb5! 23.Nxc6 Bxa4 24.Nxb8 Bxd1+]

21...Bb5 22.Ra2 Bxc4
[22...a4 23.Na3 The a-pawn becomes more vulnerable on a4 than on a5, where the c6 knight safely protects it.]
Just like in the 20...Rb8 line, White would like to put his rook to d5 and his bishop to e3. Aronian finds a clever maneuver to improve his knight.

The knight is heading to c5! Black also plans to advance his pawn to c6 in order to control the d5 square.
24.Be3 Ra6 Black has to guard his a-pawn, he intends to do it with his queen.

This is the moment, when Adams loses the thread and he finds a wrong plan, after which the initiative passes to Black. [24...Ne6 25.Rda1
The a5 pawn will fall.]
With ideas like invading on d7 or playing Qb5, but as we will see, Black is just in time to consolidate his position and then the white queen just gets under attack. [His idea was correct, but he should have started with 25.Rd5! Qa8 (25...Nb7 is better, although White's position is preferable. 26.Nh4
) 26.Qa4! Nb7 27.Rd7 With a clear advantage for White. He must also play for an attack with Nh4f5!; 25.Nh4 also comes into consideration.]
25...Ne6 26.Qb5

[26.Rd7 runs into 26...Bc5!; The problem of the previous move is that after 26.Rd5 Black has 26...Qb1+! 27.Kh2 Qxe4 dropping the important pawn.]
Black obviously avoids to improve White's pawn structure. He is threatening with the strong positional idea of consolidating the c5 square by c6 and when the queen leaves, then Bc5.
This is a weakening, but White was already in deep positional trouble. [27.Rda1 is strongly met by 27...c6! 28.Qa4 Bc5
; 27.Rd7 once again runs into 27...c6 28.Qa4 Bc5]
27...Rb8 28.Qc4 Qc6!
Black wins the c5 pawn.
29.Ne1 [29.Rd5 just temporarily saves the pawn. 29...Qb5 (29...a4 followed by Ra5 is also good.) 30.Qxb5 Rxb5]
29...Nxc5 [29...Bxc5 was also strong.]
30.Rd5 Nb3
Black ended up with a clear extra pawn and the a5 pawn becomes a dangerous passer. White's position is basically hopeless.
31.Qd3 Raa8 32.Nc2 Bf8
After some preparation, Black is going to advance his a-pawn.

This forces White to trade queens in order to avoid dropping a piece, but it helps Black to convert his advantage.
34.Qc4 Qxc4 35.Nxc4 a4 36.Kf1 a3 Black threatens to play Ra4, kicking out the knight from its outpost.
[37.Ke2 Ra4 38.Kd3 is met by 38...c6 39.Rd7 Bc5+ Black works out the c5 square for his knight.]
37...Kg8 [37...Na5 38.Nxa5 Rxa5 39.Rxc7 Rb2 40.Rc8 Kg8+ was another way to win.]
White already wants to take on c7 as in comparison to the 38.Rxc7 line, White will be able to protect his knight with Kd3 at the end. [After 38.Rxc7 Aronian wanted to play

38...Rc8! 39.Rxc8 Rxc8 Winning the c3 pawn as the a3 pawn is untouchable. 40.Nxa3? Ra8+]
Ra4 is coming next.
39.Kd3 Ra4 40.f3
[40.Rd8 Kf7+ is also over.]
The knight's jump to c5 would be fatal from White's point of view.
41.Bd2 Kf8 [41...Ba7+ was strong also, with Nc5 next.]
42.g4 Ba7 43.Nd6 cxd6+
White resigned in view of Nc5 checking the rook. It was amazing that only one wrong plan with Qa4b5 has completely changed the outcome of the game.


More annotated games, tactics & endgame puzzles, surprise section/study can be found in the weekly Chess Evolution bulletin.  25 pages total. Subscribe!

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Comments (3)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 15:16 26 2013 .
National Instructur
> I think the is very good player in the word so we must learn with them. thanks.
2. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 09:38 27 2013 .
National Instructur
thanks for pogonina 
good luck
3. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 12:20 14 2014 .

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