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Aronian Topples Kramnik

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Armenia's Levon Aronian defended his home turf by beating world champion Vladimir Kramnik in 4-2 in their Yerevan rapid match. The official site has reports and photos. ChessBase has some light game notes. The score didn't really follow the play, which was uneven with equal chances for both players. Kramnik was coming straight from his narrow win over Leko in a similar match and couldn't put together a complete effort here, it seemed. Aronian displayed all the speed and opportunism he's known for, as well as enough technical solidity to hold up against Kramnik until those other traits could do the rest. Actually they seemed to take turns, first splitting two wins on the first day. Then Aronian won twice nicely on the second day and only needed a half point on the third to wrap up the match. Kramnik came close to evening up the score, however, missing clear wins in zeitnot in games five and six.

Aronian played a wild exchange sac out of the early ..b5 Benoni in game five, well worth a look. Kramnik was a move away from a very pretty mating net but couldn't find it in time, which is a little surprising considering the ten-second increment. 39.Rf7 Kg8 40.Re7 Rc8 41.Rg7+ Kf8 and here 42.Kh7! is a cute king advance for mate I could see missing, but 42.Rf7+ wins bluntly, if a move slower. In game six Kramnik wove a nice kingside attack, exploiting the offside white rook. The afritzionados at ChessBase miss what a great move 41..Qc6! was from Kramnik. With so much going on he takes time to retreat the queen from a dominating square to blockade the white c-pawn, keeping the white rook trapped. There were then a few exchanges of blunders, but Black could have scored a consolation win with 45..Ng4 instead of allowing White to scramble to safety with his pawns.


This Kh7 mating net is extremely elusive; it’s somehow counterintuitive to take the king away from the black king. I remember it being missed (can’t remember whether it was Mickey or Glenn; I have an idea the latter) in a game Flear-Adams, possibly at Hastings. That was a slowplay game, although I can’t remember whether it was a blitz finish.

Cheers round the world on day one, I imagine, with Kramnik’s tedious endgame line in the Slav and the Marshall both going down. Now if someone can just refute the Petroff…….

Glad to hear from you again, rdh. I always enjoy your informed comments. It seems Gausdal wasn't a complete success for you. Care to give some impressions here?

Watching game 5 was the most fun I've had on ICC since Linares, when Moro, too, missed a king-led mating net against Aronian.

rdh phrases it well when he says that the coup de grace, Kh7, is “elusive.”

Mig phrases it well when he says that Aronian’s play is marked by “opportunistism.” But in a good way!


RDH strikes me as the kind of person who get's beat with the reverse stonewall, and says "Get a real opening" afterwards...

how snippy of you, parsnips. I guess in your world all openings are equally compelling.

I'm just saying that your talent level isnt determined in your ability to play the Najdorf in every game.

I wonder if FIDE will admit the team from Opportunistan in the next Olympiad.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 7, 2007 11:46 PM.

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