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Alekhine Memorial 2013 (9)

Aronian wins Alekhine Memorial on tie-break from Gelfand

Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand at the closing ceremony. Photo ©

Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand at the closing ceremony. Photo © |

Levon Aronian emerged from the pack to win the Alekhine Memorial with an interesting win against long time leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Aronian won a lengthy game in a Gruenfeld where he continued to pose problems for his French opponent but also allowed him a couple of chances to escape. Detailed notes in the body of the article. Aronian caught Gelfand (he'd already drawn) with the win and the tie-breaks (number of games with black was level but Aronian had won one more game) favoured him.

Boris Gelfand allowed Viswanathan Anand to repeated the drawing line of the Semi-Slav he suffered to a draw with in Round 4 against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and after a little pressure for Gelfand a draw was eventually agreed.

Michael Adams needed a win against Vladimir Kramnik to also tie for first but he misplayed the middlegame and lost a pawn. However there were very reasonable drawing chances. Kramnik had a disappointing event and was clearly motivated to get back to 50% and Kramnik tried many, many ways to win before eventually breaking through for a win.

Peter Svidler hoped for a final round win against Laurent Fressinet to try and get out of the basement but had to force a draw in the end as he was worse.

Nikita Vitiugov and Liren Ding both played for a win in the final round against each other but in the end they had to settle for a draw.

Special prizes presented by Mark Taimanov: Game played in the style of Alekhine for Laurent Fressinet's win against Vladimir Kramnik.

Best combinations prize to Ding Liren for his round 1 win against Levon Aronian.

Best technical game prize for Boris Gelfand's win against Michael Adams.

Best result in St Petersburg: Nikita Vitiugov.

Official Final Standings (as given in the closing ceremony): 1st Aronian 5.5pts 2nd Gelfand 5.5pts, 3rd Anand 5pts, 4th Adams 4.5pts, 5th Vitiugov 4.5pts, 6th Fressinet 4.5pts, 7th Kramnik 4.5pts, 8th Vachier-Lagrave 4.5pts, 9th Liren Ding 3.5pts, 10th Svidler 3pts.

Mark Taimanov presents Laurent Fressinet with his best game prize

Mark Taimanov presents Laurent Fressinet with his best game prize Photo ©

Aronian,Levon (2809) - Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime (2722) [D85]
Alekhine Mem Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS (9), 01.05.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Rb1

This used to be the main line but then it went slightly out of fashion for a while as it seemed to be almost worked out.

8...0-0 9.Be2 Nc6 10.d5 Ne5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Qd2 e6 13.f4 Bc7 14.0-0 exd5 15.exd5 Ba5 16.f5!?

16.d6 is played twice as often.

16...Bxf5 17.Rxb7 Qf6

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Levon Aronian

Position after 17...Qf6

Aronian called this a new idea in the press conference, it's not clear whether he knew it had been played or not.

[17...Qd6 is also played.]

18.Rf3 Qe5 19.Bc4

As far as I remember Bc4 shouldn't be that bad, develop the bishop and support the pawn.


"His next move was kind of surprising to me but I wasn't sure how black should proceed." - Aronian.


"I think I reacted quite logically." - Aronian.

20...Bc7 21.Qh6N

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Levon Aronian

Position after 21.Qh6

[21.Qf4 Bf5 22.Qh4 Rfe8 23.Rf1 Qe4 24.Qxe4 Rxe4 25.d6 Bxd6 26.Bd5 Rae8 27.Bxe4 Rxe4 28.Rd1 Kg7 29.Rxd6 Re1+ 30.Kf2 Rxc1 31.Rd2 a6 32.Ra3 Bc8 33.Ke3 Kf6 34.Kd3 Bd7 35.Kc4 Bb5+ 36.Kxc5 Ke6 37.Rd4 Rc2 38.c4 f5 39.Kb4 Bc6 40.Rxa6 Ke5 41.Rh4 Bxg2 42.Ra5+ Kf6 43.Rxh7 Bf1 44.Ra6+ Ke5 45.Rxg6 Rxc4+ 46.Kb3 Rc8 47.Rb6 Bc4+ 48.Kb2 f4 49.Re7+ Kf5 50.a4 f3 51.Re3 Kf4 52.Rc3 Ke4 53.Rb4 Rf8 54.Rcxc4+ Ke3 55.Re4+ Kf2 56.Rf4 1-0 Flumbort,A (2260)-Amrein,R (2297)/Harkany HUN 2000]

21...Qe1+ 22.Rf1 Qe4 23.Bg5 Be5 24.Qh4

"After Qh4 I think white has an advantage here." - Aronian.


[24...Bg4 Doesn't seem to help. 25.Re1 Qxc4 26.Rxe5 f6 (26...Rfe8 27.Rxe8+ Rxe8 28.h3) 27.Rb7! Qf1+ (27...h5 White has two continuations. 28.Ree7 (28.Bxf6) ) 28.Kxf1 fxg5+ 29.Qf2! was a line Aronian felt he had to calculate.]


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Levon Aronian

Position after 25.Bxh4

"It's kind of sad playing for black after trading queens but maybe I wasn't the most accurate and also Maxime found a very fine resource." - Aronian.

25...Bd6 26.Rf6 Be5

"Here I have many options. White should be techincally winning here." - Aronian.

27.Rc6 Bd7 28.Ra6 Rfb8?!

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Levon Aronian

Position after 28...Rfb8

[28...Rfe8 29.d6 Be6 30.Bxe6 Rxe6 31.Be7 Bxd6 32.Bxd6 Rd8]


[29.d6! was much more unpleasant.]

29...Rxb8 30.Rxa7 Bxc3 31.Rxd7 Rb4 32.d6

[32.Bg5 was Aronian's original intention. 32...Rxc4 33.Bh6 f5! and black should escape with a draw.]

32...Rxc4 33.Be7

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Levon Aronian

Position after 33.Be7

"Be7 is maybe not the strongest move but black must reply with f6 and it's easy to miss such a resource in time trouble." - Aronian.


"Kg7 was supposed to be a losing move but it's a very interesting idea by Maxime." - Aronian.

[33...f6! Aronian. 34.Ra7 Kf7 35.a4 Was Aronian's stated intention here but it seems he might be actually be worse after it according to Houdini. (35.Bd8+ Ke6 36.d7 Rd4) 35...Rf4! 36.h3 (36.g4 c4 37.Kg2 Rxg4+ 38.Kf3 Rd4) 36...Bd4+ 37.Kh2 c4]


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Levon Aronian

Position after 34.Ra7


This loses only to a single line.

[34...Bf6 35.a4 Aronian(35.Ra8! Polgar pointed this out in the broadcast but it's rather difficult to believe this wasn't what Aronian intended. I get the feeling that sometimes Aronian thinks in such a way that he doesn't remember what he calculates sometimes because his post-game lines can be quite weird. 35...Be5 (35...Rd4 36.Bf8+ Kg8 37.Bh6+ Bd8 38.Rxd8#) 36.d7 Rc1+ 37.Kf2 Bc7 38.Rc8 Ba5 39.Bxc5 Rd1 40.Bf8+ Kf6 41.Rc6+ Kf5 42.Rc5+ Ke4 43.Rxa5 Rd2+ 44.Kf1 Rxd7 45.Ke2) ; 34...Re4! Houdini, seems to save. The idea isn't that complicated once you see it. 35.Ra8 (35.d7 Rxe7 36.d8Q Rxa7 37.Qd5 Bd4+) 35...Rd4 36.Ra7 c4; 34...Bd4+ 35.Kf1 Bf6 36.a4 Aronian gets the same position after f6 but with a couple of extra tempi. 36...Rf4+ 37.Ke2 c4 38.a5 Re4+ 39.Kf3 Re5 40.a6 Rf5+ 41.Ke2 and white wins.]

35.d7 Rd1+ 36.Kf2 c4

[36...Bf6 37.d8Q Rxd8 38.Bxd8 Bxd8 is hopeless for black.]


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Levon Aronian

Position after 37.g3

The only move to win allowing white's king to escape checks.

37...Rd2+ 38.Kf3 Rd3+ 39.Kg2 Rd2+ 40.Kh3 Bf6 41.d8Q Rxd8 42.Bxd8 Bxd8 1-0

Alekhine Memorial Paris/St Petersburg (FRA/RUS), 21 iv-1 v 2013 cat. XX (2745)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2809 * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 0 1 2818
2. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2739 ½ * ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 2826
3. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2783 ½ ½ * 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 5 2784
4. Adams, Michael g ENG 2727 ½ 0 1 * ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 2747
5. Vitiugov, Nikita g RUS 2712 ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 2749
6. Fressinet, Laurent g FRA 2706 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ ½ 2749
7. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2801 0 ½ ½ 1 1 0 * ½ ½ ½ 2739
8. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2722 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ * 1 1 2747
9. Ding, Liren g CHN 2707 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * ½ 2669
10. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2747 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * 3 2620

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