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Zuerich Chess Challenge 2012 (2)

Aronian held by Kramnik's Berlin Defence in Game 2

Kramnik and Aronian analyse game 2. Photo ©

Kramnik and Aronian analyse game 2. Photo © |

The second game of the Zuerich Chess Challenge was drawn after intricate play in a Berlin Defence leaving Levon Aronian with a 1.5-0.5 lead. Aronian surprised Kramnik by playing 1.e4 for the first time since the Amber tournament of 2006. Aronian felt it was "a necessity" to surprise such a well prepared opponent. Kramnik for his part decided to play his trusty Berlin Defence and chose the unusual 9... Be6 which Aronian clearly didn't expect. A couple of moves later Aronian already recognised he had nothing and chose 14.e6 with the idea of not being worse. The game seemed like it was heading to a draw and Kramnik offered after 19...Nf5 but this was "a very stupid move" according to him and he then had to be careful. The computer style 24.g4 may have caused more problems and Aronian felt the piece sacrifice 26.Nxa7 was "too risky". Kramnik then found a way to trade off to a sterile rook and pawn ending, the game finished just past the three hour mark so an additional rapid game wasn't played. Game 3 Tuesday at 2pm BST, 3pm CET.

Aronian and Kramnik at the press conference.

Aronian and Kramnik at the press conference. Photo ©

Aronian,Levon - Kramnik,Vladimir [C67]
Zuerich Chess Challenge 2012 Zurich SUI (2), 22.04.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Be6

An unusual variation. Kramnik wants to surprise Aronian.

10.Rd1+ Ke8 11.Ng5 Bc8!

The point of Be6.

12.h3 Be7 13.Bf4N

Aronian's novelty and not a very taxing one for Kramnik.


The correct response.


Vladimir Kramnik


Levon Aronian

Position after 14.e6

"Dream position for black, after e6 it is quite drawish." - Kramnik. Aronian felt that e6 was the safest option for white.


[14...fxe6 15.Nge4 e5 16.Bxe5 Bxh3 17.Bg3 Bg4 "Seriously you can't be better here." - Aronian.]

15.Nf7 Rg8 16.Bxc7 Bxe6 17.Nd6+ Bxd6 18.Bxd6 Kf7 19.f3 Nf5

Vladimir Kramnik


Levon Aronian

Position after 19...Nf5

With a draw offer. "Nf5 is a very stupid move." - Kramnik. Aronian starts to get some play.


20.Bc5 b6 21.Bf2 Rgd8 22.a4 Ne7


23.a5 c5

Vladimir Kramnik


Levon Aronian

Position after 23...c5


[24.g4 A computer suggestion with some bite. "It's hard to imagine any human playing g4" - Aronian. The point is that black may struggle to find a move that doesn't give ground eg: 24...Nd5 25.axb6]]

24...Nc6 25.Rxd8 Rxd8

Vladimir Kramnik


Levon Aronian

Position after 25...Rxd8


White turns down a piece sacrifice.

[26.Nxa7 "I think this is too risky for me." - Aronian 26...Nxa7 (26...Nxa5 27.Bxc5 Rd2 28.Bxb6 Nc4 29.Bc5 Ne5) 27.axb6 Nc8 (27...Nc6 28.Bxc5 was looked at by the players in the post-mortem. 28...Bc8 was a very solid way to defend. ) 28.Bxc5 (28.b7 Nd6 29.Ra7 Rb8 is better for black.) 28...Rd7 29.Ra8 Rb7 30.Ra7 Bd5]

26...axb6 27.Ra6 Rd1+

Most precise.

28.Kh2 Rd2 29.Rxb6 Rxc2 30.Nd6+ Ke7 31.Ne4 Nd4 32.Rb7+ Kf8 33.Rc7 Rxb2 34.Rxc5 Nf5 35.Ng3 Rxf2 36.Nxf5 Bxf5 37.Rxf5 Ra2

Game drawn just as the players pass the 3 hour mark which means that they don't have to play a rapid game.


Vladimir Kramnik


Levon Aronian

Final Position after 37...Ra2

Aronian and Kramnik at the press conference.

Aronian and Kramnik at the press conference. Photo ©

Aronian-Kramnik Match Zuerich
Kramnik, Vladimir - Aronian, Levon 0-1 41 D43 Anti-Meran Gambit
Aronian, Levon - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 37 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin

Aronian-Kramnik Match Zuerich (SUI), 02-07 viii 2012
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total Perf
Aronian, Levon g ARM 2820 1 ½ . . . . 2994
Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2801 0 ½ . . . . ½ 2627
Aronian in analysis.

Aronian in analysis. Photo ©

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