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Zuerich Chess Challenge 2012 (5)

Aronian holds Kramnik in game 5

Kramnik and Aronian after game 5. Photo ©

Kramnik and Aronian after game 5. Photo © |

The Zuerich Chess Challenge goes into Saturday's final game tied at 2.5-2.5. In game 5 Levon Aronian varied from game one playing the quieter 8...Qd8 in the Moscow Variation. The game transposed to an Exchange Slav pawn structure where Aronian showed instructive precision in getting close to equality ("It's slightly more equal for white." - Kramnik). Having got his equality Aronian expected the draw to be agreed after the three hour mark but started to play less accurately. Only after 33.Nexc1 did Aronian realise Kramnik was still playing for an advantage, he then got attracted by 34...Nh7 which introduced tremendous complications. Both sides were up to the job of calculation and straight after first time control they repeated the position for a draw. Game 6 Saturday 28th April 2012 12pm BST 1pm CET. 2 hours earlier.

Kramnik,Vladimir - Aronian,Levon [D43]
Zurich Chess Challenge Zurich SUI (5), 27.04.2012

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 Nd7 8.Be2 Qd8

Aronian wasn't interested in finding out what improvement Kramnik had found over game 1.

9.0-0 Be7 10.Qc2


10...0-0 11.a3

A rather rare choice.

[11.Rfd1; 11.e4; 11.Nd2]

11...b6 12.Rfd1 Bb7 13.Rac1

Effectively ruling out the idea of e4 as the rook doesn't belong on that square.

[13.e4 dxe4 14.Nxe4 Qc7 15.Rac1 Rad8 16.b4 c5 17.dxc5 bxc5 18.b5 Qf4 19.Ng3 Nf6 20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.Rd1 Rxd1+ 22.Qxd1 Bxf3 23.gxf3 h5 24.Qd3 h4 25.Ne4 Nxe4 26.Qxe4 Qg5+ 27.Kf1 h3 28.f4 Qf6 29.Bd3 g6 30.Qe5 Qxe5 31.fxe5 Bg5 32.f3 Bf4 33.Kg1 Bxe5 34.Bf1 Bd4+ 35.Kh1 Kg7 36.Bxh3 Kf6 37.Kg2 Ke5 38.Kg3 Be3 39.Bf1 f5 40.a4 Bd2 41.h3 g5 42.Kf2 Kd4 43.Be2 Ba5 44.Bf1 Bc7 45.Be2 Kc3 46.Ke1 Kb4 47.Kd2 Kxa4 48.Kc2 Bf4 49.Bf1 Ka5 50.Kd3 Kb6 51.Ke2 Kc7 52.Kf2 Kd6 53.Bd3 Ke5 54.Bf1 Bd2 55.Be2 Kf4 56.Bf1 Be3+ 57.Kg2 Bd4 58.Bd3 Ke3 59.Bf1 Be5 60.Kg1 Kxf3 61.Bg2+ Kg3 62.Bc6 Bd4+ 63.Kf1 Kxh3 64.Bd7 Kg3 65.Bxe6 f4 0-1 Potomak,V (2215)-Votruba,P (2370)/Czechia 1994/TD]


Levon Aronian


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 13...Qb8!?


Aronian didn't expect this but Kramnik thought it was a good try.

14...cxd5 15.Qa4 Nf6

[15...Rd8 16.Na2]]

16.Ba6 Bxa6 17.Qxa6 Qc8


18.Qxc8 Rfxc8

Levon Aronian


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 18...Rfxc8


[19.Nb5 Was the initial intention. 19...Rxc1 20.Rxc1 a6 21.Nc7 Ra7! was missed by Kramnik. (21...Rc8 22.Rc3 Ne4 23.Nxd5 Rxc3 24.Nxe7+ Kf8 25.bxc3 Kxe7 26.c4) ]


More or less forced.


[20.Nb5 Bxe5 21.dxe5 Ng4]


[20...Ne4 21.Nxe4 dxe4 22.Nb4]

21.Kf1 Kf8 22.Ke2 Ke7 23.h3



"Here I was not taking Vladimir seriously." - Aronian. He thought Kramnik was just getting to the 3 hour mark.

24.b3 Rcc8 25.a4 Ba3 26.Rc2 Rc7

[26...Nd6 27.f3 was the move Aronian was worried about. (27.Ra1 Ne4 28.Nxd5+ exd5 29.Rxc8 Rxc8 30.Rxa3 Rc2+ 31.Ke1) ]

27.Ra1 Bd6 28.Kd2

Levon Aronian


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 28.Kd2

[28.a5 "Why should I hurry with a5?" - Kramnik. 28...b5]


Around about here Aronian started to get a bit lax. He was expecting the game to drift to a draw. This possibly isn't the most accurate.

[28...Rac8 "I didn't want to bother calculating." - Aronian.]

29.Rcc1 Rac8 30.f3

[30.g4 g5 31.Ne2]


"Is very logical." - Aronian.

31.g4 g6

[31...Nf6 "I don't know what I didn't like." - Aronian. 32.Ne2 Rxc1 33.Nexc1 g5 34.Ne2 Rg8 35.Rc1 h5 36.gxf5 exf5 37.Rc6 was a line Kramnik looked at. ]

32.Ne2 Rxc1 33.Nexc1

Levon Aronian


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 33.Nexc1

"Oh, he wants to play for a win. I thought you were still waiting for the three hour rule." - Aronian.

33...Nf6 34.Ne2 Nh7!?

Levon Aronian


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 34...Nh7

"I got excited here." - Aronian. "A fun move that I had to play here." "I don't do moves like this normally but I felt it was beautiful."


Suddenly it has all got very complicated and Aronian had a big think.


[35...Bxe5 36.dxe5 Nf8 was too passive for Aronian's taste. 37.Rg1 Kf7]


"It's hard to believe white is better as you can't move any piece." - Aronian.

[36.Nxg6+ Kf6 37.Ne5 Bb4+ 38.Kd3 Ne4 (38...Nxh3 39.Rf1 Rg8) 39.Rf1 Rc7 40.h4]

36...Bb4+ 37.Kd1 Rc3

Levon Aronian


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 37...Rc3



38...Rxe3 39.Rc7+ Kd8 40.Rg7 Kc8!

Levon Aronian


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 40...Kc8

Secures the draw.

41.Rg8+ Kb7 42.Rg7+ Kc8

[42...Ka6 43.Nc6 b5 44.Nb8+ (44.Rxg6) 44...Kb6]

43.Rg8+ Kb7 1/2-1/2

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
Kramnik, Vladimir - Aronian, Levon 1-0 42 C47 Four Knights
Aronian, Levon - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 25 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Kramnik, Vladimir - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 43 D43 Anti-Meran Gambit

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

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