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    Entries in Aronian (9)

    Monday
    Dec052011

    London Chess Classic, Round 3: Carlsen, Aronian and McShane Win (Updated)

    Here's a recap of the round 3 action:

    First, Magnus Carlsen continued his recent ownership over Hikaru Nakamura, defeating him for the sixth time in the last year (five times in classical events). Carlsen built up a kingside attack in a Ruy-style Italian Game, with the obvious blow 31.Rxf6 followed by the subtle 33.Bh5! Qg7 34.Bf3 apparently deciding the issue.

    Levon Aronian won pretty easily against Nigel Short, whose 11...Nc6 gave his opponent the chance to create permanent pressure along the c-file. Black never escaped the enemy grip, and after 60 moves of suffering allowed Aronian to deliver mate.

    Viswanathan Anand had White against the ostensible tournament rabbit, David Howell, but he was extremely fortunate not to lose. Howell's 22...h5! pretty much put an end to Anand's attacking ambitions, and after that Anand had to suffer a lot. 32...Rb2 would have kept a large advantage for Howell. A move later Vladimir Kramnik, the day's guest commentator, asserted that Howell missed a win with 33...Rxd4 34.Rxd4 Qe6! 35.Rd1 d4 with the idea of ...d3, ...d2 and Re1. His assessment is right, but White has a simple but crucial improvement: 34.Qxe2. Black is still better there, but White isn't yet at death's door. Howell was in serious time trouble by this point, and by the time he reached the control after move 40, the position was drawn. Howell tried through move 65, and then reconciled himself to the result.

    Finally, Luke McShane defeated Michael Adams with Black in a long game. The key moment came on move 19, after McShane's 18...Bxh3!? Kramnik noted that he had found a good rejoinder "half an hour ago": 19.gxh3 Qxh3 20.Qe2 Ng4 21.Qf1! with the point that 21...Qxf3 22.Bd1 gets the queens off and regains the extra piece. After 22...Qxf2+ 23.Qxf2 Nxf2 24.Kxf2 cxd4 25.cxd4 exd4 Black has reasonable drawing chances, but White is better (Kramnik, and the computer agrees). Black has some alternatives along the way, but White is always fine. After only two minutes, however, Adams - with plenty of time left on his clock - let McShane get away with the free pawn, and eventually it was just a matter of technique.

    After three rounds, the standings look like this (bear in mind that Short, Anand and Kramnik have only played two games):

    1. Carlsen 7
    2. McShane 5
    3-5. Kramnik, Nakamura, Aronian 4
    6-8. Anand, Adams, Howell 2
    9. Short 0

    Round 4 Pairings:

    • Carlsen - Kramnik
    • Adams - Short
    • Anand - Nakamura
    • Howell - McShane
    • Aronian - bye

    Tournament website here, games (with light notes) here (that's the update).

    Friday
    Nov252011

    Tal Memorial, Final Round: Carlsen Defeats Nakamura, Edges Aronian For First On Tiebreaks

    And so the latest edition of the traveling show comes to a close, to resume in a week or so in London. After a fair number of rounds with few to no wins, the players - except for Anand and his opponent (Gelfand on this occasion), of course - not only played some good fighting chess, they managed to draw some blood.

    The biggest game turned out to be Magnus Carlsen's win over Hikaru Nakamura, who has become a pretty regular client the last year or two. Nakamura had White in a Queen's Indian, an opening that's generally pretty solid (especially for White), but Nakamura's dubious pawn sac/blunder on move 15 and a follow-up error on move 21 soon left him with a technically lost position. Carlsen being Carlsen, that was a death sentence, and the opposite-colored bishops made the game last without putting the outcome in serious doubt.

    That put Carlsen into a tie for first with Levon Aronian, the clear leader coming into the round. Aronian was pushed very hard by Ian Nepomniachtchi, and had the latter won he would have come ahead of Carlsen on tiebreaks. In the end, Aronian held after 85 long moves in the last game of the tournament. Vassily Ivanchuk also had some opportunities to tie for first, but couldn't put Sergey Karjakin away, and they too finished half a point behind Carlsen and Aronian.

    The Gelfand-Anand non-game was already mentioned, while Crazy Kramnik went for it against Peter Svidler but lost. Kramnik's winless -2 score wasn't good, but he did play some fighting, enterprising chess in the tournament. As for Svidler, the win brought him back to 50%.

    Final Standings:

    1-2. Carlsen, Aronian 5.5 (Carlsen first on tiebreaks)
    3-5. Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi, Ivanchuk 5
    6-7. Anand (nine draws), Svidler 4.5
    8-9. Kramnik, Gelfand 3.5
    10. Nakamura 3

    Official site here. Some bad news: it at least looks like the traditional blitz tournament (which generally doubles as the world blitz championship) isn't being held this year. If not, maybe this has something to do with the plan to start rating blitz events at the start of the year - maybe the organizers didn't want to hold the last non-rated megablitz tournament in chess history. This is just speculation, and if I'm mistaken and the event is going to take place, I hope my readers will (gently) correct me!

    Sunday
    Oct162011

    The Daily Update: Unive Crown Group and a Whole Lot More

    So many events! Let's start with the one that just started:

    1. The Unive Crown Group: In round 1, Vladimir Kramnik got off with a bang, crushing Anish Giri in a beautiful attacking game. Giri's unlikely to be remain anyone's whipping boy for long, but for now Kramnik seems to have his number. In the other game Maxime Vachier-Lagrave probably should have won the rook ending against Judit Polgar, but after a long defense she saved the draw.

    2. The Governor's Cup (Saratov): Alexander Morozevich drew with Black today against Dmitry Andreikin, and with 6.5/8 now leads by "only" a point and a half in the wake of the day's only decisive game. Evgeny Tomashevsky ground out a win over Alexander Moiseenko to reach 5 points. Three rounds remain.

    3. Women's Grand Prix (Nalchik): At last, at last Zhao Xue was held to a draw. Still, with 6.5/7, a 2910 TPR and a two point lead over the second-placed Ju Wenju, she'd need a pretty spectacular collapse not to hold on for four more rounds.

    4. Bundesliga: The three-day weekend finished, and Levon Aronian made a successful surprise appearance today, joining an already super-strong field.

    5. Magistral Casino Barcelona: After five rounds (but only four games for about half the field), a pair of North American ex-candidates with surnames beginning with "S" share first with 3/4: Yasser Seirawan and Kevin Spraggett. (They're probably the oldest players in the field too, so rejoice, fellow middle-agers!)

    Friday
    Sep022011

    Anand Leads Botvinnik Memorial Rapid Event After Day 1

    The battle between the fearsome foursome of Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian is half over, and so far it's the world champion, Anand, who is in the lead. The play was full of fight, but five of the six games were drawn. The only decisive game came in the second round when Anand defeated Aronian with the black pieces. Tomorrow, we'll have the second cycle: the same pairings with colors reversed.

    The event website is here, and as with the World Cup there's live coverage (in Russian only, except when they interview non-Russian speaking players like Anand) that can be replayed afterwards as well - just use the scroll bar. (Right now, there are post-game interviews with both the men's and women's players - there's an accompanying women's event with Humpy Koneru, Viktorija Cmilyte, Tatiana Kosintseva and Elina Danielian. On Sunday and Monday, the men and women will join up for a tandem event, with those from the same country teaming up [in the three relevant cases; the other team is Carlsen + Cmilyte].)

    Friday
    Sep022011

    Super-Elite Botvinnik Memorial Rapid Event Starts Friday

    Which is today for most of us. It's a double round-robin rapid event in Moscow Friday and Saturday featuring just four players, but when the quartet comprises Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik, it's enough! An interesting feature is that the players will sometimes come out when it isn't their move and offer commentary to the audience on the game they're playing.

    Official event site here.

    Monday
    Jul252011

    Crestbook Conference with Levon Aronian, Part 2

    A long and excellent read, highly recommended.

    Saturday
    Jun112011

    KC-Conference with Levon Aronian: Part 1

    Over on Crestbook, rendered in English by Chess in Translation, is part one of a long series of questions and answers with world #3 and recent Candidate Levon Aronian. Many of his answers are jests, but not all are, and whether he's playing it straight or answering with tongue in cheek the session is consistently entertaining. Definitely worth a look.

    Monday
    Mar212011

    More Amber Videos: Aronian On His Win Against Anand

    Enjoy!

    Saturday
    Nov212009

    Interviews with Carlsen and Kramnik, and a Word with Aronian

    Here's the Carlsen interview, while the Kramnik interview is here. Both are nice, quick reads, while the latter is more newsy on three points. He mentions a forthcoming Candidates' cycle he's now "99% sure" he has qualified for, he notes that he still hasn't received a visa for the London tournament (which starts December 7), and he predicts the winner of the Anand-Topalov match (you'll have to go to find the answer to that tidbit). Finally, at the end of the Kramnik interview, you'll also find a very quick comment or two by Aronian as a small bonus.