[Event "Duesseldorf WR Masters "] [White "Aronian,Levon"] [Black "Praggnanandhaa,Rameshbabu"] [Site ""] [Round ""] [Annotator "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [Date "2023.02.16"] [WhiteElo "2736"] [BlackElo "2690"] [PlyCount "99"] 1. c4 {First round! So much excitement and anxiety is connected with it. For a long time I used to play badly in the first round. I am just like Tal , I used to console myself.} e5 2. g3 c6 {The most principled move.} 3. d4 {3.Nf3 is the other principled move , but since I was not fully prepared for 1...e5 I decided to play the older line.} e4 (3... exd4 {also leads to equal positions.} 4. Qxd4 Nf6 5. Bg2 Na6 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Qe5+ Be7 {but 3...e4 is considered to be the best.} )4. d5 {The move in the game is more ambitious.} ({Many years ago we analysed this position with Arman Pashikyan and thought that} 4. c5 { is interesting with idea to meet the obvious} b6 {with} ({The way to get a fine position for black is to play} 4... d5 5. cxd6 Bxd6 {and despite e4 pawn looking a bit weak, black is doing fine in all the lines due to fast development.} )5. Nc3 bxc5 6. d5 {with a slight advantage.} )({In case of} 4. Nc3 d5 5. Nh3 {black has to play the very precise} Bb4 {and exchange the bishop for the c3 knight in most of the lines in order to keep the center strong. Since this opening is the reverse of the Sicilian Rossolimo, a common knowledge of the positions is that c1 (c8 in case of black) bishop is the only piece that does not have much prospects.} )Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Qe7 6. Nh3 { There are many options for white, the move in the game is the most standard.} Nf6 7. Nc3 cxd5 {This came as a surprise. I remembered that 7...0-0 is the most precise move.} 8. Nf4 {Of course! Otherwise why isn´t 7...cd the best move?} Bxc3 ({Both Prag and I thought} 8... dxc4 {is very dangerous due to} 9. Nfd5 Nxd5 10. Nxd5 Bxd2+ 11. Qxd2 Qe5 12. O-O-O O-O 13. f4 exf3 14. exf3 { with initiative. Were we wrong? I don´t know, maybe black is ok after} c3 15. bxc3 Kh8 {with the idea to meet} 16. Bc4 {by} b5 {and equalize by bringing the bishop to b7 and getting rid of the strong knight on d5. These three black moves c3, Kh8 and b5 are absolutely brilliant.} )9. Bxc3 dxc4 10. e3 {A dubious move connected with a lapse of memory. Of course the right move is 10. Bg2 . I remembered the main line, 7...0-0 8. Bg2 cd 9.Nf4 dc 10.0-0 Bc3 11. Bc3 Nc6 and assumed, having my bishop on g2 leads to the main line.} ({In reality, white is enjoying a slight edge after} 10. Bg2 Nc6 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. Qxd5 O-O 13. Qxe4 Qxe4 14. Bxe4 a5 15. O-O-O b5 16. Rd6 Re8 17. f3 {Despite the fact that black managed to get some activity, it´s not equal yet, since the d7 pawn is under unpleasant blockade.} )Nc6 (10... d6 {was the move that my opponent suggested in the post- game analysis. It does not stop} 11. g4 {, but gives black an option to draw by} Bxg4 12. Bxf6 Bxd1 13. Bxe7 Bf3 14. Rg1 Kxe7 15. Nd5+ Kd7 16. Bh3+ Kc6 17. Ne7+ Kb6 18. Nd5+ Kc6 $11 )11. g4 { A good move from a practical sense.} ({I thought} 11. Bxc4 d6 12. Nd5 Nxd5 13. Bxd5 O-O 14. Qh5 Bd7 {with a plan to prepare Kh8 and f5 is way too solid.} )h6 {A decent move played after a long thought.} (11... Ne5 {is very tempting and I erroneously thought it´s a nice trap that I set with 11.g4 and after} 12. g5 Nf3+ 13. Qxf3 exf3 14. gxf6 gxf6 15. O-O-O {my pieces will perform like Pacman on black pawns. Indeed white´s play is extremely strong , but black has a defence that both players missed. After} Qc5 {White has to play } 16. Rg1 {and keep the tension} (16. Nd5 {is nicely met by} d6 17. Bb4 Qc6 18. Nxf6+ Ke7 {and black is doing fine. After all, once the c8 bishop comes out to e6, blacks position as my friend Peter Leko would say , becomes cemento.} ))({ Another possible, but not very intuitive way to play} 11... d6 12. g5 Ng4 $1 { After} 13. Nd5 Qxg5 14. Nc7+ Ke7 15. Nxa8 {Black has two options. First, the crazy- looking} Nxf2 {that can lead to a very irrational position (that is in case white refuses to draw) after ,} ({The second option leads to a perpetual after} 15... Nce5 16. h3 Nf3+ 17. Ke2 Rd8 18. hxg4 Bxg4 19. Qa4 Qd5 20. Rd1 Ng1+ 21. Ke1 Nf3+ $11 )16. Kxf2 Qh4+ 17. Kg1 Qg5+ 18. Bg2 Qxe3+ 19. Kf1 Qf4+ 20. Ke1 Qh4+ 21. Kd2 Qg5+ 22. Kc2 Qxg2+ 23. Qd2 Qxd2+ 24. Kxd2 d5 25. Bxg7 Rd8 {What´s going on here? Will little zerglings compensate for the rook? Not sure if these beautiful lines can be calculated in a practical game by mortals.} )12. Bxc4 d6 13. Rg1 Bd7 {Mysterious, and decent move.} ({I was expecting} 13... Ne5 14. Be2 Be6 {that is best met by} 15. Qa4+ Bd7 16. Qd4 {The two bishops compensate the pawn and after a possible continuation} g5 17. Nh5 Nxh5 18. gxh5 Bc6 19. O-O-O f6 {the draw is very probable.} )14. Nd5 {With the move in the game I was seeking to get the pawn back and I was surprisingly objective in my assesment of the position, thinking the game would slowly glide towards a draw. } ({I saw} 14. Qb3 Ne5 15. O-O-O {as an alternative that leads to similar balanced positons.} )Nxd5 15. Qxd5 ({Should I lie and say that I saw after} 15. Bxd5 O-O 16. g5 hxg5 17. Qh5 Ne5 18. Bxe4 f5 19. Bxb7 g4 {black is totally fine despite the material deficit? I played 15.Qxd5 without much thought, and it turned out to be objectevely and subjectevly the right decision.} )O-O-O {Panicky move and an obvious mistake. Black has many options, but only one good option.} (15... Rd8 )({and} 15... O-O {lead to ok positions.} )({but} 15... Rc8 {would lead to a draw after} 16. Bb3 Ne5 17. Qxe4 Bc6 18. Bd5 Bxd5 19. Qxd5 Rc5 20. Qe4 Rc4 21. Qd5 Rc5 $11 )16. Qxf7 {Honestly speaking, I thought my opponent blundered the f7 pawn. Losing such a pawn that holds the position together is clearly bringing black on the verge of defeat.} Qxf7 ({The trickier option would be} 16... Qg5 {counting on} 17. Qxg7 ({ The way for White to play for more is} 17. h4 Qxh4 18. O-O-O {with black having too many weaknesses to protect.} )Ne5 18. Bxe5 dxe5 19. Qxg5 hxg5 20. Bd5 Rxh2 21. Bxe4 Rf8 {with drawing chances.} )17. Bxf7 Ne5 {My opponent played this move fast which made me doubt my initial verdict. Then I saw Rc2 ideas and relaxed. I might not win the game, but I would surely enjoy playing this endgame.} 18. Bxe5 dxe5 19. Bd5 Bc6 20. Bxc6 bxc6 {The last three moves were forced, and now I have a wide choice.} 21. Rc1 {There are two more plans in this position. After some consideration I decided to keep the g5 idea as a threat and just slowly take care of the e4 pawn.} ({One idea is is to play} 21. g5 {here. The point is that after} hxg5 22. Rxg5 Rxh2 {White has the strong} 23. Ke2 Rf8 24. Rf1 {and starts collecting pawns.} )({The other idea is is to exchange one of the rooks like} 21. Ke2 Rd6 22. Rgd1 {, but that allows} Kc7 { and the black king will start protecting the pawn on e4.} )Rd6 22. Ke2 { My plan is simple - Rc2, b3, Rgc1, Rb2, Rc4 and take on e4.} Rhd8 {Black forces Rc2 and loses a tempo. It was necesary to try and get some activity by playing 22...Kc7 then a5 in order to meet b3/Rb2 plan by a4 bxa4 Rb8.} (22... Kc7 )23. Rc2 ({Of course not} 23. Rgd1 {allowing a counter play in the pawn engame after} Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Rxd1 25. Kxd1 Kd7 {and the king marches to f6.} )g5 {calculating white´s g5 ideas on every move can be of course very annoying, but now the structure is cristalized and not much can be done in order to distract white from the plan.} 24. Rgc1 Kb7 25. b3 Rd5 {A mistake, but the position is lost anyway.} ({The normal continuation} 25... Kb6 { leads to a technical position after} 26. Rb2 h5 27. Rc4 hxg4 28. Rxe4 Rh8 29. Rxg4 Rxh2 30. Rxg5 Rf6 31. Kf1 )26. Ke1 {I can´t explain why I did not play Rb2, but my inacurate move does not change much.} R8d6 {After 26...Ra5 I would come back to my initial plan with immediate 27.Rb2 or even 27. Kf1 with Rb2 next.} (26... Ra5 27. Rb2 )27. Rc4 Rd3 {Black does not have a move because of tactical reasons.} (27... Rd2 {loses to} 28. Rxc6 )28. R1c2 {Seeing too many winning moves I relaxed and missed a strong reply. 28.h3 would have been the most precise move. Very silly!} (28. h3 $1 )Rd1+ 29. Ke2 Rh1 30. Rxe4 Rd5 ({Here black could get chances of survival by playing} 30... Rf6 $1 {white has to be cautious and play} 31. Rd2 ({since} 31. Rxe5 {runs into} Rxf2+ )Rxh2 32. Kf1 Rh4 33. Kg2 {keeping good winning chances.} )(30... Rxh2 31. Rxe5 Rf6 32. Rf5 )31. Rec4 {I continued playing sub-optimal moves.} (31. Rd2 { was the easies solution.} )Rd6 32. Rb4+ Kc7 33. Rb5 {Once again missing . ..Rf6! Why not 33.Rc5?} Re6 {I was very lucky in this game.} (33... Rf6 { forced white to play} 34. Rbc5 {and get a worse version of the same engame after 30...Rf6.} )34. Ra5 Rxh2 {This was the last moment for Rf6.34...Kb6 did not help black since 35.Rcc5 wins the e pawn.} (34... Rf6 )(34... Kb6 35. Rcc5 )35. Rxa7+ Kb6 36. Rf7 {There is something cinema like in chess. The sequence of moves starting with 30.Re4 and ending with 36.Rf7 was full of mistakes, and except the players , everbody who followed the game live saw it.} e4 37. a4 { The king on b6 is an easy target.} Rh1 38. b4 {All white needs is to take the c6 pawn after which the weak pawns will fall.} Ra1 39. a5+ Kb5 40. Rb7+ Ka4 41. Rb6 Rd6 42. Rd2 Rxd2+ 43. Kxd2 c5 44. bxc5 Kxa5 45. Kc3 Ra2 46. Rf6 Ra4 47. Rb6 Ra2 48. Rb2 Rxb2 49. Kxb2 Kb5 50. Kb3 1-0