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Tal Memorial 09: Anand finishes with a draw, ties for the third place

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 09/10/2016

Aronian is well-known to set up deep traps in his games, often swindling bad positions with sheer resourcefulness. "Luckily, I have learnt not to trust this guy," said Anand as he jokingly explained one of the traps Aronian had set with the black pieces. Find out what happened in the game in our report with master analysis and video-interview of Anand and Aronian!

Tal Memorial 09: Anand finishes with a draw, ties for the third place

Round nine

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

Round 9 - Oct 6 - 12h CET
1 5 2761 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 1-0 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2808 10
2 6 2746 GM Li Chao B ½-½ GM Giri Anish 2755 4
3 7 2776 GM Anand Viswanathan ½-½ GM Aronian Levon 2795 3
4 8 2743 GM Gelfand Boris ½-½ GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2740 2
5 9 2731 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny ½-½ GM Svidler Peter 2745 1


Levon Aronian was celebrating his birthday on October 6, the day when this game was played, where he was black against Vishy.

Aronian celebrated his birthday with the black pieces.

Vishy Anand (Q&A coming up)


The game was a Giuoco Piano, where Black played the 6...a5 variation.

In such positions, White exploits the weakness of the b5 square to play Ba4. Here, Aronian chose an idea that was also played by Adams in the ongoing Isle of Man event. The point is to simply play ...b5, and if White takes on c6, the queen is well placed on the b-file.

Will you play 15.h3 like Anand almost did?

Aronian: 14...Bg4 -- a very ambitious move. Anand: Luckily, I have learnt not to trust this guy. If 15.h3 then 15...a3!


Of course, Anand did not fall for that. 

Black has weak pawns in the queenside, but it is compensated by the hole on d4 square that Aronian's knight can occupy.

Video Analysis by Vishy and Aronian:

Anand-Aronian (Notes by IM Sagar Shah) 

[Event "10th Tal Mem 2016"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2016.10.06"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C53"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2795"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2016.09.26"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. e4 {Ever since people have found out that you do not need to go for 3.Bb5
in order to get an advantage with White, 1.e4 has made a comeback.} e5 2. Nf3
Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 {This is the most solid way for Black to play. 3.Nf6 allows 4.
Ng5!? with interesting complications.} 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. Nbd2 a5 $5 {
This is the new trend in the Guioco Piano, to play a5 instead of a6. The main
point is to create a retreating square for our c5 bishop and at the same time
stop White from going b4.} ({A few months ago at the Sinquefield Cup, Anand
and Aronian played the same line and this time the Armenian pushed his pawn
forward by just one square.} 6... a6 7. a4 d6 8. O-O Ba7 9. h3 Ne7 10. Re1 Ng6
11. Bb3 Re8 12. d4 h6 13. Bc2 c6 14. Nf1 d5 15. Nxe5 Nxe5 16. dxe5 Nxe4 17.
Bxe4 dxe4 18. Qxd8 Rxd8 19. Ng3 Bb8 20. Be3 Bxe5 21. Nxe4 Bc7 22. a5 Bf5 23.
Nc5 Rab8 24. g4 Bc2 25. Rac1 Bg6 26. b4 Bd6 27. Na4 f6 28. Ba7 Ra8 29. Bc5 Be5
30. Nb6 Rab8 31. Nc4 Bf4 32. Be3 Bxe3 33. Rxe3 b5 34. axb6 Bf7 {1/2-1/2 (34)
Anand,V (2770)-Aronian,L (2792) Saint Louis 2016}) (6... d5 {seems like the
most logical move, but now we see the point of developing the knight on d2
before 0-0.} 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. Ne4 Be7 9. O-O {The knight sits well on e4.} Bg4
10. h3 Bh5 11. Ng3 Bg6 12. Re1 $14) 7. O-O d6 8. Bb3 Be6 9. Ba4 {This is how
White plays. As Black has weakened his b5 square, the bishop sits quite well
on a4.} Qb8 $5 {This same idea was also used by Michael Adams against Harika
at the Isle of Man International. The threat is to play b5. Also after Bxc6,
bxc6 the queen will be well placed on the b-file.} 10. Bxc6 bxc6 11. d4 Ba7 $5
(11... exd4 12. cxd4 Ba7 {not blocking the b-file, is also a viable way for
Black to play.} 13. e5 Nd5 $15) 12. b3 {Anand tries to finish his development.}
(12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Nxe5 {What's wrong with winning this pawn?} Qb5 14. Nef3
Rad8 $44 {The two bishops and active pieces provide Black with excellent
compensation. These are the kind of things that a player like Aronian feels
very well.}) 12... Nd7 13. Bb2 a4 14. c4 (14. Ng5 Re8) 14... Bg4 15. dxe5 (15.
h3 a3 $1 $17) 15... dxe5 16. h3 Bxf3 17. Nxf3 Rd8 18. Qc2 f6 {Black has a
solid position. It's true that pawns on c7 and c6 don't look pretty, but it is
not so easy to attack them. Meanwhile, the d4 square is weak and the knight is
well placed to go to d4 via f8-e6-d4.} 19. Bc3 Nf8 20. c5 Bxc5 (20... Ne6 $2
21. b4 {is not good news for Black. The bishop on a7 is out of the game.}) 21.
Bxe5 Ne6 22. Bg3 Qb5 23. Rac1 axb3 24. axb3 Rd3 {At this point Anand realizes
that White cannot really think of an advantage with such active black pieces.
Hence, he exchanges all the pawns and the game ends in a draw.} 25. b4 Bxb4 (
25... Qxb4 26. Qxd3 $18) 26. Qxc6 Qxc6 27. Rxc6 Bd6 28. Bxd6 Rxd6 29. Rxd6 cxd6
30. Rd1 Ra4 31. Rxd6 Rxe4 32. g3 Ng5 33. Nxg5 fxg5 34. Rd7 Re8 35. Kg2 Rf8 36.
g4 h6 37. Kg3 Kh8 38. Ra7 Kg8 39. Rb7 Kh8 40. Rc7 Kg8 {An interesting game
which helps us to understand the line starting with ...a5 much better.
Aronian's play was quite impressive.} 1/2-1/2

The three winners: Levon Aronian in third, Anish Giri in second, and the winner Ian Nepomniachtchi

Standings after round nine

Games in PGN

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