Bilbao 2011 – Levon Aronian vs Vassily Ivanchuk (Queen’s Gambit Declined)

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The first half of the 2011 Bilbao Chess Masters Final in Sao Paolo ended with the venerable Vassili Ivanchuk maintaining his first place standing despite losing in round 5 to the highest rated chess player in the world – Magnus Carlsen. Ivanchuk has played an incredibly high level of chess in 2011, and never ceases to amaze with his tireless creativity. Ivanchuk’s style is extremely fluid, and his fantastically deep understanding of the opening phase of the game has essentially enabled him to avoid opponents’ opponent preparation. Ivanchuk’s round 4 win over Super Grandmaster Levon Aronian was one of the most spectacular games of 2011, featuring two of the world’s best in a tactical slugfest. Aronian entered a mess of complications with provocative opening play, and the situation came to a head with 16. f4!? and 17. f5!? – creating a situation of total chaos on the board. Ivanchuk cold-headedly calculated his way and found an exceptional positional idea to open up the a8-h1 diagonal and mating threats with 19. …d4! and 20. …Qd5! – temporarily sacrificing a piece to achieve a dangerous initiative against white’s king. Aronian was forced to sacrifice an exchange with 26. Rxf3 to deflect impending mate. Ivanchuk fell desperately low on time, often moving with 5 seconds left to stay alive with the 10-second increment. This double-edged battle is certainly a candidate for the Best Chess Game of 2011.

[Event “2011 Bilbao Chess Masters Final”]
[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2011.09.30”]
[Round “4”]
[White “*GM_Aronian”]
[Black “*GM_Ivanchuk”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteElo “2807”]
[BlackElo “2765”]
[Opening “QGD: 4.Nf3”]
[ECO “D37”]
[NIC “QP.09”]
[TimeControl “5400+0”]

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 e6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Bb4 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Nd2 c6
8. e3 Nf8 9. Bd3 Be7 10. Qc2 Ne6 11. Bh4 g6 12. h3 O-O 13. Nf3 a5 14. g4 b5
15. Ne5 Bb7 16. f4 c5 17. f5 cxd4 18. fxe6 dxc3 19. O-O d4 20. Nxf7 Qd5 21.
Bxf6 Qh1+ 22. Kf2 Qxh3 23. Ke1 cxb2 24. Qxb2 Bb4+ 25. Kd1 Bf3+ 26. Rxf3
Qxf3+ 27. Be2 Qxf6 28. g5 Qg7 29. Qxd4 Rxf7 30. exf7+ Qxf7 31. Rc1 Rb8 32.
a4 Qb3+ 33. Rc2 Qb1+ 34. Rc1 Qb3+ 35. Rc2 Rc8 36. Bc4+ bxc4 37. Qd5+ Kf8 38.
Qd7 Re8 {Black wins} 0-1



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