Levon Aronian vs. Boris Gelfand – 2013 FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament – Round 2

Levon Aronian vs. Boris Gelfand – 2013 FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament – Round 2


Hi everyone, it’s Jerry. This is Round 2 from
the 2013 Candidates Tournament between Levon Aronian who’s playing the white side versus
Boris Gelfand. We had Aronian opening up with Nf3, Gelfand replying c5. c4, knight c6, knight
c3, and g6. After e3 I believe it’s already an important point in the game, and I bring
this up because if you’re playing as black and running with the routine bishop g7, I
believe you would be neglecting the center. You would be allowing white to play d4, and
whether or not it is captured, let’s just say it is…whether or not it’s captured,
this knight is now insecure, and will need to worry about finding a new home since d5
is looming. So in order to make this knight position more secure, black needs to be more
exact on move four. Instead of bishop g7, it’s knight f6. After d4, as was played in
the game, we had c takes d, e takes d, and now black is in a position to successfully
strike at the white pawn structure with d5. c takes d, knight takes d, and now more pressure
on d5. Knights come off, and we do not have the immediate recapture. Instead it’s bishop
to c4, applying pressure to f7. The idea behind this is to induce e6, and by forcing black
to play e6 that would shut the door on the light-squared bishop. And black is then forced
to have to work that much harder before the bishop can do something constructive. Keep
in mind this knight is not going to run away. Playing to e4 is crazy. At the very least
white gets that material back, and I’m sure not long off will be getting that black king.
So, what gets played here? The move knight d5 is what was played. It seems a bit curious
to move the knight from a square where it could be captured to just another square where
it could be captured, but the differences between playing knight to d5 or playing e6
right away…the differences are great. Let’s have a look at them. If e6 is played right
now, what happens is that this knight gets captured with the pawn of course…capturing
with the queen runs into a pin…so you capture with the pawn of course, and what you’re doing
as white now is building your center, and opening up a new door for your bishop. This
is significant because if the bishop goes to the main diagonal, white can be annoying.
No castling for black right away. Similarly playing to e6, you’re not going to castle
right away. I’ve had this happen to me in blitz games. It’s very annoying. I wasn’t
aware of this knight dropping back to d5. So, that’s one of the main differences right
there. Not allowing white to change the structure, build the center, and open the door. And the
way to solve that is by dropping the knight first back to d5. One additional point is
that after it is captured you can address this pressure on f7 with tempo. You can defend
with a counterattack against the bishop. From here we have bishop takes knight. And it’s
worth noting I believe going back to either c4 or e4…I believe black has no issues whatsoever
since this pawn is hit a third time. It’s hard to see how white gets anything from this
position. Maybe even d5 at this point is best for white, but again I think that’s dwindling
down to a completely equal position. So we don’t have that. Instead white invests the
bishop pair in order to induce some structural defect, and will look to work against this
light-squared bishop. So before it could be annoying, white gets castled. And more development
on the black side. Bishop e3 reinforces d4, and you might be at this point scratching
your head a little bit because just a moment ago I was talking about if the bishop plays
to e7, maybe you could be going to h6 to stop the king from castling. Why isn’t it played
right now? Well there’s a main difference. In that previous position, there was still
a light-squared bishop on the board for white, and that light-squared bishop controlled a
very important square d5. If the bishop goes to h6, the queen can make use of a wonderful
central post. Capturing the queens is not to be recommended. You’re repairing the pawn
structure. White has now invested the bishop pair, and has nothing for it. There is no
structural defect. So this would not even be a thought. Something like queen to e3.
But now f6 I think is a good move because it rules out knight e5 stuff, it’s maybe a
home for the king, and maybe not long off there’s a move like g5 and this bishop could
maybe be stuck. I think black would be doing fine in such a position if bishop h6 is played
instead of what was played in the game, bishop e3. In response we have still queen to d5.
Again white thinks not at all about capturing on d5. Instead focuses on the weak point c6.
Black trades queens, damages this white pawn structure, but keep in mind that as compensation
for it white has piece play. Both rooks working, the knight soon to be working. If there is
a worst piece on the white side, it’s this dark-squared bishop. But it is watching over
an important central point d4. Bishop b7 to defend. It’s now hit a second time after knight
e5, and there’s not a good way to defend it a second time. Rook c8 drops the a-pawn. So
black completes development, and now rook a4. Aronian doesn’t go for it, Aronian doesn’t
run right in and just grab the material. Why not? After knight takes pawn, bishop takes
knight, rook takes bishop, rook-f to b8. Black now has not only play on these double isolated
b-pawns, but from that trade…from that exchange that just occurred black has gotten rid of
their most vulnerable piece. Their weakest link…their light-squared bishop, which was
struggling to do something has now been exchanged for the knight. If we just go back a few…from
this position right here when you do a piece comparison…this knight vs this bishop…this
knight is much more valuable. So that’s a little bit of the “behind the scenes” thing
that goes on. You could of course count points, you could count pieces, but the relative value
of pieces…this knight certainly outweighs this light-squared bishop. Aronian doesn’t
bite. It’s rook a4. And at first I thought it was to maybe double on the a-file, or double
on the c-file, but what we’ll soon see is that there’s a new thing that’s maybe available
in just a couple moves. First rook-f to d8, knight c4 eyes that a5 square where it would
put pressure on both bishop and pawn. Bishop to f6 pressure on d4. The knight gets out
of the way so the rook is there to defend. Again pressure on bishop and pawn as well.
After rook d7 to defend, now we see this rook to b4 move. Putting pressure on the bishop
a second time. Bishop a6. Now the pawn is captured when the bishop is not there to recapture.
Rook to b7. And now what do you do as white? Maybe an important position to think about
here. If you’d like to, pause the video…see what move you would play in this position,
or see what move Aronian played in this position. Okay, the move that was played is h3. I don’t
know if it’s the best move, but it’s a move that I really like because it of course shows
a very good understanding of this position. Aronian of course knows what? He knows there’s
not a good way to improve the position of his dark-squared bishop, either rook, or knight.
And also another way to look at it is…if you were to let’s just say, as white, pass
your move, and it’s now black’s turn. What would black do to improve their position?
They don’t really have a good move to be making. So I think keeping this knight on c6 is important
because if there is a move that black would like to be making, it would be this a8 rook.
But moving the a8 rook is not a good idea. Let’s just say if it were to move to c8. What
would be available is rook to a4, and there’s some tactical issue which I’ll just show you.
But the main idea here is to make very small…this would be a prophylactic move right? h3, small
improvements. There’s not a good way to improve these major pieces, or minor pieces. So let’s
just make a flight square for the king knowing full well that in such a position right now,
getting this a8 rook working is not a good idea. Going to c8 is going to lose very quickly
in fact to rook to a4. Attacking the bishop, and now setting up a knight to e7 move. If
bishop to b5, saving the bishop, we would have this fork. And the main idea here is
that the rook is captured with check, as otherwise the bishop gets that material right back.
And one other detail is that after let’s say rook here…well you’re just running into
some more trouble with the bishop. So black doesn’t have a way to get this rook working
effectively on this 22nd move. So king g7 is played, and now we have the rooks coming
off, the knight making use of e5, putting pressure on f7. White would now like to get
a rook to the 7th, hitting both bishop and pawn. The bishop drops back to defend c7.
And now b4 getting one of those doubled pawns working. More long-term if white could maybe
pick up this pawn, this pawn is of course that much closer to queening. Rook to c8 is
a blunder. Why is it a blunder? If you’d like to, pause the video…see if you could figure
out what Aronian’s reply was to rook to c8. Okay the move was bishop h6 check. If the
bishop is captured, we would have rook takes rook, bishop takes, and now knight takes pawn,
knight takes bishop. Up now two pawns and a better minor piece versus this bishop, I
believe taking up a nice post on e5, getting the king closer to the center. This would
be winning for white. So we don’t have that. We do not have at this point, king takes bishop.
The king played to g8. One line that was interesting which was shown during the game is that after
king f6, the bishop can be playing to g5 to give check, with a similar story going on
if king takes. Same story, it’s just that the king is getting checked from g5 instead
of h6. But still running with this variation…after bishop g5, if king takes, knight takes pawn
check can actually be played first. And if he goes here, well we’re going to have a fork
right here that’s all the more effective for white. And if he goes to f4, we could have
g3, and if king to f3, we would actually have mate right around the corner. Mate threat
here, on e5, g5, or even rook to e3. But what we did have is after bishop h6, king to g8.
Rook takes rook, bishop takes, and now knight c6. Pressure on both pawn and bishop. Bishop
f6, and now pawn to b5. This pawn is not going anywhere, this knight is staying put, keeping
a close eye on d4. Bishop d7. And now recognizing that black is really in a giant knot right
here…we have g4. Very nice move. The idea behind it is to just throw a question to this
dark-squared bishop. And if it has to move, it’s in trouble. There’s not a good square
for it to go to other than f6, and we’ll see that highlighted soon enough. After g5, we
have Aronian insisting with h4. The main idea is to get this g5 advance in. Let’s see how
significant it is. After g takes h, g5. Now we’re going to see the point. The idea here
is what exactly? If the bishop goes to h8, that would actually be mate, knight e7. If
the bishop goes to g7…well what are we going to have in this position? We could have bishop
takes bishop, king takes bishop, knight takes pawn, and there’s not going to be a successful
way to prevent this pawn from queening. This knight is watching over both of these squares,
the king is far off from being able to stop that pawn. So pushing through, getting this
g5 advance in is forcing these dark-squared bishops to come off, or at least one pair
of minor pieces to come off. And the resulting, more simplified endgame it tipping in white’s
favor. So finishing up we have g takes h, g5, bishop takes, pawn takes, the bishop drops
back, and now king to g2. Bishop to c7, and king to h3. Black resigns. There’s not a good
way to make progress here. This pawn is passed, this pawn can just be picked up. There’s not
a good way to activate this king. The bishop restricts it to just this corner. If it is
to move, black is having to give up yet another pawn. If something like this, the bishop is
still there. Now there’s two passed pawns. The king could do something like this…white
has all day to just run over to this b7 square, and then advance this pawn. Black has absolutely
no hope. So as it stood in this game, after the successful plan in this endgame of pushing
through with this g4, forcing in this g5, and throwing a question to that f6 bishop,
we end up having, after king h3, black resigning. So that’s all for this video. As always, I
hope you got something out of it. Take care, bye.

100 thoughts on “Levon Aronian vs. Boris Gelfand – 2013 FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament – Round 2

  1. Notice how there are never arguments in the comments on chess videos? It's because chess players aren't stupid.

  2. The White knight is the star of the show. I like how it's repositioned at move 18, in part to avoid being exchanged. Notice how that piece totally dominates both Black bishops and plays a decisive role in the ending.

  3. Great Analysis! I found Aronian's rook lift to b4 instructive, definitely something I need to incorporate in my games.

  4. I just forget. I honestly like when they remind me, but don't harp on about it. I don't just give free likes before I watch the vid. But yeah, remind me at the end.

  5. in the name of all i hope you'll be reviewing more games of the candidates tourney as we always got something out of it.

  6. Jerry probably decided that there was nothing worth analysing and uploading. Round 1 wasn't exactly a fireworks show and this game holds instructional value.

  7. At 10:14 why doesn`t Gelfand took the knight at e5 and played bishop d5? He is a pawn down but it should be a draw, because there are opposite couloured bishops.

  8. Yes, that ist true, but I think this position looks drawish and black has always the threat to exchange the rooks. May be I am wrong, but Bd8 looks very defensive and the exchange B vs. N is a better chance as in the game.

  9. Gelfand had his chance , he should get lost now and let some one else take over the challenge , he is even more boring than anand

  10. yeah with dolby surround system faithfully reproducing each piece click on the precious wooden chessboard πŸ˜€

  11. can anyone recommend me a good opening for black against whites e4 opening i tried caro kann opening and sicilian defense but oponents never play the main line they play some random moves and always beat me i dont know any openings for black against it or what should i do if my oponents dont play the main line should i continue with my opening or what can someone please help me

  12. The 1st pop quiz question was no fair! I was looking for a brilliant tactical shot or piece sac by White. But much to my surprise and dismay, the answer was simply an h3 prophylactic move!?! (LOL)

    Your explanations for the various moves have made me aware and appreciate the very high level of play between these two top GMs. No chess engine can deliver such an end result. So thanks for the superb game analysis. πŸ™‚

  13. If you've lost, your opponents moves were surely not random, It's just that they are stronger! You'd better work the ideas behind the openings, and most importantly your understanding of the game.

  14. Man, listen to my words: I'm a chess beginner-intermediate player, and I find your videos absolutely fantastic for a more deep understanding of what's behind the moves. I'm sorry you slowed down your live blitz series, I really enjoyed those games. I would like you to do a video with the most important chess principles, like "don't move the same piece twice in the opening", but also other less common principles. Thanks!

  15. Great game, simple to understand, at least after it's explained so well. Always look forward to new Chess Network vids dropping in my subscriber section!

  16. That's chess reality πŸ™‚ Middle game is more important than openings. But go on with Caro Kann it's a very good opening and relativly easy. Ruy Lopez Morphy defense is also very good. Sicilian is very complex and difficult.

  17. so excellent coverage .. must be an american thing cause it seems the russian commentators take lines so far as to not even be able to follow the GM who is actually playing. you could make money on this .. I would buy your collection of GM games commentaries.

  18. Excellent analysis and commentary!
    I had played over this game on 365Chess.com earlier today, but got far more out of it here than I did there.

  19. Very informative game from Aronian and excellent analysis as always. You have a knack for conveying ideas GMs use in their games to us normal players.

  20. Jerry, I love these top-level games. With these videos, could you do more to preface the match and the status of the two players going into the match? I love getting a sense of the tension at play before we even open the game.

  21. I really love your commentaries and game play. It seems you really put things in a more understandable rational perspective when most every other commentator I've seen puts things in a more of a "line tactical" perspective. I really believe the way to win chess is in the current move, not the last tactic.

  22. No, Jerry's videos you can only rate with thumbs up. Thumbs down is there for "I'm retarded". Jj πŸ™‚ Wish he would have time for more. Chessexplained is doing great analysis as well, of all the games round by round from candidates. Check him out!

  23. Great commentary! I liked the game, Aronian's pawn moves were so subtle, didn't see them at all. Good game, good video. Thanks for the upload

  24. I must agree with many of these comments – this is the most intelligent commentary-analysis I've ever heard on GM games. I especially enjoy the points in your commentary where you point out moves in the opening and beginning of middle game that illuminate subtle signals that hint at the end game (deep analysis). You also do very well in explaining why alternative candidate moves at critical points in the game were not played. Well done.

  25. Appreciate your work Jerry πŸ™‚ My game's improving, and I think a lot is to do with your analysis and easy commentary. Thank you!

  26. Thanks Jerry — I can't decide if I prefer your careful analysis of notorious games or the spastic stream of thought from the live games πŸ™‚

  27. great commentary! thanks to you every time i see someone sack a piece i think "kitchen sink variation" πŸ™‚

  28. great video thanks man, i love the subtitles for non native eng speakers, keep uploading chess videos πŸ™‚

  29. Excellent presentation. I appreciate the thoughtful original way you analyze these games, providing transparent positional justifications for move choices, and not overburdened with tangential opening variations. Β Further, your efforts to improve your treatment of opening play are paying off. (Not that mastery of opening complexities is a bad thing. It's probably a necessary evil if you want to improve to the IM level.)

  30. I really appreciate the way you touch on opening nuances in these analyses, it is very instructive to point out the many subtleties that occur in openings. thanks

  31. Β i thought this was pretty impressive until i realized all this was played in 2 minutes. Then i was amazed. All the analysis and that entire game under 2 minutes. Holy Shit.Β 

  32. I don't know if a lot of people ask this, or even if we are allowed to ask this, but what program does @ChessNetworkΒ use? Thanks in advance guys.

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