Aronian – Kramnik

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 Qc8 12.Bg5 Nbd7 (They were cranking out the first 12 moves with lightning speed. No opening surprises so far.)

13.Nbd2 Bb7 13.Nb3 a5 14.Nb3 a5 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 (The position is about even. White has better pawns due to the weak c7 pawn for Black. Black has the Bishop pair.)

16.Nc5 Bd5 (Black does not want to trade his Bishop for the Knight. It is important for Black to keep that Bishop to counter White’s Bishop on g2. Aronian recently defeated Kramnik in a rapid match in Armenia. He is brave to employ the Catalan against a man who is an expert in this opening.)

17.e4 (Aronian spent about 20 minutes to come up with this move. 17…Bc4 is an obvious reply.)

17…Bc4 18.Nxd7 Qxd7 19.Re1 = (I think this game will head toward an early draw soon. Black has equalized and have a comfortable position. It is incredible to see how easy Kramnik can equalize with Black.)

19…Bxd4 (Kramnik has an option of playing a4 to stop b3 or taking the d4 pawn with more complications. He chose the second choice.)

20.Rd1 c5 21.Qc2 (The threat now is b3. So Black must play e5 to give back the pawn and creating an escape route for the Bishop or a4. The position is still equal.)

21…e5 (As expected an after Nxe5, the position has very little play left.)

22.Nxe5 1/2
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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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