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Aditya Mittal analyzes Aronian vs Rapport

by Sagar Shah - 27/01/2017

In the tenth round of the Tata Steel Masters 2017 Levon Aronian played a beautiful game against Richard Rapport. The game contained excellent opening preparation, exquisite middlegame combination and a swift final attack. This brilliancy caught the attention of our annotator Aditya Mittal. The 10-year-old from Mumbai has analyzed the game in detail and now shares his findings with us. In this article you will also find video analysis by GM Daniel King.

The game between Aronian and Rapport was perhaps one of the most beautiful games of the Tata Steel tournament

When Levon is in good form, good moves just flow from his hands!

Richard was left gasping for air, as Levon simply destroyed his position with a series of powerful blows

Our little (10-year-old) annotator Aditya Mittal found this game very instructive and sent us detailed analysis!
[Event "TSCT2017 masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.01.25"]
[Round "10.3"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Rapport, Richard"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E18"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2702"]
[Annotator "Aditya Mittal"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:11:42"]
[BlackClock "0:16:46"]
1. d4 {Aronian has already showed lot of opening preparation in this
tournament. He got ready to spring another!} Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 {The
Queen's Indian! How often do we see Richard playing such classical setups?} 4.
g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 (5... Bb4+ {is a popular check.} 6. Bd2 Be7 {And Black
strikes dis co-ordination in White's camp.}) 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 {A natural
move played in seconds.} 8. Bd2 Bf6 {Again blitzed out. Most probably both had
it all prepared, but Aronian now plays an interesting move.} (8... d5 {felt
better to me, solidifying the status in the centre.}) 9. Be1 {What has the
bishop got from the e1 square rather than the c1 square. Well, actually, it
has got worse. But it was a brilliant idea by Aronian.You will see.} (9. Ne5 {
I have a feeling Richard might have prepared against this.}) 9... Re8 $6 {
A slight suprise but Levon countinues with his original plan. But what exactly
is this Re8? Its very hard to understand.} (9... Na6 $1 {looks strong.}) 10.
Qc2 d5 $2 {Rapport chooses the wrong time to play d5. The way Levon plays now
is very correct. This was actually almost the only mistake by Rapport. Yet
Aronian with his superb skills won.} (10... Nxc3 11. Bxc3 d5 $13 (11... d6 12.
e4 e5 13. d5 {would have led to a similar structure to Wesley-Rapport})) 11.
Nxe4 $1 dxe4 12. Nd2 Bxd4 13. Rd1 $5 {This was the point of Bd2-Be1. The other
option was to eat the e4 pawn.} (13. Nxe4 Qc8 14. Rd1 {transposes.}) 13... Qc8
{Getting away from the pin.} 14. Nxe4 Bc5 {Another crunch situation. White has
two options. 1. Nxc5. This disrupts Black's pawn structure and gives White a
milking edge. 2. Ng5. The more tactical solution, and whether it is sound or
unsound, it is unclear. Levon is now out of his preparation I guess. When did
it stop is what I am trying to figure out.} 15. Ng5 $1 {Aronian chooses the
correct approach. These top players are so good only because they master both
in positional and tactical chess.} (15. Nxc5 {The mad computers were shouting
for this, but I am sure Levon would have went for this if Ng5 wasn't working.
But it was!} bxc5 16. Be4 h6 17. f3 $16 {Aronian wasn't satisfied with this.})
15... f5 (15... g6 {opens the long diagonal.} 16. Bc3 $1 $16) 16. Bxb7 Qxb7 17.
Bc3 {The bishop is extremely strong now!!!} Bf8 {Protecting g7.} (17... Qc6 $6
{was mentioned by Aronian but it is not good:} 18. b4 $1 Bf8 (18... Bd6 19. e4
{It's hard for humans to defend this, but the computer also says that after} h6
20. exf5 hxg5 21. f6 $18 {it should be winning.}) 19. g4 $16 (19. e4 $5 {
is very interesting with another sack:} h6 $1 20. exf5 hxg5 21. f6 e5 $1 22.
Qg6 Re6 (22... Qe6 23. f4 $1 {is the big move which blastes Black's position .}
gxf4 24. gxf4 e4 25. Rf2 $1 $13 {Whether or not White will win is different
but he definitely has the initiative.}) 23. f7+ Kh8 24. Qf5 Rf6 25. Qh3+ Rh6
26. Qc8 Na6 27. Qxa6 $14 {is a big computer line.}) 19... h6 20. Nf3) 18. e4 $1
{Now Levon plays a very strong game. Resurgence!!} (18. g4 $5 {was another
erratic way to blast open the position.}) 18... h6 {Very natural, and it seems
White's attack has stopped. Yes? No!} 19. exf5 $3 {What a piece of calculation
by Aronian. What a masterpiece by him.} hxg5 (19... exf5 {is better but it is
hard to think Aronian won't win after} 20. Rfe1 $3 {which was suggested by
Aronian.} (20. Nh3 $16) 20... Rxe1+ 21. Rxe1 hxg5 22. Qxf5 $18 {And White has
a winning attack.}) 20. f6 $1 {A string of strong pawn moves have got Aronian
a crushing position to deliver.} c5 $2 (20... c6 {was the only move to keep
the game going.} 21. f4 g4 22. fxg7 (22. f5 gxf6 23. fxe6 Qh7) 22... Bc5+ 23.
Kg2 $16 {is close to winning though.}) 21. f4 $1 g4 22. f5 $1 {Aronian is only
playing with pawns, and its enough!} gxf6 {Black had to take out one of the
terrors.} 23. fxe6 Qh7 (23... Rxe6 24. Qg6+ Qg7 25. Qf5 $18 {White's attack is
crashing through.} Kf7 26. Rfe1 $1) 24. Qg2 $1 $18 {Hitting the rook on a8.
Its all over.} Na6 25. Rd7 Qh5 26. Rxf6 Rad8 27. Rxf8+ $1 Kxf8 28. Qf1+ {
What a masterpiece! Simply amazing.} 1-0


Aditya is currently rated 2068, but the little boy is one of the biggest talents in the country and his performance at the recently concluded Delhi Open bears testimony to this:

Aditya's performance after six rounds at the Delhi Open 2017

Levon Aronian on his game against Rapport
Daniel King was also impressed by Levon's play and chose it as his game of the day
The world is a better place when Levon plays good chess!