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Thus played Vitruvius

And you, how would you play?

Following in the steps of Carlsen

0 Tuesday 07 February, 2012 in Sacrifices by admin
Aronian-Carlsen, Morelia-Linares 2008

The diagram shows the position after 13. Cf5. How is Black to continue? Top analysis engines suggest a risk-free line of action (time: 1 min.):

Houdini 2.0 13.... Ca6 14.O-O Af6 (+0.11)
StockFish 2.1 13.... Af6 14.O-O Ca6 (-0.16)
Critter 1.2 13... Ca6 14.O-O Af6 (+0.07)

But if Black is seeking active play and wants more from the position? If he is searching for ways to make White go awry and wants to take give the game a sharp and aggressive turn? Carlsen went for:

13... Cd4!!

One famous GM wrote: "Carlsen played this brilliant move almost instantly, therefore it is quite probable that he had prepared it in advance. The idea is to sacrifice the exchange in order to weaken White on the light squares near his King and to force the white pieces in an unfavourable/uncoordinated setup. Aronian, struggling to find an active plan, will have a hard time up to the very end of the game.”

And here is the continuation chosen by Vitruvius 1.0H:

13.... Cd4!! 14.Cxd4 cxd4 (+0.00)

Vitruvius then suggests Carlsen’s "brillant move” even though it considers the resulting position equal(!), assessment amply confirmed by other chess engines. The practical implications of such a result for the chess player are enormous. Not only does it sharpen the game but the psycological pressure it puts on the opponent is huge. In the game Aronian took a long pause for reflection and had to resign himself to an accurate and patient defence for the rest of the game.

Last Modified: Saturday 11 February, 2012
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