The Value of a Blunder

The fifth round of Grenke Classic was once again quite eventful. The most dramatic game turned to be this one:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "3rd GRENKE Chess Classic"]
[Site "Baden Baden GER"]
[Date "2015.02.07"]
[Round "5.4"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D38"]
[WhiteElo "2777"]
[BlackElo "2797"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2015.02.02"]

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 d5 4. d4 Bb4 {The Ragozin line. We are skipping the
opening phase as all of the moves have been played three weeks ago by Levon
with the back pieces in his game with Magnus Carlsen from Wijk aan Zee.} 5.
cxd5 exd5 6. Qa4+ Nc6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. e3 O-O 10. Be2 a6 11. O-O Be6
12. Rfc1 Bd6 13. a3 {Diagram [#] Levon came well prepared for the game. White
immediately starts the minority attack. This move is not as common as} (13. Qd1
{which was Carlsen's chose in Tata. Then after} Ne7 14. a3 Rfd8 15. b4 Nc8 {
was Levon's novelty from Wijk an Zee. It did not work with Magnus, but Anand
obviously thrusts this position and belives he can develop his pieces better
than in the abovementioned game. There are also early improvements for Black
in the position.} 16. Na4 {We will have to wait and see what Anand had in mind
when choosing this line. Was it an improvement earlier, or the one I suggested
in this position Now} b6 $6 {led to problems for Black in Carlsen,M (2862)
-Aronian,L (2797) Tata Steel Masters 2015} (16... b5 $5 17. Nc5 Nb6 18. a4 ({
In case of} 18. Nb7 Rdb8 19. Nxd6 cxd6 {the doubled pawn on d6 will cover the
vital e5 and c5 points.}) 18... Nxa4 19. Nxa4 bxa4 20. Rxa4 Rab8 21. Ne1 Bxb4
22. Nd3)) 13... Ne7 {The knight belongs to the kingside as Black will attack
there. Vishy also prepares his next move.} 14. b4 c6 {This somewhat slows the
attack, but White can regroup.} 15. Qb3 g5 ({A game by another Grenke Classic
participant saw White successfully conducting the Minority Attack after} 15...
h5 16. Na4 h4 17. Nc5 Rab8 18. Qd1 Bc7 19. a4 Bg4 20. Nd2 Bf5 21. b5 axb5 22.
axb5 Qd6 23. Nf1 $1 {White is solid on the kingside and is already creating
weaknesses on the other side in Bacrot,E (2723)-Grandadam,N (2286) Basel 2011})
16. Qb2 $1 $146 {[%csl Ye2,Yf2][%cal Gb2e2,Ge2f2] Diagram [#] A deep
profilactical novelty. White defends...the bishop on e2!} ({The only
predecessor saw} 16. g3 {but this weakens the kingside and after} g4 17. Ne1 h5
18. Qd1 Nf5 19. Ng2 Rae8 20. Na4 Kg7 21. Nc5 Bc8 22. Nd3 Rh8 23. Ndf4 Bxf4 24.
Nxf4 h4 {when Black had serious threats on the kingside, Mirzoev,A (2510)
-Peralta,F (2590) Navalmoral 2011}) ({White idea is revealed after careful
study of the most natural move} 16. Na4 {Then Black has this tricky idea in
his disposal} g4 $1 17. Nd2 (17. Ne1 Bxh2+ $1 18. Kxh2 Qxf2 19. Bd3 Nf5 {looks
scary for White, to say at least.}) 17... a5 $5 {with the idea} (17... Bxh2+ $6
{would be too early as the queen is trapped after} 18. Kxh2 Qxf2 19. Nf1 $1
Qxe2 $2 20. Ng3 Qb5 (20... Qf2 21. Rf1 $18) 21. Rc5 {and White wins.}) (17...
h5 {is also interesting for Black.}) 18. b5 Bxh2+ $1 19. Kxh2 Qxf2 20. Bd3 ({
Now} 20. Nf1 {does not work due to} Qxe2 21. Ng3 Qxb5) 20... cxb5 21. Bxb5 Nf5
{with strong attack for the piece.}) 16... Qg7 {Vishy regroups as} (16... g4
17. Nd2 Bxh2+ 18. Kxh2 Qxf2 19. Nf1 {is no longer appealing for Black.}) ({
Another possibility is} 16... h5 {but then} 17. Na4 Rae8 (17... Ng6 18. Nc5)
18. Nc5 Bc8 19. Ne5 {looks a bit better for White.}) ({Perhaps the immediate}
16... Rae8 $5 {is most accurate. First Black will secure the queenside} 17. Na4
Ng6 18. Nc5 Bc8 {and only then Black will decide which pawn he wants to
advance first.}) 17. Na4 Rae8 18. Nc5 Bc8 19. g3 ({In case of} 19. a4 {Black
gets counterplay with} f5 20. b5 axb5 21. axb5 f4 {but this was preferrable to
what happened in the game.}) 19... Nf5 {Not a bad move, but the
straightforward attack looks even better} (19... f5 20. Bf1 f4 21. exf4 gxf4
22. Bg2 h5 {and Black looks faster.}) 20. Bd3 Qf6 {With the threat Nf5xf3,
thus the next move for White.} 21. Rf1 h5 22. Rac1 h4 {Vishy played logically
and strong and his attack is growing fast. He now intends to open up the h
file and checkmate with his heavy pieces.} 23. Qd2 ({Perhaps White should have
defended with} 23. Ne1 {in order to recaptureon g3 with the f pawn} hxg3 24.
fxg3) 23... Nh6 $2 {[%csl Yg5] Diagram [#] So far Black had played logically
and strong and achieved extremely promising position. Now Anand chose a
tempting but tactically wrong idea. After the consistent} (23... hxg3 24. hxg3
Kg7 {Black has tremendous attack. For example} 25. Kg2 Rh8 26. Rh1 {[%csl Ye3,
Yf2,Rg2,Yg3] Diagram [#]} Nxe3+ $3 27. fxe3 Bh3+ $1 28. Rxh3 (28. Kf2 g4) 28...
Rxh3 29. Kxh3 Qxf3 {and mate along the h file.}) 24. e4 $1 {Very strong! Now
tables are turned into White's favor. Once that this pawn jumps to e5 Black
can no longer attack the kingside.} Bxc5 {One mistake often lead to another.
This makes things easier for White.} ({Anand probably missed} 24... Qxf3 25.
Qxg5+ Kh7 26. e5+ Bf5 (26... f5 27. exf6+ Bf5 28. Qg7#) 27. Bxf5+ Nxf5 {and
now the only but sufficient move for White} (27... Qxf5 28. Qxf5+ Nxf5 29. exd6
Nxd6 30. Nd7 $1) 28. Rc3 $1 {and if} Nxd4 29. Qxh4+ Kg7 30. Qxd4 Bxc5 31. bxc5
{with extra material for Aronian.}) ({The most resilent continuation is} 24...
Be7 {to defend the pawn although here too White should be better after} 25. Ne5
(25. e5 Qxf3) 25... dxe4 26. Nxe4 Qg7 27. Nc5) 25. e5 $1 Qg7 {Now it is over.}
({White is clearly better after} 25... Bxb4 26. axb4 Qg7 27. Nxg5 Bf5 {but
this was the most stubborn continuation.}) 26. bxc5 f6 27. exf6 Rxf6 28. Nxg5 {
Diagram [#] There is nothing left from Black's attack and he is a pawn down.
The rest is easy for Aronian.} Bf5 29. Rce1 Rff8 30. Rxe8 Rxe8 31. Nf3 Bxd3 32.
Qxd3 Re4 33. Re1 hxg3 34. hxg3 {A painful defeat for Vishy Anand who played
consistently and strong until he blundered badly in a very promising position.}


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