Aimchess U.S. Rapid: Aronian defeats Mamedyarov in first set

September 1, 2021 – 16:52 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronian won his first 4-game mini-match against Azerbaijan’s Shakhriar Mamedyarov at the Aimchess US Rapid quarterfinals on Tuesday, August 31.

A draw on Wednesday will grant him a spot in the semifinals.

There were no draws in their 4-game mini-match on Tuesday, with Aronian surviving a losing position before getting a win in the first encounter of the day, Chessbase reports.

Mamedyarov, playing black, was a pawn up and had a strong initiative on the queenside at this point. The Azerbaijani, however, rejected the direct 32…Qxd4, which is completely winning — after 33.Qg6, Black has 33…Rg8; while after 33.Ra3, 33…Qb2 is devastating.

None of this was seen on the board, as Mamedyarov opted for 32…Nc6, which is also good but not as strong. After 33.Ra3, though, 33…Qxd4 comes a move too late, as White gets counterplay with 34.Bxd3, unleashing the power of the bishop pair.

Not only did Black lose his clear edge, but he went on to falter in the endgame to lose the game. Mamedyarov bounced back in game 2, but Aronian scored back-to-back wins in the remaining two encounters to get ahead on the scoreboard.

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