How To Win At Chess With Black – GM Levon Aronian
Many chess players struggle to play well with the Black pieces. Today, most players generally agree that White begins the game with some advantage. Although there are great chess books like “Chess for Zebras: Thinking Differently about Black and White” by Jonathan Rowson who claims that while White has some advantages by being allowed to make the first moves, Black has some other advantages as well.
In this mini-series, Artur Yusupov and Jan Gustafsson take a look at three Levon Aronian games that will help us to understand one of the toughest things to do in chess: fight for the initiative with the black pieces. The aim of this video series is to learn about the art of the initiative from one of the greatest players of our time. Or just enjoy some high-level games with commentary by one of the best coaches of our time – GM Artur Yusupov.
Instanbul 2012: Giri, Anish (2711) – Aronian, Levon (2816)
Super-GM Anish Giri certainly is hard to beat, especially with White. Levon shows how it’s done. The game started with the moves 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qb3 e6 5. g3 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Bf4 a5 9. Rc1 h6 10. a4 Ne4 11. Nfd2 Nd6 12. Bxd6 Bxd6 13. e4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 Bb4 15.c5 Nf6 16. Qc4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 (see the diagram on the right).
You can find a detailed explanation on all the opening moves in the free chess video. We’ve reached a typical middlegame position for games which start as a Semi-Slav/Catalan hybrid. Black has the bishop pair, but Black’s bishop on c8 seems to be locked in. But this, however, is not entirely true as Black is ready to free his bishop with the move …e5.
The move 17…e5 is a temporary pawn sacrifice for Black. But if White takes the pawn with 18.dxe5, Black can play 18…Be6 19.Qc2 Qd4 (see the diagram on the left). Black managed to open the position (which is great as he has the two bishops) and will regain the pawn on e5. Only Black can be better in this position.
GM Levon Aronian, however, goes for more than the natural freeing move 17…e5. We wants to take over the initiative and plays 17…Kh8.
At first glance, this move looks strange, but there is a deep strategic idea behind this move. In order to understand the idea, we have to go back and note that after 17…e5, White does not necessarily need to take the pawn on e5, but he can also push his pawn forward with 18.d5. Now, Black would like to play 18…f5, threatening the bishop and pushing …e4 in the next move. However, this is not possible as White can play 19.dxc6+! (see the diagram on the right). The queen on c4 gives a check to Black’s king on g8. After Black moves his king, White can even take on b7 and reaches a fantastic position.
Now we can understand that 17…Kh8 is not a passive move at all, but a deep prophylactic move, which – if White does nothing – accelerates Black’s initiative with …e5.
In the game, Anish Giri played 18.Bg2, bringing his bishop back to a safe square, and GM Levon Aronian was finally able to break open the center with 18…e5 (see the diagram on the right) and to free his bishop on c8.
If you want to see how GM Levon Aronian quickly took over the initiative with Black and won a pretty game, you definitely have to watch the whole video with great explanations by GM Artur Yusupov and GM Jan Gustafsson.
How To Win At Chess With Black – Conclusion
Winning with Black can be easy. In this video series, GM Levon Aronian shows us how to win at chess with the Black pieces. He seeks for the initiative in seemingly dry, equal positions and brings his opponents into a psychological difficult situation.
If you want to become an outstanding chess player and learn how to win at chess with Black, this course is a must for you!
Click here and grab a copy of “Aronian: Fighting for the Initiative with Black” by GM Artur Yusupov and GM Jan Gustafsson.