Levon Aronian Captures Second World Cup in Thrilling Tiebreak

Photo Anastasia Karlovich
Today Levon Aronian of Armenia, became the first player to win two World Cups. After four draws in the classical portion of the World Cup final in Tbilisi, Georgia, Ding Liren and Levon Aronian faced off in rapid tiebreaks. Aronian won the first rapid game (G/25+10) in a thrilling attacking victory. Try to find Levon's crushing move in this position if you haven't already played through the game.

Levon Aronian vs. Ding Liren

[fen]r4r1k/pp3p2/1bp2n1N/6pq/2Pp4/1Q4P1/PP3P2/1B1R1RK1 w - - 0 27[/fen] Show Solution
 27.Kg2! paves the way for the devastating addition of the white rook to the attack.
[pgn] [Event "Tbilisi FIDE World Cup"]
[Date "2017.09.27"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Ding, Liren"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2802"]
[BlackElo "2771"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Armenia"]
[BlackTeam "China"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "ARM"]
[BlackTeamCountry "CHN"]
[WhiteClock "0:07:13"]
[BlackClock "0:01:07"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qb3 Nd7 8. e4
dxe4 9. Nxe4 Qf4 10. Bd3 e5 11. O-O Be7 12. Rae1 exd4 13. Bb1 O-O 14. Ng3 Bd8
15. Qd3 g6 16. h4 Nf6 17. h5 g5 18. Ne5 Ba5 19. Ng6 Qd2 20. Ne7+ Kg7 21. Qb3
Qf4 22. Rd1 Bb6 23. Ngf5+ Bxf5 24. Nxf5+ Kh8 25. g3 Qg4 26. Nxh6 Qxh5 27. Kg2
d3 (27... Kg7 28. Rh1 Qe2 29. Nf5+ Kg8 30. Rde1 Qd2 31. c5 Bxc5 32. Re6 fxe6
33. Qxe6+ Rf7 34. Nh6+) 28. Qc3 Kg7 29. Nf5+ Kg6 30. Rh1 1-0 [/pgn]
This loss put Ding Liren in a must-win situation in game two.

[Event "Tbilisi FIDE World Cup"]
[Date "2017.09.27"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2771"]
[BlackElo "2802"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "China"]
[BlackTeam "Armenia"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"]
[BlackTeamCountry "ARM"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:54"]
[BlackClock "0:01:39"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bf4 c6 7. e3 Bf5 8. Be2
O-O 9. O-O Be7 10. Nh4 Bg6 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Qb3 Qb6 13. Qc2 a5 14. g4 Nbd7 15.
g5 Ne8 16. e4 dxe4 17. Nxe4 Qd8 18. h4 Nb6 19. Be5 Nd5 20. Bg4 Kh8 21. Rae1
Nef6 22. gxf6 gxf6 23. Bh2 f5 24. Bxf5 gxf5 25. Qd1 Rg8+ 26. Kh1 Rg4 27. Ng3
Rxh4 28. Nxf5 Rh7 29. Nxe7 Nxe7 30. Re5 Nf5 31. Rfe1 (31. Rxf5 Qh4) (31. Rg1
Qh4 32. Rg2) 31... Qh4 32. Re8+ Kg7 33. Rg1+ Kf6 0-1

Aronian staved off Ding Liren's attacking chances and turned the tables with 30...Nf5, since 31. Rxf5 fails to ...Qh4. Instead White can play Rg1-g2 or Qg4 to avoid immediate disaster. Instead Ding Liren fell quickly after 31. Rfe1 Qh4, granting Levon the rapid sweep and his World Cup crown. Both finalists qualify for the Candidates, now set for March 2018 in Berlin. Likely joining him in Berlin will be Fabiano Caruana, who is currently playing in the Isle of Man chess.com International, but still found time to congratulate Levon on his victory. https://twitter.com/FabianoCaruana/status/913069782207008769 https://twitter.com/TarjeiJS/status/913028940117286912 Next up for Levon is his wedding to WIM Arriane Caoili, recalling Levon's romantic words during the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz, which he also won. https://twitter.com/chess24com/status/898648301448429569 Levon Aronian was recently featured in the New Yorker Magazine. 

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