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This game occurred between Aronian and Anand today at the World Championship Candidates 2014 event. In the final position, instead of 19. Nd2, Aronian could have continued with 19.f4. He was a pawn up, so I don't see the necessity to repeat moves. Is White better after 19.f4!?

    [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
    [Event "World Championship Candidates 2014"]
    [White "Aronian"]
    [Black "Anand"]

    1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Qb3 d4 4. e3 c5 5. Qb5+ Nc6 6. Qxc5 e5 7. Qb5 a6 
    8. Qb3 Bc5 9. d3 Nf6 10. e4 O-O 11. Be2 Bb4+ 12. Nbd2 a5 13. O-O Nd7 
    14. Qd1 Bd6 15. Ne1 Nc5 16. Nb3 Na6 17. Nd2 Nc5 18. Nb3 Na6 19. Nd2 (19. f4!?)
  • 1
    It's a good question; the computer does put white marginally ahead. I watched the game online and the press conference afterward. Aronian seemed to lack confidence in this position, and agreed with Anand when he suggested that the material advantage really isn't an advantage at all. – Carser Mar 23 '14 at 2:51
  • The way I see it: Anand's space advantage makes up for the pawn. – Akavall Mar 23 '14 at 4:21
2

I am not even close to a decent level in chess, therefore you have to be really skeptical to what I am going to write here. But here is my ~2000 rated opinion:

Black is not winning after 19.f4, is he?

This is kind of funny to state that black is winning here. This is just 19-th move (so people just went out of the opening), which means that the game just began and most of the previous moves were not actually a real game. Yes, white is a pawn up, but pawn up in the opening does not really counts for too much (mobility of pieces, clear vision of what to do next, preparation of the line, your mood and confidence and many more things should be counted here).

Why did he choose to draw instead?

No one can tell you except of him. But here are my thoughts:

He already lost to Anand and Anand is a current tournament leader so why gamble and stress yourself in this situation? Having a draw, you secure yourself 5 points which puts you on the same position as a leader. With few possible advantages:

  • there is no more Anand anymore
  • you are not stressed and got your points from the game
  • you have more time to rest, prepare yourself for future games

Also, as you saw from game analysis the position is equal, but unbalanced. Playing the game, you will be really stressed and most probably after additional 1 - 1.5 hours of thoughts you will end up in a draw. Or may be win. Or lose. So why do you need this?

Look at the game Anand vs Svidler in round 7. Both have spend a lot of nerves playing really hard an unbalanced position just ending up in a draw. Approximately 2 hours of hard thought for 2 points. And here Aronian can get them basically for free.

  • +1 I think the question as it stands is subjective. I will change it. – Wes Mar 23 '14 at 16:23
  • I have to mention that it's not always true that you can't be winning straight out of the opening. Today's game between Karjakin and Kramnik is a good example of that. Karjakin was winning right out the opening on move 8 after 7... dxc4. – Wes Mar 23 '14 at 17:16
  • @Wes No, definitely that you can be winning straight from the opening. But in this level of games it is really unlikely. The game you mentioned is a severe blunder at their level. – Salvador Dali Mar 24 '14 at 4:15

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