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Chess Strategy – Keep the two Bishops

In the Candidates Tournament 2014 Anand has beaten the strongest player GM Aronian in the first round winning an even endgame with the two bishops.

Aronian (Black) sacrificed a pawn in the opening to get more active play. Anand returned the additional pawn later on to get the two bishops. This tiny advantage was sufficient to win the endgame.

GM Aronian
Grandmaster Levon Aronian

To give back additional material to get another small advantage is one of the strategies used in chess.

White moves

chess strategy

In the position above Anand (White) is a pawn up but Aronian (Black) has a very active position and a better piece coordination for the sacrificed pawn.

Anand played 19.Ne5 intending to return the plus pawn but to retain the two bishops versus knight and bishop. This would give him a tiny edge in the resulting endgame.

GM Anand wins with the two Bishops versus GM Aronian

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