GOTM;  June, 2004.   

     Once again - maybe because I am such a nice guy - you get  two  games this month. (See the bottom of this page for the link.)  

 Welcome to my  ...  "Game of The Month," for June, 2004. 


This is a fairly well-annotated game, from recent GM practice. This is a contest that is aimed at players rated approximately 1000-to-1650 in (USCF) rating strength. There is lots of repetitive stuff, and explanations; but before you get offended and write me a letter, please remember who I started this feature for. (Lower-rated players!) And while this feature is aimed at less experienced players ... and you will often find the simplest idea or variation explained ... it is my sincere hope that even the exalted MASTER class of player would find this work of some value. (At least I truly hope so.) 

I have tried to consult ECO, NCO, MCO, etc. I key this work ... for the most part - to MCO-14 ... because this is the most popular and current reference work on the market today. (You can still easily find this book on any commercial web site, like Amazon.) When some other - more popular or more current work - replaces MCO-14, then I will use that work instead. 

And while this work is aimed at lower rated players, lots of simple ideas, explanations and even basic tactical ideas, it is my hope that even the exalted Master-class will find something of value here. (My analysis is often very detailed and has been praised by MANY titled players!!) 

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 Indeed, the opening work should be of value to ALL classes of players!   And I do not say this like I am bragging, or trying to pat myself on the back. It is a simple statement of fact. 

The opening work is  extremely  meticulous  ...  I often spend the better part of the month preparing it. EVERY IMPORTANT REFERENCE WORK (that I own) has been consulted. Not just reference books like "Nunn's Chess Openings," (NCO) or other general reference works. I also own many books on the openings themselves, and I ALWAYS consult these ... regardless of how old (or new) they might be! 

On top of this, I try to use every advantage that modern technology has placed at my fingertips. I use many computer programs, like ChessBase 8.0, Fritz 8.0, Shredder 8.0, ChessMaster 9000, etc. I search my own database, (almost four million games - and updated weekly from TWIC); I also access about 10 popular on-line databases. Additionally, I own many databases that I have purchased on CD-ROM, these are always consulted as well. {After a long period of only having the CM9000 UCI engine, I now own the full-fledged program. While not as handy or as serious an analytical tool like Fritz 8.0, it has many features that Fritz does not.}  

For the game of the month, I often do dozens - if not literally hundreds - of database searches per game. (ChessBase 8.0 makes this very easy to do, simply right-click on any position. You can then search your main {default} database, an alternative {designated} database, or the CB on-line database!) I have always felt that if you search long enough, you can find the answer. A game of chess is much like a river, the trick is to realize when things have gone around the bend and taken a turn for the worse. Then you can backtrack to the key point and begin to look for alternative solutions. In the end, I often come to a different conclusion than the books! Many times, I even correct my own previous analysis!!  The quest here is for chess truth.  Nothing less will do. 

 While I am looking at or analyzing a game, I ALWAYS have an analysis module running in the background. Generally by the time you see the finished product for this feature, the game has literally been analyzed dozens of times. While my favorite analysis engine is FRITZ, (running under the ChessBase 8.0 interface); I also use many other analysis engines as well. These range a wide gamut from Crafty; to various versions of Junior; to Nimzo & Hiarcs; to CM X.0; to Rebel, etc. 

It is because of all of these factors that I feel - VERY SURE - that this work will stand and speak for itself. And while I may not reveal everything that I discover during my work, there are ... NO FALSE LEADS here! If I recommend a line, you can play it yourself - against any caliber of opponent - with an extremely high degree of confidence. I am also sure that time will {eventually} reveal that this work is of the highest quality. I doubt any other columnist spends close to a month on a single game! And if you do find any corrections, please drop me a note. (I will post and acknowledge any meaningful corrections. But please check your analysis with a good computer program BEFORE sending it ... otherwise you are simply wasting my time ... and yours!) 

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Be sure to drop me a line, and tell me what you think. And please be sure to tell all your chess friends about this column. Respect my copyright, and ... ENJOY!!   (Thanks.) 

   This is basically a text-based page. (With just a few diagrams.)   
  I strongly suggest that you use a chess set.  


   Click  HERE  to see this game on a  java-script re-play  board.   

     Click  HERE  to see an explanation of the symbols I use.     

   34th 'Bosna GM' Tournament    - May 18th through May 27th, 2004. 

Recently a large tournament was concluded in Sarajevo, Bosnia. (BIH) This was no mean tournament, all the participants were GM's rated at least 2500 or above. Alex Shirov was on fire - he had six wins and only three draws to win this event. GM Nigel short, after a very impressive run of victories, had a rather dismal result. Placing second was the strong, relatively young (25) GM, Sergei Movsesian. 

 FINAL STANDINGS, Bosnia 2004 Super-GM 

1 Shirov, Alexei 2713 ESP   ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 7.5
2 Movsesian, Sergei 2647 SVK ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 6.0
3 Sokolov, Ivan 2690 NED ½ ½   1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.5
4 Bologan, Viktor 2665 MDA 0 ½ 0   ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 5.5
5 Kozul, Zdenko 2627 CRO 0 ½ ½ ½   ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 5.0
6 Dizdarevic, Emir 2528 BIH 0 ½ ½ 0 ½   ½ ½ 1 ½ 4.0
7 Short, Nigel 2712 ENG ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½   ½ ½ ½ 3.5
8 Predojevic, Borki 2503 BIH 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½   ½ ½ 3.0
9 Atalik, Suat 2558 BIH 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½   ½ 2.5
10 Kurajica, Bojan 2528 BIH 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½   2.5

  More information on this event.  The  ChessBase  report  of this tournament. 


  GM Alex Shirov (2713) - GM Bojan Kurajica (2540)  
  ICT / Bosnia GM  
  Sarajevo, BIH; (Round # 1), 18.05.2004  

 [A.J. Goldsby I] 

   The ChessBase Medal for this game.  (gotm_jun04-medal.gif, 02 KB)

A.J.'s  "Game of The Month"  for  June, 2004.  (From TWIC # 498.)   
[Replay this game - on the CG website.] 

This game was played in ... "The XXXIV Bosna Tournament." 
(A Super-GM event held in Europe. Sarajevo, Bosnia; {BIH} 2004.)  
{Bosnia was formerly part of the country called Yugoslavia.} 

Alex Shirov dominated this event ... and scored "PLUS SIX," (six wins, like three draws and no losses. 
He dominated the event from start to finish, and manage to avoid losing to his {former} nemesis,  ... 
... Bosnian GM Sergei Movsesian.  

[ Shirov had a disappointing performance at Linares, although his win against GM Teimour Radjabov was very fine. 
  Here the big guy returns to form with a near 2900 performance rating. (A couple more results like this, and he will 
  be back into the "top five" in the world ... where I think he belongs.) ]  

This game features the now popular "Center Counter Opening," which was considered to be completely unsound ... (about fifty years ago); ... but now is played at virtually every level. Shirov plays sharp chess - and quickly defeats a strong GM. (A good game to study to sharpen your tactics ... and maybe positional chess as well.)  

 *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** 

The ratings are accurate and are FIDE ratings for the players. (These were the ratings that were given for these players when I downloaded this game from TWIC. Of course, the game was completely UN-annotated when I downloaded it!) 

{Opening survey included.} 

 1.e4 d5;  ('!?')   {See the diagram - just below.}    
The "Centre-Counter," ... an extremely "bad and ill-advised opening,"  ...
wrote Howard Staunton many years ago. (Circa mid-eighteen hundreds.)  



   Black plays a daring defense. (gotm_06-04_pos1.gif, 48 KB)



Less than 50 years ago, (1960's); when one of Bobby Fischer's opponent's played this defense against onethe greatest players America ever produced; the experts likened the use of 1...d5; to committing hara-kiri.  

     [ A good example of this would be Fischer's win in only 20 moves over Karl Robatsch from the 1962 FIDE (men's) Olympiad in Varna, Bulgaria. ]  


Indian GM, Viswanathan Anand once used this opening in a World's Championship Match against Garry Kasparov. 

(This event was held on the very top of one of the buildings of The World Trade Center ... often referred to as: "The Twin Towers of New York City." Of course these structures no longer exist, they were destroyed in a very dastardly and cowardly attack on the morning of September 11th, 2001.) Although Anand eventually lost the game, it was not the opening phase of the contest that was at fault. 


Today a completely different opinion of this opening holds sway: 
<< The Center Counter Defense, (also known as the Scandinavian Defense); is easy to play and learn. 1...d5; 
      contests the center and removes the White King-Pawn from play, ensuring that Black will not have great 
      troubles ahead. >>  

The author goes on to note that there is a slight tempo loss involved with this opening, and that the first player usually can 
 maintain a small, but solid edge. He also states that few Top GM's use this system, except as an occasional surprise weapon. 
 - GM Nick de Firmian. (MCO-14; page # 375.)  


 2.exd5 Qxd5;  {Diagram?}   
Black does not have to take with the Queen here ... the second player also has the option of ...Nf6 in this position as well.  

     [ Black can also play ...Nf6 here. 

       For example:  2...Nf6!?3.Bb5+!?,  ('!')  {Diagram?}      
       Maybe the best line for White.  

      ***     ***     ***       ***     ***     ***       ***     ***     ***    

          ( For the move of: 3.d4!?, "+/="  {Diagram?}  see MCO-14,      
            page # 376; column # 04, and all applicable notes for this line. )      

          ( For the continuation of:  1.e4 d5;  2.exd5 Nf6;  3.Nf3 Nxd5;  4.d4,     
            see the following {addendum} game. (V. Topalov - G. Kamsky; CORUS, 2006.) )  

      ***     ***     ***       ***     ***     ***       ***     ***     ***    

       Stronger than the much weaker line of "Bishop-to-d7" for Black.  
       [ See MCO-14, page # 376; column # 06, and all notes. ]   

          ( </= 3...Bd7!?; ('?!')  4.Bc4 b5;  5.Bb3 a5; 6.a4!, "+/=")      

       4.d4!,  (principals)  {Diagram?}    
       White should definitely continue with ideas like controlling the center and 
       getting developed.   

          ( It is both stupid and pointless to try and hang onto the extra Pawn.        

            For example:  </=  4.c4!?, ('?!') 4...a6!;  5.Ba4 b5!!;  6.cxb5 Nxd5;        
            7.d4 N5b6!;  8.Bb3!? Bb7;  9.Nf3 axb5;  "="  {Diagram?}       
            when Black looks to have no problems at all in this position.      
            {As long as the second player continues with systematic and        
              consistent development.} )      

       4...Nxd55.Nf3 a6;   6.Bd3 e67.0-0 N7f68.Re1 c5;  
       9.Nbd2 cxd410.Nxd4 Be711.N2f3 0-012.a3 Qc7;  
       13.c4 Nf414.Bf1!, "+/="  (space)  {Diagram?}   
       White has a small, but marked advantage in this position. 
       The Queenside Pawn majority could be a game-breaker in the late 
       middlegame or early ending.  {An analysis line.} ]   


 3.Nc3 Qd6!?;   {See the diagram - just below.}     
A slight departure from the norm.  

(The most commonly played moves for Black here are the retreat to the d8-square, and the move, ...Qa5.) 



   Black plays a rather unusual line, placing the Queen on d6. (gotm_06-04_pos2.gif,  47 KB)



GM B. Kurajica plays these lines on occasion, I found {at least} one other game in the database where he had 
played this line before. 

The move of  " ...Queen-to-d6"  is not really bad, in fact some books on this opening don't even cover this move. 
But the fact remains that it is sometimes used by the second player, and therefore a player of the White pieces 
must be prepared to meet this line.  

(See the May, 2005 issue of "Chess Life" {page # 38} for more details about 3...Qd6; here.) 

     [ The modern main line is:   >/=  3...Qa5!?; ('!')   4.d4 Nf65.Nf3 Bg4; ('!?')  {Diagram?}     
       A common retort in this position.   


          a.)  Black also plays the solid move of ...c6; in this position.  For example:  
                (>/=) 5...c6;  ('!?')  6.Bc4, ('!?')  {Diagram?}    
                This is probably the move that is played the most in this particular position. 


                    ( Another good move here is:        
                       "=" 6.Bd3, Bg4;  7.h3, Bh5!?;  8.Bd2, "+/="  {Diagram?}       
                       N. Managadze (2456) - A. Istratescu (2578); / ICT / 4th Masters (open)      
                       Halkída, Greece; 2000.  (Note - This is called "Khalkís" in the Atlas.)        

                      (The game was eventually drawn, but White built up an extremely promising        
                        position at one point.)  )       


               6...Bf57.Bd2 e68.Qe2 Bb49.0-0-0 Nbd710.a3     
               10...Bxc311.Bxc3 Qc712.Ne5, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
               and White has a solid edge.   

               For example, see the contest:  
               GM Ivan Morovic {Fernandez} (2575) - GM Amador Rodriguez  {Cespedes} (2485)  
               ICT / Capablanca Memorial ("A") / Cienfuegos, CUB; (Rd. # 4), 1996.   

               (White won a beautiful attacking game {1-0} in only 32 moves.)

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          b.)  Another interesting line for Black is the following variation:   
                5...Bf5!?6.Bc4 c67.Bd2 e68.Qe2 Bb49.0-0-0 Nbd7{Diagram?}   
                The CB database says there are nearly 500 chess games from this position alone!  

                10.a3 Bxc311.Bxc3 Qc712.Ne5, "+/="  {Diagram?}     
                 White has a solid edge here.   

                GM M. Ulibin - GM A. HauchardICT / 14th (city) Open   
                Andorra, ESP, (Spain)1996.  (1-0, 25 moves.)  


       (Returning to the main analysis line here.)     

       6.h3! Bh57.g4! Bg68.Ne5! e69.Bg2 c610.h4!?{Diagram?}   
       Thunder ... and lightning!  (But perhaps not completely necessary?)  


           ( After the moves:  10.Nxg6!? hxg6; 11.Qe2 Nbd7; 12.Bd2, "+/=" {Diagram?}     
              White is just slightly better.      

              R. Preusser - M. Becking;  DLM / Germany; 1997.  (1-0 in 33 moves.)  )       


       10...Be4!?{Diagram?}   The end of the column.   

       11.Bxe4! Nxe412.Qf3 Nd6[]{Diagram?}   
        This is forced.   

       [ See MCO-14, page # 376;  column # 01, and also note # (e.). ]   

           ( Of course not:  </=  12...Nxc3??; 13.Qxf7+ Kd8;  14.Bg5+!,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}     
              and White has a winning attack. )      

       Now White should probably play:  13.Bd2!{Diagram?}     
       This is almost certainly best.  (White threatens Ne4, winning.)   

     ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **   

           ( MCO-14 only gives:  </=  13.Bf4!?, ('?!')  13...f6;  "~"  {Diagram?}        
              but Black is fine here. (Maybe "=/+")  Popovich - Rogers; Vrsac / 1987. )         

     ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **   

       The remaining moves look forced.   
       13...Nd7(N?)   {Diagram?}   
       Black almost has to play this.  

     ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **   

           ( Less appealing is:  >/=  13...f6!?;  14.Nd3 Nd7;  15.0-0-0, "+/="  {Diagram?}   
              with a very solid edge to White in this particular position.      

              S. Klimov - D. Feofanov;  77th (open) City Championships / St. Petersburg, RUS; 2004.    
              (White won a powerful game ... and scored the point in 62 moves.) )      

     ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **   

       14.Nxd7 Kxd715.0-0-0,  "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        White has to be a little better here.  (My own analysis line.).  




       A solid line ... but one that also hands the initiative over to White, is the following continuation:   
       = 3...Qd8!?4.d4 Nf6; {Diagram?}    This is probably best here.   


           ( Not to be recommended was:  </=  4...g6!?; ('?!')  5.Bf4! Bg7;  6.Qd2! Nf6;      
              7.0-0-0, '±'  {Diagram?}  with a clear advantage to White.       

              R.J. Fischer - K. Robatsch;  (FIDE) World Team Championship /       
              (Commonly known as ... "The Olympiad.") / (men's finals)      
              Varna, BUL; 1962. / (1-0 in only 20 moves!)       

              [ See MCO-14, page # 376; column # 01, and note # (b.). ] )       


       (Returning to the main analysis line.)  
       5.Nf3! Bg4!?;   6.h3! Bh5{Diagram?}    
       The wisest course here.  

           ( Of course not:  </=  6...Bxf3!?; (?!)  7.Qxf3 Qxd4??;  8.Qxb7, "+/-"  winning easily. )       

       7.g4! Bg68.Ne5! e69.Bg2, "+/="  ('±')  {Diagram?}      
       with a very clear advantage for White in this position.   

       GM Murray Chandler (2590) - GM Marc Santo-Roman (2495);    
       National (G/60) Team Championships / Cannes, FRA; 1992.  (1-0, 44m.)   

       [ See MCO-14, page # 376;  column # 01, and also note # (b.); Part # {A.} ]  ]    

  (After a - not so brief - excursion into the state of modern opening theory, we return to the game at hand.)     


 4.d4 Nf6;  {Diagram?}    
Simple development is probably the best policy here.  

     [ Probably not as effective would be the continuation:   
       (</=)  4...g6!?5.Nf3 Nf66.Nb5!, "+/="  {Diagram?}       
        with a clear advantage to White.  

        V. Kozak - V. Smirnov 
        National Championship Qualifying Tournament / (semi-final stage)   
        Yaroslavl, RUS; 1995.  (1-0, 22 moves.) ]   


 5.Nf3 g6!?;   {See the diagram ... just below.}     
This looks slightly dicey to me.   



   Black decides to fianchetto his KB.  (gotm_06-04_pos3.gif, 47 KB)



There is not much theory for these lines ... and only a handful of games.  --->   
But the contests in the database seem to  <strongly>  indicate that Black's best (or safest) move at this point 
would be the cautious and preventative move of  5...a6!?  

Obviously, {with ...g6 here};  Black wants to develop his Bishop on the long diagonal ... the only question is 
does this position allow this type of ambitious development?  


     [ Black could also play:   (>/=)  5...a6!?6.Be3!?{Diagram?}    
       This is an OK post for this piece, I guess ... but I would be worried that Black might try ...Ng4.  


           ( ( Another book gives:  >/=  6.Bg5 Nbd7!?;  7.Bd3, "+/="  {Diagram?}   
                MCO-14, pg. # 376, note (b.). )   

           ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **    

                This volume does not give a reference here, but this is probably the contest:   
                GM C. Lutz - GM B. Kurajica;  (FIDE?) Zonal Tournament, Pula, CRO; 2000. (1-0, 35m.)    

      *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***    

                Another idea here is the fianchetto of White's KB. For example:     
                6.g3!? b5;  7.Bg2 Bb7;  8.0-0 e6;  {Diagram?}     
                At this point, both sides have developed fairly normally.     

                Now the computer wants to play the move of Ne5 in this position.      
                But instead White played the moves ...       
                9.Bf4!? Qb6;  10.a4,  "+/="  {Diagram?}       
                White maintains a fairly small, yet consistent 'pull' from this position.     

                GM Zoltan Almasi (2672) - GM Bojan Kurajica (2560);     
                (FIDE) World Team Championships / (Men's Olympiad)   

                Bled, SLO; 2002. (1-0, 50 m)  )       


      (We return to the main analysis line.)     

       6...Nc67.Qd2!? Bf5{Diagram?}      
       So far ... this is all the game:   
       GM Zhang Zhong (2607) - GM Walter Arencibia (2534);    
       ICT / Sixth (6) Ubeda Open, Ubeda, ESP; (Spain) 2001.    
       (White won nicely in under forty moves in this contest.)   

       But now play should proceed:      
8.Nh4! Be6!9.Be2 0-0-0!10.Rd1, "="  {Diagram?}      
       with a very balanced position.  (analysis);  


       The pin looks inviting here, but has not worked out all that well in actual master-level practice. 
       For example:  5...Bg4!?6.h3! Bxf3{Diagram?}      
       This is probably best here.   


            ( Probably not to be recommended (for Black) is the following continuation:    
6...Bh5!?; ('?!')  7.g4! Bg68.Ne5!, "+/="  8...c6!?9.Bf4! Nd510.Qd2   
10...Nxf411.Qxf4 Nd712.0-0-0 Nxe5!?{Diagram?}    
              This is ugly ... but Black is already in a very bad bind.

                  ( Maybe  >/=  12...e6; 13.h4!, "/\"  {Diagram?} would be better? )       

              13.dxe5 Qc714.Bd3 Bxd315.Rxd3, "+/="  ('±')  {Diagram?}    
              White is clearly better here.
(Much better.)   

              GM Lev Psakhis - A. SygulskiYurmala, LAT; 1987.    

              MCO halts its analysis ... and gives the symbol of '±' after White's eighth move in this line.   
              [ See MCO-14; page # 376, column # 01, and note # (b.). ]; 


       7.Qxf3 c6[]8.Be3 e69.0-0-0, "+/="  {Diagram?}     
       White is clearly much better.   

       Peter Leko - Robert J. Felber ICCF Correspondence Game /     
       EM/TT/F/01, e-mail; 1997.  (1-0 in only 24 moves.)  ]    


 6.Nb5!,  ("/\")   {Diagram?}       
This would seem to be White's most energetic replay ... the first player must disrupt the normal course of 
Black's development to get (and sustain) a long-lasting advantage.  

     [ White could also play Bc4, "+/="  in this position, and obtain a small, 
        but fairly solid and viable edge.   

       For example:    6.Bc4 Bg77.0-0 0-08.h3!?{Diagram?}     
       Too cautious and routine.   

            ( More energetic was:   >/=  8.Nb5!, "+/="  {Diagram?}        
              which definitely gives White a solid edge from this position.     
              (With / Bf4 next.) )      

       8...a6;  ('!')   {Diagram?}    
       Black probably must play this little prophylactic move - sooner or later.   

       So far this is all the game:  
       GM Lev Psakhis (2611) - GM Vladimir Epishin (2567)  
       ICT / Open Tournament / 4th Vlissingen HZ, (Rd. # 09) / 
       Zeeland, NED; 29.07.2000.   (A short draw.)     


       Now White should probably play:     
       9.Re1 b510.Bb3 Bb711.Ne5, "+/="  (out-post)  {Diagram?}   
       with a small, but solid edge.  {Analysis line.} ]    


 6...Qb6;  {Diagram?}      
This is a reasonable move ... it is unlikely that there is anything better here for Black.   

     [  Or   6...Qd8!?7.Bf4, "+/="  {Diagram?}      
         which also yields a solid edge to White ... from this position. ]    


 7.c4!?,  ('!')  (N?)      {See the diagram  ...  just below here.}        
A simple and good move designed to increase White's grip on the center; especially his control over the d5-square here.  
(After close to a dozen searches of many different databases, I have determined that this move was the first original move  
 of this game.)  



   White decides to advance his c-pawn here.  (gotm_06-04_pos4.gif, 48 KB)



But c4 was not the only good move White had at his disposal at this point. 

     [ Also good for White was:  
        = 7.Bf4!? Nd58.Bg3 Bh69.Bc4 Nf410.0-0, "+/="  {Diag?}    
        with a small, but solid edge for White in this position.  


       The other move of:  7.Bc4!?,  "+/="  {Diagram?}     
       also promised White at least a small advantage. ]   


 7...c6;  ('!?')  {Box?}   {Diagram?}    
This is close to being forced, Black cannot tolerate White's Knight on b5 for very long at all.  

Black also figures to give his Queen ... a "road home." (escape squares)  

     [ Much worse would be:  </=  7...Nbd7?;  as after:  8.Bf4,  "+/-"  {Diagram?}  
        Black is already losing material.  


       Perhaps Black could take a stab at:  7...a6!?8.Nc3 Bg7!?9.c5! Qe6+!?{Diagram?}    
       Maybe the other play was better.   

           ( Possible the simple: 9...Qa7!?;  {Diagram?}      
             which looks bad for the Queen, but could be        
             a safer square in the long run. )     

       10.Ne5 b511.cxb6 Qxb612.Bc4 0-013.0-0, "+/="  {Diagram?}    
       White is solidly better, but maybe this is superior to what actually occurred in the game. ]    


 8.Nc3 Bg4!?;  {Diagram?}    
Giving up the Bishop pair, (to help Black challenge White's center); is normally part-and-parcel of this whole variation.  

But here it looks like the beginning of all of Black's troubles in this game.  

     [ I would recommend (instead) that Black play the following continuation:   
        >/=  8...Bg79.h3!?{Diagram?}   
       Trying to prevent the pin ... which seems to ease Black's game.  

           ( Also possible was: 9.Be2!?, '=' )     

       9...0-010.Qc2 Na611.a3 Rd8; "~"  (Maybe "=")  {Diag?}   
       when I think that Black has a very good and playable game. ]   


 9.c5!,   {See the diagram - just below.}    
A very nice and energetic move by Shirov in this position.   



   White plays a seemingly dangerous pawn advance. (gotm_06-04_pos5.gif, 47 KB)



White creates holes in his Pawn structure, and risks giving himself a permanently backward Pawn.  

Why then would any GM play a move such as this? The answer is simple, White gains time (and space), deflects 
the attack on his d-pawn, and presents Black with the challenge of how to exploit such a move. Further - there 
is the problem of the shortage of good and useful squares for the Black Queen in this position.   

     [ After the following moves:  
        9.Be2 Bg710.h3 Bxf311.Bxf3 Nbd712.0-0 0-0;   
        13.Re1, "+/="  {Diagram?}  White only gets a very small edge. ]    


 9...Qc7;  {Diagram?}   
This walks into Bf4 at some point ... but the alternatives could be worse.  

     [ </= 9...Qd8!?; ('?!')  10.Qb3!, '±' ]   


 10.Bc4 Bxf3?!;  (Maybe - '?')   {Diagram?}    
Black voluntarily gives up his Bishop ... hoping to avoid (the worst of) the storm to come ...  
yet Black probably should just batten down the hatches and play ...Bg7.  

Most programs ... like Fritz 8.0 and ChessMaster9000 notice a sizeable change in the 'score' of the position after this move.  

     [ Instead of the capture on f3, Black should probably play:  
       (>/=) 10...Bg711.h3 Bf512.Ne5 0-013.Bf4, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
       when White is clearly better, - yet with good defense, perhaps Black can 
       survive this position. ]  


 11.Qxf3 Bg7;   {See the diagram just below.}     
Black simply develops ... and yet he gets into trouble.   



   Black just played a very natural developing move, and is also preparing to castle. Yet this gets Kurajica into trouble. {A bad sign.}  (gotm_06-04_pos6.gif, 47 KB)



I tell all my students that when a simple developing move is not the best ... you must have 
done something really wrong earlier in the game.  

(Here, I don't think that it was just this it was one move that hurt Black, as it was a whole string of second-rate 
 tries that probably landed Kurajica in a giant pot of hot water here.)  

     [ Maybe  11...Qd7!? is better? ]    


 12.Bf4 Qd8!?;  {Diagram?}    
This might look natural, but maybe ...Qc8; (aiming for a later ...Qg4), was a better try for Black.  

     [ Or  12...Qd7!?13.0-0-0, "+/="  {Diagram?}   with a solid edge for White. ]   


 13.0-0-0! 0-0;  14.g4!,  (move order)   {See the diagram - just below.}   
Shirov prepares a Pawn storm ...  
and avoids h4, h5; when it is harder for the first player to open lines to the Black King.  



   White just played the very energetic g2-g4, what is Shirov planning with this move?  (gotm_06-04_pos7.gif, 47 KB)



Now it is clear why White played the c5 advance ... he is in complete control ... on BOTH sides of the chessboard.  

     [ Also good for White was the move:  14.Rhe1?;  "+/"  {Diagram?}    
        which also would have given Shirov a fairly sizeable edge. ]   


 14...b5!?;  (dubious?)    {See the diagram ... just below.}     
This move looks ugly, and the computer does not like it ... yet Black was already in very deep (& dirty) water here, 
and sucking a short straw to boot.  



    Black has decided that it is ... "Do-or-die"  time; and plays ...b7-b5.  (gotm_06-04_pos8.gif, 47 KB)

  This is probably the critical position of the whole game.  
(Click on the diagram and buy a book!)



Kurajica knows the 'rules' of such positions ... that when an opponent is attacking you vigorously on one wing, often your only hope is to generate your own attack on the other wing. Under such conditions the loss of a Pawn is nearly insignificant ... the only thing that matters is opening lines - as quickly as possible - and getting some counterplay.  


     [ After moves like:  (>/=)  14...Nbd715.h4 b516.Bb3 b417.Ne2 Nd518.h5! N7f6;  
        19.Be5 Qd720.hxg6 hxg621.Rdg1,  '±'  {Diagram?}    
        White's attack reaches frightening proportions ... and Black's game may no longer be salvageable.   
        {This might still be better than the course of the actual game ... but only Bobby Fischer or Deep Blue  
          could really say for sure.} ]    


White now exploits his slight lead in development - and a small pin.  
 15.Bxb5, ('!')  15...Nxg4;  {Box?}  {Diagram?     
Black tries to distract his opponent's Queen from the long diagonal.   

     [  Not </=   15...cxb5?? as after the simple:  16.Qxa8,  ("+/-")  {Diagram}     
         White is winning easily.  ]    


 16.Bc4! Qc8?!;  (Probably - '?')   {See the diagram - just below.}       
The final slip.  



   Black plays ...Qc8.  ("What is that smell? It is Black's position!!")  {gotm_06-04_pos9.gif, 48 KB}



White now gets the upper hand in the ensuing complications.  

     [ After the continuation:  (>/=)  16...Nf6[]17.Rhe1 e618.Kb1, '±'  {Diagram?}    
        (Shirov is distinctly better.); {and}  Black's position is no fun, but there is no clear 
        win yet in sight for White from here. ]   


 17.Rhe1! Qf5!?;  {Diagram?}     
While it might not have been exactly enjoyable to play this move, it is easy to see that 
Black has severe difficulties defending his e-pawn in this position. 
(Not ...e6??; when White can just capture the Knight for free.)  

     [  For example: 
        </=  17...Re8??; 18.Bxb8 Rxb819.Bxf7+ Kh8;   
        20.Bxe8, "+/-"  {Diagram?}   and Black is clearly losing. ]   


 18.Rxe7 g5;  {Diagram?}   
Black hopes to take advantage of the fact that White's Queen is unprotected on f3, 
but Shirov has calculated much further ahead than his opponent.  


 19.Be2! Qxf4+!?;  (hmmm)   {Diagram?}    
This looks rotten for Black ... but there was probably no salvation for Kurajica from this position, anyway.  

     [ Black just about had to play:  19...Nxf2[] in this position;  but after the moves:  
        20.Qxf2 Qf621.Re4 gxf422.Kb1 Bh623.d5!,  "+/-"  {Diagram?}      
        the second player's cause is hopeless anyway. ]   


 20.Qxf4 gxf4;  21.Bxg4 Na6!?;  22.Bf3,  '±'   {See the diagram ... just below.}     
Basically Shirov has a won game, choosing the right move now is almost a matter of taste as anything else, now.  



    White just played Bf3, hey! At least Black got the Queens traded off.  (gotm_06-04_pos10.gif, 47 KB)



It is not just that Black is a Pawn down in this position - his shattered Pawn structure, the open g-file, and the (still) 
under-developed nature of his game mean that Black's cause is probably a lost one. (Black also has great difficulty 
in trying to make his pieces work together ... and lacks the ability to get his pieces to good squares, as the remainder 
of this contest clearly demonstrates.)  

To Bojan Kurajica's credit, he struggles on until there is absolutely no hope of any mistake by Alexei Shirov.  

It might be hard for an amateur to grasp, but no one could have really criticized Black if he had chosen this  
point in the struggle to resign!  

     [ Also good for White was:  (>/=)  22.Be2! Bf623.Rb7 Nb824.Ne4, '±'  (Or "+/-")  {Diag?}     
        when the win is only a matter of some accurate technique. ]     


 22...Rfc8;  {Diagram?}      
Black defends the best he can ... with the position that he has.  


White's next move permanently maroons Black's Knight on the edge of the board.  
 23.a3!? Kf8!?;  24.Rb7 Rd8;  {Diagram?}     
This move is probably an error in a position that is already quite lost.  

  (The computer says that ...Rc7; was probably forced in this position.)     

 25.Bh5! Bxd4?{Diagram?}    
I have always said that you should not criticize - too harshly - the moves (or ideas) that a player makes in a  
completely lost position; but here Bojan makes a move (purposefully?) that greatly shortens the game.  

If Black wanted any chance to continue from this position, then he had to play ...Kg8[]; here.  

     [ Better was:  >/=  25...Kg8[]{Diagram?}    
        which was practically forced.   

        But after the moves:   26.Bxf7+ Kh827.Bc4 Nb8;  28.Re1! Nd7;    
        29.Re7,  "+/-"  {Diagram?}   
        Black could resign with a clear conscience. ]   


 26.Rg1!,  ("+/-")   {See the diagram -  just below.}    
Now Black can only prevent mate for a short time, and he can only do so ... by playing "give-away."
Therefore Kurajica throws in the towel. 



    The final position of this contest. {Black gives up!} (gotm_06-04_pos11.gif, 46 KB)



An extremely well-played game by Shirov. While perhaps not a true brilliancy, (it lacks the fireworks and really outstanding complex shots of a
really super-tactical struggle); the manner in which Alex reduces a 2500+ GM to rubble in less than 30 moves is truly admirable. 
(We all wish we could play this well!)  

This is also a good game to study for tactics and some of the more common position for this system - that can arise out of the opening.  

(HTML code, initially)  Generated with  ChessBase 8.0   

All the diagrams on this page, were generated with the excellent little program,  Chess_Captor 2.25  
(Public notice: Chess Captor is no longer available! In 2014, a friend tried to download it off the Internet and only got a virus on his computer for his trouble! A.J. Goldsby. March 18th, 2015.)  



  Copyright (©) A.J. Goldsby, 2004.  All rights reserved.  



   1 - 0    

Further Study:  There is a nice article in the "May, 2005" issue of 'Chess Life,' see page # 38, (350)
See the column, "Opening Secrets," by Susan Polgar and Paul Truong.  Added: Wednesday; May 11th, 2005. 

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  This page was first posted on:  Tuesday, June 15th, 2004.   This page was last updated on 03/18/15
  (I posted the game on time ... BUT ... it was NOT formatted. Formatted page - with diagrams - first posted:  06/19/2004.)  

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