GOTM;  November, 2003.   

  GM P. Svidler - GM Alexey Shirov  


   The Game of The Month   

Welcome to my game of the month feature. This will be an annotated game - from  recent  GM practice. This feature is primarily aimed at players in the  1000-to-1650 bandwidth  ...  BUT it is my sincere hope that even a player of the exalted Master-class may find this both amusing, useful, and informative. 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.  

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

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  I tried to provide a light repertoire - for anyone who is unfamiliar with the variations and lines used here.   

One of the more interesting games of recent GM praxis. Many on-line news services and also theoretical pubs covered this game - so I felt almost compelled to analyze it as well. Not only this, but I got around 15 e-mails from friends and {former} students. Most of you asked"  "WHY DID SHIROV HAVE TO RESIGN??" 

GM Peter Svidler (2723) - GM Alexey Shirov (2737) 
European Team Championships
  Plovdiv, Bulgaria;  (Round # 2)12.10.2003  

[A.J. Goldsby I]


   The CB medal for this game - - - you can tell the salient features of this contest at a glance. (gotm_nov03-med.gif, 02 KB)


It is not often that you see two 2700-rated players go after each other ... almost like two warriors ... both using large battle-axes ... going all-out for the win. 

Here Peter Svidler does exactly that, basically trying annihilate his opponent. Shirov does not back down and comes up with a daring King-march right across the chess board. Shirov's ploy seems to have worked, it appears he will have a large advantage of one or two pawns. 

But Svidler strikes back with an amazing set of counter-blows. In the end ... 
although he is up material ... Shirov cannot move hardly anything. He is also under a crippling pin ... and decides to throw in the towel, rather than continue. Truly an amazing and unusual game. 


The ratings are exact and are those that were assigned to this game in the TWIC database. 


1.e4 c6;  2.d4 d5;  3.e5!?, 
The Advance Variation ...
thought for many years to be completely harmless. Either Svidler must have something really special 
prepared, or simply he wants to avoid any "kitchen cooking" by GM A. Shirov.


     [ The main line is something like:  
        3.Nd2 dxe44.Nxe4 Nd75.Ng5,   
        The modern way of playing this particular variation. 


          ( One of my favorite lines is:  = 5.Bc4!? Ngf66.Ng5 e67.Qe2 Nb6 
            The correct method for Black.  (He must defend the e6-square.)  


                  ( The trap of: </= 7...h6?;  8.Nxf7! Kxf7?!; 9.Qxe6+ Kg6;  10.Bd3+,  "+/-"  
                    and White mates - has caught so many players, the number is too great to try   
                   and even count them! )       


            8.Bd3 h69.N5f3 c5!10.dxc5 Bxc511.Ne5 Nbd7!;  
            12.Ngf3 Qc7!;  "~" 
            and although White maintains a slight edge, Black can (and will) 
            eventually equalize with good play.  

            GM N. de Firmian - L. Schandorff75th CU/Copenhagen, DEN; 2002.     
            (This game was eventually drawn.) )   


       It seems to make sense to continue to develop.  


           ( Instead, one standard reference book gives the continuation of:      
             5...Ndf6!?;  6.N1f3!? Bg4!?;  7.h3! Bxf3!?;  8.Nxf3 e6;  9.g3! Bd6;      
            10.Bg2 Ne7;  11.0-0 0-0;  12.Qe2 Qc7;  13.c4,  "+/="  
             but White is clearly (at least) a little better in this position.     

             [ See MCO-14;  page # 174, and column # 16.]  )     


       I think this is best.  

           ( Possible was:  6.N1f3!? )    

       Black must continue to develop.  

           ( Another opening trap is:  </=  6...h6?!; ('?')  7.Ne6! fxe6??;    
             (Black had to play ...Qa5+ here.)  8.Bg6# )     

       7.N1f3 Bd68.Qe2 h69.Ne4 Nxe4;   10.Qxe4 Nf6!;   
       11.Qe2!,  "+/=" 
       and White is just slightly better in this particular position.  
       (Almost 600 games in the CB on-line DB!!)  

       A famous encounter is the following contest:  
       GM A. Sokolov - GM A. KarpovWorld Cup Tourn. (finals)  
       Belfort, FRA;  1988.  (White won a VERY long game.)  ]      



3...Bf5;  {See the diagram just below.}   
The book move  ...  and the main idea of the Caro-Kann. 
(To develop the Bishop OUTSIDE the Pawn chain.)  



   Black just played ...Bf5. This is one of the most basic of all the ideas of the Caro_Kann Defense. ---> NO bad Bishop!!  (gotm_11-03_pos1.gif, 11 KB)



     [ One of my tournament games was interesting ...  
        if only as a lesson of how NOT to play this line! 

        3...e6!?; ('?!') {Diagram?} 
        Really not good, the Black Bishop is now trapped behind the Pawn chain. 

        4.Nf3 c55.c3 Nc66.a3!?, {Diagram?}  
        A tricky move ... but not really the absolute best. 

           ( Simply the move:  6.Be2, {Diagram?} will give White a small, but       
              solid edge. )      

       6...Qb67.Bd3 Nge7?!{Diagram?}  
       An inferior move ... the correct move is ...Bd7;  or even ...Nh6!?  

           ( Of course not: </=  7...cxd4!?;  8.cxd4 Nxd4??;  9.Nxd4,      
              9...Qxd4??;  10.Bb5+,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}     
              wins Black's Queen. This is a rather standard  'book'  trap. )   

       I now decide to gain a tempo off the Black Queen ... highlighting the 
       inadequacies of Black's entire approach.  
       8.dxc5! Qxc59.b4 Qb610.0-0 a5?{Diagram?}  
       Most opening and middle-game manuals are replete with warnings 
       about opening the game up  ...  when you are inferior (or behind)  
       in development. {Not only this, Black's Knight is forced to a vastly 
       inferior square!} 

           ( Black should obviously play something like:      
             >/=  10...Ng6;  11.Re1 Qc7;  12.Qe2, "+/="  {Diagram?}      
             when White has a pull, but Black - with careful play -      
             should be OK. )      

       11.b5 Na7?!;  ('?')  {Diagram?}  
       Another move - that is less than best for Black.  

           ( Black has to play:  >/= 11...Nd8;  and try to hang on. )    

       Now I could have played Be3, but I felt that this might not be the best 
       place for the Bishop - long term. (Black's game continues to slide down 
       a slippery slope.)  

       12.a4!? Ng613.Qe2 Be7!?14.c4 dxc4!?15.Bxc4 0-0;   
       16.Nc3 Bb4?!17.Bb2!? Bxc3?{Diagram?}  
       A horrible decision - Black will soon realize just how much he 
       needed his dark-squared Bishop.  

           ( MUCH better was:   >/=  17...Rd8 . )     

       18.Bxc3 Bd7?!;  19.Rfd1 Rfd8?!20.Rac1!? Rac8?!21.Bd4,   
        21...Qc722.b6,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}  
        Black Resigns, (1-0);  his game is completely hopeless.  

        A.J. Goldsby I - Terry SmithCharlotte Open, 1996 
        (My opponent was coming off two straight upsets.)    

       This game shows how that Black -  with moves that are close to being  
       relatively plausible - can lose, and lose fast. The venom of this whole 
       line (for White) is NOT to be under-estimated! Wall's book on miniatures 
       in the Caro-Kann are full of examples  ...  of MASTERS losing very quickly 
       in this line!! ]   



A VERY unusual move - probably designed to prevent Black from 
breaking with the freeing move of ...Pawn-from-c6-to-c5. 

It also has the advantage of getting his opponent out of book! 
(Shirov is known for his opening preparations.) 


     [ The main line here is something like the following: (>/=)  
       4.Nf3 e65.Be2 c5; {Diagram?}   
The most vigorous response.  


            ( Instead, one respected (openings) reference book gives the line:    
               5...Ne7!?;  6.0-0 Nd7!?;  7.Nh4!? Bg6;  8.Nd2 c5;  9.c3 Nc6;     
               10.Nxg6 hxg6;  11.Nf3 Be7;  12.g3!? Qb6;  {Diagram?}      
               The end of the column.       

               13.h4!? Rc8;  14.Kg2 cxd4;  15.cxd4 Rc7;  16.Rb1 a6;     
               17.b4, "+/="  {Diagram?}       
               White has a rather small - but relatively solid - edge in this position given ...    
                at the end of the line considered in the book.    

               GM E. Sutovsky - GM U. Adianto;  Buenos Aires, (ARG);  1997.  
               [ See MCO-14;  page # 185, column # 1, and also nore # (e.). ] )        


       6.Be3 Nd77.0-0 Ne78.c4!? dxc4;   9.Bxc4 a6;  
,  "+/="  {Diagram?}  
       and I think White is just slightly better here.  

       GM G. Kamsky - GM A. KarpovSuper-GM Tournament  
       Dos Hermanos, ESP;  1995.  
       (White won a very nice game in only 38 moves!) ]   



Black now attacks the b2-square, but Svidler avoids any {possibly} unsound gambits ... 
or the weakening of any squares, {as after 5.b3}, and then just plans to simply and calmly 
develop all of his pieces.  (Never a bad idea.)  

4...Qb6!?;  5.Qc1 Nh6!?;  {Diagram?}   
A modern idea - Black often plays the maneuver of ...Nh6-f5 in the variations of the 
Caro-Kann and the French. (The idea is for Black to increase the pressure against the 
d4-square ... a typical motif in these types of pawn structures.).  

Practice has shown that Black has really nothing to fear from BxN/h6 ...  
the dark-squared Bishop and open lines, are very often very good 
compensation for the doubled RP's.  


     [ Or Black could try:  5...e66.Nf3 h6!?7.Be2 c5 
        8.c3 Nc69.Nbd2, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        and White is probably just a little bit better here. ]   



Now White increases his edge and continues to just simply try and 
develop all of his pieces. 

6.Nf3! e6;  7.Nbd2 c5;  ('!?')   
The thematic break for Black.
(Although Black could have tried ...Ng4 in this position. Just a thought.)  

     [ Maybe it would have been slightly safer for Black to play:  7...a6;  
        as a preface to ...c5. ]  



8.Nb3! Nd7!?;   
Personally, I think Black should NOT allow the center to be opened. And while Shirov 
has calculated very far ahead ... and seems to have everything under control - Black's 
play violates certain fundamental chess principles. 
(Especially those that concern the opening.) 

Black also becomes exposed on the e3-a7 diagonal in this game ... making Shirov's 
decision to open the game one of rather doubtful value. 


     [ I think it was much better for Shirov to play something like:  
        >/=  8...c4!9.Nbd2 Ng4!?; ('!')  10.Bf4!? Nc6;   
         11.c3 h5; "~"  {Diagram?}   
        when it does not look like White has much of an edge ...  
        in a type of position that is mostly closed. ]   



Now that Black's pieces are somewhat oddly placed, Svidler decides to open 
the game.  
9.dxc5! Nxc5;  10.Nfd4! Ng4!?;   (Probably - '?!')    {See the diagram just below.}    
Black rips up White's Pawn structure, (or wins the Bishop pair); but it probably costs 
him too many tempi ...  to be any good. 



   The position just after Black plays ...Ng4. The only problem is that White checks on b5, and Black loses his castling priviledges. (gotm_11-03_pos2.gif, 10 KB)



GM Alexey Shirov is known for his very bold ... and often times, very provocative play. 
{Especially with the Black pieces.} 

But here he goes too far in trying to  'push the envelope.' 


     [ Maybe safer was:   >/=  10...a6!?;  "~"  {Diagram?}  
        but White is still slightly better. (At least: "+/=");  


       Or after the continuation of:  
       10...Nxb3!?;  11.axb3 Bc5;  12.c3, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
       White holds a pretty solid edge.   



Now Black comes up with a very unusual plan to safeguard his King. 
11.Bb5+ Kd812.0-0 Nxe3;   
This is probably best ... it looks too dangerous to try and capture the
e5-Pawn ... the middle of the board opens up ... and Black's King is 
caught in the center!  

  (Thanks to all the people who wrote in to ask this question!!)     
   {"Why not take the e-Pawn?"} 


     [ It is probably risky to try and snatch the e-pawn. 

        After the following moves:  
12...Nxe5?!13.Nxf5 Qxb514.Bxc5 exf5{Diagram?}    
         This looks forced.  

              ( </=  14...Bxc5?;  15.Qg5+ Kd7;  16.Nfd4! Bxd4;      
                  17.Nxd4 Qb6!?;  18.Qxe5, "+/-" )    

        15.Bxf8 Rxf816.Qg5+ f617.Qxg7, ''  ("+/")  {Diagram?}   
        White has a huge edge - practically a won game.  
        (Black's position is a mess.)


13.Qxe3 Bg614.Rfd1 Kc7  
Black has marched his King right across the chess board, and almost looks to be OK. 
In some lines ... if White wants to TRY and win ... he has to be willing to sacrifice a great 
amount of material. The only question now is: "Will Svidler be willing to take any risks in 
this position, in order to make an attempt to win?"


     [ Also possible was:  14...Nxb3!?{Diagram?}  
        but White is still at least a little better - in this position. ] 



Of course!! What do you do when you have your opponent's King in a rather precarious 
position?  ... ... ...  OPEN THE GAME!!  

Naturally this does NOT take away anything from the fire, brilliance, and sheer guts and 
determination that GM P. Svidler now demonstrates.  


     [ White also could have played the try:  15.a4!?, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        and still maintained a solid edge. ]   



Black agrees to open the center, as it appears he avoids any damage to his Pawn Structure, 
and also seems to be all set to win material in many different lines.  

     [ Maybe: 15...Rd8!?;  instead?  (But White would still be better.) ]  



White's next series of moves forces Black to weaken his b6-square to rid himself of the 
annoying White Bishop on the b5-square.  
16.Bxc4 Rc8;  17.Nd2! Kb8;  18.Bb5! a6;  19.Be2!?,  (Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?}   
This looks very good ... and perhaps even winning for White.  


     [ Also possible for Svidler was:  
       19.b4!? axb520.bxc5 Bxc521.N2b3 Ba3  
  "+/="  {Diagram?}   and White has a solid edge. ]   



Black finds a very promising and very tempting continuation ... 
that might even give Shirov an advantage.  


     [ Of course not: 
        </=  19...Qxb2??20.Nc4 Qb421.a3 Qa4;  
        22.Nb6, ("+/-") {Diagram?}  and Black is lost.  


       Interesting was:  19...Qa7!?;  but after simple moves,   
(like Rac1, '');  White has a very solid edge. ]    



20.Nc4 Rxc4; ('!')  {Diagram?}   
This is almost forced for Black.  


     [ After the moves:  </=  20...Qa7?!21.Nc6+!! bxc6 [];  {Diagram?}   
        This is completely forced.  

            ( Of course not:  </= 21...Rxc6??;  22.Rd8+ Rc8;  23.Rxc8+,       
               23...Kxc8;  24.Qxa7,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}       
               with an easy win for White. )     

        22.Qb3+ Qb723.Qxa4,  ''  {Diagram?}  White is clearly better. 
        (The Pawn structure in front of Black's King has been disrupted.)  ]    



21.Bxc4 Nxb2;  {See the diagram, just below.}      
Now according to an IM - who was present at this event - most of the Masters who were 
watching this game felt Black was OK here.  (Maybe even better.)



   Black just played 21...Nxb2;  White looks to be in a pickle. Is Black better here - in this position? (gotm_11-03_pos3.gif, 10 KB)



Black is forking the Rook on d1 and the Bishop on c4 ... and appears to be winning back 
the material ...  with the much better game.  



Now comes one of the most shocking moves of the last five years of GM Praxis.

22.Nxe6!!,  (Maybe  - '!!!')  HUH?  Is this possible?  {See the diagram, just below.}    
At first ... this even looks like it could be a blunder. (Especially after just a superficial glance.)  



   White just captured on e6 with his Knight .........  has Svidler lost his mind?  (gotm_11-03_pos4.gif, 10 KB)



Can't Black just swap Queens ...  and then take the Knight on e6 -  
thus being way ahead on material?


      [ Many of the observers felt that  White  HAD  to play the following continuation:  
        </=  22.Bb3 Nxd123.Rxd1 Bc5;  "=/+"  {Diagram?}   
        but Black is certainly doing OK in this position.  


       And after the very plausible line:  
        </=    22.Qe2!? Bc5;   23.Nf3 Nxd124.Rxd1 Rd8; "=/+"  {Diagram?}     
        Black also seems to be OK, in fact Shirov probably has at least a small 
        edge here. (Maybe - '/+');   


       Of course not:  
        </=  22.Rdc1? Bc5;  ('!')  ("-/+")  {Diagram?}  
        and Black is flat-out winning.  
        (The pin along the a7-g1 diagonal, will cost White alot of material.) ]  



This is forced for Black.  (His Queen was hanging.)  

Of course  ...PxN/e6??;  was clearly impossible, as Black is simply dropping his Queen.  


     [ Shirov could not play:  </=  22...Nxc4?23.Qxb6 Nxb624.Rd8+ 
        24...Ka725.Nxf8, "+/-"  {Diagram?}  and White is simply winning. ]    



A nice "in-between" move.  

     [ Or  23.fxe3 Ba3; ("-/+") {Diagram?} and Black is {clearly} on top. ]   



The only legal move Shirov has. 


24.fxe3 fxe6;  25.Bxe6,  ('!')  {See the diagram below.}   
And Shirov saw nothing here for him but RESIGNATION!!! 
(A couple of my Internet students e-mailed me stating that they did  NOT  
 understand why Black resigned here!)  

Why? - He is in a pin and cannot move anything. 



   Shirov decides not to continue the struggle ... can you figure out why?  (gotm_11-03_pos5.gif, 09 KB)



  A truly fantastic game ...  by BOTH parties!!!    


     [ Why did Black resign?  The following continuation makes that very clear:   
        25.Bxe6 Bd3; {Box?} {Diagram?} 
        White threatened Rf1 winning more material, so this was clearly forced.  

            ( </= 25...Nd3?; 26.Rf1 Bc5; 27.Rxh8 Bxe3+; 28.Kh1 Nf2+;      
               29.Rxf2 Bxf2; 30.Rd8!,  ("+/-") )      

       26.Bb3!,  (Maybe - '!!')  {Diagram?}  
        A very sneaky and cool retreat.  

            ( Maybe  26.a4!? g5; 27.Ra2, '' )       

       26...a5!?;  {Diagram?}  
        At this point - it doesn't really matter what move Black plays.  

            ( Or Black can try:  </=  26...g6!?; ('?!')  27.e6! Bg7; 28.e7 Bb5[]; 29.Rc1!,      
               29...Re8; 30.Rxe8 Bxe8; 31.Rc8,  ("+/-") and White wins a piece. )        

       27.e6 a428.Bd5 Nc429.Bf3 Bf530.e7 Bxe731.Rxh8,  ("+/-")  {Diag?}  
        and White has a win with his TWO-Exchange material advantage. ]   



  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I.  Copyright (c) A.J.G;  2003.  


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   All games - the HTML code was originally - Generated with the programChessBase 8.0.   


Just a note:   One of my students wrote in to tell me one web site has copied this game ... 
nearly word-for-word and line-for-line ...  and used it on their pages, apparently insinuating that this is their work!! My work is entirely my own, it took over two weeks to do this game. 

All the more shocking is that this is a TITLED  FIDE  player. And the web site is supposedly one that is highly touted. I think this is disgusting and revolting. And just plain wrong. 

I have no way of verifying this ... the site is one of those you must PAY to join ... and is not open to the general public. All I can say is that ANYONE who is caught using my material without my permission will be subject to the most severe penalties that I can muster under U.S. and also international Copyright Laws. And I will pursue this as vigorously as possible!!   (E-mail  me.)  

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