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  GM Y. Shulman (2602) - GM A. Shabalov (2604);  
  [D15]  
  107th U.S. Open  
  Chicago, IL; {USA} (R#8) / 05,08,2006.  


A popular line of the Semi-Slav gets a try-out in a key, top-level GM contest.  
 1.d4 d5;  2.c4 c6;  3.Nf3 Nf6;  4.Nc3 a6;  5.a4,   
White tries to discourage his opponent from playing ...b7-b5; instead 5.e3 would lead to the main lines. 

gotm-s2_jan-06_p1.gif, 09 KB

  rnbqkb1r/1p2pppp/p1p2n2/3p4/P1PP4/2N2N2/1P2PPPP/R1BQKB1R b  

 

White has a slight advantage, but the tactics that ensue belie the supposed simplicity of this piece set-up. 

 5...e6;  6.Bg5 h6!?;  
Black goes for the immediate "kick" of the Bishop, 6...Nbd7 was probably a little safer. 
(See the note just below.)   

[ Black could also play:  
  (>/=)  6...Nbd77.e3 Qa5;  "<=>"  with good play for the second party from here.   

One example would be: 
A. Beliavsky - R. Dautov; / 2nd Julian Borowski - A / Essen, GER; (R9) / 2000.   
{Black won a long, tough battle. 0-1 in 60 moves.} ]  

 

 7.Bh4 dxc4!?;  
This is slightly risky, Black has a number of sane alternatives. (7...Nbd7; 7...Bb4; or even 7...Qb6.) 

gotm-s2_jan-06_p2.gif, 09 KB

  rnbqkb1r/1p3pp1/p1p1pn1p/8/P1pP3B/2N2N2/1P2PPPP/R2QKB1R w  

 

Now White prevents his opponent from keeping the Pawn on c4. 
 8.a5!? c5!?N;  9.Bxf6! Qxf6;  10.d5,  "+/="   
This is the current situation on the chess-board.  

gotm-s2_jan-06_p3.gif, 09 KB

  rnb1kb1r/1p3pp1/p3pq1p/P1pP4/2p5/2N2N2/1P2PPPP/R2QKB1R b  

 

(Study this position carefully.) 

 

 10...Qd8!?;  (hmmmm)   
This looks dubious to me, playing the try 10...Nd7 looked a little better than this.   

 

 11.Ne5!? Nd7;  12.Nxc4! Be7!?;  13.dxe6! fxe6;  14.g3,  (Maybe - '!')    
I like this, it looks significantly stronger than 14.e3!? (Which was also good for White.) 

gotm-s2_jan-06_p4.gif, 09 KB

  r1bqk2r/1p1nb1p1/p3p2p/P1p5/2N5/2N3P1/1P2PP1P/R2QKB1R b  

 

 14...b5?!;  (An error?)   
Black exposes his own weaknesses, castling wasn't pretty, but it was very nearly forced here.  

 

 15.axb6 Bb7?;  (Bad judgment?)   
Capturing (with the Knight) on b6, or even 15...Rb8; was better than this.   

 

 16.e4 0-0;  17.Bh3! Rf6;  18.Qb3 Nb8;  
Shulman gives this an exclam ...  (Fritz labels it as bad.)   

 

 19.Rd1 Qf8;  20.Ne5!,   
White keeps ratcheting up the pressure on his opponent. 

 

gotm-s2_jan-06_p5.gif, 09 KB

  rn3qk1/1b2b1p1/pP2pr1p/2p1N3/4P3/1QN3PB/1P3P1P/3RK2R b  

 

Fritz already considers Black's game to be hopeless here.  

     [ The try 20.Na5, was also good for White. ]  

 

 20...Rxf2!?;  
Black tries something speculative, Fritz judges that White's advantage more than doubles after this wild shot.  

 

 21.Qxe6+ Kh7;  22.Qg6+ Kh8;  23.Qg4,   
Good enough.   

     [ White could have tried   
       (>/=)  23.Rf1! Rxf1+24.Bxf1 Qf6!?25.Rd8+!! Bxd826.Qe8+ Kh727.Bc4, "+/-"  
       which wins easily. ]   

 

gotm-s2_jan-06_p6.gif, 09 KB

  rn3q1k/1b2b1p1/pP5p/2p1N3/4P1Q1/2N3PB/1P3r1P/3RK2R b  

 

The rest requires little comment.   
 23...Kh7;  24.Ng6 Qf6;  25.Nxe7 Nc6;  26.Ned5 Qf7!?;  27.Nf4 Bc8!?;  28.Rd7,   
(This is nice, but was >/= 28.b7! a killer shot?)   

 

 28...Bxd7;  29.Qxd7 Qxd7;  30.Bxd7,  "+/-"   Black Resigns.   
A nice effort by Shulman, three pieces are just too much for a Rook, especially as the Queens have been swapped off the board.   

 

This game is nicely annotated in the pages of the USCF magazine, "Chess Life." (November, 2006; page # 22.)   

 

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2006. All rights reserved.   

 

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