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Shak and Awe - The Power Play of Mamedyarov
Compiled by parisattack
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Shak and Awe - The Power Play Technique of GM Mamedyarov

The key to the Shak and Awe is in a rapid and often early advance of one or more central pawns to the fifth and even sixth rank, keeping them mobile as long as possible. The goal is twofold:

1) To disrupt the harmony of the opponents position, often splitting the board in two.

2) Make way for the advance of the pieces for (usually) a direct attack on the opposition monarch.

It is essentially a Power Play line-clearing and square-clearing method. GM Mamedyarov has a high propensity for mobile centers as a means to the ends of line and square clearing. In a way it is a mobius-strip hypermodern idea - controlling rather than occupying the center.

It may be as simple as advancing e5 to make e4 a square for a piece – or a full advance of three central pawns, with one often moving to the 6th or even 7th rank. Shak has more games as White with a pawn on d6 than any other player I have studied!

While other attacking players such as Alekhine, Geller and Ivanchuk have used this idea - and line/square clearing are of course common strategic and tactical themes - GM Mamadyerov has taken it to an entirely new level of science and art!

Because it requires an initiative to execute, it is almost exclusively a White technique. As you can see in the games I have gathered, Shak-and-Awe may be conducted pianissimo or fortissimo; largo or presto.

The technique ‘resonates’ for me because of a lesson I was once given by a Senior Master on the QGA – “If you can play d5 without immediate and serious consequences to your position, do it, as it effectively dynamites Blacks position."

Finally, the Shak and Awe is a kissing cousin to the Spassky Battery motif… and they overlap often in GM Mamedyarov’s games.

1
Mamedyarov vs Navara, 1999 
(A48) King's Indian, 52 moves, 1-0

2
Mamedyarov vs N Mamedov, 2001
(A40) Queen's Pawn Game, 28 moves, 1-0

3
Mamedyarov vs C Marcelin, 2003
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 50 moves, 1-0

4
Mamedyarov vs Kosteniuk, 2003 
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 49 moves, 1-0

5
Mamedyarov vs A Timofeev, 2004 
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 34 moves, 1-0

6
Mamedyarov vs R Vasquez Schroeder, 2004
(B30) Sicilian, 51 moves, 1-0

7
Mamedyarov vs D Reinderman, 2005 
(A81) Dutch, 29 moves, 1-0

8
Mamedyarov vs S Kristjansson, 2005
(D76) Neo-Grunfeld, 6.cd Nxd5, 7.O-O Nb6, 38 moves, 1-0

9
Mamedyarov vs E Najer, 2005 
(E17) Queen's Indian, 24 moves, 1-0

10
Mamedyarov vs S Ernst, 2005 
(D24) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 31 moves, 1-0

11
Mamedyarov vs R Kempinski, 2006
(A26) English, 34 moves, 1-0

12
Mamedyarov vs Ivanchuk, 2007 
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 35 moves, 1-0

13
Mamedyarov vs Anand, 2007 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 30 moves, 1-0

14
Mamedyarov vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2008 
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 23 moves, 1-0

15
Mamedyarov vs Karpov, 2008
(E20) Nimzo-Indian, 33 moves, 1-0

16
Mamedyarov vs Karjakin, 2008 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 33 moves, 1-0

17
Mamedyarov vs Eljanov, 2008
(E20) Nimzo-Indian, 26 moves, 1-0

18
Mamedyarov vs E Alekseev, 2008 
(E20) Nimzo-Indian, 25 moves, 1-0

19
Mamedyarov vs B S Shivananda, 2009 
(D83) Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit, 39 moves, 1-0

20
Mamedyarov vs Shirov, 2009 
(D70) Neo-Grunfeld Defense, 73 moves, 1-0

21
Mamedyarov vs Svidler, 2009 
(C69) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation, 29 moves, 1-0

22
Mamedyarov vs Morozevich, 2010 
(D85) Grunfeld, 35 moves, 1-0

23
Mamedyarov vs A Pashikian, 2010 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 29 moves, 1-0

24
Mamedyarov vs Ivanchuk, 2010 
(A79) Benoni, Classical, 11.f3, 48 moves, 1-0

25
Mamedyarov vs Le Quang Liem, 2010 
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 53 moves, 1-0

26
Mamedyarov vs G Sargissian, 2011 
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 45 moves, 1-0

27
Mamedyarov vs A Brkic, 2012 
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 32 moves, 1-0

28
Mamedyarov vs A Giri, 2012 
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 21 moves, 1-0

29
Mamedyarov vs Areshchenko, 2012 
(A15) English, 29 moves, 1-0

30
Mamedyarov vs Karjakin, 2012 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 53 moves, 1-0

31
Mamedyarov vs A R Saleh Salem, 2013
(D85) Grunfeld, 29 moves, 1-0

32
Mamedyarov vs Caruana, 2013 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 27 moves, 1-0

33
Mamedyarov vs Kramnik, 2013 
(C46) Three Knights, 60 moves, 1-0

34
Mamedyarov vs D Vocaturo, 2013 
(D72) Neo-Grunfeld, 5.cd, Main line, 27 moves, 1-0

35
Mamedyarov vs Ponomariov, 2013
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 34 moves, 1-0

36
Mamedyarov vs Aronian, 2013 
(E62) King's Indian, Fianchetto, 39 moves, 1-0

37
Mamedyarov vs Potkin, 2014 
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 35 moves, 1-0

38
Mamedyarov vs A Donchenko, 2014
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 37 moves, 1-0

39
Mamedyarov vs P Koykka, 2015 
(A85) Dutch, with c4 & Nc3, 25 moves, 1-0

40
V Artemiev vs Mamedyarov, 2016 
(D03) Torre Attack (Tartakower Variation), 31 moves, 0-1

41
Mamedyarov vs Ponomariov, 2016 
(E12) Queen's Indian, 47 moves, 1-0

42
Mamedyarov vs Yifan Hou, 2017 
(E20) Nimzo-Indian, 32 moves, 1-0

42 games

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