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Nigel Short vs Boris Gelfand
Candidates Match (1991), Brussels BEL, rd 3, Aug-14
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B23)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-21-04  Jim Bartle: Pretty effective, that rook on a8.
Mar-01-05  Albertan: Hi Jim,you are right about the rook, he might as well have been playing a piece down.
Mar-01-05  Albertan: For some analysis of this game go to:

Mar-01-05  Albertan: GM James Plaskett suggested Gelfand made a mistake by playing 22...Nb4? Instead he should have tried 22...Rae8 after which play might have continued:

23.c3 dxc3 24.bxc3 Qxf2 25.Rxf2 Rb8 26.Rfe2 b5 27.axb5 Rxb5 28.Ba4 Rb2 and Black has counterplay.

Dec-05-05  subedai: 20. Bc3!! - pure genius gaining a tempo and forcing black to reassess how he is going to generate counterplay
Feb-21-09  Shams: video analysis of the position after 14...Bxf6 here:
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <24.f5>

click for larger view

What if black accepts the piece sac !? 24...bxa4 25.fxg6! (a) axb3 26.gxh7+ ♔xh7 (or 26...♔h8 27.♘e5! etc wins) 27.♘g5+ ♗xg5 ▢ 28.♕xg5 ♖xf1+ other moves loses too 29.♖xf1 ♖f8 30.♕h6+ ♔g8 31.♕g6+ ♔h8 analysis diagram

click for larger view

♗f4 or ♖f4 wins too, but 32.♖f6! is the fastest

after 25.fxg6

click for larger view

so, try the intermezzo (b) 25...h5 !? Now 26.♘e5 looks very strong, for instance: 26...♕e7 27.♘xd7 ♕xd7 28.♗xa4! ♕xa4 29.♕c7 and wins

Jul-29-12  JCRchess: 23.) Qg3!! Amazing tempo move by Short.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Another video after 14 ... Bxf6 - "Improving the Pieces"

Aug-04-18  tessathedog: This is a great game. Chess playing at the absolute highest level. I found it in one of my old Informators, and played through it reading Short's Informator notes.

At first I was somewhat puzzled by the game. Only after studying it more carefully and watching the video posted by @tpstar did I begin to understand it better.

I remember at first I was puzzled as to how Short could so confidently play 24 f5!, intending to sacrifice a piece after 24...bxa4 25 fxg6 axb3 26 gxh7+. To me at first sight this idea seemed speculative. Clear mates weren't evident to me. I doubt they were clear to Short during the game either. But he just sensed "winning attack" whether the Black king takes the pawn on h7, or instead tries to hide behind it. The computer supports Short's judgment in full, although some of the variations are not short or particularly obvious. This is why I contend that this is chess on the highest level. It's as much about great judgment as it is about raw calculation.

Two other lovely moments are:

a) 15 Kh1! with the idea of improving the knight (as highlighted in the video)

b) a really advanced "little tactics" moment mentioned by Short in Informator, after Black's 22nd. I remember when playing over the game thinking "surely White will go 23 Ne5 now. The Knight is magnificent, and if Black takes it with his bishop, the dark square weaknesses around his King are exacerbated". But 25 Ne5? is a tactical mistake! Not of the type we see when we solve standard tactics in books, but one of those key PRACTICAL "little tactics" of a markedly different character, which lurk just below the surface of the position, and which masters see and non-master's don't, even though they are not deep. The thing is, White is relying on having Rc1 to meet ...Nxc2. If he goes 23 Ne5? then comes...Bxe5 24 Rxe5 Nxc2!. Now Rc1 is met by the lovely quiet "get out of the pin with tempo retort ...Qd6 threatening ...Qxe5.

Just a really advanced game, of the type that keeps you thinking about it for hours after you have played through it.

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