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Jennifer Shahade vs Mark Ginsburg
"Overstepping the Mark" (game of the day May-04-2006)
North American Open (2003), Las Vegas, NV, rd 6, Dec-30
Modern Defense: Two Knights Variation (B06)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Runemaster: I hate to say it, but this game gives me a real feeling of Shahadenfreude.> Superb! And would not Shahadenfreude have been a better name for her book than 'Chess Bitch'?
May-04-06  mang00neg: d5 was fine imo as dxe is so drawish; however her plan starting with be2 seems way too slow. 10. Qd2 would have been my move. black's f5 is less fearsome with the white bishop gone.
May-04-06  dakgootje: Yups, youve got an hard time finding a person who knows less about this opening then me, but for me d5 looked fine too. Think Be2 wasnt the best move possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Ginsburg's 21...Qd7!? is an interesting positional sacrifice, offering up a piece for a speculative Kingside attack. The resulting position is complex, with White having a difficult time OTB setting up a solid defense after correctly accepting the sacrifice offer 22. gxf4!

Seemingly where Shahade went wrong was in missing the defense 23. Bc1! f3 24. Qxf3 (+1.47 @ 15 depth, Fritz 8), when White has good chances of holding on to the extra material and consolidating the position for a win.

After the weaker 23. Bf2?!, Ginsberg's positional poisoned pawn sacrifice followup 23...f3! gives Black a strong attack bordering on a forced win. For example, 24. Ne2!? fxe2 25. Qxe2 Bf4 26. Rb3 Bxh2+ 27. Kh1 Qg7 28. Rh3 Bf4 29. Bg2 Rg8 (-0.53 @ 15 depth, Fritz 8) would have put up more resistance, but at best White is fighting for the draw in this inferior position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Ginsburg's 29...Nxf2+! begins an instructive mating attack. After the follow-up 32...Qg6!, the threat of 33...Rh1+ 34. Kxh1 Qg1# can be countered only at the cost of decisive material loss and another quick mate (e.g. 33. Rg3 Rxg3 34. Qd2 Rg1 35. Qf2 Bf4+ 36. Qxf4 Qg2+ 37. Bxg2 R8xg2#).
May-04-06  chiguire: Wow! What a powerful hold Ginsberg has on the g file.

Question on strategy; on 11. it would be my tendency to play f4 if I were black. Did Ginsberg just want to leave a niche open for his minor pieces later? Is 11. ...f4 bad? If so could you please open my eyes?

May-04-06  dakgootje: Still dont really get the game, whats exactly wrong with 24. Qxf3? Does it involves something like 24. ...Nxd5? as i couldnt see very much threatening moves for black...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <dakgootje> After 24.Qxf3 Black can play also 24...Ng4 attacking the Queen and Bishop f2.
May-04-06  mang00neg: <chiquire> 11...f4 is a dubious move here imo for a couple of reasons. not only would it make black's bishop rather impotent, but it also resolves the central tension: the closed character of the resulting position gives white time to reorganize her pieces. I've seen black block in his bishop in this manner before, but only after white had castled kingside.
May-04-06  chiguire: <mang00neg> Thanks for the insight.
May-04-06  dakgootje: <<dakgootje> After 24.Qxf3 Black can play also 24...Ng4 attacking the Queen and Bishop f2.> Ah yes, of course, i forgot that bishop totally. But still, what about Qh3 then? whites bishop cant be taken by the knight because of Qxd7 obviously and after Rxf2 maybe something like Be2 where black could maybe play 26. ...Rxe2 27. Rxe2 or maybe something like 26. ...Rf4 and i think black will hold on, but as calculating proves hard today its not a good thing to trust my analysis ;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White started out funny: First,she established a strong center-then proceeded to block it up. Then she went after a feeble attack on the queenside-and did little against black's kingside thrust. The three majors on the g-file made a black win inevitable.
May-04-06  mang00neg: in these positions with a pawn on d5 and e4, after closing the center white thematically aims for queenside play (as in the pirc & KID.) this almost always involves the advance of the C pawn and its a race between black's kingside and white's queenside operations. Jen tried a different idea, which in this particular game didnt work out so well.
May-04-06  euripides: The Modern Defence throws White on their own resources earlier than most openings.

8 d5 has been played by Svidler, with the idea of h3 and g4 to restrain the Black king's side. Svidler vs J Manion, 1995. Ginsburg's 8...Bxf3 may be an improvement on black's play there. 9 gxf3 might be interesting, with thoughts of a king's side attack, but 9...Nd4 might then be good. But Shahade might well have expected that the removal of the white squared bishop would reduce Black's attacking chances as is often the case in the equivalent line in the KID.

With the black-sqaured rather than white-squared bishop involved in the attack, it makes sense for Black to delay f4.

<mang>'s 10 Qd2 might be met by 10..f5 threatening to win the bishop by f4; though perhaps White could try 11 exf5 followed by Bg5. Perhaps 12 Qd2, in the game, would be better. The role of the bishop on h6 is rather unusual - it doesn't move but it impedes the coordination of White's pieces - so it would have been natural for Shahade to retain her black-squared bishop, which is often white's star piece in the KID.

At the end, Black is threatening Qg2+ as well as Rh1+.

May-04-06  mang00neg: killed a post, will fix it after work and repost =)
May-04-06  euripides: <mang> yes, something clearly went very wrong for White quite early and I agree the abandonment of the c1-h6 diagonal is part of the problem - so Qd2 at some stage seems called for.
Premium Chessgames Member
  nezhmet: Computers are tough.

During the game I did not consider the computer line that Patzer2 gave above, namely the backwards, undeveloping:

"23. Bc1! f3 24. Qxf3 (+1.47 @ 15 depth, Fritz 8), when White has good chances of holding on to the extra material and consolidating the position for a win."

I only expected what occurred; 23. Bf2? f3! which is a crushing blow permanently dividing the board in half.

May-04-06  mang00neg: Yeah Mark, computers have a way of humbling us all at times. Those in the know say backwards bishop moves are the toughest for humans to find. I still enjoyed your game.
May-04-06  EmperorAtahualpa: Great game, Mr. Ginsberg! I had no idea you're a kibitzer at this site!
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: IM Ginsberg, thanks for your commentary as this game's winner. Your accomplishments listed at are impressive.

You're in great company, having won with a brilliant sacrifice for which a defense was later found by a computer. Kramnik in an interview @ said

"I admire Kasparov's imaginative attacking victories from the '80s and '90s, but when you check them with a computer, in every other game the machine accepts the sacrifice, defends, and wins."

May-04-06  jperr75108: Cool game... 32... Qg6 is a cool move to end a game with.
Premium Chessgames Member
  nezhmet: I enjoyed providing this game and the cool game Shirazi-Ginsburg, Albany, with the queen sac Qb2!!

I will try to post some more like the Dzindzi game from 1979 and some earlier efforts vs Henley, Rohde, Fedorowicz, Diesen, Tisdall, all those guys.


IM Mark Ginsburg a/k/a Dr. Ginsburg
a/k/a Herr Doktor Ginsburg

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Dr. Ginsburg, as at, I presume?

Premium Chessgames Member
  nezhmet: Yes I had forgotten about that USCL profile. That's me:

May-05-06  notyetagm: <patzer2: "I admire Kasparov's imaginative attacking victories from the '80s and '90s, but when you check them with a computer, in every other game the machine accepts the sacrifice, defends, and wins.">

But that is true about most attacks. Given a computer, which has no fear, and an indefinite amount of time, many attacks can be repulsed. But when your king is in danger and your clock is running, that is a completely different animal.

Just last night I was reading about one of Kramnik's most famous wins, Kasparov vs Kramnik, 1996, a brilliant sacrifical attack. The analysis by Stohl shows that Kasparov missed several moves in a row that would have given him the advantage or at least a draw (23 ♕e2!, 24 ♕e2!, 25 ♖a2!) so it's not just Kasparov's attacks that can be refuted by computer analysis.

But like Tal said, hours spent analyzing in the quiet of your study is not the same as playing over the board with your clock running. Kramnik seems to underestimate this.

Kramnik himself was torched last year at Dortmund by Sutovsky in Sutovsky vs Kramnik, 2005, where he failed to find the best defense OTB to a sacrificial attack. What Kramnik claims is easier said than done.

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