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Tal Shaked vs Alexey Shirov
Tilburg Fontys (1997), Tilburg NED, rd 4, Sep-30
Benko Gambit: Accepted. Pawn Return Variation (A57)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This was Tal Shakeds only opportunity in a super tournament and this is as close as he got to a win. Shirov popularized the 5 b6 system in the early 90s. Here, Shaked used it against him. Shaked was critical of 13..Bg4 saying that black should not exchange his light squared bishop after 10..a5 since his queenside light squares are vulnerable. After 17..Na6 white was able to get his knight to b5 where it was more effective than the black counterpart on b4 because it inhibited black from freeing his position with ..e6. After 25 b3 the queenside was blocked and white had all the play in the center. Shaked was aggressively pressing his advantage until his blunder 45 Rf2?..Ne1 when his king was suddenly in danger. Shaked recommended 45 Rh5 instead. Shaked was forced to give up a piece with 47 Rxf7+ to save his king but still retained serious drawing chances because of his advanced passed pawns. Shirov missed a win with 67..Nxe4
68 d6..Rf6+ 69 Kg7..Rxd6
70 Rxd6+..Nxd6 71 a7..Ne8+
72 Kf7..Nc7 73 Ke7..Kc5. 79 Ra3 would have drawn immediately. Shakeds last chance would have been 82 Ra4 with a probable draw.
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