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Alexey Shirov vs Viswanathan Anand
XXIV Magistral de Ajedrez Ciudad de Leon (2011) (rapid), Leon, Spain, rd 5, Jun-05
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Tal Variation (B12)  ·  0-1


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Given 16 times; par: 68 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  SCUBA diver: Look at the white pieces. This looks pretty bad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: 38...Rg4 nearly let White off the hook. Instead, 38...Ng4+ forced mate. In the game, 39.f7+ Kxf7 40.Kh7 would've left White clinging on, just.

Anand also missed a quicker mate with 37...Nf7+ etc. (Engine-assist analysis - I don't pretend to be *that* good.)

Great win, though. The ferocity with which Vish whipped up a mating attack from a 'slight positional edge' was remarkable - and only possible because Shirov pushed forward with his King, trying to win. It recalls Fischer's 6-0 victories over Taimanov and Larsen - the losers could have drawn a game or two, but kept trying to win.

Jun-05-11  ragtag: Dude plays so strong.
Jun-05-11  lost in space: This is how I expect a WC to play!...and also the 2 players of the candidat-finals.

It seems that there is a huge gap in between Anand the rest of the gang.

Jun-05-11  jussu: <It seems that there is a huge gap in between Anand the rest of the gang.>

I don't see why. Sure, Anand is terribly strong, probably the best, and there seems to be a huge gap between Anand and Shirov (then again, I am not so sure even about this, it may be a mismatch of styles), but Shirov did not even qualify for the challenger event.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Nobody is going to play like this in a WC match or a Challengers' Final - there's simply too much at stake. The seeming one-sidedness of this match was a function of fast time controls, nothing much at stake, and the character of the players. Not everyone is like Shirov, who will play for a win in a slightly worse position against a nominally stronger player.

That said, Anand was very impressive.

Jun-05-11  dangerhump: Final position looks funny with Shirov's pieces on the first obvious indication something went wrong
Jun-05-11  Everyone: <Domdaniel: <Not everyone is like Shirov, who will play for a win in a slightly worse position against a nominally stronger player.>>

Domdaniel, it's never too late to learn:
I'm not <not everyone> but plain <Everyone>, and my positions are generally worse against nominally stronger players. Mark this well!

Jun-05-11  chesstoplay: < Domdaniel > < Not everyone is like Shirov >

If this were Poker his play would be < All in >.


Jun-05-11  haydn20: I did not check this with Fritz, but it seems that simply 37...Nf7+; 38. Kxg6 Re4; 39. Re2 Rg4+ wins easily. I did check 39. f7+ Kxf7; 40. Kh7 and it is drawn. I should go back and look at 38...Rg4.
Jun-05-11  sevenseaman: If Shirov had choice of color for the rest of his life, he would gladly plumb for black.

<The ferocity with which Vish whipped up a mating attack from a 'slight positional edge' was remarkable - and only possible because Shirov pushed forward with his King, trying to win.>

I will say Anand deeply cares against losing in any format but in tournament play or this kind of friendly match play, he is more amenable to accepting a draw.

Hence in tournaments his record, though quite good, is only lukewarm for a reigning WC.

Ferocity takes hold of his psyche when he sees a win, even a distant one; for his calculation runs deep, and fast as though instantaneous.

Jun-05-11  notyetagm: 32.Ne1? White doesn't like living with that knight on a1, but he should have maintained the rest of his position. Now Black obtains a winning position, thanks to the following tactical shot. [White is okay after a neutral waiting move like 32.Rg1 Black's pieces all look good, but they're operating at or near full potential and there's no win. White will soon play g4 and ask Black if he has any ideas about making progress.]

32...f6!! 33.exf6 e5+! 34.Kxe5 Ne3 Good enough, but [34...Re8+! was even better: 35.Kf4 (35.Kxd5? Ng4 36.-- Nxf6# (36...Nge3# ) ) 35...Rc6 36.Nac2 Rxf6 puts the White king in a mating net, to say nothing of the discovered check possibilities.]

Jun-06-11  Jamboree: Shirov made so many stinker moves in this game that I wonder what his real motivations were, or if he was just goofing around, or what. Rarely does one see a 2700+ player make so many moves that are just short of a full "question mark" -- not quite outright blunders, but maybe half-question-mark moves.

In particular, the needlessly weak/pointless moves were: 8. Qf3?
18. Nh3?
19. Qf4?
23. Ng5?
24. f3?
32. Ne1?
39. Rf2?

Of all these, only 39. Rf2? was an outright game-losing blunder, but all the others are semi-blunders that seem totally out of character for anyone rated over, say, 2300. What gives? In other events, Shirov plays like a genius, and here he just putzes around, moves all his pieces (except for his exposed king) to the back rank, gives up files and ranks for no real reason.

It can't only be that Anand is a good player. Shirov has faced intimidating opponents before and never crumbled like this so easily.

Very mystifying, to say the least.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Everyone>. Okeh. "Not Everyone is everyone". Will that do?

Shirov is not just anyone, Short is not riff-raff, Anand is *notyetanexWC*, and they're all better at chess than me and you.

Jun-06-11  newton296: the "dude" plays a mean game of chess!
Jun-06-11  technical draw: This game is not legal. Look at the final position and you can see that white had the queen rook and queen knight backwards.
Jun-06-11  knightedmagi: i wonder if this will make the advance variation of the caro-kann go out of fashion
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Anand's 32...f6! would make a good weekend puzzle, as it initiates a decisive King Hunt after 33.exf6 e5+! .

Anand missed the strong winning followup 38...Ng4+! with a mating attack that could continue 39. Kg5 Nxf6 40. Kh6 (40. a3 Kg7 41. Nf3 Rg4#) 40... Rg4 41. h5 Rc7 42. hxg6 Rg7 43. Nf3 R7xg6#.

After 38...Rg4?!, Shirov missed a difficult chance to hold the draw with 39. f7+! Kxf7 40. Kh7 Rxg3 41. Rf2+ Nf5 42. Nf3 Rc7 43. b3 Ke6+ 44. Kg8 Kf6 45. Re1 Rc8+ 46. Kh7 =.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <knightedmagi> - < i wonder if this will make the advance variation of the caro-kann go out of fashion>

Good point. I suspect we'll see a lot more interest in the Caro from Black players - and a lot *less* interest in 3.e5. The fact that Shirov tried three different 4th moves (Nf3, g4, h4) and scored only 0.5/3 is significant.

Jun-07-11  Ulhumbrus: Here is a comment on the moves 38...Rg4 and 39 Rf3 from a page on the chessbase website for which here is a link:

<38...Rg4?? Time is the culprit behind two unfortunate blunders. This move would actually allow White to save the game. 38...Ng4+ would have finalized the mating pattern. 39.Kxg6 Rxf6+ 40.Kg5 Kg7 41.Ng2 Rg6+ 42.Kf5 Nh6# 39.Rf2?? Tit for tat. 39.f7+! would save the game incredibly. 39...Kxf7 40.Kh7 Rxg3 41.Nd3 Rc7 42.Kh8 Rh3 43.Ne5+ Ke6 44.Nxg6 Rc8+ <44...Kf6? 45.Rg1! Nf5 46.Rf2 and White's rooks and knight start doing acrobatics worthy of the Cirque du Soleil. Ex: 46...Rc8+ 47.Kh7 and White threatens Rxf5+ and Ne7. 47...Rc7+ 48.Kg8> 45.Kh7 Rc7+ 46.Kg8 Rc8+ 47.Kh7 >

Jun-16-11  OnePawnTragedy: Wow mass destruction!
Jun-16-11  sevenseaman: Thanks <technical draw>, the way you make your point is an inspiration; mordant humor invariably peeps through.
Jun-29-11  Sigmapt: 32...f6!! Great move
Mar-04-17  Saniyat24: While replaying the game I felt that somehow Anand has nullified White's first move advantage in the opening 15 moves....!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
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