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Francisco Vallejo Pons vs Alexey Shirov
Dos Hermanas XII (2003), Spain, rd 9, Apr-05
Semi-Slav Defense: Meran. Wade Variation (D47)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Black seems to be in complete control after playing 6...dxc4 in this QGA Semi-Slav, easily equalizing and thwarting every White attempt to attack or gain a positional advantage.
Jan-05-04  Benjamin Lau: Patzer2, I hate to nag a bit, but your claim that black is in "complete control" (which is an exaggeration at best, a completely wrong positional evaluation at worst) is unsubstantiated by NCO and by the opening explorer. What reasons do you have to believe this?
Jan-05-04  PinkPanther: <Patzer2, I hate to nag a bit, but your claim that black is in "complete control" (which is an exaggeration at best, a completely wrong positional evaluation at worst) is unsubstantiated by NCO and by the opening explorer. What reasons do you have to believe this?>

Who knows. He's posted the same basic comment about like 3 other games, one of which I've already responded to.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: According to Opening Explorer, White hasn't had much success in beating this line of the Semi-Slav. After 11.d5 Qc7, white wins 23.6% of the games, draws 43.6%, and black wins 32.7% (based on 55 examples) Kind of surprising. This may be because it is the choice of a number of SuperGM's as black, such as Shirov & Dreev who know it deeply. In this game, the first new move is 18...Nd3
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Benjamin Lau> I don't understand your comment. Are you saying Shirov erred by playing 6...dxc4? Or that he was lost at some point in the game? The opening explorer shows it to be the most popular response, with a very respectable winning and drawing percentage.

Please note that by "in complete control" I meant that Shirov was in no apparent danger of losing and not that he had a won game. This seems consistent with most GM strategy -- draw with Black and try to win with White.

Jan-05-04  Benjamin Lau: That's not the reason necessarily. There are also a lot of GMs playing white's side. The reason is because 55 games is not a very large sample, so it should not be trusted. Second, the farther you go into the opening explorer, the greater the chances of you going into an inferior line, namely the one above. 9. e4 is superior to 9. o-o. After that, white retains a clear advantage. (i.e. 9. e4 b4 10. Na4 c5 11. e4 Nd5.)
Jan-05-04  Benjamin Lau: "Complete control" implies that black has the initiative (typically defined as the ability to control the game), which is not true. Second, you claim that black has gained equality. Not by a long shot. You can check NCO or the opening explorer. The only possible reason I see for you thinking this (6...dxc4 "equalizes") is that you regard blacks' liquidation of the center right now as good, which I can't really disagree, but to think it equalizes is just bizarre. It helps white waste a tempo moving the bishop again, yes. But this does not equalize. White's advantage in moving first is not simply tempo. It's also often superior pawn structure, superior development (into which tempo is typically channeled), the initiative (such as the ability to choose the most likely openings), often freer piece play, and space for maneuvering. There may be some others I don't recall off top of my head, but black in either case does not find equality in all or even most of these. Look at the position. Black's pieces are passive. An easy sweep of the board also reveals he has less space. His pawns on the queenside can be mighty, but are subject to over extension after ...b4 (to kick the knight and stop control over e4). And much more. Third, while I can understand if you think this continuation is the best for black, which it may be, black does not "easily" thwart white's advantages. Fourth, Shirov is 100 points higher than his opponent.
Jan-05-04  Benjamin Lau: The first message was intended for tamar, the second for patzer 2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Good points all. But Shirov has also played the line you mention as better (9.e4 instead of 9. 0-0) and won a month after the above game. I agree that there is nothing easy about black's path to equality. The Semi-Slav lends itself to play by specialists who can find hidden counter-chances. [Event "Sarajevo Bosnia"]
[Site "Sarajevo"]
[Date "2003.05.18"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Radjabov,Teimour"]
[Black "Shirov,Alexei"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "D47"]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.e4 b4 10.Na4 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.Nxc5 Nxc5 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.0-0 h6 15.Nd2 0-0 16.Ne4 Bd4 17.Nd6 Bc6 18.Bh7+ Kxh7 19.Qxd4 f6 20.Bd2 fxe5 21.Qe4+ Kg8 22.Qxe5 Qd7 23.Rfe1 Rad8 24.Nc4 Nb6 25.Nxb6 Qxd2 26.Qxe6+ Kh8 27.Qxc6 Qxf2+ 28.Kh1 axb6 29.b3 Rd2 30.Re8 Rxa2 31.Rc1 Re2 32.Rxf8+ Qxf8 33.Qxb6 Qf4 34.Qd8+ Kh7 35.Qd3+ Qe4 36.Qxe4+ Rxe4 37.h3 Re3 38.Rc6 Rxb3 39.Rb6 g5 40.Rb7+ Kg6 41.Rb6+ Kg7 42.Rb7+ Kf6 43.Rb6+ Ke5 44.Rxh6 Rd3 45.Rb6 b3 46.Rb4 Kd5 47.Kg1 Kc5 48.Rb8 Kc4 49.Kf2 Kc3 50.Ke2 Rd2+ 51.Kf3 Rd4 0-1
Jan-05-04  Benjamin Lau: tamar, of course I didn't mean that black can't win in the line with 9. e4. It's just harder. Anyway, I don't know why we discuss or reference single games to see who stands better. A single game can't prove anything. (Nor though of course can a group of games, but they're better evidence.) Btw tamar, in the game you cite, black is still MUCH higher rated than white. ;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Benjamin Lau> I don't want to argue over a quick comment that was misunderstood, because I failed to be sufficiently accurate and precise in stating what I meant. So, please allow me to revise my comment to read:

"After 6. Bd3, Black makes the best and most popular move with 6...dxc4 in this QGA Semi-Slav, enabling him to achieve equality while thwarting every White attempt to attack or gain a positional advantage in this game."

Jan-05-04  Benjamin Lau: I dunno, I still completely disagree with the comment. (Equality after 6...dxc4? Oh come on! If it were that easy, Nunn would be broke.) But I don't want to start a fight with someone who always brings good analysis, both from his own head and his silicon companion Fritz. ;-) I guess this is an argument over diction. For me, equalize = the position is completely equal. That is, with decent play, a draw results For you it may be slightly different, just meaning that a draw is very likely? I dunno, let's not fight over it, at least not this time. :)

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