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Garry Kasparov vs Alexey Shirov
Linares (2004), Linares ESP, rd 8, Feb-27
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  1/2-1/2

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-28-04  bunti: I agree with your line benjamin but what if black plays Nc3 on 29th move instead of exchanging rooks on d1.
Feb-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I didn't get a chance to follow the game today, but 27...Nf3 looks like the kind of move necessary to beat Kasparov. 27...Re5 wasn't bad, but never seriously disrupted Kasparov's pieces. <"I think that Kasparov can survive with 27...Nf3 28. Nc7 Red8 29. Bf4 Rxd1 30. Rxd1 Rac8 31. Nxa6 with rough equality".> Not so sure 29...Rxd1 is best. 29...Nc3 appears very strong, tying up white's position. In the ensuing positions, white can hardly move.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: 29...Nc3 I looked at, but I think the semi-paralysis from 27...Nf3 28. Nc7 Red8 29. Bf4 Nc3!? 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Nxa6 affects both white and black. Although it's true that white's pieces are tied up, black cannot find any threats and his rook has no way to break white's position, or so it looks to me. I agree with your strategic analysis, but perhaps some concrete variations? What do you suggest black threaten? After some thought, I think the game would probably continue 31...Nd5 32. Nc5 Nxf4 33. gxf4 g6 34. Nxe4 gxf5 35. Nf6+ Kg7 36. Nh5 Kg6 37. Kxf3 Kxh5 with a wild position. Or maybe not, I am kind of tired, I hope you will find the rational behind my moves.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Hmmm, I'm sort of sleepy so I didn't realize I made a move that probably doesn't appeal to your idea. 31...Nd5 is probably something you would not play, since you are so intent on keeeping the supposed paralysis on, but I really don't see how white is in imminent trouble. Black's pieces, particularly his knights, in a sense are ideally placed, but white's position is very solid to me and it looks like any committal and enterprising move on black's part frees white's position. And if white's position is freed, he may very well win because he now has the queenside majority.
Feb-28-04  bunti: Benjamin,
Here is one concrete variation after 27..... Nf3 28. Nc7 Red8 29. Bf4 Nc3 30 Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Nxa6. After black plays 31.....g6 and 32. Ne3 (if 32. Nh4 g5!) there are a host of variations and although i never claimed that a position of paralysis would emerge, how would you respond after 31....g6 32. Ne3 Rc8. Do you evaluate this position as being equal?
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: It looks to me that after 27...Nf3 28. Nc7 Red8 29. Bf4 Nc3 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Nxa6 g6, 32. Nh6+!? Kg7 33. Rh1 g5 34. Bxg5 Nxg5 35. Rxh5 Rd2 36. Ng4 Kg6 37. Rh8 Bg7 38. Rb8 Kh5 leads to very interesting and wild play that Shirov and Kasparov may have stylistically preferred to indulge in even if it isn't completely correct (although it could be, I'm not too sure, the endgame looks like it would very weird). I would rate that position as very unclear. However, if we go with your idea of 32. Ne3 Rc8, I think play would probably continue 33. Rh1!? (maybe) f5 34. Nb8 Ne2 35. Nd7 and I prefer black's position in the middlegame, but probably white's in the endgame. I'm not too sure though. Black's position is unquestionably preferable, but what really matter is if his positional advantage (particularly with his knights) can actually threaten Kasparov and force another positional concession. In your line, Shirov returns the pawn back to Kasparov, so he better have a good reason for doing so. I think Shirov probably saw all we did and more, but decided to keep the pawn in favor of a materially better endgame, since he considers himself to be the greatest endgame player in the world. And no, you didn't claim paralysis of white, tamar did, I was kind of talking to both of you there.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Btw, what happened to Mr. Fritz 8's analysis? What did it think about the position? What does it believe is the best move after 27...black to move? What is the evaluation? Should be interesting I think.
Feb-28-04  Lawrence: Ben, both Fritz and Junior agree with Tamar and you that Shirov's best move would have been 27...♘f3. Fritz's eval -1.25, Junior's eval -1.05. Fritz gives 27...♖e5 -.63 whereas Junior only gives it -.29. Junior suggests 27...♘f3 28.♘d4 ♖ad8 29.♘xf3 exf3+ 30.♔xf3 (20 min. search) but if Bunti left his computer on all night then his analysis must be better.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Lawrence, it was actually bunti who suggested it. Thanks for the analysis though in either case, you've been a lot of help. An advantage of -1.15 (average of the two) is pretty strong, but probably not winning in either case. Usually +2/-2 or a more extreme value is decisive, although of course psychology plays a role and Kasparov would still have to defend well.
Feb-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: If after 27...♘f3 28 ♘d4 is the choice, that seems to suggest both Fritz and Junior believe the ♘ on f3 is too strong to be left alive. However, Junior's line 29...♖ad8 looks strange, why give back the pawn? Exchanging looks better to me: 28...♘xd4 29 ♖xd4 ♖ac8 30 ♗f4 ♖c6 holds on to the extra pawn while not conceding white any initiative. White does have the ♖h1 move threatening the h5 ♙, but it can be guarded safely 31 ♖h1 g6 32 ♗g5 ♖ee6 and black is ready to gain more space with ...f5 and then bring in the ♘ to c3 or b2.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Yes, they do seem to think that way about the knight, Lawrence, what does Junior say about the rationale behind 29...Rad8, giving back the pawn?
Feb-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Should be 28...Rad8 not move 29 , my mistake in copying Lawrence's line.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Amusing, I copied your line with the same error. Tamar, I admit that black's position looks good, but do you think that it is winning necessarily? And where has bunti's Fritz analysis gone?
Feb-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I wouldn't say Kasparov couldn't save it, but his position would be dire. Black seems to be able to take away all the active plans he has, and then concentrate on the weaknesses on c2 and c3.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Tamar, how about 28...Nxd4 29. Rxd4 Rac8 30. Bf4 Rac8 31. Nc7 Re7 32. Nd5 Re6 33. Re1 Nc3 34. Nxc3 Rxc3 35. Re4 Rxe4 36. Rxe4 f6 (not 36...Rxc3?! or 37. Re1! Rc6 38. Be3! f5 39. Bc5 Rf6 40. f4 g6 41. Ra8 Rf7 and black is in trouble) 37. Rd4 Rxc2 38. Rd8 Rc6 and even though black has a ...g5 coming, I think white has an uncomfortable, but not too difficult draw.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Typo, naturally I meant (and "not 36...Rxc2?!). Black is in trouble is a bit too extreme, perhaps "black has some difficulties, with a likely draw."
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: And I meant 33. Re8 of course, sorry about all the typos.
Feb-28-04  refutor: <Benjamin Lau: refutor, good point, I don't play the Ruy Lopez, so I wouldn't know. Why do you think Kasparov didn't play his normal a4 anti-Marshall however?>

probably he was looking for a change. in 2002 he scored 0.5/2 in the anti-marshall 8.a4 so he switched to 8.h3 vs. kramnik last year Kasparov vs Kramnik, 2003 in his games in 2002 with 8.a4 it seemed like black got great counterplay and easy equality. i think he did well to change, personally. like i said in the vallejo pons-kasparov game, is there anything wrong with playing 8.h3 Bb7 9.c3?

Feb-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Ben, I'm not following the idea. Could you confirm the moves in your post right after my last? Moves 29 and 30 are the same for black.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: tamar, give me a second, it looks like I had some other typos I didn't notice.
Feb-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Okay, it looks like I accidentally gave white an extra move with the two ...Rac8's. Here's some new analysis. I meant earlier to say that I think this draws for Kasparov, that he is okay in the position although I agree 27..Nf3 is the best move as bunti pointed out:

28...Nxd4 29. Rxd4 Rac8 30. Bf4 Rc6 31. Rh1 Nc3 (31...g6 32. c4 Bg7 33. cxb5 axb5 34. Rd2 also works) 32. Nxc3 Rxc3 33. Rxh5 Rxc2 34. Rd2 Rc3 35. Ra2 with ...g6 and ...f5 coming but no way as far as I can see for Shirov to win the resulting endgame.

Feb-28-04  Lawrence: Ben, about 28...Rad8, the engines don't give you a rationale, they only give you what they think is a sound line of play. You have to figure out the rationale yourself, and sometimes it's difficult.
Jul-23-06  Hesam7: <27...Re5?

Now White gets sufficient compensation for the pawn. After the game I thought that 27...Nf3 was winning, but in fact White still gets a certain counterplay by continuing 28 Bf4! (not 28 Rh1? Rad8 or 28 Nc7 Red8 29 Bf4 Rac8 and wins) 28...Rac8 29 Rh1!.

So the best move was 27...Ne6!. During game I rejected this because of 28 Rh1 Red8 29 Nfe3 regaining the sacrificed material, but had I prolonged my calculations I would probably have realised that after 29...g6! 30 Nf6+ Kh8 31 Nxe4 Bg7 Black gets a possibly decisive positional advantage.> Fire On Board Part II

Jul-23-06  Hesam7: Although Shirov's line starting with 27...Ne6 is quite convincing, I think with 27...Nf3 he would have also won. After the following line:

27...Nf3 28 Bf4 Rac8 29 Rh1 Nc3 30 Nfe3 (This is forced) Nxd5 31 Nxd5 h4!


click for larger view

none of White's options look good: if 32 gxh4 then 32...Rxc2 and if 32 c3 then Black can play: 32...hxg3 33 fxg3 Ne5.

Apr-07-07  Bob726: Garry kasparov beat shirov 17-0!!! with just 15 draws.
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