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Alexey Shirov vs Nigel Short
Sarajevo (2000), Sarajevo BIH, rd 5, May-21
French Defense: Winawer. Classical Variation (C18)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-10-04  azaris: This is an interesting example of two attacking players cooking up a positional game. As usual for the French when White plays e5, the center gets locked. Short plays c4, ensuring that both remaining bishops are pretty much spectators and for a while it looks like Black might get something going on against White's cramped defenders. The opportunity slips however and White gathers steam to perform the clever line-opening pawn sacrifice 51. h5!.

What follows is a good tactical attack where Short foregoes the simple 57...Rxe6 (oh, the irony) and opts instead for the questionable 57...Kf8?!, which after a forced line loses to the quiet 60. f5+!. Black calls it a day as his pawns will start falling after Bc8 and the king is too far to help.

Feb-27-05  Whitehat1963: An excellent game.
Aug-31-05  diegoami: 57... Rxe6 loses too IMHO, 58. fxe6+ and then
58... Kf6 (Kg6) 59. Rxd5 Bxe6 60. Rd6
58... Kg7 (Kf8) 59. Rxd5 Bxe6 60. Re5

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: To say that 8 exf is rarely played would be an understatement (Tal had commented in his notes to game 1 of his 1960 match against Botvinnik that 8 exf just highlighted the defects of the early development of the queen to g4). Short's 9..Qe7 was probably played to avoid preparation by Shirov after the more obvious 9..Qxg3; Psakhis recommended 9..Qa5!?. Shirov gave 10 Bf4 an exclamation point though allowinghis strong bishop to be exchanged was far from obvious. After 12..c4!? Black had little chance at active counterplay. Shirov was critical of 34..a6? recommending 34..c3 (34..Bxa4 35 Bxe6..Bxc2? 36 Bxd5 wins for White) 35 a5..Rc8 36 Bxe6..Bxe6 37 Rxe6..Rc4 38 Re7+..Rf7 with equality. 49..Rhh8? allowed the decisive breakthrough; 49..Rxe5 would likely have held. 53..Rhg8 54 h5..exf 55 Rxf5+..Kg7 56 Rg2+..Kf8 57 Rgf2..Re7 58 Rf6 would not have helped Black. 55 Rg2! put Black in zugzwang as 55..Rd7 56 fxe..Bxe6 57 Rf2+ would have been winning for White.

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