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Alexander Shabalov vs Levon Aronian
"I'm Shabalovin' It" (game of the day Nov-01-2015)
36th Olympiad (2004), Calvia ESP, rd 12, Oct-27
Spanish Game: Marshall Attack. Modern Variation (C89)  ·  0-1



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Given 31 times; par: 70 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: When you see the enemy King cowering behind a screen of Pawns, tear it away.
Oct-26-14  Dr. J: <JimfP> In your final position White has 27 Ne5. Clearly the attack is not over, but Black is still down 2 pieces instead of one. 27...f6 wins one back, but it all seems slower than Aronian's choice, so I would think you have to provide more justification.

Can anyone tell me what might have happened after 31 Re3 (instead of 31 a3)?

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Interesting Ruy Lopez Marshall Attack position (21...?) for our Sunday puzzle.

As a top expert in the Marshall variation, I wonder if Aronian hadn't analyzed and prepared 21...Bxf3!! in advance.

If so, he apparently missed the deep mating combination after 25...Rg2+! Fritz 12 @ evaluates 25...Rg2+! (-9.14 @ 20/53 depth) as clearly winning, while assessing the move played (25...Qg2+) as equal (0.00) at 20/45 depth.

However, the Fritz assessment of equality for 25...Qg2+ 26. Kd3 = may be due to the horizon effect of the computer not seeing beyond 20 depth, or the fact Fritz 12 is far from the strongest program available. Even if perfect computer play could force a draw after 25...Qg2+, the resulting position after 26. Kd3 Qxf3 27. Bxd5 cxd5 28. Kc2 (diagram below),

click for larger view

with Black having three passed pawns for the piece, is extremely difficult for White to hold.

P.S.: Instead of 21. f3?!, my 20/20 hindsight and computer analysis would suggest 21. Ne4! to = is White's last best chance to improve.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Dr. J> If 31. Re3, then 31...Rxe3 32. Bxe3 33. b4! (-7.11 @ 19/44 depth per Fritz 12).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Dr J. In your final position White has 27 Ne5.>

How about 27...Qf5 (threatening 28.. Rxf2+) 28 Rf1 Nf4+.

click for larger view

If 29 Kd1 Rxe5! (eliminating the knight's support of d3)

click for larger view

The threat is 30...Qd3+, seeing 31...Qxf1. If 30 Qd2, then 30...Qg4+ 31 Kc1 Re2.

click for larger view

(Thank you Rybka freeware.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Dr. J> and <Jimfromprovidence> After 25... Rg2+!! 26. Bf2 (26. Kd1 Qxf3+ 27. Re2 Qxe2#; 26. Kd3 Qf5#) 26... Re8+ 27. Ne5 (diagram below),

click for larger view

Fritz 12 gives 27... Rxe5+! 28. dxe5 Qg4+! (-9.14 @ 20 depth) with White caught in a mating web.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is one pawn down.

White threatens 22.fxg4.

Black can attack the white castle with five pieces. The rook on g6 x-rays the white king. This suggests 21... Bxf3, to pave the way for the heavy pieces:

A) 22.Nxf3 Bxg3

A.1) 23.hxg3 Rxg3+ 24.Kf2 (24.Kh2 Qh3#; 24.Kh1 Qh3+ 25.Nh2 Qg2#; 24.Kf1 Rxf3+ 25.Ke2 (else mate in two) 25... Rxe3+ wins two pawns at least) 24... Qh3

A.1.a) 25.Rg1 Rxf3+ 26.Ke1(2) Rxe3+ wins two pawns at least.

A.1.b) 25.Ke2 Rxf3 26.Bxd5 cxd5 and two pawns and attack for the bishop seems to be enough compensation. For example, 27.Kd3 Re8 28.Re2 Qf5+ 29.Kd2 Qe4 30.Qe1 f5 threatening 31... f4.

A.2) 23.Rf1 Bf4+ and 24... Bxe3 - +, wins a pawn an keeps a winning attack.

A.3) 23.Re2 Bf4+

A.3.a) 24.Kf1 Qh3+ 25.Ke1 (25.Kf2 Qg2+ 26.Ke1 Qxf3 returns to the line) 25... Qxf3 26.Bxd5 (26.Bxf4 Rg1+ 27.Kd2 Rxc1 28.Rxc1 Nxf4 - +) 26... Bxe3

A.3.a.i) 27.Bxf3 Rg1#.

A.3.a.ii) 27.Qxe3 Qxe3 28.Rxe3 Rg1+ 29.Kd2 Rxa1 30.Bxc6 Rxa2 - + [R+P vs B].

A.3.a.iii) 27.Rxe3 Rg1+ 28.Kd2 Qf4+ ollowed by 29... Rxc1 and 30... cxd5 wins.

A.4) 23.Kh1 Bxe1 24.Qxe1 Qh3 and the white queen has problems to protect g2, f3 and e3.

B) 22.Bxd5 Bxd5 recovers the pawn and keeps a winning attack.

C) 22.Bf2 Rxg4 23.Qxg4 Qh3 and mate soon.

Oct-26-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Is there a reason my line of 25 ... Rf3+ didn't work? If White returns the bishop, it seems like Black has a routinely winning position, and if he doesn't, it seems like Black can pin White's king in the center with ... Rd3.

Perhaps I missed some way for White to harass Black's queen with his rook?

Oct-27-14  TheBish: Shabalov vs Aronian, 2004

Black to play (21...?) "Insane", Black is down a pawn.

This looks like it arose from a Marshall Gambit. Candidate moves: Rxg5, Bxf3

I like 21...Bxf3!, regaining the pawn with attack. If 22. Nxf3 Bxg3! 23. hxg3 Rxg3+ 24. Kf2 Qh3, threatening both ...Qg2# and ...Rxf3+, regaining one of the sacrificed pieces with a continued attack. If White declines the second bishop with 23. Re2 (not 23. Bf2? Bf4+ winning the queen, or 23. Rf1 Nxe3 24. Qxe3? Bf4+), Black continues the attack with 23...Qh3, threatening 24...Bxh2+ as well as 24...Bf4+ and 24...Nxe3 followed by 25...Bf4+.

Nov-01-15  st.dvy: What a truly great game this one was.All along it seemed like white could escape and then that his counter attack could win. The final sac by promotion is just so lovely. What I really don't agree with is amateau analysts using engines and post mortem logic to somehow attack the game and the players. Chess is a fight, a contest and a sport. For some reason, people are searching for the ultimate solution to the game: to kill it! The Roy Lopez is hundreds of years old and there's still so much life in it, for both sides; so much so, I don't think white should play it! Black just has so many healthy answers; yet it's still winning for white, overall. Chess is so full of paradoxes and contradictions like that. Why not just enjoy such a masterpiece and say "Bravo!"
Nov-01-15  ndg2: 25..Qg2+ complicates everything. 25..Rg2+ would have been the right move.
Nov-01-15  Imran Iskandar: Yay! One of my puns got accepted after quite a while!
Nov-01-15  Ferro: La certeza inesperada
Nov-01-15  Pinkerton: Is this game considered Aronian's Immortal Game? It's a 2 piece sac to undress the K before the run for its survival.
Nov-01-15  Ferro: the unexpected certainty
Nov-01-15  catlover: What an attack by Aronian. I wonder where Shabalov went wrong?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black's heavy pieces demolish the king side, then the king is chased west to his doom.
Feb-26-17  Abdel Irada: ∞

As a Marshall Attack player, I am ashamed to say I went off on a siding and tried very hard to make 21. ...Rxg5? work. Somehow I just never looked at the key. :-(

Feb-26-17  scormus: I dont usually get very far on Sundays, but I play the Marshall when I get the chance so I felt I should try.

fairly straightforward until 25 .... then I wasnt sure, Rg2+ or Qg2+. Rg2+ looked right, then I second guessed and a bit after that I lost my way.

Sigh :

Feb-26-17  AlicesKnight: I saw the blasting open of the White K-side with the double sacrifice and Q-R intrusion, but not the long-term way to press the attack. A fine piece of sustained pressure.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Another recycled puzzle.

I noticed I didn't consider

A.5) 23.Bc2 Bxe1+ 24.Bxg6 Qg4+ 25.Kf1 (25.Kh1 Qxf3+ 26.Kg1 Nxe3 wins) 25... Qxf3+ 26.Kxf1 fxg6 with two extra pawns and a winning attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Same game, same move from Oct 2014

Must've been an oversight


Feb-26-17  mel gibson: The computer agrees but it's close to even:

21. f3 Bxf3 (21. .. Bxf3 (♗g4xf3 ♖e1-f1 ♗f3-g4 ♗e3-d2 ♗g4-f5 ♖f1xf5 ♕d7xf5 ♗b3-c2 ♕f5-f6 ♗c2xg6 ♕f6xg6 ♕c1-b1 f7-f5 ♕b1-d3 h7-h6 ♘g5-f3 ♕g6-h5 ♘f3-h4 ♖f8-f6 a2-a4) +0.48/18 59)

score for black +0.48 depth 18

But white makes a big error here on move 23 -
white can't take the bishop with the pawn:

23. hxg3 Rxg3+ (23. .. Rxg3+ (♖g6xg3+ ♔g1-f2
♕d7-h3 ♖e1-e2 ♖g3xf3+ ♔f2-e1 ♘d5xe3 ♔e1-d2 ♘e3-f1+ ♔d2-d1 ♘f1-g3 ♖e2-e1 ♕h3-h5 ♕c1-d2 ♖f3-d3+ ♔d1-c1 ♖d3xd2 ♔c1xd2 ♕h5-h2+ ♔d2-c1 ♘g3-e4 ♔c1-b1 ♖f8-e8) +7.96/15 58)

score for black +7.96 depth 15.

Feb-26-17  Carlos0012358: I am confused!

Is the purpose of the daily puzzle to figure out the moves the two players played, what they "should" have played?

This is a case where right off the start Shabalov "played" the horrendous 22.Nxf3, rather than perhaps 22.Rf1?

Then, to worsen matters, he played 23.hxg3, rather than perhaps 23.re2?

Basically, Shabalov did his very best to clear his King side and retreat to his Queen side, giving Aronian the opportunity to eventually promote a pawn.

By move 32, although seemingly balanced (2 pawns for a B), Shabalov managed to be confined to one fourth of the board (a,d,1,4) and positionally dead.

Feb-26-17  Marmot PFL: Where is Phony Benoni today? I would bet my last dollar that a lifetime Marshall player would nail this puzzle.

It wasn't too hard for me either to find the main line with 2 pawns and attack for the piece, but the position is still difficult and I wouldn't be likely to play it as well as Aronian.

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