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Gata Kamsky vs Alexander Shabalov
US Chess Championship (2013), St Louis, MO USA, rd 1, May-03
French Defense: Tarrasch. Pawn Center Variation (C05)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-03-13  Shams: Best game of the opening round. Shredder is quick to point to Black's <37...Ba8> as the losing move, and that is true [+1.83 17/17]. Black has nothing on the long diagonal. But a few minutes later Shredder admits that its suggested alternatives ...h6 and ...Rf8 are still pretty bad for Black. Kamsky does love to squeeze.
May-03-13  cunctatorg: I guess a great game by Kamsky, in accordance with his great results and performances during the early and mid ninetees!
May-03-13  RookFile: Black's c8 bishop was good for a few laughs, but was really worthless in this game. It seems to happen a lot to black. In my games I try to get rid of that thing.
May-03-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There are other ways to play this for Black, such as 7....Qb6 8.g3 f5, as in the game S Boyd vs I Farago, 1984.
May-03-13  Everett: May-03-13 < cunctatorg: I guess a great game by Kamsky, in accordance with his great results and performances during the early and mid ninetees!>

More like his entire career. He's a great player.

May-03-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: The hardest part--knowing when and how to advance the kingside pawns, to upend the balance.
May-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: Black always plays f6 (or f5) to break up the White French center. Prettiest strategic idea: Kamsky exploits this tendency and Black's odd Na5-Nc4 advance to get a double <21/27.Ne5>.

That Knight never moves again, just sits like the smoke detector at the top of the dome.

May-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Your right <G>, but i was referring to the end phase of the attack, when Kamsky starting moving his kingside pawns. The center was blocked, Kamsky looked a little better, but how to exploit this? That's the part that separates the GMs from the rest.
May-04-13  SChesshevsky: <Black always plays f6 (or f5) to break up the White French center.>

The problem with a misplanned f advance is the weak e-pawn and an oupost on the e-file, e5 in this case.

Without any counterplay on the Qside, Black usually ends up tied defending the weak pawn and White has all the time in the world to get an attack ready. Korchnoi who has a great feel for the French wasn't inclined to take the f-advance weakness until he had plenty of compensation.

May-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <RookFile: Black's c8 bishop was good for a few laughs, but was really worthless in this game. It seems to happen a lot to black. In my games I try to get rid of that thing.>

You should give Shabalov some pointers :)

May-04-13  RookFile: Not comparing myself to Shabalov, just making an observation about a bishop. Thanks for playing!
May-04-13  JPi: In the great style of Nimzowitch, a total control of d4-e5 by white pieces in the French defense.
May-04-13  Everett: Funny, talk of the poor Bc8 and the backward e6 pawn, yet the former protects the latter quite well. It even allows that other topic of conversation: an f-pawn push. Must be a French, and a well-played one for most of it.
May-05-13  SChesshevsky: <RookFile: Black's c8 bishop was good for a few laughs, but was really worthless in this game. It seems to happen a lot to black.>

Black's QB and how it's played might be a key deciding factor in these closed French's. Based on what I've seen from Korchnoi and my own busts with the French, the B probably needs to be kept for b5 and the d5-f7 chain at least through the middlegame, though exchanging it for White's KB which takes off the pressure is probably OK.

But by the endgame, it can be a drag with limited mobility due to white squared pawns and it might take a lot of time to get it outside the pawn chains so they can defend it, so you're probably right to get rid of it.

May-05-13  Everett: Petrosian, Bronstein, Botvinnik and Korchnoi all managed pretty good careers despite that bad French bishop. No doubt, you have to be good to make it work.

<RookFile> You have been saying for years that the Bc8 is THE piece to fix in the Black position. Well, I have one thing to say to you... You are likely right.

Do you play the Caro vs e4? In what ways do you find yourself handling that piece; exchange it, or play it a certain way?

And you have to agree that in many KID structures, the Bc8 is quite happy on the home square...

May-05-13  RookFile: I've played a few Caros that have gone 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 and have pretty much followed the main lines.

Occastionally I've played the Fort Knox French - 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5. Nf3 Bc6 6. Bd3 Nd7 and seem to have no problems getting an equal game with that. White usually seems unprepared. Don't know how other people play it, but I'm perfectly willing to play ...Bxf3 and ...c6 at some point and invite white to demonstrate how he can break down black's defenses.

But, I really believe that the Petrov Defense 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 is the soundest one black has at his disposal. Usually white plays lines where black can play ...Nxe4, meaning that the c8 bishop finds a useful square at f5 or g4.

May-05-13  maxi: There was an Argentinian player, Roberto Grau, who wrote a treatise in four volumens on chess theory (in Spanish). He wrote that the bad Black Bishop on c8 actually had a positive effect in holding together BlackĀ“s position in several openings, and that Black should wait until the right time to develop it. He gave many examples from actual play particularly in the QGD.
May-05-13  Everett: <Rookfile> interesting, thanks for that.

What you said reminds me of a story behind this game: Ljubojevic vs Seirawan, 1986

Seirawan was very happy to play the Petroff, but Ljubo crossed him up with 2.d4, the Center Game, and then another switch, 3.Nf3, the Scotch. Don't know why Yasser didn't go for 3..Bb4+, but perhaps it was sharper than he wanted to play.

Since Seirawan didn't like this transposition, this put him off from making the Petroff his main response vs e4.

May-05-13  Everett: <Maxi> thanks for that. Sounds like worthwhile material.

Fwiw, when I play the French I am happiest temporarily locking the center, castling q-side or moving my K there, and keeping that problem bishop close by. If anyone wants to come for my K, he'll have to deal with it. Meanwhile, the rest of my army is a bit more free because my K has a dedicated defender.

May-06-13  SChesshevsky: <RookFile: .. Occastionally I've played the Fort Knox French>

That's a really interesting variation, I first noticed Karpov using it maybe in the late 80's and had pretty good results then stopped for some reason. Then I picked up a GM Rustemov also used it in the mid 90's or so. The lines seem good chances for a draw even against very tough opponents but maybe low chances for a win unless White really goofs up.

May-06-13  Everett: <Kamsky vs Karpov, 1996>

Fort Knox vs Kamsky.

May-06-13  RookFile: Right. And Karpov played ....Bxf3 and c6, like I was saying. This is one system of playing chess - exchange off one bishop and then put your pawns on the same color (white) as the bishop you traded off. This is good for the remaining bishop and gives you influence on both color complexes on the board. Of course, there are other systems of playing too.
May-14-13  LIFE Master AJ: Kind of a weird game ... but well played by Kamsky.

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