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Jeffery Xiong vs Alexander Shabalov
US Championship (2017), St Louis, MO USA, rd 7, Apr-05
Caro-Kann Defense: Two Knights Attack (B10)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-05-17  Granny O Doul: Shaba doesn't let his bad score affect his play, i.e., he still goes for the challenging/complicated (e.g., 5...Nf6 rather than, trying to make 5. h3 a wasted tempo at the risk of ending up a pawn down).
Apr-05-17  Caissanist: Shabalov only had to play four moves here, the first 21 were all home prep. After the game he said that he had been going over this line with his computer and couldn't figure out why the bot insisted that 20..Bxf6 was better than exf6. Then he realized that after 21..Qb6 black has a mating attack: .
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: The new move is 15.f4. 15.Rc1 and 15.Qf3 both have excellent results in the database, and it's a shame Shabalov didn't have to show what he had in mind vs. either of those moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Shaba, Shaba!!
Apr-08-17  An Engliishman: Good evening: I thought the white queen could block the black queen to avoid mate in the final position. But I suppose black has too much pressure going on for white to prevent mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Medium? Not for me.

I couldn't see what kept white from playing 21. Qxa8 or 22. Qxa8.

Sep-06-18  NBZ: I found this really difficult, and just could not find Qb6. It's funny because I spent an inordinate amount of time on Qd2 Qxa8 Rxf4+ Kg1 Qf2+ Kh2: in this line, the king escapes to h2 and Black has nothing. And I even wondered if Kh7 was possible because if Qxa8 Black might be able to play Qb6 and Bb7. But I just did not piece together these two ideas: the importance of preventing Kg1, and b6 being a great square for the queen.

Qb6! is just excellent. It would have been easy to see with the K on h7 because then Bb7 can be played next. But with the king on g8, it just never entered my list of candidate moves because I thought "Qb6 Qxa8 and I can't play Bb7 so this must be bad."

Qb6 feels like one of the moves Karpov was so good at finding. The queen obviously wants to be at b6, but it looks like there is not enough time to make it happen. The genius is to see that in fact, Qb6 is tactically possible because of Qxa8 Rxf4+ Ke2 Qf2+. And so Black just carries on developing with Qb6 and Bb7 and Re8, as if the rook was never attacked by White's queen.

Sep-06-18  newzild: What <NBZ> said.
Sep-06-18  Boerboel Guy: Maybe ....Rxf4+ with a mating attack

<al wazir: Medium? Not for me. I couldn't see what kept white from playing 21. Qxa8 or 22. Qxa8.>

Sep-06-18  Walter Glattke: 20.-Qb6 21.fxe7 Bb7! / 21.Qxa8 (for Al Wazir) 21.-Rxf4+ 22.Ke1 Qe3+ 23.Kd1 Rd4+ 24.Kc2 Rd8 25.fxe7 Bf5# / 22.Ke2 Qf2+ 23.Kd3 Qd4+ 24.Kc2 Rf2+ 25.Kc1 Qxb2+ 25.Kd1 Qd2# / 23.Kd1 Rd4+ 24.Kc1 Rd8 25.Qxd8 Rxd8 or 25.Qa7 Qxc2+ 26.Ka2 Be6# othe variations possible, all mating
Sep-06-18  onedog: <NBZ:The genius is to see that in fact, Qb6 is tactically possible because of Qxa8 Rxf4+ Ke2 Qf2+...>

It should be pointed out that an added difficulty with seeing this is that after 24.♔d3 ♖d4+ 25.♔c3 ♕d2#, sure, but after 24.♔d1 it's not so easy to find a mate or even a win for black. The best seems to be 24...♕b2 25.♕c8+ ♔h7 when both 26.♖a2 and ♕c2 lead to loss of material for white

Sep-06-18  Mayankk: I contemplated Qd2 to threaten Rxf4+ or Bb2 to lure the Queen away from f3 but I couldnít find a forceful mate in either case. In particular I frustratingly noticed that the White King found a nice hiding spot in h2 in all variations.

Qb6 was a big surprise to me. But then it is the only move which stops King from escaping towards h2 and therefore does seem logical when you do think of it. It is one of those consolidating moves which miraculously work since White can do precious little against the Bb2 and Rxf4+ threats now, which just didnít work earlier with Queen at a5 or d2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfessor: <An Engliishman: I thought the white queen could block the black queen to avoid mate in the final position.> if 27. Qe3 Rxe7 with mate next move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < al wazir: Medium? Not for me. >

It's medium rare

Sep-06-18  mel gibson: I didn't have a clue -
I couldn't see any checkmate.

Stockfish 9 says

21... Qb6 (21. .. Qb6 (♕a5-b6 ♗b3-d5 ♕b6xf6 ♔f1-g1 ♖a8-b8 ♔g1-h2 ♖d4xd5 ♕f3xd5 ♕f6xf4+ g2-g3 ♕f4-f2+ ♕d5-g2 ♕f2xg2+ ♔h2xg2 ♗c8-b7+ ♔g2-f2 ♗b7xh1 ♖a1xh1 ♖b8-c8 ♖h1-e1 ♖c8-c2+ ♔f2-f3 ♖c2xb2 ♖e1xe7 a7-a5 ♖e7-e3 a5-a4 ♖e3-d3 f7-f5 ♖d3-d6 g6-g5 ♖d6-d5 ♖b2-b3+ ♔f3-g2 f5-f4 g3xf4 g5xf4 ♔g2-f2 ♔g8-f7 h3-h4 ♔f7-g6 ♖d5-c5 ♖b3xa3 ♖c5xb5 ♖a3-b3 ♖b5-a5 a4-a3 ♔f2-g2 ♔g6-f6) +2.76/32 81)

score for Black +2.76 depth 32

Premium Chessgames Member
  Yuridmi: al wazir: I couldn't see what kept white from playing 21. Qxa8 or 22. Qxa8.

My silicon chess-beast says game is EVEN after 21. Qxa8 Rxf4+

So al wazir you are on to something

Sep-06-18  Carlos0012358: White error no. 1 - 22......f5 should have been Re1

White error no. 2 - 23......Qg3 should have been Qf2

White error no. 3 - 24......fxe7 should have been Bd1

Sep-06-18  JohnBoy: <onedog>, <Yuridmi> - I too missed 21.Qxa8 Rxf4+ 22.Ke1 Qe3+ 23.Kd1 Rd4+ 24.Kc2 Rd8 25.fxe7 Bf5# as pointed out by <Glattke>. Too focused on 22...Qf2+ and missed the effect of 22...Qe3+ instead.
Sep-06-18  saturn2: I was thinking after 21 Qb6 22 Re1 is also an answer to consider. 21...Qb6 22. Re1 Bb7 23. Qe3
Sep-06-18  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4: d 22 dpa

<<<<<1. = (0.00): 18.Kf2> Rxd4> 19.a3> Rxd1> 20.axb4> Rd4 21.Ke3 Rxb4 22.Bd5 Rb8 23.Rxa7 Bf8 24.Nf6+ Kg7 25.Ne8+ Kg8 26.Nf6+ Kg7

2. = / + (-0.40): 18.Nd6 exd6 19.a3 Qa5 20.Qe1 Qa6 21.Rc1 dxe5 22.Bxe5 Bxe5 23.Qxe5 b4+ 24.Kg1 bxa3 25.Qe7 Rd7 26.Qe8+ Kg7 27.bxa3 Qf6 28.Qe5 Qxe5 29.fxe5 Re7 30.Rc5 Rb8 31.Ba4 Be6 32.Kh2 Rb2 33.Re1 Rd2 34.Bb5 Bd5 35.Bf1 Rb7 36.Rec1 Rb3

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White threatens Qxa8 and fxe7.

The position of the white king invites to play 21... Qb6:

A) 22.Qxa8 Rxf4+

A.1) 23.Ke1 Qe3+ 24.Kd1 Qxb3+

A.1.a) 25.Kc1 Rc4+ 26.Kb1 (26.Kd2 Rc2+ and mate in two) 26... Rc2 27.Ra2 Kh7 28.Re1 (28.fxe7 Be6 wins) 28... Bf5 29.Ka1 (29.g4 Rc1+ 30.Kxc1 Qc2#) 29... Qe3 30.Rb1 (30.Rxe3 Rc1#) 30... Rc1 wins.

A.1.b) 25.Kd2 Rf2+ and mate in two.

A.1.c) 25.Ke1 Qe3+ 26.Kd1 Rd4+ 27.Kc2 Qd3+ 28.Kc1 Rc4#.

A.1.d) 25.Ke2 Qxb2+ and Black seems to be able to force mate soon. For example, 26.Kd3 Qd4+ 27.Kc2 Rf2+ and mate next.

A.2) 23.Ke2 Rf2+ 24.Kd3 (24.Ke1 Qe3+ 25.Kd1 Qd2#; 24.Kd1 Qd4+ and mate in two) 24... Qd6+

A.2.a) 25.Qd5 Qg3+

A.2.a.i) 26.Kd4 Rf4+ 27.Qe4 (27.Kc5 Qe3+ and mate soon) 27... Rxe4+ 28.Kxe4 Bb7+ 29.Kd4 e5+ 30.Kc5 Qxb3 wins decisive material.

A.2.a.ii) 26.Ke4 Rf4+ 27.Ke5 Rc4#.

A.2.a.iii) 26.Qf3 Rxf3+ 27.gxf3 Qxf3+ seems to win decisive material. For example, 28.Kd2 Qxb3 29.fxe7 Qd5+ and the e-pawn falls immediately.

A.2.b) 25.Bd5 Kh7 (threatens Bf5+ and Be6)

A.2.b.i) 26.Qxc8 Qxd5+ and mate in three.

A.2.b.ii) 26.g4 Qg3+ looks similar to A.2.a.

A.2.c) 25.Kc3 Qd2#.

A.2.d) 25.Ke3 Qf4+ 26.Kd3 Rd2+ 27.Kc3 Qd4#.

A.2.e) 25.Ke4 Rf4+ 26.Ke3 Qd4+ 27.Ke2 Rf2+ 28.Ke1 Qd2#.

B) 22.fxe7 Bb7

B.1) 23.Qe3 Re8 (23... Rd1+ 24.Rxd1 Qxe3 25.Rd8+) followed by Qd6 touching f4 and e7 looks good for Black because the rook on h1 does not play yet.

B.2) 23.Qg3 Qd6 with the same idea as in B.1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: I missed finding yesterday's Thursday puzzle
solution 21...Qb6! +- (-2.49 @ 39 ply, Stockfish 9). However, I found studying the combination and what I missed very instructive.

The most obvious threat posed by 21...Qb6! is the offer of Black's Rook on a8 as a poisoned piece.

The Rook is poison because 22. Qxa8? allows Black to win the White Queen after 22...Rxf4+ 23. Qf3 (White's best reply in a lost position) 23...Rxf3+ -+ (-7.67 @ 35 ply, Stockfish 9). If, after 22. Qxa8? Rxf4+ -+, White moves the King, then it's mate-in-15 with 23. Ke2 Rf2+ 24. Kd3 Qd6+ -+ or mate-in-14 with 23. Ke1 Qe3+ 24. Qxb3+ -+.

The most difficult problem posed for White by 21...Qb6! is the decisive threat of a discovered attack with check after the best play moves 22. Re1 b4! 23. Kg1 Rxf4+ 24. Qe3 Qxf6 -+ (-2.39 @ 30 ply, Stockfish 9), when Black's two extra pawns should prove decisive.

P.S.: White's game takes a big turn for the worse after 18. Qf3? Rxd4 ∓ (-1.30 @ 31 ply, Stockfish 9). Instead, 18. Kf2 Rxd4 19. a3 = (0.00 @ 33 ply) would have held the position level.

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