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Alexey Shirov vs Nigel Short
FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999), Las Vegas, NV USA, rd 4, Aug-09
French Defense: Classical. Burn Variation Morozevich Line (C11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-12-03  Dickens: The key points of the game occurred when Short played 20. ... Kg8. This move threatens a queen sacrifice with 21. .... Bxf2+ 22. Rxf2 Qxf2+ 23. Kxf2 Ng4+ recovering the queen and easily winning, as Black will be a rook for a knight ahead.

In order to keep the game going, Shirov had to sacrifice a queen for a knight and rook, leaving him a queen for a rook behind.

Here, Short made his error. When Shirov played 24. b4, Grandmaster online commentators Christiansen and Seirawan felt that Short should have played 24. ... Bd6, in which case Shirov would have had to make another sacrifice with 25. Rxd6. Instead, Short played 24. ....Qb6, which gave Shirov the opportunity to occupy the back ranks with his two rooks.

Still, it did not look like Shirov had anything. However, Short's king was soon caught in a mating net in the middle of the board.

Sep-13-03  Sylvester: These guys should produce a lot of fireworks. Is this their best game?
Sep-13-03  xu fei: Interestingly enough, this game features the same 'removal of the guard' theme as several previous puzzles of the day. i.e: 14...exd4 15.Nxf6 Kg7 16.Ne8+ 17.(any) Bd3. I guess these puzzles can really come in handy!
Sep-14-03  Brian Watson: 24..Bd6 threatens Bxg3, but the "sac" 25.Rxd6 Qxd6 26.Rxc8 Rxc8 27.Nxf5+ leaves white with a material plus . . . or will black subsequently win the queenside pawns by force?
Mar-27-04  refutor: this is one of shirov's most spectacular wins
Mar-05-13  7he5haman: <24...Be7!> and if <25.Rxe7 Be6!> - Black should win the e7-rook in short order.


Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Game 1 of their 4th round match in the World Championship tournament; the second game was drawn clinching the match for Shirov who was then eliminated by Nisipeanu. Shirov also plays the Burn variation on occasion but he prefers the less sharp 6..Bxf6. Short's 7..Nd7 is rarely played; 7..b6, 7..a6 and 7..f5 are more popular. 9 d5 had been played in Tseshkovsky-Bronstein 1981 USSR Team Ch. (drawn); 9 0-0 was new. Shirov was already short of time when he played 14 Qh5 thinking that Short had blundered with 13..e5!? (14..exd? 15 Nxf6+..Bxf6 16 Bd3 would have ended the game at once); he had overlooked Short's 14..Nd5!. After the game Shirov said that 15 Ne2 with a small positional edge would have been stronger than the speculative piece sacrifice 15 Rad1!? that he played. One of the ideas behind 20 Qe5 was 20..Re8? 21 Qxf6+..Qxf6 22 Rxe8+..Kg7 23 Na5+ winning. 21..Re8 forced Shirov to sacrifice his queen and left Blach with an edge in a complicated position; 21..Bd7 would have been a quieter way for Black to play for a win. After 24..Qc6? White had a great attack; as mentioned in a previous comment 24..Be7! would have left Black with a solid advantage (and 24..Bd6 would have been good enough for a draw). Instead of Short's 26..Kf6?! better would have been 26..Kh6 27 Rxc8..Qxc8 28 Rxc8..Rxc8 29 Nxf5+..Kg5 with an endgame advantage for Black. Shirov's 28 Rd3! kept up the pressue; 28 Rge8+?..Be6 29 Rxa8..Qxc3 would have left Black with a winning position. The pretty 38 g3! would have won even quicker.

Great fighting game by both players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Shirov calls 15. Rad1 an error, having not seen 17...Bc5.

And 24...Bd6 would have been much better than 24...Qc6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Shirov writes winning the rook with 28. Rge8+ Be6 29. Rxa8 Qxc3 is a win for black. How does that work out?
May-19-17  Nerwal: <Shirov writes winning the rook with 28. Rge8+ Be6 29. Rxa8 Qxc3 is a win for black. How does that work out?>

White cannot defend f2 without losing more material.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Thanks. I see white can't get either rook to help protect f2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Thanks. I see white can't get either rook to help protect f2.>

One option is to sacrifice the exchange to remove the black bishop:

30. Rac8 Qd2 31. Rc5+ Bxc5 32. bxc5 Qxa2

However, I don't see how White can stop Black's passed pawns on the q-side.

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