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Alexey Shirov vs Veselin Topalov
Sarajevo (1999), Sarajevo BIH, rd 6, May-23
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Traditional Line (B92)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Shirov has played 7 Bg5 against Kasparov on several occasions and has not scored well so he avoided it here. The line with 12 Nd5..Nbd7 (10 nd5..Nbd7 without the two extra moves included) has scored poorly for White though it still has some popularity. Seirawan strongly disagrees with 15 Qd2!? (13 Qd2) feeling that 15 Nxc5 is positionally forced though Shirov's move continues to be played. 16..b6 was new; 16..a5 had been played a few months earlier in Svidler-J.Polgar Dos Hermanas won by Black. Afterwards Shirov did not think much of his plan with 17 f3 and 19 f4 and felt that White was, at best, equal after 20..Rfb8. After the game Shirov felt that he should have played 33 Bh5!..Nxg5 34 Qg4..Nh3+ 35 Kh1..Qxg4 36 Bxg4..Nf4 37 Bxb6..f5 38 Bd1 with a small edge. Shirov felt that he had better practical winning chances after his 41 Rgxg6 (the gain of tempo for White is worth more than the drawback of connecting the Black pawns) rather than the alternative 41 Rf1..Qxg2+ 42 Kxf2..Re2+ 43 Kh1..Bd6 which should give Black enough counterplay. 55 Rf1! defended against the mating threat as now 55..Re1 56 Qd7+ and 57 Qxf5 would have won easily. In time trouble Shirov almost played 58 Kg2? overlooking 58..Rf2+ 59 Kg3..Rf3+ 60 Kh4? (60 Kg2 is =)..Bf6+ 61 Kh5..Rh3#. Had Topalov played 61..Ke6 Shirov had prepared 62 d8(N)+!.

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