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Nigel Short vs Pentala Harikrishna
Gibraltar Masters (2004), La Caleta GIB, rd 8, Feb-03
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-07-04  Helloween: I don't like Harikrishna's play in this game at all. He allows himself tripled c-pawns and isolated a and e pawns. He allows White to undouble his e-pawns. He has a lost endgame at move 10, yet he allows a Queen trade. He played this game without any strategy, and looked like an absolute amateur.
Feb-11-04  aboynamedgeorge: Well, instead of e4?? at the very end, black would have played something else, Kf3 looks plausible. I don't see a winning plan for white, as his king isn't able to activate. Maybe it's possible to win, but I doubt it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 44...e4 was desperation to give a flight square for the rook on c5. If 44...♔f3 45 e4 ♔f4 46 c4 ♔f3 47 ♔c3 ♔e3 48 ♖a3 ♔ any 49 ♔b4 nabs the rook.
Feb-17-04  karlzen: Yes, indeed, another nice piece of zugzwang! Again the opponent's pieces find themselves embarrasingly trapped! That's what it's all about really, stronger players have better co-ordination and understanding of subtle ideas and moves. In the eye of modern chess strategy, the bishop-pair is very important. That's why Short wanted to play Na4xc5 or xb6 (Black could have played Bb6). One of the most important features of the bishop-pair is that the bishops can be exchanged at the most favourable moment. That's exactly what happens in this game. Short exchanges both his bishops to get the much superior pawn-structure. 6...0-0 (gives black Nd4) or possibly 9...Ne6 would've been better. If black doesn't exchange queens, he won't have any counterplay, but he didn't get that by swapping queens anyway so he's practically lost. By the way, the tripled c-pawns are called the Icelandic centre (name invented by Miles I believe). I agree that 17..f5 just about made the whole picture complete. Harikrishna must've been impersonated by a real amateur! 17...c4! actually gives black some counterplay - after all, it's time to panic. 36.c5! is very good and I'm sure Short had that calculated to the end.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "However, when the doubled isolated pawns are on a closed file, the damage is much less serious, and such damage may be acceptable in return for the bishop pair or similar compensation. Consider the following amazing opening, played last year between two very strong grandmasters, Nigel Short and P. Harikrishna: <1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. 0-0 d6 6. Nc3 Bg4 7. Na4! Nd7 8. Nxc5 Nxc5 9. Be3 Qf6?!? 10. Bxc6+ bxc6 11. Nxc5 dxc5>

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Black has allowed tripled isolated pawns! Not surprisingly, he lost. I think he felt that after the obvious 9…Ne6 White would have a free bishop pair advantage (Black apparently needs to improve on move 5 or 6), and judged that his drawing chances would be better with the tripled pawns in an ending, especially since he could at least inflict doubled pawns on White.. Grandmaster J. Rowson called this “a questionable decision” (I would put it more strongly), but to me the remarkable thing is that such a strong player as Harikrishna would even consider this choice. It’s not that he was unaware of how bad tripled isolated pawns are; it’s just that he had such respect for the bishop pair that he (wrongly) judged the tripling to be the lesser evil."

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