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Alexander Shabalov vs Levon Aronian
"I'm Shabalovin' It" (game of the day Nov-01-2015)
Calvia Olympiad (2004), Calvia ESP, rd 12, Oct-27
Spanish Game: Marshall Attack. Modern Variation (C89)  ·  0-1



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Given 31 times; par: 70 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black's heavy pieces demolish the king side, then the king is chased west to his doom.
Feb-26-17  Abdel Irada: ∞

As a Marshall Attack player, I am ashamed to say I went off on a siding and tried very hard to make 21. ...Rxg5? work. Somehow I just never looked at the key. :-(

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: I dont usually get very far on Sundays, but I play the Marshall when I get the chance so I felt I should try.

fairly straightforward until 25 .... then I wasnt sure, Rg2+ or Qg2+. Rg2+ looked right, then I second guessed and a bit after that I lost my way.

Sigh :

Feb-26-17  AlicesKnight: I saw the blasting open of the White K-side with the double sacrifice and Q-R intrusion, but not the long-term way to press the attack. A fine piece of sustained pressure.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Another recycled puzzle.

I noticed I didn't consider

A.5) 23.Bc2 Bxe1+ 24.Bxg6 Qg4+ 25.Kf1 (25.Kh1 Qxf3+ 26.Kg1 Nxe3 wins) 25... Qxf3+ 26.Kxf1 fxg6 with two extra pawns and a winning attack.

Feb-26-17  morfishine: Same game, same move from Oct 2014

Must've been an oversight


Feb-26-17  mel gibson: The computer agrees but it's close to even:

21. f3 Bxf3 (21. .. Bxf3 (♗g4xf3 ♖e1-f1 ♗f3-g4 ♗e3-d2 ♗g4-f5 ♖f1xf5 ♕d7xf5 ♗b3-c2 ♕f5-f6 ♗c2xg6 ♕f6xg6 ♕c1-b1 f7-f5 ♕b1-d3 h7-h6 ♘g5-f3 ♕g6-h5 ♘f3-h4 ♖f8-f6 a2-a4) +0.48/18 59)

score for black +0.48 depth 18

But white makes a big error here on move 23 -
white can't take the bishop with the pawn:

23. hxg3 Rxg3+ (23. .. Rxg3+ (♖g6xg3+ ♔g1-f2
♕d7-h3 ♖e1-e2 ♖g3xf3+ ♔f2-e1 ♘d5xe3 ♔e1-d2 ♘e3-f1+ ♔d2-d1 ♘f1-g3 ♖e2-e1 ♕h3-h5 ♕c1-d2 ♖f3-d3+ ♔d1-c1 ♖d3xd2 ♔c1xd2 ♕h5-h2+ ♔d2-c1 ♘g3-e4 ♔c1-b1 ♖f8-e8) +7.96/15 58)

score for black +7.96 depth 15.

Feb-26-17  Carlos0012358: I am confused!

Is the purpose of the daily puzzle to figure out the moves the two players played, what they "should" have played?

This is a case where right off the start Shabalov "played" the horrendous 22.Nxf3, rather than perhaps 22.Rf1?

Then, to worsen matters, he played 23.hxg3, rather than perhaps 23.re2?

Basically, Shabalov did his very best to clear his King side and retreat to his Queen side, giving Aronian the opportunity to eventually promote a pawn.

By move 32, although seemingly balanced (2 pawns for a B), Shabalov managed to be confined to one fourth of the board (a,d,1,4) and positionally dead.

Feb-26-17  Marmot PFL: Where is Phony Benoni today? I would bet my last dollar that a lifetime Marshall player would nail this puzzle.

It wasn't too hard for me either to find the main line with 2 pawns and attack for the piece, but the position is still difficult and I wouldn't be likely to play it as well as Aronian.

Feb-26-17  YouRang: Insane Sunday 21...?

click for larger view

I guessed <21...Bxf3> only because it clears the way for the the rook and queen, probably using ...Bxg3 as a breaker. However, I couldn't convince myself that I could make the sac stand up.

After <22.Nxf3 Bxg3>

click for larger view

White had best be concerned about guarding the king. Since taking the bishop (23.hxg3? Rxg3+ 24.Kf2 Qh6) looks like death, it is much more sensible to go with <23.Re2> (save the R and guarding the 2nd rank)

click for larger view

I'm not seeing any tactics that really work for black. For example:

23...Bxh2+? 24.Kxh2 looks dangerous, but 24...Qg4 25.Bg5! Qxf3 26.Rg2 seems to hold.

23...Bh4+? 24.Kh1 Qg4 leads to threat diffusing exchanges: 25.Bxd5 cxd5 26.Nxh4 Qxe2 27.Qd2 =


So, plugging it into a computer, I see that black is a bit better (evals around -1.04) after 23.Re2.

One idea for black is 23...Nxe3 24.Rxe3 Bf4+ 25.Kf2 Rf6 26.Qe1 Bxe3 27.Qxe3 Re8 28.Qg5

click for larger view

So yeah, white is looking bad. The material is roughly even with black having a R+P for a B+N, but white's K is exposed trapped by Re8, and ...Qh3 looms. The computer eval has risen to nearly +2.00.

So, a good puzzle but hard to see from way back on move 21.


It's a pity that white made it easy for black 23.hxg3?, allowing the direct R+Q attack.

Also a pity that black didn't play the attack well. His <25...Qg2+?> lets the king escape to d3. However 25...Rg2+! doesn't (26.Kd3? Qf5#; or 26.Kd1? Qxf3+ ~#).

Feb-26-17  wtpy: These puzzles must be getting easier because I am too old to be getting better.
Feb-26-17  RandomVisitor: After 21...Bxf3

click for larger view


<-0.44/39 22.Qd2 Nxe3 23.Qxe3> Bd5 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.Nf3 f5 26.Ne5 Bxe5 27.Qxe5 f4 28.Rad1 fxg3 29.hxg3 b4 30.cxb4 Qh3 31.Re3 Kh8 32.Qf4 Rgf6 33.g4 Rxf4 34.Rxh3 Rxg4+ 35.Kh1 Rf2 36.Rh5 g5 37.Rg1 Rxd4 38.Rgxg5 Rxb2 39.Rxd5 Rbxb4 40.Rxd4 Rxd4 41.Ra5 Rd6 42.Kg2 Kg7 43.Kg3 h6 44.Kf4 Kg6 45.Rc5 h5 46.Kg3 Rb6 47.Ra5 Rc6 48.Re5

Feb-26-17  BOSTER: White 31.a3 was too slow.
After 31. Re3 Qc4+ 32.Kc2 white had time to activate his pieces.
Feb-26-17  kb2ct: While impossible to predict the final skewer, it was not difficult to forsee the lack of control over the queening sqare.


Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Cheapo by the Dozen: Is there a reason my line of 25 ... Rf3+ didn't work? If White returns the bishop, it seems like Black has a routinely winning position, and if he doesn't, it seems like Black can pin White's king in the center with ... Rd3>

Rf3 isn't check, at least not in the game line, because the white king is already on e2, and White just plays 26. Bxd5, and still a piece up after 26...cxd5, albeit there is still some pressure in the center. Are you talking about a different line? (Reminds of the old TV show: What's my line?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: (cont'd) The problem is that black can't recapture the bishop on d5 and play Re8 simultaneously on move 27, so the white King has time to escape to the d column and there's no more pin (although it's still very tricky, of course)
Feb-26-17  BOSTER: 29. Bf4 was interesting move.
Feb-26-17  The Kings Domain: Got this one, the sacrifice leads to a strong kingside attack. Fine attacking game by Aronian.
Feb-26-17  RandomVisitor: A final look, after 21...Bxf3

click for larger view


<-0.52/41 22.Qd2 Nxe3 23.Qxe3> Bd5 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.Nf3 f5 26.Ne5 Bxe5 27.Qxe5 f4 28.Rad1 fxg3 29.hxg3 h6 30.Kg2 Kh7 31.Rf1 Re8 32.Qf4 Re2+ 33.Rf2 Re4 34.Qf5 Qc7 35.Rd3 Qc4 36.Rdf3 Qxa2 37.Qc8 Qc4 38.Rf8 Qxc8 39.Rxc8 b4 40.Rd8 Reg4 41.Rf3 R4g5 42.Rb8 bxc3 43.bxc3 Rd6 44.Rb2 a5 45.Ra2 Ra6 46.Ra4 Kg6 47.Re3 Kf5 48.Re2 Kg4 49.c4 dxc4 50.Rxc4 Rd5

Feb-27-17  stst: Though time over (already next day when probing this,) still want a try: see three lines: 21........

check on (B):
22.NxB Rxg3+
23.Kf2 Qg4
24.Bd1 Rg2+

let's see...

Feb-27-17  stst: Basically got the (B) line right...
Feb-27-17  RandomVisitor: After 17...Bf5

click for larger view


<+0.13/41 18.Qc1 Bg4> 19.a4 Re7 20.axb5 axb5 21.Bd1 Bxd1 22.Qxd1 f5 23.c4 bxc4 24.Nxc4 f4 25.Bd2 fxg3 26.fxg3 Bb8 27.Rxe7 Qxe7 28.Qe1 Qf6 29.Qe4 h5 30.Be3 h4 31.Ne5 hxg3 32.hxg3 Nxe3 33.Qxe3 Qe6 34.Ra5 Bxe5 35.Rxe5 Qf7 36.Qe2 Qf3 37.Qxf3 Rxf3 38.Kg2 Rd3 39.Re8+ Kf7 40.Rc8 Rxd4 41.Rc7+ Ke6 42.Rxc6+ Kf5 43.Rc2 Rb4 44.Kh3 Rb3 45.Rf2+ Ke5 46.Re2+ Kd5

Feb-27-17  RandomVisitor: After 19...Bg4: 20.Nh4 stops Rg6

click for larger view


<+0.36/37 20.Nh4> Rfe8 21.a4 g6 22.axb5 axb5 23.Ng2 Bf8 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.Qd2 h5 26.Bh6 Rxe1+ 27.Rxe1 Bd6 28.Rxe8+ Qxe8 29.Qe1 Qe2 30.Bf4 Be7 31.Bc7 Kg7 32.Qxe2 Bxe2 33.f4 Kf6 34.Kf2 Bc4 35.Ne3 Ke6 36.f5+ gxf5 37.Nxc4 bxc4 38.Bf4 h4 39.gxh4 Bxh4+ 40.Kf3 Bd8 41.h3 Bh4 42.Bg3 Be7 43.Bf4

May-28-18  Saniyat24: The novelty for this game is given as 20.Qd1, but in the game 20.Ng5 was played...!
Jul-12-21  Gaito: This was a very exciting game in spite of the fact that the engines find a lot of oversights and mistakes by both sides. That is natural in such complicated positions. From the human point of view it was an interesting struggle, although the computer evaluation gave a lot of oscillations. There were some very good too, endorsed by the engines.
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