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Alexander Shabalov vs Varuzhan Akobian
32nd World Open (2004), Philadelphia, PA USA
French Defense: Advance Variation. Main Line (C02)  ·  0-1



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  tpstar: Akobian annotates this game in the November 2004 "Chess Life" with a slightly different move order for the opening, which corrects after 13. Re1 Nf7:

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. a3 c4 <This is the fifth time we've had the same opening in the last year and a half. I had tried other moves such as 6 ... cxd4 or the early 5 ... Bd7 intending ... cxd4 and ... b5. In this game I went for the locked position.> 7. Nbd2 Na5 <Stopping a b2-b4 break.> 8. h4 Bd7 9. h5 f5!? <My point was to gain some space on the kingside so it would be more difficult for White to attack in the future.> 10. Rb1 <10. exf6 gxf6 11. Be2 Bd6 12. 0-0 Ne7, intending ... 0-0-0, ... e5, and ... Rhg8, leaves Black with good attacking chances.> Nh6 11. Be2 Be7 12. 0-0 Rc8 <Again preventing 13. b4; Black wins after 13 ... cxb3 14. Nxb3 Ba4 15. Nfd2 Rxc3.> 13. Re1 Nf7 14. Qc2 <Still preparing b2-b4 ...> Qc7 <... and again preventing it; 15. b4 cxb3 16. Nxb3 Ba4 17. Nfd2 Nxb3 18. Nxb3 Qxc3 19. Qxc3 Rxc3 leaves Black a pawn up with no compensation.> 15. Nh2 g5! 16. Nhf1 <16. hxg6 is too dangerous: 16 ... hxg6 17. Nhf1 g5 18. Ra1 g4 19. Ne3 Ng5 is very good for Black.> g4 17. Ne3 Ng5 18. Qd1 Nb3 19. Bf1 <Not 19. Nxb3 Ba4 20. Bd2 Bxb3 21. Qc1 Ne4.> Nxd2 20. Bxd2 Ne4 21. Bc1 <Or 21. g3 Nxd2 22. Qxd2 Bg5 23. Bg2 Ba4 24. Qe2 Qf7 intending ... 0-0, ... Kh8 and ... Qxh5, and Black is much better.>

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21 ... g3! <It's very important not to allow White to play g3 followed by Ng2 and Nf4.> 22. f3 <After 22. fxg3 Nxg3 23. h6 Rg8 Black has a nice advantage. He's also better after 22. f4 0-0 23. Be2 Qa5 24. Bf1 Ba4 25. Qe1 Bb3.> Nf2 23. Qc2 0-0 24. Be2 <Or 24. Nd1 Nxd1 25. Rxd1 f4! 26. Be2 Qd8 27. Kf1 Qe8 28. h6 Qh5 29. Ke1 Be8 and Black's much better.> Qd8 25. Rf1 Kh8 26. Bd2 Rg8 27. Rxf2 <The alternative is 27. Be1 Bg5 28. Bxf2 gxf2+ 29. Kxf2 Bh4+ 30. Kg1 Bg3 31. Rf2 Qh4 winning for Black.> gxf2+ 28. Kxf2 Bh4+ 29. Kg1 Bg3! <Now Black is winning because in addition to the exchange, he retains a strong attack.> 30. Nf1 Qh4 31. Nxg3 Qxg3 32. Bf1 Qxf3 33. h6 Rg6 34. Re1 Rcg8 35. Bc1 Ba4 36. Qd2 Qg4 <Slightly better would have been 36 ... Qh5 37. Qf2 Rg4.> 37. Qf2 Qh5 38. Bf4 Rg4 39. Re3 <Or 39. Be2 Rxg2+ 40. Qxg2 Rxg2+ 41. Kxg2 Qh4 42. Rf1 Bc2 43. Kg1 Be4 winning.> Rh4 40. Qf3 Rh1+ 41. Kf2 Rg4 0-1. <White resigned in view of ... Bd1!>


An interesting example of the French Advance where Black utilizes the e4 & b3 light squares for the Knights while White's Bishops have no scope. The diagram shows Black gaining more space out of the opening with White's pieces confined to the back rank. 35 ... Ba4 is similar to Spassky vs Fischer, 1972

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