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Alexander Shabalov vs Wesley So
US Chess Championship (2016), St Louis, MO USA, rd 7, Apr-21
Semi-Slav Defense: Anti-Moscow Gambit (D44)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-22-16  kamagong24: Shabalov made a 'human' move and lost quickly
Apr-22-16  SirRuthless: A total domination. Once Shabalov lost the thread wesley quickly pounced with Qb6 saving the h pawn and then Shabalov was out of book and out of hope. Wesley was my dark horse to win the event because of his familiarity with many of the players here from his scholastic chess days. I still stand by that.
Apr-22-16  iking: Shabalov can go on playing but rationalized on the futility of continuing against a formidable opponent in Wesley So.
Apr-22-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Wesley's Knight goes to e8 and Shaba has no answer. Wow! I thought Shaba was expert in these lines of the Semi Slav but So beats him at his own game.
Apr-22-16  dehanne: It is better to sacrifice your opponent's pieces.
Aug-24-17  ChessHigherCat: White is threatening Nxg7 Kxg7 Qxf6+ so how do we deal with that?

What about 21...Ne8, attacking the R and Q simultaneously?

If 22. Nxg7 then Qxe6. Now white has the dirty trick 23. Ne6+ threatening QxR but black can just play Kg8 and the N on e8 guards g7.

That only wins the exchange so there may be better but lez checkydoubt maaaaaaaan.

21. Nf5 Ne8 22. Nxg7 Qxd6 23. Ne6+ Kg8

Aug-24-17  ChessHigherCat: Hey, I got the whole Thursday puzzle in 10 minutes, which is pretty good for me (or else it's an exceptionally easy Thursday).

Shabalov is no slouch, he played a very sharp game but lucky for So he had that handy-dandy escape trick (he must have consulted Houdini!)

Aug-24-17  wtpy: Chcat,after Ne8 not even much calculation involved, just ok this is over.Same kind of puzzle as yesterday, see move then crunch.
Aug-24-17  wtpy: Nf5 looks strong but courts the whirlwind.
Aug-24-17  diagonalley: hmmmm... yes - except that muggins spent the first ten minutes thinking it was white to move.... DOH!
Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has the bishop pair and a pawn for a bishop and a knight.

White threatens Nxg7.

The position of the white queen and rook on d6 suggests 21... Ne8 22.Nxg7 (22.Qc3 Nxd6 - +) 22... Qxd6 23.Ne6+ (23.Qc3 Nxg7 - +) 23... Kg8, which seems to win an exchange.

Aug-24-17  Cheapo by the Dozen: I solved this on a defense-first basis, looking through moves that defend against the threat Rd8+ with a discovered attack on Black's queen (and that don't open up rook-for-two-pieces at f6).

21 ... Ne8 is the one that actually gives Black a double attack of his own, to go with his preexisting pawn advantage.

Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: <Steve Skojec> I come here to learn to play chess better, not to read peurile racist abuse. Either these kinds of remarks go or I go. I would prefer the former.
Aug-24-17  Walter Glattke: Black always wins the quality with 21.-Ne8: 22.Qxb5 Nxd6 23.Nxd6 Bxf3 24.Bxf3 Rb8 = R for B.
Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Oxspawn>, so would I; have already dropped a dime on some of the posts emanating from that quarter.
Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: Good to see the reaction from people I respect on this site. I agree <Sally Simpson> I did report it and would be happy for my post to disappear as well. And I did enjoy the game.
Aug-24-17  dTal: I didn't notice it was Black to play, and totally confused myself..
Aug-24-17  matiov: @Walter

After 1...Ne8 2.Qxb5 Nxd6 3.Nxd6 Bxf3 4.Bxf3 Black should play 4...Qxd6 winning a whole rook since 5.Bxa8 runs into 5...Qe1X. So Black played 2.Nxg7 in order to lose no more than an exchange.

Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Thursday puzzle (21...?,) it was obvious I needed to move the Knight on f6 to discover an attack on the Queen.

But where to move it? Obviously not 21...Ng4??, allowing mate-in-two after 21...Ng4?? 22. Qxg7+ Ke8 23. Qxh8#.

So that left 21...Nh5? and 21...Ne8! to consider. On the surface, 21...Nh5? doesn't look so awfully bad, until you realize 21...Nh5? 22. Qxb5 Ne6 23. Ne5 +- (+5.14 2 27 depth, Stockfish 8) gives White a crushing attack.

Therefore, 21...Ne8!, which discovers an attack on the Queen, threatens the Rook and protects against a mating attack on g7, is the only viable option.

However, after 21...Ne8! 22. Nxg7, all is not yet smooth sailing for Black's follow-up moves. Black has more than a few options to consider on the second move of the combination, and all of them but one turn the tables and give the win to White.

For example, if 22...Nxg6? White gets a winning attack after 21...Nxg6? 23. Nxg5! +- (+ 7.16 @ 27 depth, Stockfish 8.) The same goes for 23...Nxg7 24. Nxg5! Re8 25. Qf6 Kg8 26. Rxh6 +- (+3.12 @ 30 depth, Stockfish 8.)

The only follow-up move for Black that wins, and does not lose, is the game continuation 22...Qxd6! 23. Ne6+ Kg8 -+ (-4.35 @ 32 depth, Stockfish 8.)

P.S.: White's clearly decisive error appears to be 21. Nf5? allowing 21...Ne8! -+ (-4.03 @ 29 depth, Stockfish 8.)

Instead, 21. Rd1 Qxe5 ∓ (-1.30 @ 30 depth, Stockfish 8) puts up more resistance as play might go 21.Rd1 Qxe5 22.Nxe5 Re8 23.Nd7+ Nxd7 24.Rxd7 Bc8 25.Rxa7 Bxb2 26.a4 Bd4 27.Ra5 Bxe3 28.fxe3 Rxe3 29.axb5 Rb3 30.Kf2 Rb2 31.Raa1 Rxb5 32.Bxc4 Rb2+ 33.Be2 Bg4 34.Rhe1 Kg7 35.Kf1 Be6 36.Bf3 Rd8 37.Kg1 Rd7 38.g4 Rdd2 39.Ra8 Rbc2 40. Ra4 ∓ to ⩱ (-0.95 @ 34 depth, Stockfish 8.)

Earlier, the computer suggestion 18. Nf5 Kf8 [] 19. Nd6 ⩲ (+0.66 @ 29 depth, Stockfish 8) looks to improve over 18. Qf5 Qb6 ⩱ (-0.27 @ 28 depth, Stockfish 8.)

Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White shoved the pieces into an alligator's mouth...and CHOMP!
Aug-24-17  saturn2: I got the exchange winning stuff after 21..Ne8. <patzer2> I think you mean 22 .NxRd6 does not work. I also saw that it has to be 22.. QxR. Otherwise 23 Ne6 + forks the queen and black looses the exchange in the follow up.
Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Saturn 2> Yes, thanks for the correction. What I meant to write was 22. NxRd6? does not work because of 22...Nxg5! +- (+7.16 @ 27 depth, Stockfish 8.)
Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: What a stupid blunder by Shaba! I saw 21...♘e8 pretty quickly. I know that he's won 4 US Chess Championships & he's won or tied for 1st place in 7 US Opens but he's really starting to tarnish his legacy by continuing to play past his prime in top tournaments like the US Championship. He finished in last place in the US Championship this year w/ a +1 -5 =5 record out of 12 players. The reason he qualified for it is b/c he won the 2016 US Open. I do admire his creative style & I admire his will to win though. He has 210 more wins than draws in the CG database! At least he's not someone who strives for agreeing to draws a lot of the time like Leko. Although I will have to give Leko credit for almost beating Kramnik in the World Championship. Kramnik had to win the last game to tie the match & he did that.
Aug-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Not too Shabby...
Aug-24-17  The Kings Domain: Missed this one, I decided on 21)... Nh5. A real short one for So.
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