Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

White: FM Peter Bereolos
Black: GM Alexander Shabalov
2004 Chicago Open
Round 4 Board 11

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 taking the plunge into the Botvinnik against one of the world's leading experts on it! I suppose one could be cheeky and play the Shabalov-Shirov gambit 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4 against its inventor. 5...dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.exf6 Bb7 12.g3 Qc7

This was a new move to me (although I'd become even more familiar with it a couple of rounds later). Checking the New in Chess website, I see that in Yearbook 70 there is a survey titled The Cuban Variation by Alexander Shabalov on this variation! (I presume the name is because Cuban GMs Dominguez and Vera are champions of this line). 13.Bg2 c5 14.0-0 ECO gives 14.d5 Qe5+ (14...b4 seems to be the improvement) 15.Qe2 0-0-0 16.dxe6 Qxe2+ 17.Kxe2 Bxg2 18.e7 Bxe7 19.fxe7 Rdg8 20.Bf4 Re8 21.Nxb5 Rxe7+ 22.Kd2 Bxh1 23.Nd6+ Kd8 24.Rxh1+/- There are of course several places Black can deviate, but the games I found with 14. d5 seem to favor White. 14...Bxg2 15.Kxg2 Qb7+ 16.f3 0-0-0 17.dxc5 Nxc5 18.Qe2 Nd3 19.Rad1 19.Ne4 was Ruban-Savchenko, Tbilisi 1989 Informant 47/518 which ECO gives with slight advantage to White. I thought it was better to hold back this move since the Nc3 is preventing ...Qd5 and putting pressure on the b5 pawn. 19...Bh6 20.h4 20.Bxh6 Rxh6 21.Ne4 also deserves consideration

20...Bxg5 I also reached this position two rounds later against Jason Drake who continued with 20...Qc6. 21.hxg5 Rh5 21...b4 22.Ne4 Qb5 22.Ne4 I rejected the immediate 22.g6 because of 22...Rg5 threatening both Rxg6 and Nf4+, but it looks like White can then play 23.gxf7 !? 23...Qxf7 (23...Nf4+ 24.Kf2+-) 24.f4 with an edge 22...Qd5 23.Rh1 23.a4 23...Rxh1 23...Rxg5!? 24.Nxg5 Qxg5 24.Rxh1 Qd4

25.g6 25.Rh7 25...fxg6 26.f7 26.Rh7 was GM Blatny's suggestion after the game 26...Nxb2 (26...Qxb2 27.Qxb2 Nxb2 28.Rxa7; 26...e5 27.f7) 27.Qe1 with the initiative (27.Re7 Nd1) 27...Nd3 (27...Qb6 28.Ng5) 28.Qa5 Qb6 29.Rxa7 Qxa5 30.Rxa5 b4 31.f7 Kb8 32.Rb5+ Ka8; Best might be the thematic 26.b3 undermining Nd3 while getting the b-pawn out of harms way. 26...Rf8 26...Qxb2 27.Qxb2 Nxb2 28.Nf6 Rf8 29.Rh8+-; 26...Kd7!?; 26...Qg7 27.Ng5] 27.Ng5? 27.Nc3 Kd7 (27...Qd7 28.b3; 27...Qb6; 27...Rxf7 28.Qxe6+) 28.Nxb5 Qxb2 29.Qxb2 Nxb2; 27.Rh7 Qxb2 28.Qxb2 Nxb2 29.Nc5 Now Black doesn't have ...Kd7 27...Qxb2 For some reason I had overlooked this. I guess because with the knight still on e4 White can follow up with Qxb2 Nxb2 Rb1 regaining the pawn, but now I found myself in trouble since the c-pawn is very fast. 27...Qe5 28.Qxe5 Nxe5 28.Qxb2 Nxb2 29.f4 29.Rh7 Kd7 30.Rg7 c3 31.Nh7 Ke7; 29.Rh6 c3 30.Rxg6 Rxf7 (30...c2 31.Rg8) 31.Rg8+ Kc7 (31...Kd7 32.Nxf7 c2 33.Ne5+ Kc7 34.Rg7+ Kb6 35.Nd7+ Kc6 36.Ne5+ =) 32.Nxe6+ Kb6 33.Rb8+ Ka5 34.Nd4 Rd7 35.Nb3+ Kb4-/+ 29...Kd7 30.Kf3 c3 31.Ke4 31.Ke2 is better, when the White king can help in the fight against the c-pawn 31...Ke7 32.a3 a5 33.Rc1 33.g4!? 33...b4 (33...Rc8) 34.axb4 axb4 35.Ra1 c2 36.Ra7+ Kd6 37.Ra6+ Kd7 38.Ra7+ Kc6 39.Nxe6 c1Q 40.Rc7+ Kd6 41.Rxc1 Kxe6 42.Rb1 Nc4 43.f5+ 33...b4 34.axb4 axb4 35.Ra1 c2 36.Ra7+ Kd6 37.Ra6+ Kd7 38.Ra7+

38...Kc6 If I have assessed the resulting ending correctly, this move deserves a question mark. Instead, Black wins with the more scary looking 38...Kd6! 39.Ra6+ Ke7 40.Ra7+ Kf6 41.Nh7+ Kg7 42.Nxf8 Kxf8 43.Rc7 b3 39.Nxe6 c1Q 39...Kd6 40.Nxf8 (40.Rc7? Kxe6 41.Rxc2 Nd1) 40...c1Q 41.Nxg6 40.Rc7+ 40.Nxf8 Qh1+ 41.Ke5 (41.Kd4 Qg1+) 41...Qh8+ 40...Kd6 41.Rxc1 Kxe6 42.Rb1 Nc4 43.Rxb4 Nd6+ 44.Kf3 Rxf7

Black has won a piece, but with only a single pawn left, there are some technical difficulties in securing the full point. 45.g4 Kd5 45...g5 46.Kg3 and the last Black pawn comes off 46.Ra4! White has to prevent ...g5 which would fix the pawn structure 46.Rb8? g5 47.Rb4 Kc5 48.Ra4 Nc4-+ 46...Rc7 46...g5 47.Ra5+! 47.Ra6 Rc3+ 48.Kg2? I haven't been able to find a win after 48.Ke2! for example 48...Rg3 (48...Rc6 49.Ra4) 49.Ra5+ Kc6 50.Rg5 and g6 falls 48...Rc6? 48...Rd3! seems to be the key move, with the knight protected the Black king can advance and the Black pieces weave a mating net behind the White pawns. 49.Ra5+ (49.Ra4 Ne4 50.Ra5+ Kd4 51.Ra4+ Ke3 52.Ra6 Rd2+) 49...Ke4 50.Rg5 Rd2+ 51.Kg1 Kf3 52.Rxg6 Ne4 53.Ra6 Nf2 54.Ra3+ Nd3 55.f5 Kg3 56.Kf1 Kh2 49.Ra4? White can't trade 49.Rxc6? Kxc6 50.Kg3 Ne4+ 51.Kh4 Kd5 but it seems there was still an opportunity to hold by first threatening to attack the Black pawn from behind 49.Ra8 Rc8 (49...Ke4 50.Kg3 Rc3+ 51.Kh4 Kxf4 52.Rf8+! Ke5 53.Kg5!) 50.Ra3 Ne4 51.Rd3+ and Black hasn't really made progress 49...Ne4-+ 50.Kh3 Rf6 51.f5 g5 52.Kg2 Rc6 53.Kf3 Rc3+ 54.Ke2 Ke5 55.Ra5+ Rc5 56.Ra1 Kf4 57.Kd3 Rd5+ 58.Kc4 Rd6 59.Re1 Nf6 0-1