Great chess games

Shimanov, Aleksandr(2658) – Rasulov, Vugar(2534) [A45]

White wins a very nice attacking game after Black’s dubious opening choice.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 The Trompowsky variation. White likes using this weapon when he wants to get his opponent to less theoretical areas. Black reacts with an ambitious setup. 2…d5 is considered to be the most solid.

2…Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3 Qa5+ 5.c3 Nf6 6.Nd2 cxd4 7.Nb3 All these moves are well-known with thousands of games in the database. Here Black has a wide range of choices. Qd8 and Qb6 are the main moves. The text is the most ambitious and has also been tried in many games, but it seems rather suspicious to me…

7…Qf5?! Forcing White to give up his strong bishop in order to restore the material balance, but White gets too many free tempi by attacking the wandering queen.

8.Bxb8! Quite unusual moves for both sides, but what to do, this is an unusual opening.

8…Rxb8 9.Qxd4! Gaining an important tempo again by attacking the a7 pawn. Black has no b8 knight anymore to develop with Nc6 tempo and White is intending to castle queenside to launch his attack as quickly as possible.

9…b6 10.e4 The queen has no good square to leave, it must move into another tempo to finally get away from the danger zone.

10…Qf4 11.Nh3 Qc7

12.e5! Pushing back all the black pieces to the 8th rank.

12…Ng8 Many great players – such as Ivanchuk and Svidler have played like this as Black, but is it really worth the bishop pair to have such a passive position?! If White does not play accurately, things might quickly go in Black’s favor.

13.Nf2! This looks like the most accurate move! [13.O-O-O is more common, but in this case Black is able to solve the problem of his g8 knight with 13…e6 followed by Ne7-c6.]

13…Nh6 Trying to activate the knight through f5, but after White’s strong reaction the knight ends up at the edge of the board. [Now on 13…e6 White has 14.Ne4 preventing Ne7 because of the check on d6.; Maybe 13…f6 to undermine the annoying e5 pawn was an option, but I doubt that Black could objectively play like this.]

14.g4! White is going to castle queenside anyway, so such moves are easy to make. Of course with the knig on g1 we would have a different story…

14…Bb7 15.Ne4

15…f5 The only way to get back the h6 knight to the game through f7 and to try and finish the development. However it also has the drawback that the position is going to open and then the king on e8 who will be stuck in the center is becoming more vulnerable.

16.exf6! gxf6 17.O-O-O White’s main attacking idea is Bb5 followed by Rhe1, quickly punishing the king. With the following couple of moves Black would like to trade queens to avoid getting mated…

17…Qf4+ 18.Kb1 d5 The endgame would be excellent for Black as he would have no more worries about his king and also the two bishops would soon start to work. However White is not forced to move his knight…

19.g5!! White creates the threat of Nxf6 and the pawn cannot be taken as the rook is hanging on h8. Therefore Black is forced to accept the sacrifice.

19…dxe4 20.Qd7+ Shimanov sends the opponent’s king on a long run.

20…Kf7 21.Bc4+ Such checks, developing with tempo, should always be given.

21…Kg6 22.gxf6!? A new file opens on the king. [Actually 22.gxh6 was also perfectly fine. The g-file opens for the rook. Even materially White is holding the balance, but of course the situation of the black king plays a more important role.]

22…Bc8       [On     22…exf6     the     best     is           23.Rhg1+ Kh5

24.Rg3h intending to mate with Rh3 followed by Rg1.;

22…exf3 23.fxe7 should not last long for Black.]

23.Rhg1+ [23.Qe8+!? to force Black to take on f6 would have been even more precise. 23…Kxf6 24.Qc6+ e6 25.fxe4 and Rhf1 next was also just a simple win for White, but the text move is also good. ]

23…Kh5 The only move! It seems to be completely winning, but White should continue finding the best attacking moves. [23…Kxf6 24.Qc6+ e6 25.fxe4h is over.]

24.Qe8+! Haunting the king, but it continues his journey at the rim of the board.

24…Kh4 25.fxe7! Usually the simplest moves are the strongest ones… White will get a new queen soon.

25…Bf5 [25…Bg7 is met by 26.Qxh8 Bxh8 27.e8=Qh]

26.exf8=Q What an amazing position with three queens and an h4 king on the board!

26…exf3+ 27.Ka1 Rxf8 28.Qe7+ Kh5 [On 28…Kh3 White has several wins. An easy one is 29.Rd2 and it is difficult to parry the Bf1 mate threat.]

29.Rd4! White continues attacking with tempo. The end should be close!

29…f2 30.Be2+! Bg4 31.Rf1 Blocking Black’s last hope. White loses one attacking piece, but continues attacking with three, which should still be enough. [According to the machine 31.Bxg4+ 31…Nxg4 32.Qxh7+ Qh6 33.Rd5+! Kh4 34.Rxg4+! Kxg4 35.Qxh6 f1=Q+ 36.Nc1h was even stronger and Black has no defence, but Shimanov’s choice is more human and looks much simpler.]

31…Qg5 White finds a pretty way to obtain a decisive material advantage: [31…Rbe8 leads to a lost endgame after

32.Qxe8+ Rxe8 33.Rxf4 Rxe2 34.R4xf2h; On 31…Rf7 which would have been the best practical chance, the strongest and the most beautiful is 32.Qe6!! Rf6 33.Qd7! Rf7 34.Qb5+! Qg5 (34…Rf5 loses to 35.Rxf4 Rxb5 36.Bxb5h) 35.Bxg4+ Nxg4 36.Rd5h wins decisive material.]

32.Rxg4!! Nxg4 [32…Qxe7 33.Re4+ Kg6 34.Rxe7h White is a piece up.]

33.Qxh7+ Qh6 34.Bxg4+ Kg5 White is even materially ahead, but the f2 pawn could create some counterplay if he makes a mistake. The next move is extremely important in order to continue the haunt of the king!

35.h4+! Qxh4 The only move, but now new unpleasant checks are coming…

36.Qg7+ Kf4 37.Nd4!? Bishop moves were also strong, but White brings a new attacker to the game!

37…Qh8 A desperate attempt to trade queens, but of course the mate is coming soon. [37…Qxg4 is refuted by 38.Rxf2+ Kg3 39.Rg2+ Kxg2 40.Qxg4+h Everything is falling with check, so Black cannot make use of the weak back rank.]

38.Ne2+ Ke4 39.Qg6+ Kd5 40.Qe6+ [Black resigned in view of 40.Qe6+ 40…Kc5 41.b4+ Kb5 42.Nd4+ Ka6 (42…Ka4 43.Qb3#) 43.Be2+ Kb7 44.Qc6# An entertaining game!] 1-0