Viswanathan Anand - Alexei Shirov

Round 10
Tata Steel 2011


Once again Tata Steel Chess tournament will have not one, but three games commented on simultaneously! Live commentary of Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Anand - Shirov, and Tkachiev - Wesley So will start at 13:30 CET.

Live commentary will be provided by GM Christian Bauer, author of the book Play the Scandinavian, the U18 top player of Spain IM Alexander Ipatov (interview with him here), and the international coach and winner of many tournaments IM Miodrag Perunovic (more info here).

For the past year IM Ipatov and IM Perunovic are also successful coaches of U1800-U2400 players via internet and live training. If you want to get in touch with them, send them a message here

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Qa5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qd2 Bb4 9.Rc1 h6 10.Bh4 c5 11.Bc4 Shirov sticks to the Cambridge-Springs Variation, it was played in Alekhin-Capablanca match in 1927. It is less known as the Pillsbury Variation where Black breaks the pin on the h4-d8 diagonal and forms a pin of his own on the c3 knight. There are games with this opening dating back to the 1800's

11... Nxc3 12.bxc3 Ba3 it looks like a Grünfeld with the Bishop at a3 rather than g7.

13.Rb1 a6 After 13...a6 Black obviously prevents Rb5, but also Bb5+ in case he tehn opts for ...Nb6

14.Be2 a prophylactic move, after a subsequent ...b7-b5 White will have a tempo to do something.

14... O-O 15.O-O b5 16.c4 looks logical to open the play because Black still has problems with development

16.c4 one point of 16.c4 was that after Qxd2 17.Nxd2 cxd4 , 18.exd4 Black couldn't simply go ...bxc4 as after 19.Nxc4 his Ba3 would have been lost.

16... Bb4 17.Qc2 with following Rf1-d1 and d4-d5 looks interesting.

17.Qc2 GM Bauer: I believe Shirov hasn't solved all his problems, the Bb4 is still a bit unstable + there is the option d4-d5 at some point. Ipatov: After 17...cxd4 the Knight will come into the play after 18.Nxd4 with the idea of 19.Nc6.

17... Bb7 With that move Black wants ...Rac8, when he can consider exchanging pawns and even ...Bxf3 at some point. I don't think it is a matter of plan here, but more concretely on moves. It looks like Anand has to go a2-3 soon to disturb his opponent's intentions. Without this move, a2-a3 Black is going to equalize quite soon

18.Rfd1 bxc4

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Back to the game, indeed, Nd2 may give a small plus to White, then after 19...Nb6 20.Nxc4 Bxc4 Black can hardly take cxd4 with his Bishops "hanging".

19.dxc5 Nxc5 Ipatov: 19...Nxc5 a very inaccurate move,pity to see Alexei down of the tournament table this year.He's a great and super talented player but his results mostly depends on the form during the tournament.We can remember his fantastic play in Mtel Masters....

20.Rd4 It's becoming dangerous for Shirov perhaps he should try ...Bxf3 and then ...Rab8 trying to hold together with his Bishop at a3 and Knight at c5.

20... Rab8 Except for the evident 21.Rxc4 White has got 2 valuable alternatives, namely 21.Bg3 and 21.Ne5. Not easy to decide what is best, which explains Anand's thought.

21.Ne5 Bd5 22.Be7

Anand is not interested in returning the pawn for the time being, but is playing to increase the pressure. 22...Rfe8 23. Bd6 and next he might consider Nxc4. f7-pawn might also come under attack in some lines.

The position can still be tricky, for example 22. ... Be4 23. Rxe4 Nxe4 24. Nc6 Qf5 and there is the idea of Ne4-d2! after which White pieces might be hanging in addition to the backrank problem.

22... Rfe8 23.Bd6 Rbd8 Must be marked as a mistake, 23...Rb7 was the only try and then White probably has to collect c4 pawn.

24.Bh5 As noted in the previous paragraph, f7 can be a juicy target...

24... Rxd6 25.Bxf7+ Kf8 26.Bxe8

26...Kxe8 27. Qg6+ and Nxc4 is probably closing the game, so maybe Black can try and intercept the Queen's diagonal somehow, like with Nd3.

But Shirov didn't want to continue the torture and resigned. Thank you all for following Chessdom and Chessbomb live coverage, see you again Friday 13:30 CET. 1-0