Battle of Generations: Shirov massacre

12/7/2013 – The friendly match between Alexei Shirov and Daniil Dubov has been a massacre in favor of the Latvian as he takes a 4.5-0.5 lead with one game to go. The match is ensured a full six games, but there has been little need of that to satisfy the audience's bloodlust. Though Dubov may have been unable to contain Shirov's nuclear brand of chess, the games have been highly entertaining.

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Battle of Generations: Shirov massacre

The friendly match between Alexei Shirov and Daniil Dubov has been a massacre in favor of the Latvian as he takes a 4.5-0.5 lead with one game to go. The match is ensured a full six games whatever the results and two blitz games in the event of a draw, but there has been little need of that to satisfy the audience's bloodlust.

Game three brought no reprieve for Dubov...

One could point out the more experienced and higher rating of Shirov over Dubov, but the truth is that would be only part of the story. The two players have extremely contrasting styles, with Shirov famous for his dynamic and tactical play, while Dubov has been described by Sergey Shipov, his trainer, as having a style more remniscent of Petrosian than anyone. The question then beckons: why is the ultra-positional player plunging headfirst into the Botvinnik system of the Semi-Slav with both colors? The Botvinnik has long been the darling of elite GMs, the ultimate challenge in complications and opening preparation, which hardly seems like the ideal choice if you want to impose quiet methodical maneuvering, and contain Shirov's nuclear brand of chess.

... as Shirov has had all the answers in the end.

That said, the games have been entertaining to say the least, and are well worth playing through. Use the drop-down menu to select the game.

[Event "Battle of the Generations 2013"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2013.12.03"] [Round "2"] [White "Dubov, Daniil"] [Black "Shirov, Alexei"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D44"] [WhiteElo "2629"] [BlackElo "2695"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2013.12.02"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 {It is not a big surprise that young Dubov avoids the sharpest line against a tactician as formidable as Shirov, but the line he chooses does not promise an advantage for White, and chaos will still reign.} (9. Nxg5 {is by far the darling of top GMs, who relish the challenge of insane complications, and deep preparation.} hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 {etc.}) 9... Nd5 10. h4 (10. Nd2 {is the normal continuation, with the idea of Be2 and Nde4.}) 10... Qa5 11. Rc1 Bb4 12. hxg5 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Bxc3+ 14. Nd2 Nd7 15. Rxh6 Rg8 16. Be2 Bb7 17. Bh5 $1 O-O-O $1 {Though the engines claim equality, White's king is looking quite vulnerable in the center.} 18. Bxf7 Rxg5 19. Bxe6 Rxg3 20. fxg3 Bxd4 21. Bxd7+ Rxd7 22. e6 Re7 {Though balanced, White's position looks very dangerous, with the king caught in the center and Black's heavy artillery running rampant.} 23. Kf1 Qa3 24. Nf3 Qe3 25. Nxd4 $2 {Despair? White tries to lop off some of the pieces threatening him but it blows up in his face.} Qxh6 26. Nf5 Qf6 27. g4 Rxe6 28. Qd2 c5 29. Kg1 Qd8 30. Qf2 Qd5 31. g5 Kc7 32. a4 Re5 33. Nh4 Rxg5 34. axb5 Rg4 35. Re1 Qd4 0-1 [Event "Battle of the Generations 2013"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2013.12.04"] [Round "3"] [White "Shirov, Alexei"] [Black "Dubov, Daniil"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2695"] [BlackElo "2629"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2013.12.02"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. h4 g4 10. Ne5 Bb4 11. Be2 Bb7 ({The obvious question is what would happen after} 11... Nxe4 {The answer is} 12. O-O Bxc3 (12... Nxc3 13. bxc3 Bxc3 14. Bxg4 $1 Bxa1 15. Qf3 $1 Rh7 16. Rxa1 Kf8 17. Bh5 f5 18. Bg6 Rg7 19. Re1 $18) 13. bxc3 Nxc3 14. Qc2 Nxe2+ 15. Qxe2 f6 (15... Qxd4 16. Rad1 Qc5 17. Qxg4 Nd7 18. Rfe1 h5 19. Qf3 Nxe5 20. Rxe5 Qe7 21. Qxc6+) 16. Qxg4 $3 fxe5 17. Qg6+ Kf8 18. Bxe5 Rg8 19. Qxh6+ Ke8 20. Qh5+ Ke7 21. Qh7+ Kf8 {The wide open king and ease of bringing pieces against it mean Black is dead.}) 12. Bxg4 Nbd7 13. Nxd7 Nxd7 14. O-O Rg8 15. e5 (15. a4 a6 16. Bf3 {was better.}) 15... Qb6 16. a3 Be7 17. a4 a6 18. axb5 axb5 19. Rxa8+ Bxa8 20. Bf3 Bb7 21. Qd2 b4 22. Ne2 Rh8 23. Nf4 Rg8 24. Bh5 Nf8 25. Rc1 Ba6 26. Be2 Ng6 27. Nxg6 Rxg6 28. Bxc4 Bxc4 29. Rxc4 h5 30. Kh2 Rg4 31. f3 Rg6 32. b3 Qa6 33. Rc2 $1 {Bringing the rook to the a-file where it can penetrate into Black's position.} Kf8 34. Ra2 $1 Qb6 (34... Qb7 {does not help since White continues} 35. Bf2 $1 {threatening d5 and Ra7}) 35. Ra8+ Kg7 36. Qd3 c5 37. Re8 Bf8 38. dxc5 Qxc5 39. Qd8 {Black is in zugzwang } Rxg3 40. Qf6+ Kh7 41. Kxg3 1-0 [Event "Battle of the Generations 2013"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2013.12.06"] [Round "4"] [White "Dubov, Daniil"] [Black "Shirov, Alexei"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2629"] [BlackElo "2695"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2013.12.02"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 {No more semi-slav!} Bg4 3. Bg2 Nd7 4. O-O Ngf6 5. d3 e5 6. h3 Be6 {Believe it or not, this is a novelty.} 7. c4 dxc4 8. d4 Bd6 9. Ng5 Bf5 10. e4 {More interesting than grabbing the b7 pawn and he stakes his space in the center.} Bg6 11. f4 h6 12. Nf3 Nxe4 13. Qe1 exf4 $2 {A suspicious move.} (13... Be7 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Qd7 $1 {was better. If} 16. Bxe4 (16. f5 Bxf5 17. Rxf5 Qxf5 18. Bxe4 (18. Qxe4 Bc5+ 19. Kh2 Qf2 $19) 18... Qxh3 $15) 16... Qd4+) 14. Nh4 O-O 15. Nxg6 Nxg3 16. Nxf8 Nxf8 17. Rf2 Ne6 18. Nc3 Qh4 19. Ne4 Nxd4 20. Nxd6 cxd6 21. Bd2 $2 {It is clear that when it comes to handling the dynamics of these very imbalanced positions, Shirov is play on his home turf.} (21. Bxf4 {was best.} Nge2+ 22. Rxe2 Nxe2+ 23. Qxe2 Qxf4 24. Rf1 Qd4+ 25. Rf2 { Perhaps Black saw this and counted four pawns for the piece, hardly anything to be happy about, but it is not actually so clear. For example} Rb8 26. Qe7 f6 27. Bxb7 Kh8 28. Be4 Qe5 29. Qxe5 dxe5 30. Rc2 Kg8 31. Rxc4 Rxb2 32. Bg6 Rb8 33. Rc7 {And Black is lost.}) 21... f3 22. Bxf3 Nc2 23. Bg5 Ne2+ {Forced.} ( 23... Qxg5 24. Rxc2 Nf5+ 25. Kh1 {and White is just up a rook.}) 24. Qxe2 Qxg5+ 25. Bg2 Nxa1 26. Qe1 $2 {Hurrying to win the knight, but it was not going anywhere.} (26. Qxc4 $1 d5 27. Qc7 Rf8 28. Rf1 d4 $11) 26... d5 $1 27. Qxa1 d4 $17 28. Qf1 d3 $19 29. Rxf7 Rd8 30. Rf5 Qe3+ 31. Kh2 Qd4 32. Bf3 Qxb2+ 33. Kh1 Qd4 34. Qg2 d2 35. Bd1 Re8 36. Rf1 Re1 37. Qf3 Qe4 38. Qxe4 Rxe4 39. Kg2 Re1 40. Kf2 Rxd1 0-1 [Event "Battle of the Generations 2013"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2013.12.07"] [Round "5"] [White "Shirov, Alexei"] [Black "Dubov, Daniil"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2695"] [BlackElo "2629"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2013.12.02"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 b5 (7... Nf6 {is by far the most common continuation.}) 8. Nxc6 Qxc6 9. O-O-O {The novelty.} Bb7 ({After} 9... b4 {It is a virtual certainty that Shirov would go for} 10. Nd5 exd5 11. exd5 Qd6 12. Bf4 Qc5 13. d6 $16 {with a strong initiative.}) 10. f3 Rc8 11. g4 Nf6 12. g5 Nh5 13. Bh3 Be7 14. Bg4 g6 15. Bxh5 gxh5 16. h4 a5 (16... b4 {was also worth considering. If} 17. Nd5 $2 (17. Ne2 d5 $1 18. Ng3 (18. exd5 Qxd5) 18... dxe4 19. Nxe4 {though Black has not solved his king issues.}) 17... exd5 18. exd5 Qg6 19. Kb1 (19. d6 $2 Bxd6 20. Qxd6 Qxc2#) 19... d6) 17. Kb1 b4 18. Ne2 a4 19. Nf4 b3 20. cxb3 axb3 21. axb3 Bb4 22. Qf2 Ra8 23. Nxh5 Ke7 24. Nf6 Rhc8 $2 {A miscalculation.} 25. Rxd7+ Qxd7 ( 25... Kf8 {was no doubt what Black had planned on playing, seeing too late that White has} 26. g6 $3 Kg7 (26... hxg6 27. Bh6#) 27. Nh5+ Kh8 28. Bd4+) 26. Nxd7 Kxd7 27. Ba7 Ba6 28. Rd1+ Ke8 29. h5 Be7 30. g6 fxg6 31. hxg6 hxg6 32. Qb6 Kf7 33. Rd7 Be2 34. Qd6 1-0

The start of game five

Game:
Rtg
01
02
03
04
05
06
Score
Daniil Dubov 2636
½
0
0
0
0
 
0.5
Alexei Shirov 2695
½
1
1
1
1
 
4.5

Pictures by Alexander Weinstein


Links

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Topics dubov, shirov
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