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The Atlantic City Chess Scoop: Part II Print E-mail
December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas! Today we bring you the second installment of the Chess Scoop on the Atlantic City International (December 17-19) including annotations by US Women's Champion IM Irina Krush. See the first set of videos including interviews with co-champions GMs Gata Kamsky and Loek Van Wely.

Irina, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, talked about her exciting game with GM Alexander Shabalov.


Scroll down for Irina's in-depth analysis of the game.

GM Mark Paragua of the Philippines also talked to the Scoop about the "Las Vegas of the East."

Daniel Parmet drew Gata Kamsky in the simul, as reported in a previous CLO report. He talked about Gata's gracious attitude and  post-simul lecture.


Kamsky will face Topalov in a rematch at the Candidates Matches (May 3-27) in Kazan, Russia. See details on the FIDE website.

IM Irina Krush, Photo Betsy Dynako
IM Irina Krush- GM Alexander Shabalov
Annotations by Krush
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 exd4
This type of KID was a surprise. I couldn't remember having seen Alex play it before.
8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Kh1
Prophylaxis against Black's freeing break ...d5. 
10...Nh5; 10...d5 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.Bg5 with initiative for White.
11.Nc2 Bf8
I thought this move was too passive during the game, maybe Black should try defending the d6 pawn with 11...Nb6. In this line, if Black doesn't find active counterplay, he is already worse.
12.Bf4!? Ne5 13.Qd2 preventing ...h6, was worthy of consideration.
12...h6 13.Be3 Kh7 14.Qd2 a6 15.Rfd1 Qe7 16.Rac1
16.b4 immediately was more accurate.
16...b5 17.b4 Bb7 18.a4 bxc4 19.Bxc4 Rac8
Preparing ...d5, when I will have a bunch of pieces hanging on the c-file.
20.Bf1 d5 21.exd5 cxd5 
I went into this position thinking that White was better. I mean, structurally, shouldn't they be better? They can blockade the d-pawn, they have a nice two on one majority on the queenside...the a6 pawn looks like a target. But White's pieces are a bit awkward, for example the Nc2 can't move because of its job defending the Be3 and b4, and it's not clear what the perspective is for the Nc3 either.
22.Bd4 Qd8!
I missed this impressive move by Black. Suddenly, I realize that the bishop is heading for a great square on d6, from where it will exert unpleasant pressure on my king. And it still keeps me tied down by targeting b4. Black's main idea is Bd6-Nh5-Qh4, but for some reason I got fixated on Bd6-Qc7, so with my next moves I try to stop that plan.
I considered the pawn sac 23.b5 a5 24.b6!? Nxb6 25.Rb1 but then decided to prepare it. 25...Re6 (25...Nfd7 26.Bb5 Bc6) 26.g3 (26.Qf2 Nfd7)
23...Bd6 24.b5 a5 25.b6!?
The downside of this move is that the b-pawn is a potential weakness, the upside....I obtained a nice square for my knight on b5.
Active, but dubious. Black had to highlight b6 as a weakness straight away, so something like ...Bc5 or ...Be5 was called for. 25...Be5 26.Nb5 Bxd4 27.Qxd4 Nxb6 28.Na1 Rxc1 29.Rxc1 Nc4 30.Nb3 Bc6 31.Bxc4 dxc4 32.Qxd8 Rxd8 33.Nxa5 Bxb5 34.axb5 c3 35.Kg1=
A really terrible move, both weakening my position and wasting time. 26.Nb5!? was the natural choice, but I rejected it when I saw the line 26...Bf4 27.Rb1 Rxc2! 28.Qxc2 Qh4
I didn't see a forced win for Black here after h3, but I felt it was too dangerous, and indeed Black has a nice way to win on the dark squares! 29.h3 (29.g3 Nxg3+ 30.Kg2 (30.Kg1 Ne2+-+) 30...Ne2-+) 29...Re3!!
29...Qg3 30.Bg1 Qg5 31.Bf2 Ng3+ 32.Kg1) 30.Bxe3 a) 30.g4 Ng3+ 31.Kg2 Ne2 32.Bxe2 Qg3+ 33.Kf1 Qxh3+ 34.Ke1 Qh4+ 35.Kf1 Bg3 36.Bxe3 Qh1+ 37.Bg1 Qh3#; b) 30.Kg1 Qg3 31.Bxe3 Bxe3+ 32.Kh1 Qf4! 33.g4 d4 (33...Ng3+ 34.Kg2 Nf5 35.gxf5 Qg5+ 36.Kh1 Qg1#) ; 30...Ng3+ 31.Kg1 (31.Kh2 Nxf1+ 32.Kg1 Nxe3 33.Qe2 (33.Qf2 Bh2+) 33...Qg3-+) 31...Bxe3+ 32.Kh2 Qf4-+
But the thing is, if you go move-to-move 27 and instead of the terrible retreat 27.Rb1, play 27.Nc7! Bxc1 28.Rxc1, White is better; Black should probably give back the exchange on c7. In hindsight, it looks completely obvious....giving up the c1 rook for such a powerful bishop.; Also interesting were 26.Na1!? with the same idea of an exchange sac in case of ...Bf4. 26...Bf4 27.Nb3 Bxc1 28.Rxc1; and 26.Bb5!? trading off a pretty useless bishop for a piece that attacks b6. 26...Re6 27.Bxd7 Qxd7 28.Ne3 (28.Nb5 Bg3 29.hxg3 Re2) 28...Bf4 29.Nb5]
Of course. Black not only threatens the b6 pawn but ....Rxc3 as well. This move was pretty unsettling for me, and I failed to meet it in a good way.
The computer suggests 27.Bb5, which I didn't even look at, as it seems that ...Rxc3 should win two pieces for a rook. 27...Rxc3 28.Bxc3 Bxc3 but it turns out White has great coordination here after 29.Nd4! Bxd4 30.Qxd4 Re7 31.Rc7
27...Bxd4 28.Qxd4
28.Ncxd4 Qxb6 (28...Nxb6) 
28...Nxb6 29.g4!?
Starting from this surprising move, my whole strategy consisted of making it as difficult for Black to make obvious progress as possible. The point of g4 is not to allow Black a queen trade with ...Qf6. The plan here had been 29.Ne3 but then I noticed that after 29...Qf6! I would just lose in a prosaic way...I'm already down a pawn and a4 will hang after the exchange of queens.
29...Ng7 30.Qf4
The attack on f7 was a part of the g4 concept.
30...Re7 31.Ncd4
Here I spent about ten minutes, going down to a little less than three minutes. I was looking for a way to exploit the position of the Rd1 opposite the Qd8, but didn't find anything. 32.Na7 Ra7 33.Na-b5 Rc-d7! and now I can win back a pawn with 34.Bxc4 and 35.Rxc4, but that opens up the Bb7 and I don't think White would hold on for long there.
32.Bxc4 Rxc4 33.Nd6
Unfortunately, this loses.
33...Rxd4! 34.Rxd4 Ne6 35.Nxf7 Qf8! and the Ne6 protects the Qf8 from a discovered attack. 36.Ng5+ hxg5 37.Qxf8 Nxf8-+
34.Qf6 Rcc7 35.Re1 Qd8 36.Qf4
36.Kg2!? Re2+ 37.Rxe2 Qxf6 38.Rxc7 Qxd6 39.Rxb7
This move came as a pleasant surprise...unless Black actually wins the d6 knight, I wasn't sure why they'd want to make such a weakness on the kingside. A consolidating move like 36...Qd7 was called for.
37.Qg3 Rcd7
A good intuitive decision, not allowing Black any obvious progress. I say intuitive, because at this point, I was moving on the 5-second delay, and that doesn't allow much time for calculation. The tempting 38.N6f5 is actually much worse as it allows Black to activate his bishop. 38...Nxf5 39.Nxf5 Rxe1+ 40.Rxe1 d4.
38...Qb6 39.Rxe7
39.Qf2 immediately would have been more accurate.
39...Rxe7 40.Re1 Qf6 41.Rxe7 Qxe7 42.Qf2 Qc5 43.Qd2
Black is still better of course, but I was happy with what I had achieved. We entered the time scramble with it being easier for White to defend than for Black to convert his extra pawn.  

In the heat of the time scramble, Alex doesn't bother to defend the a5 pawn. 43...Qb4 44.Qc2+ and we can see how ....g5 wasn't exactly useful for Black.
44.Qxa5 Qc1+ 45.Kg2 f5
46.Qc3! similar idea to my move, but it prevents all those checks along the second rank, forces a queen trade, and Black has to think about how to make a draw. However, all these subtleties flew by me as the only thinking here was with my hands. 46...Qxc3 47.Nxc3 fxg4 48.fxg4
46...Qd2+ 47.Kg1 Ba6 48.gxf5
48.Qc2 was a good move for White.
48...Bxb5 49.Nxb5
Now there followed many checks by Black, which I haven't reproduced here. I just reconstructed the essence of what happened in those final seconds.
49...Qe1+ 50.Kg2 Qe2+ 
It was not too late to lose with 51.Kg3?? h5! I simply wanted to keep my king as far away from the Ng7 as possible, but it's also a good thing I kept him away from Black's pawns!
51...Qxf3 52.Qd7?
The worst of all possible ways to defend the f5 pawn. Qf7 or Qc2 secured White an easy draw.
52...Qd1+ 53.Kg2 Qc2+ 54.Kg1
Now there again followed a series of checks before we agreed to a draw. Alex saw that he couldn't take the f5 pawn as after the queens come off, White's a-pawn provides more than enough counterplay. However, he could still play for a win by taking the a4 pawn, and noticing that after f6, with a couple of precise checks, the Black queen is able to win the f6 pawn by force. It's not so easy to notice with 5 seconds for thinking (Alex had four seconds here; I had two) but I guess if it wasn't for the extreme time situation, he'd have realized that even if he can't win the f6 pawn after ...Qxa4, he can always go back and make a draw with perpetual check, not risking to lose.

See the first installment of US Chess Scoop videos here and browse all standings on the Atlantic City International website. 


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