Attack and Counter-attack

IM Fernand Gobet submits this game against GM Alex Shabalov from the seventh
round of the recently completed League season.  An opening in which both sides
play creatively leads to a compex middlegame in which the initiative changes
hands several times.  On the next-to-last move before the time control, Gobet
slips and allows Shabalov a memorable combination.  The notes are by Gobet,
with some additional comments by me, enclosed in [brackets].

Shabalov - Gobet
Pittsburgh Industrial Chess League
Pitt I vs. CMU, board 1
March 20, 1994
Sicilian Defense, Taimanov Variation

	1	e2-e4 	c7-c5 
	2	Ng1-f3 	e7-e6 
	3	d2-d4 	c5xd4 
	4	Nf3xd4 	Nb8-c6 
	5	Nb1-c3 	Qd8-c7 
	6	Bc1-e3 	a7-a6 
	7	a2-a3!?
Probably to avoid the variation 7.Be2 Nf6 8.0-0 Bb4 etc...  [That variation,
continuing with 9 Na4, is one of the "main variations" of the Taimanov Sicilian
and is heavily analyzed.  It would not be surprising if Shabalov were saving
some ideas on it for another occasion.  --BWL]

This pawn move (7 a3) is also useful in many variations of the Scheveningen,
into which Black may enter now by  7...Nf6 and 8...d6. I decided to play
something more amusing.
 	7	~	Ng8-f6 
	8	Bf1-e2 	Nc6-e5!? 
	9	0-0

9.f4 Nc4 looks OK for Black, despite his bad development.  [But now
9.~ Ne5-c4 10.Be2xc4 Qc7xc4 11.Be3-g5! gives White a strong initiative no
matter how Black replies.  --BWL]

 	9	~	h7-h5!?
With the threat of Nf6-g4.
	10	h2-h3 	b7-b5 
	11	Nd4-f3

11.f2-f4 Ne5-c4 12.Be2xc4 Qc7xc4 13.e4-e5 Nf6-d5 and Black has a
playable position.

 	11	~	Bf8-c5

11.~ Nf6-g4 12.h3xg4 h5xg4 13.Nf3xe5 (13.Ne1 Nf3+) 13.~ Qc7xe5
14.f2-f4 is not correct.  [Some other ideas that don't quite work:
11.~ Ne5xf3+ 12.Be2xf3 Nf6-g4 13.Bf3xg4 h5xg4 14.Qd1xg4; 11.~ Ne5-g4
12.h3xg4 h5xg4 13.g2-g3 g4xf3 14.Be2xf3, and the threat of 15.e5 forces
Black to make some concession.  But in this last variation,
not 12.Be3-d4? e6-e5, or 12.Be3-g5 Bf8-c5.  --BWL]

	12	Be3xc5 	Qc7xc5 
	13	Nf3xe5 	Qc5xe5 
	14	f2-f4 	Qe5-c5+ 
	15	Kg1-h1 	Bc8-b7 
	16	Qd1-d3
16.Be2-f3 (threatening 17.e5) 16.~ e6-e5 17.Nc3-d5 Bb7xd5 18.e4xd5
e5xf4 19.Qd1-e2+ Ke8-f8 is unclear.

 	16	~	Ra8-c8 
	17	e4-e5 	Nf6-g4 
	18	Be2-f3 	Bb7xf3 
	19	Qd3xf3 	f7-f5!

I think this is the only reasonable move. Black has to parry the threat
Ne4-d6+, and 19...d5 is bad in view of 20.exd6 e.p. Qxd6 21.Ne4 Qc7
22.Rad1 with a dangerous attack.

	20	e5xf6ep

During the game, I thought White should have refrained from this trade,
because the location of the Ng4 is very awkward. After the game,
Shabalov noted that the Knight on c3 does not have much play either.
Anyway, I think it would have been harder for Black to get counterplay
with a white pawn on e5.
 	20	~	Ng4xf6 
	21	Ra1-e1 	0-0 
	22	Re1-e5?!
I really don't know what White should play here (perhaps 22.Re2 and
23.Ne4), but the plan followed by Shabalov will put him in an unpleasant

 	22	~	Qc5-c4 
	23	f4-f5?! b5-b4! 
	24	a3xb4 	Qc4xb4 
	25	f5xe6 	d7xe6 
	26	Qf3-g3

26.Rxe6 Qxb2 and Black is better.

 	26	~	Qb4xb2 
	27	Rf1-f3 	Nf6-d7!

Shabalov thought that this was a mistake. Both of us misjudged the
position after White's 29th move. Note that 27...h4 is good too.

	28	Re5-g5

28.Rf3xf8+ Rc8xf8 29.Re5xe6 Rf8-f1+ 30.Kh1-h2 Qb2-c1 with a
dangerous attack.

 	28	~	Rf8xf3 
	29	Rg5xg7+

In  time trouble (2-3 minutes for the remaining 7 moves), I choose the
wrong square--ironically, my first intention was to play 29...Kh8.


 	29	~	Kg8-f8??

29.~ Kg8-h8 and now 
(a) 30.Qg3-g6 Qb2-c1+ 31.Nc3-d1 Qc1xd1+ 32.Kh1-h2 Qd1-d6+ wins.
(b) 30.Qg3-g5.  With the idea 31. Qh6 mate. Now Black may choose between
30.~ Rf3-f6 31.Rg7xd7 Rf6-f1+ 32.Kh1-h2 Qb2xc3 33.Qg5-h6+ Kh8-g8
34.Qh6-h7+ Kg8-f8 35.Qh7-e7+ Kf8-g8, where White seems not to get more
than perpetual check, and  30.~ Rf3-f1+ 31.Kh1-h2 Qb2-c1! and Black
wins. Both of us missed the move, even in the post-mortem, where some
kibitzer actually pointed out this defense. 

	30	Rg7-g8+ Kf8-e7 
	31	Qg3-g7+ Rf3-f7

31.~ Ke7-d6 32.Nc3-e4+

	32	Qg7-g5+ Nd7-f6 
	33	Rg8xc8 	Qb2-b7 
	34	Rc8-h8 	Qb7-b4?

34...Qc7 seems better.


	35	Nc3-d5+!!

An amazing combination. At this point, I had no clue of what was going on.

 	35	~	e6xd5 
	36	Qg5-e5+ Ke7-d7 
	37	Rh8-b8

A very nice position. The White Queen and Rook control all the important
squares. There is nothing against 38.Rb8-b7+.

 	37	~	Qb4-c4 
	38	Rb8-b7+ Kd7-c6 
	39	Rb7xf7 	Qc4-f1+ 
	40	Kh1-h2 	Nf6-g4+ 
	41	h3xg4 	Qf1xf7 
	42	g4xh5 	a6-a5 
	43	h5-h6 	a5-a4 
	44	Qe5-c3+ Kc6-b6 
	45	Qc3-b4+ Kb6-c7 
	46	Qb4-h4 	Qf7-h7 
	47	Qh4-g3+ Kc7-b6?

47...Kc6 would have offered better resistance.

	48	Qg3-d6+ Kb6-a7 
	49	Qd6-c5+ Ka7-a6 
	50	Qc5-c6+ Ka6-a5 
	51	Qc6xd5+ Ka5-b4 
	52	Qd5-d6+ Kb4-a5 
	53	c2-c4