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 Shashin - Korchnoi 

A. Shashin (2350) - GM V. Korchnoi; (2650) 
City Championship 
Leningrad, U.S.S.R.  1973


Maybe one of the finest  ...  <NON - GM>  games ever played. 

A young Master - whom no one has ever heard of - plays one of the most brilliant games 
of chess ever played ... and against a World-class opponent too! 


My annotations here are based mostly on:  GM A. Soltis's book,  "The 100 Best." 
(Game # 59, page # 163.) 

1.d4 Nf62.c4 e63.Nc3 Bb44.e3 0-0;   
This is one of the main lines of ... 'The Nimzo-Indian Defense.'    

5.Bd3 c56.Nf3 d57.0-0 Nc68.a3 cxd4!?;   
Black plays an extremely complex line. (With an unusual move order.) 

9.exd4 Bxc310.bxc3 dxc411.Bxc4 Qa5!?;   
Black plays a slightly off-beat line. (For that time) 

12.Bb2! e513.Re1 Bg414.h3 Bxf315.Qxf3 Rad8;  
Black appears to have nearly equalized. At any rate, he has strong pressure 
against White's d-pawn in this position. 

16.Ba2! Rd717.Re2 Rfd818.Rae1 exd419.cxd4 Qb6;   
If I had to choose a side here, I would rather be Black. 

     [ Soltis points out the amusing: 
20.Bxd4 Rxd421.Re8+! Rxe822.Rxe8+ Nxe8;  
,  and White wins. (It is mate next move.) ].  

20.Qc3! Nxd421.Re7 Rxe722.Rxe7 Nf5!;  "~" {See the Diagram just below.}    
Black appears to have defended against all of White's threats.  

  A critical position in the game.  (sha-kor_rp_pos1.gif, 14 KB)

 The actual game position after Black's 22nd move. 


Now White plays a combo ... that allows his King to be kicked over half the board.  
23.Rxf7!! Rd1+24.Kh2 Qd6+!?;  {Diagram?} 
A move that appears to be a decisive shot - at least at a casual, first glance. 
I am sure that Korchnoi probably thought he was winning here. 

Believe it or not - this is the first move usually chosen by computers in this position. 
It is also ... The LOSING move?!?!? 

     [ Apparently Black had to take the draw with the following line:  
        24...Ng4+!!25.hxg4 Qd6+26.Qg3 Nxg327.Rd7+ Kf828.Bxg7+ Ke8;  
        29.Rxd6 Nf1+30.Kg1 Nd2+31.Kh2 Nf1+32.Kg1 Nd2+; ("=") {Diagram?} 
        with a draw by repetition. (Line by - NM A. Shashin.) ].  

25.g3 Ng4+26.Kg2 Nh4+!;  
Black basically cannot afford to wait. 
(White has too many threats.) 

27.gxh4 Qh2+28.Kf3 Qxf2+29.Ke4,  
Looks ugly, but it is forced. 

     [ 29.Kxg4? Rg1+; 30.Kh5 g6+; 31.Kh6 Qxh4# ].  

'Fassssss - cinating.'  (As Spock used to say.) 

     [ Soltis gives the line: 29...Re1+!?30.Kd5!! Ne3+!31.Kd6 Nc4+32.Qxc4 Qb6+;  
       33.Kd7 Rd1+34.Bd4!! Rxd4+35.Qxd4, {Diagram?}  Now this is forced. 
       (35.Kc8?? Rd8#  35...Qxd4+36.Kc8!, ("+/-") {Diagram?} 
      & strangely ... Black has no defense to the coming discovered check!!! 
      (This line probably originated with Korchnoi in his 'Informant' analysis.) ].  


Now it looks like White has been forced into a DEADLY series of checks, 
 ... which will ruin him.  
30.Kf4[] Rf1+31.Kg5 h6+32.Kg6 Ne5+33.Qxe5 Rg1+;  

34.Qg5!! Qxb2; ('!?')   
Black - in a bad way, and very short of time - tries to be tricky. 
(Going for a swindle?)  

It seems ...Rxg5+; and then ...Qe8; was the only way to prevent an immediate mate. 
  --->   But Black is still lost. 

     [ A strange line is:  34...Rxg5+35.hxg5 Qe4+?!36.Rf5+ Kh837.Bxg7# ].  

Black Resigns. (If 35...Kf8; then 36.Rg8, is mate.)  

One of the more brilliant - - - and very unusual games of the whole of the 20th Century. 
(White's King was the hunted one ... yet he prevailed!!) 

Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2002.

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  Page first posted on: December 10th, 2002.  

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