Sunday, May 24, 2009

Alexei Shirov Win M-Tel Master 2009 !

Alexei Shirov  is a surprise winner in the recentlt conclude - M-Tel Master 2009  held in Bulgaria. The top seed and former World Champion Veselin Topalov failed to challenge the top spot after only managed to draw against Chinese GM - Wang Yue in the final round.

Shirov is my favourite player in the past-especially the 90's. I loved his excellent book "Fire on Board" which contain a selected beautiful games from the Latvian master of sacrifice . His game - especially in his youth was full with sacrifices which resemble the former World Champion and King of Sacrifices - Mikhail Tal -  which is also a Latvian . 

Shirov is really a great talent during the early 90's. His reach his peak in the 90's when he was supposed to play a World Championship Final with the living legend - Gary Kasparov. But the match somehow didn't materialised because of the reason  only Kasparov knows. Some says that Shirov has a worse record against Kasparov - he haven't beat Kasparov   so it will not create an exciting match for Kasparov. In the end, Kasparov choose to play a World Championship Match against Vladimir Kramnik - a player Shirov beat in the previous match. This upset Shirov very much and it seems that it also effect his performance and he never regain  his form until this year M-Tel Master.

From my observation, Shirov play is always exciting because he love to play complicated position and unbalanced the game to  produced interesting sacrifice. However this style of play need energy and stamina to calculated plenty of variations and combination which is sometimes not practical in a tournament and long matches. 

However i hoped his triumph in M-Tel  will regains his confidence and his excellent form as what he has shown in his youth. I expected there will be more "Fire on Board" from this Sacrifice Maestro  ! 

Below is his exciting draw  against the world no. 3 - Magnus Carlsen in round 4.

Carlsen - Shirov 
M-Tel Master 2009, Round 4, 13.5.2009

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. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. exf6 Bb7 12. g3 c5 13. d5 Qb6 14. Bg2 O-O-O 15. O-O b4 16. Na4 Qb5 17. a3 exd5 18. axb4 cxb4 19. Qg4 d4 20. Bxb7+ Kxb7 21. Qe4+ Qc6 22. Qxd4 Bd6 23. Rfe1 Rde8
This is all theory you know ! 24. Re3 Ne5 25. h4 Re6 26. Bf4 Rhe8 27. Bxe5
Rxe5 28. Rxe5 Rxe5 29. Qg4 Ra5 30. h5 Rxa4 31. Rxa4 Qxa4 32.h6 Qc6
33. Qh5 33.h7? will be a grave blunder after 33...c3 ! 34.h8=Q c2 35.Qh6 c1=Q+ 36.Qxc1 Qxc1+ winning 33...c3 34. bxc3 bxc3 35. Qxf7+ Bc7 36. Qb3+ Bb6 37. Qf7+ Bc7 38. Qb3+ Bb6 38... Ka6 39. Qa3+ Ba5 40. f7 c2 41. f8=Q c1=Q+ 42.Qxc1 Qxc1+ 43.Kg2 and both king is too exposed to a perpectual check 39. Qf7+ Bc7  

Photo and logo from M-Tel Master 2009 official site

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