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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shirov's chess simul in the snow

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

GM Alexei Shirov in Ottawa, Canada
What does a Grandmaster do in the snow? Play chess! Well yes... and something else too - Go skating 7 km in the snow! How cool is that!

We found this very nice feature on about Grandmaster Alexei Shirov. He was in Ottawa to play a simul

Shirov scored +27 =5 -1, which is particularly impressive as he played White and Black on alternate boards. This was an improvement over his +25 =9 -2 score last year, and may have been because he loaded up on fresh air by skating 7km on the Rideau Canal that morning! You can read the full feature here. But before that, here are some highlights from the simul:

  • A funny moment early in the simul, when Shirov, as White, forced a draw on move 15 and immediately apologized, saying he’d forgotten his analysis and had to force the draw or get a much worse game. I found this doubly funny. First, because his very well prepared opponent had done the same thing last year by perpetualling Shirov’s Queen on move 15 in a Gruenfeld. Second, his opponent was so well prepared because he was playing a line recommended by Shirov in his Chessbase DVD on the Caro-Kann. (A good advertisement for his DVDs, but will this discourage future Chessbase presenters from being so candid?)B
  • eing reminded how even super-GMs have trouble keeping their analysis straight, even in the most important games. Shirov said he spent 30 minutes trying to remember the difference between 13...Qb8 and 13...Qc8 in the second game of his first round match against Robert Gwaze, and still got it “totally wrong”.
  • The problems of using computers to prepare: what to do when you don’t like 16.Nxa4 but the computer does... except that the computer also keeps changing its evaluation...?
  • Hearing how a couple of good ideas from opponents in the simul will make him go back and rethink parts of his repertoire.

Last man sitting - last simul game, Marinkovic-Shirov (draw)

  • Hearing that the Botvinnik Semi-Slav is “dead”. (What! Again?) Not because of 23.f3! (van Wely-Smeets, 2005), but because of... well... I’ll leave the details for Shirov’s next game against it as White. But here’s a little hint: the stem game was played more than ten years ago.
From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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