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Rd3 Rb7 Black has created the threat Be6-f5. g4! White has repelled the above-mentioned threat. Garry is going to open a second front on the kingside if an opportunity presents itself. hxg4 f5?! This is a questionable decision. Sasha is opening the position. However, it looks like the white rooks will make use of it first! Rc6 followed by a7-a5. Bc5! A precise reply! b4! This way White has completely untied his rooks. White appears to be much better. Rcb6 with the idea a7-a5. fxg4 Rc8 It is very important for Black to return his rook from exile.

Qb3! Qc4, etc. The black bishops are very passive and the pawns are weak. Bxh6! Hurray! White is rushing to the attack. Qh5 This is a double attack on the h6 and d5squares. How to escape? f5! Black is OK with the perpetual. Rxe4. Re3 Alexei is ready to lose to avoid a draw! He is a real fighter! f4 Leko is persistently aiming for a draw. Rg7. He is a natural-born defender. Qg6+ Kh8 It looks like White should force the perpetual. Rc1? This is unbelievable! Shirov does go for defeat, in order to avoid a draw!

Rd1 Rg8! and Black holds the position. Rhd1 Rc6?! Rhc8! I can’t see anything better for White than a perpetual check. Rxb7 White is slightly better again. Rxh7! Rd5+. a4! Re8! A precise move, that accentuates Black’s problems. Rxf6 Shirov’s combative spirit served him badly today. Instead of making a draw (on move 30), he maintained the tension in the center, which had fatal consequences for his king. In order to escape from the mating net Black had to trade the rook at an unsuitable moment. The f4-pawn is going to fall.

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2001 Linares

by Donald

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