Stormy Chess in Biel
Shankland’s 11.a3 stuns Iranian star
It is curious how sometimes it is the little, inoffensive-looking moves that can cause the most difficulties for your opponent. Case in point is today’s game between the American grandmaster Sam Shankland and the Iranian grandmaster Parnham Maghsoodloo.
Shankland played the rarely seen 11.a3 in a popular line of the Rauzer Sicilian. Some opening books from the 60’s even considered it inferior (!), but the advent of computers in recent years has shown that many such moves are not only playable, but also contain a fair amount of poison.
In any case, the Iranian committed some dreadful imprecisions and the game was practically over some 5 or 6 moves later. Maghsoodloo threw in the towel on the 26th move.
At the post-game press conference Shankland explained that 11.a3 was the result of a full week’s preparation against a Bundesliga opponent, but that he never got the chance to play it, until today.
The American was quite open in showing his hosts the ‘secrets’ of his analysis, explaining that he never intended to play it again! Why is this? Probably because it is hardly the best move in the position! That, and of course, the fact that his next opponent would be fully prepared for it.
Such is the effect of computers on opening preparation!
gm Shankland – gm Maghsoodloo
Biel Rd4 25.7.2019
(I am using the RPB plugin to show the game. Just click on any move and a floating diagram will appear , allowing the reader to follow the game more conveniently.)
Black is simply two pawns down. Not a good game for the Iranian star, but an important lesson for him to work harder on his openings. If Maghsoodloo wants to fight one day for the world championship, he needs to widen his opening repetoire, both vertically and horizontally.
YOU can download the pgn of the game HERE