The Amateur Eye – A Missed Brilliancy

It has been years since I wrote about the King’s Indian Defense — Samisch Variation.  The U.S. Masters, held in North Carolina saw some top quality games and also some what might have been.  All chess players experience the trials and tribulations of missed chances and missed beauty in their games. The best is seen when victory is still the result!  One of the newer breed of GMs who has achieved enormous successes is GM Samuel L. Shankland, perhaps best remembered as World Champ Carlsen’s right hand man at the New York title defense.

White:  Sam Shankland  vs. Black:  FM Advait Patel   Opening:  KID Samisch (E83)

After 1. c4  g6  2. e4  Bg7  3. d4  d6  4. Nc3  Nf6  5. f3  O-O  6. Be3  a6  7. Qd2  Nc6 8. Nge2  Na5  Black avoids the usual Rb8 as Shankland’s opening book is tops. It leads to sharp play now with both sides missing opportunities along the way.

9. Nf4 b5  10. h4  Nd7 11. h5  e5  12. Nfd5  e:d4  13. B:d4 Ne5  14. h:g6?  The wrong pawn play.  After, 14. f4 Ne:c4  15. B:c4  N:c4  16. B:g7!! N:d2  17. Bf6! with a big edge.

14. … f:g6  15. c:b5  a:b5 16. Rd1  Nac6  17. Be3 b4?  Here, Patel returns the favor missing 17… R:f3 with good play and stands better.

18. Nb5  R:a2 19. Bh6  B:h6  20. Q:h6  Rf7 21. Qc1 Be6  Missing the sharp 21…Ra5! >..Ba6 and the Knight is trapped.

Probably due to time pressure for both players, the game went back and forth with Black making more errors than White.  White accepted Black’s resignation on move 48.  But let the record show that this defense presents an “ornery cuss” in the scheme of things.

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