Attacking 🗡Tactics 📝 From Alexei Shirov (Classic 1990s Chess) – GRANDMASTER MAGAZINE


The Oakham Chess Tournament in 1992 was one of the strongest junior events of all time with future superstars Alexei Shirov, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler, Michael Adams and Vladimir Akopian among the participants. (Joshua Waitzkin of Searching for Bobby Fischer also played).

In this video, a preview of Grandmaster Magazine #6, we get to revisit a sensational tournament full of attacking chess and instructive moments.

First up, we get to see a relentless attack from Armenian GM Vladimir Akopian against the English IM Andrew Webster. Both players castle behind a fianchettoed Bishop on the Kingside and stake their claim to the center.

From a normal looking position, Black’s pieces suddenly explode into life. A well-placed Bishop on f5 is raking across the board and soon combines with a threatening Knight after it jumps from c6 into b4, taking advantage of a hole on that square.

IM Webster, playing White, kicks the Knight with a3, prompting Nd3. Now he believes the Knight might have ventured too far forward and begins to undermine its support, the Bishop on f5, with h3 and g4. Of course, this weakens his Kingside too. After …Nb2, Qd2 it looks like White has the Knight trapped. Black has other ideas, however, and produces counter-threats taking advantage of pins on the long diagonal.

A series of intricate, one square, moves sees both sides attack and counter, but it soon becomes clear that Akopian’s threats are more dangerous. As the Black forces creep closer, White’s exposed King becomes more of an issue until the Armenian seals things with a flurry of tactical blows. Fantastic game.

In the next game, eventual winner Alexei Shirov demonstrates his inventiveness, giving up a Bishop so he can get his offside Rook into the game. Everything flows as pins and forks threaten to win Queens and Rooks and the game is soon over.

More creativity in the next game when Shirov takes on Akopian in a crucial game. A drawn ending soon has life breathed into it with a surprising move that ultimately decided the tournament in instructive fashion.

Finally, we get to see a high-level opening trap, if it can be called that. A Ruy Lopez soon turns into a King hunt with a spectacular forced checkmate!

Enjoy the video and remember to check out the complete course here.

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