In an exhibition match held in Moscow, Russia, the Latvian grandmaster Alexei Shirov outclassed the Russian talent Daniil Dubov: 5-1. Shirov won four games while the first and the last were drawn. In what was a very exciting match, Shirov clearly felt more at home in several highly complicated middlegame positions.
The match between 41-year-old Alexei Shirov and 17-year-old Daniil Dubov was an idea of and sponsored by Russian businessman Oleg Skvortsov. A true chess lover, Skvortsov (International Gemological Laboratories, Moscow) also sponsored the 2011 Aronian-Kramnik match, the Zurich Chess Challenge and a friendly match between Dmitry Andreikin and Ian Nepomniachtchi.
This week's match was called the Battle of Generations and took place at the Digital October center in Moscow, which is part of the former Red October chocolate factory and also the location of the Chess.TV company that provides videos streaming for all big Russian chess events these days. During the games Chess.TV provided live broadcast with commentary by GM Sergey Shipov, who is also Dubov's coach.
It was a six-game match played at the FIDE time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves and then 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds per move.
In the first game, an Anti-Meran, Shirov got a slight initiative as White but Dubov could trade some pieces and find back the coordination of his remaining forces, when it was all equal.
The players, and Oleg Skortsov, shake hands at the start of the match
The match regulations stipulated that on days when the game was drawn, the players would play two blitz games (which wouldn't affect the match score).
In the first, Shirov sacrificed a piece for long-term compensation but in the end Dubov managed to hold the draw. Just when Black was winning material, White could give a perpetual. Dubov won the second game from an Alekhine Defense. Here are both blitz games.
A fine first day for the match! It was clear that the chess fans were in for a treat, and indeed in the subsequent classical games sharp openings and wild complications came on the board. Somehow Dubov didn't seem fully ready yet for the fire-on-board kind of chess Shirov likes to play, as the Latvian GM won four games in a row. But credits should also go to Dubov for not avoiding these complications; this way the match must have been a very instructive experience.
Below are games 2-6.
As the last game also ended in a draw, the players played two more blitz games. Again it was Dubov who won this minimatch, and so he got some sort of revenge for his big loss in the classical games. Below are Sunday's two blitz games.
Shirov-Dubov 2013 | Final score
Photos courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation. Games via TWIC.