Shirov's Miraculous Chess Swindle - Top 10 Of The 1990s - Kramnik vs. Shirov, 1994

Shirov's Miraculous Chess Swindle - Top 10 Of The 1990s - Kramnik vs. Shirov, 1994

NM SamCopeland

One of the great chess rivalries of the 1990s was Vladimir Kramnik vs. Alexei Shirov. Today Kramnik's achievements are legendary, most notably defeating Garry Kasparov and becoming World Chess Champion in 2000. However, many may not realize how dominant Shirov was in this period, being ranked third in the world in 1994. Shirov and Kramnik had many great battles, including a match won in 1998 by Shirov in which the winner was supposed to play a World Championship match against Garry Kasparov. That match never materialized, but Kramnik and Shirov's great battles (including this incredible swindle) remain.

Top 10 Games of the 1990s

The game features a real battle in styles as Kramnik seeks to gain space and squeeze Shirov without ever allowing counterplay, but eventually, after a careless move by Shirov, Kramnik enters complications that are favorable to him, winning a piece but allowing Shirov into his king's position. It seems Kramnik has things totally under control when Shirov uncorks 31...Re4!! an utterly brilliant and chaotic move that creates wild complications. Still winning, Kramnik responds well with 32.Nxd5!, but it is ultimately Shirov who will outlast his opponent in the melee.


  • Ignore the engine evaluation, pose problems for your opponent. (31...Re4!!)
  • It's not over till it's over.
  • Don't get complacent (23...Qd7?); each move changes calculations.

My notes are below.

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