US Masters First Round: NM Matthew Puckett vs GM Alex Shabalov

Matthew Puckett is a National Master from the Great State of Alabama, where he is currently the highest rated player. Mr. Puckett is strong enough to have bested a Grandmaster, Sam Palatnik. The battle, featuring a Leningrad Dutch, was contested at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center. Not many, if any, GMs lost at the House of Pain.

Alexander Shabalov is enshrined in the US Chess Hall of Fame.

Matthew Puckett 2138 (USA) vs GM Alexander Shabalov 2496 (USA)
U.S. Masters 2021 round 01
D30 Queen’s gambit declined

White to make eighth move
White to make twelfth move
White to make sixteenth move
  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 a5 6. Qc2 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. dxc5? (Players are taught it is usually better to capture toward the center. Although a small mistake, it would have been much better to play 8. cxd5)

8…d4 9. Bxb4 axb4 10. Nbd2 Nc6 11. O-O e5 12. Rfd1? (12 Ng5 must be played as it is the only move not causing disadvantage) 12… Qe7 13. Nb3 h6 14. Ne1 Bg4 15. Qd2 Rfd8 16. Nd3? (The game, for all intents and purposes is over after this egregious mistake. When deciding upon a move a player will ask himself before making the move, “With which move will my opponent reply?” In this case the answer is obvious, which means that after the expected 16…e4, Matthew planned to play 17 Nxb4, because what kind of player would move the Knight to d3 if he were intending on retreating immediately? Yet that is the move Mr. Puckett should have played, but by then he had completely lost his objectivity and carried on with his ill-fated plan…) 16…e4 17. Nxb4 Nxb4 18. Qxb4 d3 19. f3 dxe2 20. Rxd8+ Rxd8 21. fxg4 Rd1+ 22. Kf2 e1=Q+ 23. Qxe1 Nxg4+ 24. Kg1 Rxe1+ 25. Rxe1 f5 26. Bf1 Ne5 27. Be2 Qg5 28. Kf2 f4 0-1
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-masters/01-Puckett_Matthew-Shabalov_Alexander

One thought on “US Masters First Round: NM Matthew Puckett vs GM Alex Shabalov

  1. […] GM Shabalov should need no introduction but if one is needed the reader can check out the introductory remarks found here (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/11/27/us-masters-first-round-nm-matthew-puckett-vs-gm-a&#8230😉 […]

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