Wilhelm Steinitz, the first World Champion, once said that the player with the initiative has the right to attack. In this game, White starts attacking and never lets up.

Anyone who knows me knows how big a fan I am of chess games with lots of violence (a.k.a., a lot of action). In this game, Karen Grigoryan, an international master from Turkmenistan, made a big fan out of me. His victim was Cristian Aranda Marin, a strong Spanish master.

Grigoryan, Karen vs. Aranda Marin, C.
28th Roquetas de Mar Open | Roquetas de Mar ESP | Round 2.6 | 04 Jan 2017 | ECO: B43 | 1-0
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3
3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 This would have been a more typical move order.  )
3... a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bb4?! This is a very unusual move, and I don't like it.
5... Qc7 This is the mainline. In addition  )
5... b5 Is also playable. It was popularized by Gata Kamsky, the former challenger for the World Championship.  )
6. Bd3 I like this move. White simply develops and does not worry about the pawn structure.
6... d6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Nce2!? This looks weird but it's quite a decent move. Now the bishop on b4 looks really dumb.
8... Bc5 9. Kh1
9. c3 This move was more accurate because
9... b5 Fails to
10. a4  )
9... b5 Black has achieved a decent position from the opening, but the game is just getting started.
10. a4! White provokes Black into pushing his b-pawn to b4 to create weaknesses on the queenside.
10... b4 11. Nb3! Ba7 12. Bg5! White highlights the absence of the Black bishop on e7. The pin is quite annoying.
12... Nc6?
12... h6 This would be the typical response, but after
13. Bxf6! Qxf6 14. f4 White's initiative is growing rapidly.  )
12... Nbd7! This was the best way, but Black would still have been a bit worse.  )
13. f4! White wastes no time in starting his attack.
13... h6
13... O-O 14. Ng3 And Black's position is already critical because he cannot stop White from playing Nh5.  )
14. Bxf6!
14. Bh4? g5! This leaves Black with good counterplay because
15. fxg5 hxg5 16. Bxg5 Fails gruesomely to
16... Rxh2+ 17. Kxh2 Ng4+ 18. Kh1 Qxg5 And White would be checkmated  )
14... Qxf6 15. e5!? An energetic move but White had an even stronger one:
15. Bb5! This tricky move would give White a big edg, because after
15... axb5 16. axb5 Black loses his extra piece as he cannot prevent both bxc6 and b6.  )
15... Qe7
15... dxe5 16. Be4 Bb7 17. Ng3 And Black is under a lot of pressure. White's threat is Qf3.  )
16. exd6 Qxd6 17. Be4 Qc7?!
17... Qxd1 18. Rfxd1 Bb7 I prefer trading queens, which is a good idea for the side with a more exposed king. White would still be a bit better. For example:
19. Rd6 Rc8 20. Ned4 Nxd4 21. Bxb7 Rc7 22. Bxa6 Nxc2 23. Bb5+ And White's passed a-pawn is very strong.  )
18. Ned4
18. f5!? This move also doesn't look bad.  )
18... Bd7? One mistake and the game swings around.
18... Bb7! This is very dangerous for Black after
19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. Qh5+ But he should survive. For example:
20... Kf8 21. f5 e5 22. f6 g5 23. f7 With a position whose evaluation is unclear, but Black is not worse.  )
19. f5! e5 20. Ne6! The point. White is happy to give up a piece to blast open the lines to the Black king.
20... fxe6 21. Qh5+ Kd8
21... Ke7 22. Qh4+! Ke8 23. Qg4! And Black cannot protect both e6 and g7.  )
22. Rad1 Kc8
22... exf5 23. Bxf5 Nd4 Black cannot keep the d-file closed in this way because:
24. Bxd7 Qxd7 25. Qxe5! And the position blows up in Black's face.  )
23. fxe6 Be8
23... Bxe6 24. Qg6! And Black loses material.
24... Bd7 25. Rxd7! Kxd7 26. Rf7+  )
24. Qe2 The easiest and most natural way to convert White's advantage.
24. Rf7! This move was even stronger, but also what a computer would play. I like the move chosen by White better.
24... Bxf7 25. exf7 Rf8 26. Qg4+ Kb8 27. Bxc6! A tough move to calculate in advance.
27... Qxc6 28. Qxb4+ Kc7 29. Qe7+ Kb6 30. Rd6  )
24... Bd4 25. c3! Black is never spared for one tempo; the punches keep coming every move.
25... bxc3 26. bxc3 Rb8
26... Bxc3 27. Rc1  )
27. Nxd4 exd4 28. cxd4 The pawns will cruise up the board. Note the Black rook on h8 never once played an active role in the game.
28... Rb4 29. d5 Ne5 30. Qxa6+ Qb7 31. Rc1+


Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.