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Vasilios Kotronias vs Hikaru Nakamura
Gibtelecom (2009), Catalan Bay GIB, rd 3, Jan-29
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation. Main lines (B18)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-02-09  hellopolgar: 25 Rf4 should be a friday puzzle.

what a nice trap.

Feb-03-09  Riverbeast: Whoops...the girl got cornered...It's the 'Roach Motel variation'

"Roaches check in, but they don't check out"

Feb-04-09  MarbleSkull: 23... Qc7 and black is up a pawn, but with little counterplay. It seems better than this, though.
Feb-05-09  Albertan: So, this game proves that Grandmasters are human too!! Nakamura gets his queen trapped in 26 moves!!

Kotronias,Vasilios (2603) - Nakamura,Hikaru (2699) [B19] Gibtelecom Masters Gibraltar (3.2), 29.01.2009
[Analyzed by Deep Rybka 3]

Opening:Caro-Kann Defense:Classical variation Eco:B19 1.e4 c6 The Caro-Kann defense. 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 The Classical system. 5.Ng3 Avoiding the loss of a tempo and instead winning one. 5...Bg6 6.h4 h6 Creating an escape square for the bishop incase Kotronias plays h5. 7.Nf3 The most popular continuation. 7...Nd7 Catching up in minor piece development. 8.h5 Forcing the bishop back to h7. 8...Bh7 9.Bd3 Offering an exchange of bishops. 9...Bxd3 This is the problem with this variation for Black. He has moved his bishop alot in the opening and now it is off the board, with him still having to develop two minor pieces.However, white has yet to develop any attack which Nakamura has to deal with. 10.Qxd3 e6 Allowing him to complete the development of his minor pieces. 11.Bf4 The most often played move in this position, denying Nakamura the chance to play ...Qc7. 11...Qa5+ Threatening to win a tempo. [Analysis:The main line is: 11...Ngf6 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Kb1 0-0 14.Ne4 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Nf6 16.Qe2 Qd5] 12.Bd2 Forcing Nakamura to spend a tempo moving the queen, however the queen check has deflected the white bishop from attacking Nakamura's position. 12...Bb4 Offering to exchange bishops on b4. [Analysis:The main continuation in this position is: 12...Qc7 ] 13.c3 The most often played move for White in this position, winning a tempo. 13...Be7 Returning to guard the dark squares near the black king. [Analysis:Rarely played in this position is: 13...Bd6 ] 14.c4 The most popular continuation, attacking the queen winning a tempo. 14...Qc7 The most often played move in the chessbase online database, preventing 15.Ne5. 15.0-0-0 Aggressively, castling on the queenside. 15...Ngf6 A move almost always played by the second player in the chessbase online database. Nakamura completes the development of his minor pieces, attacking the white h-pawn and preventing Kotronias from playing d5. 16.Kb1 The most-often played move in this position, taking the king off the c-file and into a more secure location. 16...0-0 According to the chessbase online database, this move is almost always played by Black in this position. 17.Qc2 A rarely-played continuation keeping the queen on the weakened diagonal which enters near Nakamura's king. 17...Ng4N Nakamura attacks the unprotected White f-pawn, winning a tempo.This move is a theoretical novelty for the position. Prior to this game these moves had been played in this position: 17...Rfd8, 17...c5 and 17...Rfe8. 18.Bc1 The lost tempo. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3:The program gave a better evaluation to 18.Bc3 with a possible continuation being: 18...Rad8 19.d5!? cxd5 20.cxd5 exd5 21.Rxd5 Bf6 22.Rhd1 Nb6 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Bxf6 Rxd1+ 25.Qxd1 Nxf6=] 18...Ndf6 Coordinating his knights so they support each other.He prevents Kotronias from playing 19.Qe4. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3:The program gave a better evaluation to the move 18...a5 with a possible continuation being: 19.Qe2 Rfe8 20.Ne5 Ngxe5 21.dxe5 Red8 22.f4 a4 23.Ne4 a3!? 24.b3 Nc5 25.g4 Nxe4 26.Qxe4 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 Rd8 28.Rxd8+ Qxd8=] 19.Rh4 Kotronias forces Nakamura to keep his knight on f6. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3: 19.Rh4 c5 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Nd7 (The white e-pawn is poisoned: 21...Qxe5?? 22.Bf4 trapping the queen.) 22.Re4 Rad8 23.f4 Nb8 24.Re2 Nc6 25.Red2 Rxd2 26.Bxd2 Nd4 27.Qe4 Rd8=] 19...Bd6 Nakamura makes his bishop more active by placing it on the diagonal. He creates the threat of 20...Bxg3 21.fxg3 Qxg3 winning a pawn. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3:The program gave a better evaluation to the move 19...c5 with a possible continuation being: 20.Qe2 Bd6 21.Nf1 Rad8 22.Ne1 cxd4 23.Rxg4!? Nxg4 24.Qxg4 f5 25.Qe2 e5=] 20.Nf1 Preventing the loss of a pawn at the cost of a tempo. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3gave a better evaluation to: 20.Ne4 with a possible continuation being: 20... 20...Nxe4 21.Rxg4 Nf6 22.Rh4 Be7 23.g4 Nh7 24.Rhh1 Rad8 =] 20...Bf4 Nakamura offers to exchange bishops on f4. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3:Gave a better evaluation to the move 20...c5 with this variation possible: 21.Qe2 Rad8 22.Ne1 cxd4 23.Rxg4 Nxg4 24.Qxg4 f5 25.Qe2 (25.Qxd4?? Bb4 ) 25...e5=] 21.Bxf4 Qxf4 Deep Rybka 3 evaluates this position as equal. 22.Ne3 Kotronias creates a double-attack against Nakamura's pinned knight on g4, which forces Nakamura to use his queen to guard this double-attacked piece, unless Nakamura now plays 22...Nxe3.

Feb-05-09  Albertan: [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3: 22.Ne3 Nxe3!? 23.fxe3 Qg3 24.Rh3 Qg4 25.Rdh1 Rad8 26.a3 Qf5 27.Rh4 Nd7 28.Rf1 Qxc2+ 29.Kxc2 b5=] 22...Nxe3!? Nakamura offers to exchange queens. 23.fxe3 Qg3 Now the white knight is tied down to defend the white rook on h4 and the white queen is tied to the defense of the white g-pawn. [Analysis:It would be a mistake to capture the white e-pawn: 23...Qxe3?? 24.Rd3 And the black queen would be trapped.] 24.Rdh1 Kotronias frees up his knight from having to defend the rook on h4. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3 gave a better evaluation to the move 24.Rh3 and provided this possible continuation: 24...Qg4 25.Ne5 Qg5[] (the only move) 26.Qe2 Rad8 27.Qf3 c5 28.Kc2 cxd4 29.exd4 Nd7 30.Nxd7 Rxd7 31.Rg3 Qe7=] 24...c5?? A blunder, which will lead to Nakamuras' queen being trapped. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3:Better were:(a) 24...Rad8 ; (b) 24...Qc7 ; and (c) 24...Qc7 ] 25.Rf4 Kotronias threatens to play 26.Rh3 trapping Nakamura's queen. 25...cxd4 This capture allows Kotronias to trap Nakamuras' queen with the move 26.Rh3. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3 gave a better evaluation to: 25...Nxh5 26.Rxh5 cxd4 27.Rxd4 f5 28.Rd7 Rf7 29.Rxf7 Kxf7 30.e4 Kg8 (30...fxe4 31.Qxe4 Re8 ) ] 26.Rh3 Nakamura's queen is trapped!! 26...Qxh3 [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3:The program gave a better evaluation to the move 26...d3 with a possible continuation being: 27.Qd2 Ne4 28.Rxe4 Qc7 29.Qxd3 Rad8 30.Rd4 Rxd4 31.exd4 Rd8 ] 27.gxh3 Leaving Nakamura down a minor piece. 27...dxe3 28.Ne5 Nxh5 Regaining a pawn which leaves Nakamura down a pawn in material. 29.Rf3 Attacking Nakamura's e-pawn, which Nakamura cannot defend. 29...Rac8 Pinning the white c-pawn. 30.Qe2 Breaking the pin against his c-pawn while still protecting it. [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3:The program evaluated that the move 30.Qe4 was a better idea with a possible continuation being: 30...e2 31.Qxe2 Nf6 32.Qe3 b6 33.Rg3 Kh8 34.Qa3 Rc5 35.Re3 a5 36.Qb3 b5 37.cxb5 Kg8 38.b6 ] 30...Rc7 [Analysis:Deep Rybka 3: 30...Nf6 31.Qxe3 b6 32.Rg3 Kh8 33.Qa3 Rc5 34.Re3 a5 35.Qb3 b5 36.cxb5 Kg8 37.b6 Rb8 ] 31.Qxe3 Kotronais goes up two pawns in material. 31...b6 Saving his a-pawn from being captured. 32.Qd4 1-0 Nakamura resigned. If 32...Nf6 33.Rxf6!? gxf6 34.Ng4 Rfc8 35.Nxf6 Kf8 36.Qd6+ Re7 (If 36...Kg7 37.Ne8+ ) 37.b3 h5 38.Ng8 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: While the Queen trap with 25. Rf4! is instructive, just as interesting is the defensive move Black might have played with 24...Rad8! to parry this threat.

From there, play might go 24...Rad8! 25. Rf4?! (better is 25. R1h3 Qc7 ) 25...e5! 26. dxe5 Ng4! 27.Rh3? (better is 27. Qe2 Rfe8 =) 27...Qxg2! 28. Qxg2 Rd1+ 29. Kc2 Nxe3+ 30. Kb3 Nxg2 .

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