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Hikaru Nakamura vs Loek van Wely
Corus Group A (2010), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 2, Jan-17
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Van Wely's last chance of survival was apparently 21...Rb6. Nakamura gives 22.Nxe5 Bxe5 23.Qh5 "and the king will be stuck in the center", but he seems to be missing 23...g5! (24.Qxg5 f6, now that this pawn isn't pinned). 21...00, on the other hand, loses to 22.Rhg1 with the threat Qxf6 - a spectacular finish would be 22...Kh8 23.Bxh7! Kxh7 24.Qxf6!! gxf6 25.Re4 and mate on h4.

A move before that, though, 20...0-0 was still playable. Nakamura gives 21.Rxe5 Bf6 22.Rh5! as refuting it (again, the bishop is terribly placed on f6), but instead Black has 21...f5! and it's unclear.

Jan-17-10  frogbert: not much quality/thorough analysis here of this game yet, i see. after 21... h5? the game was over, technically speaking, but before that there are lots of interesting lines to consider.

everything after 17... kf8!? is very interesting (even if possibly not better at all than ne5!?).

also, black seems to have a clear improvement with 19... 0-0! instead of 19... dxe5?!

after the game's 20. nc6 bf6 21. bd3! white is clearly better even after other moves than the text move, and when black played 21... h5? nakamura took it home in style.

question is, does white have much more than a pleasant position here (yes?):

click for larger view

(analysis diagram after 19... 0-0)

20. nc6 dxe5 21. rxe5 (nxb8 gives black full compensation with a pawn and a strong bishop pair) 21... f5! 22. bd3! and this seems to be the maximum black can do after 17... nxe5!? - question is, is it enough?

click for larger view

(analysis diagram after 19... 0-0 20. nc6 dxe5 21. rxe5 f5 22. bd3)

so far i haven't been able to make up my mind about what gives black the better chances for survival of the 17... kf8 line and 17... ne5 with 19... 0-0 line - in either case it seems like the nd5 sacrifice was completely sound.

in the game van wely started to crack from the pressure already after 18-19 moves and was totally busted after naka's move 22, but it would've been interesting to see this played out with a somewhat more stubborn and accurate defence, of the kind kramnik and anand might put up at their best.

excellent game from nakamura at any rate! :o)

Jan-17-10  frogbert: <not much quality/thorough analysis here of this game yet, i see.>

wrote that before i saw your latest comments, eyal! :o) still, there are lots of stuff to dig into here yet... :o)

Jan-17-10  frogbert: <A move before that, though, 20...0-0 was still playable.>

and possibly even better another move before that, at move 19, like pointed out in my previous posts. :o)

Jan-17-10  Roger Krueger: Amazed at the people who wanted 31. Be4 just because the computer liked it better.

For us fallible humans, a simple 100% chance at a win is far better than a complicated 97% chance at a win whose sole virtue is being a bit more pretty/crushing if it works.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <and possibly even better another move before that, at move 19, like pointed out in my previous posts.>

Is there a difference? My 20...0-0 21.Rxe5 f5 and Your 19...0-0 20.Nc6 dxe5 21.Rxe5 f5 lead to the same position.

Jan-17-10  frogbert: eyal, sorry! no, obviously it doesn't matter, since white plays nc6 anyway. of course, if van wely had played 19... 0-0, he wouldn't have been able to err with 20... bf6 though ;o)
Jan-17-10  frogbert: 22. bd3! rb6 23. rhe1 seems very strong for white though. for instance 23... bf6 probably loses to 24. ne7! bxe7 25. rxe7 because 25... qxh2 runs into the blow 26. c4!

click for larger view

neither capturing (and allowing bc4) or allowing c5 seems playable for black: 26... rg6 27. c5 rg3 28. qd1! and white is winning, still a pawn down.

click for larger view

alternatives might be 23... g6!? or even 22... bf6!?, but white still seems to have a solid upper hand. it seems 23... g6!? is the best try, when my rybka first wants to try 24. qf2!? rb7 25. qc5 bd7 26. ne7+ kf7 27. d6!? qxc5 28. bxc5:

click for larger view

those connected passers look kind of strong, so after 28... bf6 29. r5e3 rd8 rybka actually prefers 30. nd5!? over caching in the piece with 30. c6 here:

click for larger view

it feels like white should be winning in this position too - and that it's <not> very "unclear". :o)

Jan-17-10  frogbert: at any rate, this would've been a huge improvement on the game, from black's point of view, getting in 0-0 either on move 19 or 20.

the position after the alternative 30. c6!? bxc6 31. nxc6 rxd6 32. ne5+ kg7 is also kind of interesting.

click for larger view

black is about to play b4, removing even more of white's pawns - and the question is if the two pawns left after for instance 33. nf3 b4 34. axb4 (34. a4 b3!) rxb4+ 35. kc1 are enough - or rather, if white's c-pawn will survive. :o)

click for larger view

(position after 35. kc1)

black has counterplay with his king-side pawn majority, but a piece is a piece...

Jan-17-10  jsy: <For us fallible humans, a simple 100% chance at a win is far better than a complicated 97% chance at a win whose sole virtue is being a bit more pretty/crushing if it works.>

GM Svidler said something similar to that during live commentary on the Nakamura game which included an anecdote that basically recalls his old chess coach advising him, when given a choice, to go for the "sure" dragged out win instead of the "less sure" but much more elegant quick win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: In the Naka-Wely game, has 15. N-d5 been played before in a gm game?
Jan-18-10  octoberowl: wow, what a cracker of a game. I would have thought naka would have had a tougher time with this opponent but he seems to have really swept him.
Jan-18-10  polarmis: There's analysis of the game (in Russian) here:
Jan-18-10  sarah wayne: 31.Be4 Qd2 32.Bd3 Resigns. Black has no
moves.I don't see what's so complicated about that.
Jan-18-10  Ulhumbrus: <sarah wayne: 31.Be4 Qd2 32.Bd3 Resigns. Black has no moves.I don't see what's so complicated about that.>

At least two things.

Firstly, it is not obvious that 32 Bd3!! serves to prevent the move ...Qd4 in reply to the move Re5 which prepares the winning check Rg5+ but which also obstructs the long diagonal for White's Queen on f6 and so invites the check...Qd4.

Secondly, the move, as did the house pf peers, does nothing in particular and does it very well. A move which does nothing is complicated indeed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: After 31.Be4 Qd2, 32.Bd3 is a very good preparatory move for the Re5-Rg5+ maneuver; in addition to denying the d4 square from the black queen for check, it also cuts the communication between queen and rook on the d-file that saves Black in the line 31.Be4 Qd2 32.Re5 Rd8 33.Rg5+ Kf8 34.Qh6+ Ke7 35.Re5+. However, this is far from being so obvious without a computer, especially since in sharp positions humans tend to look for forcing moves (or, at least, as forcing as possible). The fact is that neither Nakamura himself (according to what he said in the press conference after the game) nor Peter Svidler or Jan Gustafsson (who were commenting live on the game for chessfm) considered 32.Bd3 when they were analyzing this line - they were all focusing on 32.Re5 Rd8 (or Qd4+).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: This game illustrates very well how dynamic the value of the pieces can sometimes be, by the way in which Black offers and White refuses for several moves the exchange, since the knight on c6 is considered as more important than the rook on b8. This could become especially clear in a line like 20...0-0 (instead of Bf6) 21.Nxb8(?) Qxb8, where Black would be clearly better - with a pawn, the bishop pair (and a very strong post for the DSB on f4) and an eventual pawn-roller in the center for the exchange.

A major problem with 21...h5? which was probably the decisive mistake (instead of the more reasonable Rb6), is the way it weakens g6 to allow a fatal bishop check on that square in the lines 23...f6 24.Rxe5+! fxe5 25.Bg6+ Kd7 26.Qf5+ with mate, and a move later 24...f6 25.Bg6+ Kd7 26.Bf5+ Bxf5 27.Qxf5+ Ke8 28.Qe6+ Kf8 29.Nxe5.

Jan-18-10  sarah wayne: Cade owes miseiler an apology.He had the right idea all along.His last post was lamm,but iknew what he meant.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: It must be extremely difficult to prepare an opening line against Nakamura. In this game he quickly enters rarified territory with 9. Bxf6, with only one game previously played with this move in our database, I A Nataf vs O Renet, 2007, which ended in a difficult draw after 9...d5 =.

Then after some reasonable play by Van Wely, Nakamura makes a complicated positional sacrifice with 15...Nd5!? Van Wely again defends well, until he decides to make a risky counter sacrifice with 17...Ne5?! (better was 17...Kf8 =).

On the surface it appears things are going Ok for Van Wely until Nakamura springs the surprising pinning combination 22. Rxe5!! -- not to win material but to establish a decisive attacking position. Van Wely holds as well as he can in a lost position, but finally makes it easy for Nakamura with 25...g6?? Now Nakamura's 26. Qf6! gives him a decisive attack on the weakened castled position.

Jan-19-10  Ulhumbrus: <sarah wayne: Cade owes miseiler an apology.He had the right idea all along.His last post was lamm,but iknew what he meant.> So what do you believe he meant? On 31 Be4 Qd2 suppose that 32 Be3 means actually 32 Bd3 and that 33 Re2 means either just that, 33 Re2, or alternatively, 33 Re5. Then what does 32...Bf5 mean?
Jan-20-10  Goofy: On move 30 bishop to e4 wins for once the queen moves the white queen can work her way to rook seven and mate.
Jan-20-10  Goofy: I agree with Mr. Wayne. After B-e4 on the 30th, it's all over for black.
Mar-01-10  sarah wayne: <Ulhumbrus>32...Bf5 is something a computer might come up with in zugzwang.32Be3 must mean 32Bd3 since that's the winning move.33Re2 makes sense if 32...Bf5 were played.I don't have the position in front of me,working from memory
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Is 14.b4 theory, or Nakamura's idea at the board?
Feb-05-17  Sharpen Your Tactics:
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