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Larry Mark Christiansen vs Hikaru Nakamura
US Championship (2010), St Louis, MO USA, rd 7, May-20
French Defense: Tarrasch. Morozevich Variation (C03)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
May-20-10  MWYOUNG: Larry could have won the game if he could have found the computer shot 34.Rxd5!! leaving the knight to be taken on e2. This is a very hard move for any human to find over the board. I don't know if any human would have saw this shot. So Larry should not feel too bad.
May-20-10  MKalafatas: Interesting. Looking at the position after 16...Qxb6 I can't help but think a player like Karpov would have won with White. Christiansen was impatient to secure the d4 square for his knight and so played 17.b4. I think Karpov might have approached the position differently, realizing that d4 was his square anyway and that Black had no active plan available.
May-20-10  CapablancaFan122: <MWYOUNG> How does Rxd5 win?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I still think the French is 'anti chess', and when the game of chess is finally solved, by a software program, 1...e6 is a forced win for white.
May-21-10  MaxxLange: <the French is 'anti chess'>


it's the ultimate anti- Greco school whupping on f7 square defense to 1 e4

1 e4 e6

Black says, I don't care what happens, but you are not playing Bxf7+ in this game, ever

May-21-10  MWYOUNG: <CapablancaFan122>

click for larger view

34. Rxd5!! Bxe2 35. Rd7 Qc4 36. Qe5! Qf4 37. Qxe2 Rf8

and the rest is a matter of technique.

38. c4 Rgf6 39. f3 R8f7 40.Rd8+ Rf8 41. Rd1 Qf5 42. Rb5 Qf4 43. Re5 Re8 44. c5 Qa4 45. Rd6 Qa3 46. Qd2 Qa1+ 47. Re1 Qa7 48. Qe3 Rf7 49. Kh1 Rfe7 50. Red1 Qc7 51. c6 Kf7 52. Qd3 Kf6 53. Qc3+ Kf7 54. Rd7 Qb8 55. c7 Qc8 56. Qc2 Kf6 57. Qb2+ Kf7 58. Qb5 Rxd7 59. Rxd7+ Re7 60. Qb8 Qxd7 61. c8=Q Qxc8 62. Qxc8

May-21-10  MaxxLange: <MWYOUNG> that is an amazing line. 34 Rxd5!! is thematic and beautiful
May-21-10  MWYOUNG: <MaxxLange>

I listen to Larry and Naka after the game. GM Ashly asked Larry and Naka if white was winning at any point in the game. They said both players missed this shot. If Larry would have found 34.Rxd5, Naka would have been knock out of the 2010 US Championship. Only the top 4 player advance to play for the championship after this round of play.

May-21-10  MaxxLange: I remember kibitzers were saying, those White Rooks are so menacing on the Q-side
May-21-10  CapablancaFan122: <MWYOUNG> Thanks for your analysis. Rxd5 is indeed a good move!
May-21-10  Shams: <MWYOUNG> Splendid work. I strongly sensed that white was winning at some point, so it's nice to be vindicated.
May-21-10  paul1959: <MWYOUNG> In your line , much better for black is 35... Qf4 instead of Qc4. The White queen has no squares to escape the exchange. So, forced is 36. Rd8+ Rxd8 37 Qxd8+ Kh7 and now what?
May-21-10  Shams: <paul1959><In your line , much better for black is 35... Qf4 instead of Qc4. The White queen has no squares to escape the exchange.>

click for larger view

36.Rxe6 looks tough to meet.

May-21-10  Kazzak: 36.Rb6xe6 Qf4-f5 37.Rd7-d8+ Rc8xd8 38.Qd4xd8+ Kg8-g7 39.Re6-e7+ Qf5-f7 40.Re7xf7+ Kg7xf7

Qc4 is "best."

LarryC must be kicking himself today - if he'd seen Rxd5, it would have been in perfect keeping with his Attacking Chess philosophy, and a crusher for Nakamura.

May-21-10  Marmot PFL: These time controls seem very fast so its not surprising that both players miss good moves and the game quality is often mediocre.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Hard to foresee all these tactical lines after 34.Rxd5!!. I wonder what Larry fractionalized afterwards?
May-21-10  kingfu: I would be visualizing a draw with someone rated 150 points higher. But that does affect the looking process.

The French is anti-everything! An older MCO gives analysis of the French such as: Black will suffer countless indignities to reach an endgame where the pawn structure favors Black!

May-21-10  kingfu: Everybody sees diagonal pins and file pins. This was a rare rank pin, this 34 Rxd5. Most rank pins get over looked.
May-21-10  pferd: <kingfu: Everybody sees diagonal pins and file pins. This was a rare rank pin, this 34 Rxd5. Most rank pins get over looked.>

Maybe, but Christiansen didn't overlook it - (see move 35) - he just didn't see all the quiet moves, like 36.Qe5 in 34.Rxd5 Bxe2 35.Rd7 Qc4 36.Qe5 Qf4 37.Qxe2

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Maybe, but Christiansen didn't overlook it - (see move 35) - he just didn't see all the quiet moves, like 36.Qe5 in 34.Rxd5 Bxe2 35.Rd7 Qc4 36.Qe5 Qf4 37.Qxe2>

Indeed, during the live broadcast on ICC, after Ashley and Shahade were informed by some kibitzers (probably with engines) that 34.Rxd5 should be winning, and were trying to figure out how, they had serious difficulties in spotting 36.Qe5 as the winning move, even though they were actually moving the pieces around (I think they had to be tipped off yet again by the kibitzers). And it's also worth noting that materially White ends up just a pawn up at the end of this spectacular combination (but it should be enough to win); one of the things that have to be noted while calculating the line is that after 37.Qxe2 Black cannot regain the pawn immediately by 37...Rxc3 because of 38.g3! (but not 38.Rxe6? Rc1+ 39.Rd1 Rxd1+ and White loses a rook) - since the black queen has to keep an eye on b8, to prevent a rook check on that square.

May-21-10  pferd: Eyal: Yes. 38.g3 is a fine move. Not only does it evict the Queen from her diagonal, but it gives Luft to the White King at the same time!
May-23-10  kingfu: Anti is such a strong word. I still prefer contrarian or defensive. Most e4 players like the open , tactical games. The French denies this from move one.

Nobody said anything about renaming the French, The Maginot Line. Oh, hey wait, that defense was a forced loss in short order. Better leave it the French, then. Or maybe....

We have CK for 1... c6, The Caro-Kann, named for guys who worked and analysed that opening. How about KM for 1....e6, The Korchnoi-Morozevich?

I remember Fischer publishing analysis (A Bust to The King's Gambit) saying The King's Gambit was a forced loss for white. Not exactly Bobby. Boris outlasted you in fine style playing the KG as white and having some spectacular wins.

The French is a stubborn, up yours beast that refuses to go away.

Vive la French!

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