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Hikaru Nakamura vs Nikita Vitiugov
Reggio Emilia (2012), Reggio Emilia ITA, rd 6, Jan-02
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Even one passed pawn can be the game winner.
Jan-02-12  Shams: A knight on d6 seems as strong in 2012 as it did last year. I feel like this is a lot of years in a row now where that has held.
Jan-02-12  timhortons: I love nak king march and the plan that goes with it, just got no respect at all with the book author,thi game shattered vitiugov integrity.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <timhortons> I think that may be overstating it a bit. Vitiugov is in's opening book up to 9Nxc5, then 10Qc7 is new. According to Shredder he's equalized at move 14. Equalizing with black out of the opening is a main goal for black; doing so with the French shows Vitiugov knows his stuff. Being outplayed in the middle game by one Nakamura doesn't "shatter" Vitiugov's French book integrity. It just shows he needs to improve his middle game before he beats top 10 players, The French Defense notwithstanding.
Jan-02-12  Everett: <Shams: A knight on d6 seems as strong in 2012 as it did last year. I feel like this is a lot of years in a row now where that has held.>

Ha, a priceless pearl for the new year!

Jan-02-12  Marmot PFL: You can play the French well and still have difficult endings. I think the main problem was 25..f5, an unnessary weakening of e6.
Jan-03-12  xthred: White's Knight on d6 was untouchable!
Jan-03-12  frogbert: <A knight on d6 seems as strong in 2012 as it did last year.>

yeah, maybe reason why black shouldn't have accepted it just like that?

it appears that black had a strong tactical response to 20. Nd6 (even at the cost of an exchange):

20... Bxd6! 21. Nb5 Qc5! 22. Nxd6 c3!! the point of black's sequence:

click for larger view

any knight capture (b7 or c8) is of course immediately punished by Qb4 mating (b3 Qa3 and Qb2 mate) so white must choose between

a) 23. Rh3!? Qb4 24. Qb5 Qxb5 25. Nxb5 cxb2 26. Nd6 Rc7 27. Rg3 with full equality for black and likely draw:

click for larger view

or the possibly more exciting

b) 23. bxc3!? Bd5! 24. Rh3 (24. Nxc8 Rxc8 25. Rxd5 (25. Rh3!?) Qxd5 26. Rd1 Qc6 27. Rd3 is equal) 24... Qa5 (Rc7!?) 25. Nxc8 Qxa2+ 26. Kc1 Qa3+ 27. Kd2 Rxc8 and black has nearly full compensation despite being a full exchange down:

click for larger view

while understandable, it seems like vitiugov became too passive here when the position required some action on his behalf.

Jan-03-12  ex0duz: <Penguincw: Even one passed pawn can be the game winner.>

Sorry to be a smartass, but i count two in the final position.. and yeah. I think most chess players(and even non chess players) know that a pawn can turn into a queen and win you the game.. lol

Even checkers players know it. Happy New Years guys! Loving the tournament so far. So many decisive games!

Jan-03-12  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 14...Rac8 is 14...a6 compelling White's KB to make a choice
Jan-03-12  haydn20: Playing this over I thought 21...Bc6 22. Qxc4 Bxd6 23. exd6 Rxd6 24. Rxd6 Qxd6 25. Rd3 Qc7 was = and kept the N out of b5 and thus d6. Still the Nd6 wasn't fatal, e.g., Black might have been okay with 30...Bd5 and just shuttling, waiting for White to start something. In any case, Naka played a fine game of probing until Black weakened.
Jan-03-12  frogbert: <Playing this over I thought 21...Bc6 22. Qxc4 Bxd6 23. exd6 Rxd6 24. Rxd6 Qxd6 25. Rd3 Qc7 was =>

according to the engines, white's 21. Rh3 wasn't entirely accurate (when black didn't respond to Nd6 as outlined in my previous post). a similar idea to your Bc6 is a6, which also stops Nb5 and gives equality, apparently.

instead of 21. Rh3, white had the immediate 21. Ncb5!? but i'm not very convinced by the line given by houdini:

21... Qc6 22. Nxb7 Rxd1+ 23. Rxd1 Qxb5 24. Qf3 c3! 25. b3 Qa6 26. Nd6 Qa3 27. Nc4 Qa6 28. a4 b5 29. axb5 Qxb5

click for larger view

after 30. Nd6 (again) white's maybe a little better due to the pawn structure, but he also needs to be alert to attacking "tricks"; black has counterplay and the material is reduced.

nakamura's choice of Rh3 was probably a better way to probe for advantage compared to forcing matters with 21. Ncb5 - give your opponents enough rope and you'll be surprised how cooperative they can be ... :o)

Jan-04-12  haydn20: <frogbert> Thanks for the analysis. I usually learn something from your posts and those of a few others. BTW, unlike some posters you seem to have a technical knowledge of statistics (which I teach from time to time). Is this so?
Jan-04-12  King Death: <Check It Out: ...Being outplayed in the middle game by one Nakamura doesn't "shatter" Vitiugov's French book integrity...>

Of course it doesn't (to an objective observer).

<...It just shows he needs to improve his middle game before he beats top 10 players...>

This single game doesn't even prove that one way or the other. To reach that conclusion would take a more in depth study of a player's games.

Jan-04-12  frogbert: haydn20, i think my intuition when it comes to statistics and related subjects is better than my formal knowledge (i look up things now and then, and sometimes feel that it would've been useful to know some techniques a little better). i only have the most basic university courses in statistics plus enough university math to formally qualify for teaching math & stats in highschool (assuming that i would've wanted to be a teacher, of course).

my academical depth is in computer science - i've got a 5 year university degree majoring in computer science. currently i work as a software developer for microsoft, in the office division, after microsoft acquired the norwegian search technology company "fast" back in april 2008. technically that makes microsoft the employer i've been working for the longest, which is kind of odd wrt my (university) unix background. :o)

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