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Hikaru Nakamura vs Magnus Carlsen
London Chess Classic (2012)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. General (B30)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-08-12  Hesam7: Very interesting game, I think 22...Bf3 was the correct move but that 23...Qe5? was a mistake.

First I tried 23...Bh4 but then improved it with 23...h5!. The point is that White can not defend the h-Pawn: 24 Bg5? Bg5 25 hg5 Qe5. Instead White should activate his Knight: 24 Nd2 Bh4 25 Ne4 Qe5 26 Qd7 Qd5 27 Qe8 Kh7 28 Bd2 Qf5 29 Kg2 e5


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This seems like a much better version of the game for Black.

Dec-08-12  Jus ad bellum: According to Houdini 3, all lines -playing accurately of course- end in draw after 22...Bxf3 (the "mistake" here as MC said in the post-mortem). A possible winning line after the correct 22...h6 is: 23.Bb2 a5 24.Nc3 Qc6 25.h5 a4 26.Qa1 Qb6 27.Bc1 Bc5 28.Qb2 Bc6 29.Qc2 a3 30.Ne4 Bxe4 31.Qxe4 Qa7 32.Qc6 b4 ...with +2 for Black.
Dec-08-12  Hesam7:


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This is the position after 22 Qd1, here is Cirtter 1.6a analysis @ depth 27 with an evaluation of -1.51:

22...h6 23 Bb2 a5 24 Na3 Qc6 25 Qd3 b4 26 Nc4 a4 27 Nd6 Qd5 28 Qd4 a3 29 Qb4 ab2 30 Qb2 Qd1 31 Kh2 Bf3 32 gf3 Bd6 33 ed6 Qd6 34 Kh3 Qf4 35 Qe2 Kh7 36 Qd1 Kg6 37 Qg1 Kh5 38 Qg4


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White is totally lost here: 38...Qg4 39 fg4 Kg6 and the Pawn ending is won.

At what point after 22...h6 did White go wrong? My impression is that White has to keep both his Q-side minor pieces in the Q-side, moves like 23 Be3 or 23 Nbd2 almost certainly lose (Black simply play 23...a5 then 24...a4 and White can not defend). Transferring the Knight to d6 is a defensive move: blocking the e7-Bishop. Critter's line looks plausible up to 34...Qf4 (in the sense that there are no obvious mistakes from White) whether White can actually hold that Queen ending I don't know.

Dec-08-12  Ezzy:


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Perhaps a unique position after 24...Bf8 where the knight and bishop are still undeveloped.

Dec-08-12  frogbert: good game by both players, but only black ever had winning chances. carlsen himself considered the draw to be trivial once he realized that he'd squandered his chances. he slightly regretted having played Bxf3 so quickly. however, playing fast and confidently often contributes to the trouble his opponents find themselves in, so i think it's mostly irrational afterthought to consider the occasional game where he misses opportunities (like today) a problem. most of the time it works out to his advantage (to play fast).
Dec-08-12  DrChopper: What about 33.Na4, followed by Bc5? Black can check the king a lot, but I don't think that it's much a problem.
Dec-08-12  Hesam7: <Probably not giving up the Bishop was the way to go ... that is how we young guys play chess, way too superficial> - Magnus Carlsen after the game.
Dec-08-12  Hesam7: In the press conference after the game the players talked briefly about 23...Bh4 24 f4


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Magnus simply said that Black is better while Nakamura thought White is completely fine. After 24...a5 25 Be3 Be7! (Black does not allow Qa4 or Na3) 26 Qd3 b4 27 Qa6 b3 28 Qb5 Qc2 29 Nd2 b2 30 Qa5 b1=Q 31 Nb1 Qb1 32 Kg2 Qb7 33 Kh2


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Can Black hope for anything?? 33...h5 is one move that comes to mind but I don't see where to go from there. What I came up with was 33...g5!? and White has to take since 34 Qd2? is met by 34...g4. Anyhow this is how I beat my short sighted engine:

33...g5 34 fg5 Qf3 35 Qd2 Kg7 36 Kg1 Kg6 37 Qc2 Qf5 38 Qf5 Kf5 39 f4 Kg4 40 Kf2 Bb4 41 Bc1 Bc5 42 Kg2 Bf8 43 Be3 h5


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Dec-09-12  SirRuthless: So many excuses made for Carlsen. So little credit given to Nakamura for wrangling the 3100 TPR monster Magnus. The bias in this room is actually rather entertaining. How long has it been since Magnus has defeated Nakamura now? The have had 6 draws this year and no decisive results. I think it is not totally unreasonable to think that Nakamura has tamed Magnus.
Dec-09-12  Hesam7: <irRuthless: So many excuses made for Carlsen. So little credit given to Nakamura for wrangling the 3100 TPR monster Magnus. The bias in this room is actually rather entertaining. How long has it been since Magnus has defeated Nakamura now? The have had 6 draws this year and no decisive results. I think it is not totally unreasonable to think that Nakamura has tamed Magnus.>

This actually made me laugh, I will mention two facts:

1. Nakamura had White in <5> of the 6 games.

2. When Magnus had White (Biel) he obtained a winning position.

Dec-09-12  SirRuthless: <Hesam7> More excuses. I repeat. How many games of classical chess has Magnus won against Nakamura in the last year?

Thank you!

Dec-09-12  Hesam7: <SirRuthless: <Hesam7> More excuses. I repeat. How many games of classical chess has Magnus won against Nakamura in the last year?>

:) if Magnus had drawn all games where he had given Nakamura Knight odds pointing that out would stil be an excuse I guess ...

And he beat Nakamura last year in London Chess Classic.

Dec-09-12  vanytchouck: < SirRuthless: So many excuses made for Carlsen. (...) I think it is not totally unreasonable to think that Nakamura has tamed Magnus.> Ah ! Ah ! Ah! Ah!

So true ! Such a big achievement to draw with white and a piece up !

What would you've written if Naka won this game ???

I think it's usual die hard Naka fan's stuff ...

Dec-09-12  SirRuthless: I am just glad to see him survive against THE GREATEST PLAYER ON EARTH. When Naka gets back into top form next year I will enjoy watching him dismantle Magnus.
Dec-09-12  Hesam7: <SirRuthless: I am just glad to see him survive against THE GREATEST PLAYER ON EARTH. >

I don't know if you realize that this is in fact a back handed compliment. This would not be the attitude of a contender, this is the way someone who knows they are inferior in every way would think. Aronian, Kramnik, Anand and players of similar caliber never celebrate drawing 6 games against Magnus when they have had 5 Whites.

As for Nakamura's future prospects, right now he is 100 points below Magnus and I think that difference understates the gap between them. Nakamura did well b/c he was an unknown quantity, as time passes players have figured out his unorthodox style. Want examples? See how Adams, Ivanchuk & Gelfand dispatched him in London Grand Prix. And it is telling that all 3 belong to pre-computer times with a sound education in positional chess.

Dec-09-12  SirRuthless: Funny how you select his worst performance in years to support your assertion. Nakamura has a difficult time against Magnus and Svidler.A string of draws can be considered progress for him, no? Why would you assume I was making a backhanded compliment towards Magnus? He is clearly head and shoulders above everyone else. Are you suggesting that Nakamura is overrated or that Carlsen is underrated, or both?
Dec-09-12  Hesam7: <SirRuthless: Funny how you select his worst performance in years to support your assertion. Nakamura has a difficult time against Magnus and Svidler.A string of draws can be considered progress for him, no? Why would you assume I was making a backhanded compliment towards Magnus? He is clearly head and shoulders above everyone else. Are you suggesting that Nakamura is overrated or that Carlsen is underrated, or both?>

1. Neither Magnus nor Svidler were playing at London Grand Prix.

2. A string of draws is not progress if you have White all the time.

3. I was saying that your comments were a back handed compliment to Nakamura.

4. I was suggesting that current rating difference (100 pts) understates how much better Carlsen is compared to Nakamura.

Dec-10-12  dehanne: Interesting how this game transpositioned into an Alekhine's Defense in the opening.
Dec-23-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Naniwazu: <dehanne:> Though this looks like an Alekhine Defense it is still a Sicilian.
Dec-23-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In fact, this is an Alapin Sicilian by transposition (B22, not B30).
Jan-02-13  kirkow: The hula hoop king!
Jan-02-13  Dionysius1: <Hesam7> <Aronian, Kramnik, Anand and players of similar caliber never celebrate drawing 6 games against Magnus when they have had 5 Whites> Eh? How do we know that then? Maybe they do!
Jan-02-13  RookFile: Some people just live in the moment. White did well to escape with a draw in this game.
Apr-11-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

- Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Oct-20-13  tranquilsimplicity: "Escape with a draw?" Without any intention to appear or be obnoxious I seem to observe that it is Carlsen who repeats his moves in order to secure a draw. It may well be that Carlsen may not have been in any danger at all and that he had foreseen there was nothing in the position for either side therefore did not need to tire his brain. But suggesting the Nakamura was lucky to "escape" may be a misrepresentation of the facts of the game in my view.
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