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Rustam Kasimdzhanov vs Hikaru Nakamura
FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013), Thessaloniki GRE, rd 1, May-22
Benoni Defense: Modern Variation (A56)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
May-22-13  himadri: very good game by Kasim, the h pawn cannot be saved.
May-22-13  Calar: White's winning plan would be to play 69...Be6 70.Nf6 Bxc4 71.Nxh7, creating dangerous passer which would tie down Black King to kingside. Next, he would use his K+N to blockade and capture Black c-pawn, removing only Black's threat. Final stage is marching his pieces to kingside, in order to capture remaining Black pawns.

Btw, somehow dubious opening of Nakamura. Houdini gave +0.8 evaluation after 10-11 moves. 7...exd5 would transpose into standard Benoni schemes. Whole maneuver Nh5-Nf4 seems too time consuming.

May-22-13  ajile: I agree. Normally Black plays ..exd5 giving counterplay on the e file.

In the game Black should aim for ..f5 but without allowing White a mobile pawn center after 10..Nf4?

May-22-13  paavoh: Someone said Nakamura was highly critical of 9.- e5, so you guys are right.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Nakamura was doubtless familiar with the idea 8....exd5 9.cxd5 Re8+, as played in the well-known game Botvinnik vs Kavalek, 1969, though the ensuing middlegame would probably be a bit dry for his taste.
May-22-13  Marmot PFL: <perfidious> If white plays 9 cd5 (probably best) than Re8 is not check. Still most likely better than what Nakamura played though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Marmot>: Can't type, and there's the proof-meant exd5, after which the link will give the position mentioned.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Hikaru Nakamura admitted after the game that he should have played Nh5 on move 7 instead of move 8, and that this would be within his preparation. He mixed up the lines and then lost a tempo with e6-e5. He mentioned that 9...exd5 and 10...Nd7 might have been somewhat better choice. After 10...Nf4 black is clearly worse.> (

Not sure if Nakamura didn't get somewhat confused during the press conference itself - his 7...e6 is still very common while 7...Nh5 would be very rare. According to the databases, his 8...Nh5 has been played only once before, in Aronian vs Radjabov, 2012, where White responded by 9.g4; but after Kasimdzhanov's 9.0-0, 9...exd5 10.cxd5 Nd7 would still get the game back into main-linish Benoni territory (Opening Explorer).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: Maybe after Naka's 7..Nh5 8..e5 he detours over the KID land bridge, and Benoni prep becomes moot (or that might have been his idea). It's still offbeat for a KID with ..c5 (instead of, say, Nd7-a5-Nc5), but not unknown.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Gilmoy>: IIRC, had a game in that form of KID with Louis A Mercuri in 1982. My play as White in the early middlegame was slack and Lou got the better of it, but lost his way.
May-23-13  otc: I wonder if Nakamura really should draw this ending, and that 64...Bd1 really was a losing blunder. Perhaps 64...Bd7, Be8 or Kd6 will draw there? Not easy for white to break through.
May-25-13  Ulhumbrus: 6 h3?! moves a pawn in the opening. This suggests an energetic response eg the Benko gambit pawn sacrifice 6...b5

14...Bxc3?! gives up the bishop pair, never a concession to make lightly, in return for doubling White's c pawn. For this concession to be justified, White's doubled pawn has to become a weakness. However for this Black needs his knight on a5 instead of on d7. Therefore 14..Nf6 or even 14..Nb6 may be better.

After 18 Rae1 White has a lead of at least four moves in development. If White can make this count and if other things are equal, Black is lost.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Ulhumbrus: 6 h3?! moves a pawn in the opening.....>

Your powers of observation do you credit and your obduracy in the face of reality makes you look foolish.

Even in the 1920s, there were already players who deviated from the classical principles and lines of play you hold so dear. There are opening lines, other than the hackneyed variations, which have a right to exist.

May-28-13  RookFile: I would have played 6. Bd3 myself, but 6.h3 is a valid move that limits the possibilities of the c8 bishop. In the game's final position, black certainly wishes he had been able to trade off his bad bishop.
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