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Hikaru Nakamura vs Fabiano Caruana
Gashimov Memorial (2014), Shamkir AZE, rd 1, Apr-20
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation Spielmann Defense (A33)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: The silicon monster thinks that black had a win after 54..Bh5+. At the post-game press conference, it seems that neither player noticed this possibility until it was suggested by someone in the audience (who may have had the advantage of computer assistance). Even to my patzerish eyes, however, it seemed that 54..Bxe4+ was letting white off the hook.
Apr-20-14  SirRuthless: Susan Polgar said she saw it on twitter. I guess she knew better than them. Nakamura did say he felt he was either completely fine or totally lost
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Gregor Samsa Mendel> The bishop check on move 54 does look strong!
Apr-20-14  Marmot PFL: It's great to try to win but Nakamura often seems to play careless moves, and was lucky to escape.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: The grandmasters commenting on the live feed also criticized black's 54th. It seems that everyone saw that it was a mistake except for the players at the board. I suppose that the stress of actually playing the game, combined with mutual time-pressure, can affect how a person sees things.
Apr-20-14  Marmot PFL: What black played also looked strong. <60...Qg6> and it's hard to see how white avoids losing material.
Apr-20-14  SirRuthless: Having an engine running during the game can also affect how a person sees things too ;-). I think Nakamura missed some chances himself when approaching the first time control. He looked to have a dream position but then slowly drifted after the first time control according to the engines.
Apr-20-14  Marmot PFL: <I think Nakamura missed some chances himself when approaching the first time control. He looked to have a dream position but then slowly drifted after the first time control according to the engines.>

Hopefully Naka doesn't dwell too long on that and plays well tomorrow. Otherwise Carlsen will toy with him like a cat with a mouse.

Apr-20-14  SirRuthless: Yes, if he brings today's standard for Carlsen tomorrow then he might as well just resign on move 1 and get on with the rest of the event.
Apr-20-14  csmath: 54. ...Bxe4?

is a horrible error, Caruana is going for some sort of tactics that only he saw. In actuality this simply releases tension and allows white to simplify position into a draw. The obvious alternative was:

54. ...Bh5
55. Kg2
[55. g4? Qxh2! and bishop cannot be taken due to a threat of Rf8]

55.... Qb2
56. Kg1
[56. Kh3 Qf2 with decisive g5-g4]

56. ...Qd2

and white is completely lost.

It is unbelievable that a player of such a strength would allow white to save the game in such a way.

Apr-20-14  Poisonpawns: 2780+ gotta see 53...Bh5. That is the first move I looked at. I could not quite work out things after 56.Kh3 but I would have played the move intuitively knowing that white had to be in trouble.
Apr-20-14  chesspro.usa: Caruana had winning chances after 51. ... Qa2+. If the king plays to 52. Kg1/Ke3 then 52. ... f5 looks menacing. That move would have created a lot of pressure for Nakamura. He would have to show he can survive the game. Any comments?
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Yes, 54...Bh5+ looks like an easy win.
Apr-20-14  chesspro.usa: 54. ... Bh5+ was also a winning move. Caruana must be very upset with himself.
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