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Hikaru Nakamura vs Wesley So
London Chess Classic (2016), London ENG, rd 1, Dec-09
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  0-1


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Given 7 times; par: 39 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-09-16  tim butler: Are we seeing the downfall of Nakamura?
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <chancho: Kind of embarrassing how a Super Grandmaster like Naka fell into 13...Nxe4 with loss of a pawn.>

He gets the pawn back.

I doubt he overlooked 13..Nxe4 though he may have misjudged the resulting position

Dec-09-16  8284: any post game innerviews?
Dec-09-16  dumbgai: <I doubt he overlooked 13..Nxe4 though he may have misjudged the resulting position>

That's a pretty severe case of misjudging. Look at the position around move 17 (just a few moves later): black has the bishop pair while white has a weakened pawn structure and awkwardly placed king.

This looks like a game between an amateur and a master. White gets a bad position out of the opening and it just gets worse with every move after that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <He gets the pawn back.>

Sure, Naka gets the pawn back, but getting Wesley's c pawn for the loss of his own important e pawn is not exactly a good trade.

By winning the c5 pawn, Naka hands over a half open c file which Wesley quickly exploits to target and win Naka's c4 pawn which translates to a total collapse after that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SirRuthless: How blind do you have to be to just allow this activity black gets after ...Nxe4? Forget the lost pawn and just ask yourself about activity...

Total opening failure for Hikaru and deserved beating delivered by Wesley. I can't call this a masterpiece but Wesley knew Hikaru's prep better than he knew it and that alone is worth the 5 points.

Dec-09-16  Kamagong42: nice!!! :)
Dec-09-16  fisayo123: Nakamura should be the one recieving birthday presents not the other way round.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: white stunk it up. Tomorrow's another day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Tomorrow is another day and it brings Anish Giri.
Dec-09-16  RookFile: Opening prep is important. Naka has done a good job of toughening up his openings in the last few years. Evidently there are just a couple of blind spots left.
Dec-09-16  blackdranzer: I am pretty sure even a patzer such as myself wouldn't have played Ne2 even in blitz!...what was naka thinking is beyond me..was he on too much red bull?!..
Dec-10-16  SimplicityRichard: This rivalry is hotting up! It's great for chess.#
Dec-10-16  maelith: <blackdranzer: I am pretty sure even a patzer such as myself wouldn't have played Ne2 even in blitz!...what was naka thinking is beyond me..was he on too much red bull?!>

There are billion more worse moves that a patzer did than this move.

Dec-10-16  savagerules: Has Nakamura peaked and now heading south? Is he past 30 yrs old? Perhaps all the blitz/bullet games don't help when it comes to the slower games at the highest level.
Dec-10-16  KoNUlla: I love how quick people are to draw conclusion and change their opinion after just one game..
Dec-10-16  izimbra: The course of play suggests that So was better prepared for this line and Nakamura got distracted by noticing he had fallen into So's prep with White. The move <9...e5> is solid but relatively new in the databases and So chose the engine's best continuations, as novelties, for a few moves after that. In contrast, Naka's <11.c4> and <12.Bg5> were not blunders, but they were not best choices either. Then, as noted, <13.Ne2> "drops a pawn" - but that has two meanings. Literally, the pawn is sacrificed, but White regains the material a few moves later. In terms of engine eval though, White is down by more than 1 pawn because the continuation leaves the White K stranded in the middle of the board with no castling opportunity while the Black King is safely tucked away. Perhaps that reality was simply not observed in a moment of frustration from Naka at getting out prepared.
Dec-10-16  dm1991: Not a great game. Naka messed up his prep while Wes didn't show much either. I don't understand 21... Bxc4. It feels like overcomplicating things. Was 21... Rxc4 exchanging a pair of rooks and getting rid of any pins on the loose Rc8 bad?

Naka now lost two crucial games to Wes. First one in the Sinquefield Cup W So vs Nakamura, 2016 which basically gave Wes the outright win and a big boost to his GCT campaign while now it may give Wes the overall GCT win and maybe also a tournament win. I guess he'll now draw the rest of his games and finish on +1 or +2 like in the Sinquefield Cup (beating Adams or Topalov).

Premium Chessgames Member
  iking: <dm1991: Not a great game. Naka messed up his prep while Wes didn't show much either>, Wesley did a rare move on 9th move, his prep i believe is good.
Dec-10-16  Ulhumbrus: If 13 Ne2 is not an oversight it may be a miscalculation
Premium Chessgames Member
Dec-10-16  N0B0DY: The beautiful thing about learning is <nobody> can take it away from you.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Yeah, at the end of move 12, Stockfish 7 gives White some advantage. But after 13 Ne2, the evals jump to over 1.30 for Black.

I take an interest in D4 games among grand-masters. After 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7, I've been lately playing Bc4 followed by Ne2; Karpov played that.

Dec-17-16  Kamagong42: 29 moves!!!
Dec-23-16  Toribio3: Simple chess by Wesley So but its killing them one by one in a cold blood!
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