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Veselin Topalov vs Hikaru Nakamura
London Chess Classic (2016), London ENG, rd 4, Dec-12
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance Variation. Botvinnik-Carls Defense (B12)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-12-16  Steve.Patzer: Was 36. Nxd5 the nail?
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: Hesitate to rush to judgment when the silicon monsters will work overnight on this unorthodox and densely complex struggle, because the advantage seems to have changed hands multiple times during the game. However, 36.Nxd5 was the best move in a bad position, according to the commentators--although they later thought that Black had blundered away the win by not playing ...e5-e4 instead of 40...Qh6. Also, analysts will have to take a look at 39.Re4 as a *possible* improvement.

9...Nd7 does not exist in the CG database, but a game like this might scare everyone away from repeating the line.

Dec-12-16  maelith: A game like this might make c5 line popular in caro khan.
Dec-12-16  PawnSac: < Steve.Patzer: Was 36. Nxd5 the nail? >

I don't know about that.. he may have had no choice about taking the pawn as the passer becomes much too powerful. That suggests that the nail came earlier and 36.Nxe5 was a forced concession. Besides, any time you see a player of Topalov's caliber make a move like that, you can assume for starters that there was probably no choice about it. Super GM's don't just step into obvious forks like that.

Dec-12-16  PawnSac: < 9...Nd7 does not exist in the CG database, >

it will now after this game! <grin>

< ..but a game like this might scare everyone away from repeating the line.>

I think that would depend on how analysis of 11.Nxg4 Nxg4 12.Be2 Ne5 13.Bb2 pans out. I suspect the reason Zelcic played 9. ..Qd7 in both games is that he didn't want to give white the 2 bishops edge so easily.

Dec-12-16  Rookiepawn: <An Englishman: ...Also, analysts will have to take a look at 39.Re4 as a *possible* improvement.>

I miss something or... 39. Re4 Qxe1 and then...?

I think there is not much left to do for W at this point, both rooks are forked. Maybe Rb1?

Dec-12-16  Clement Fraud: My favorite Grand Master is having a rough tournament: I myself have never seen this line of play before, but I saw a similar game between Botvinik and Tal from 1961 Tal vs Botvinnik, 1961 ; white won that game rather easily. In this game, white appears to be struggling to maintain his center after 5... Bg4. Maybe if white tries 6 Be2, followed by Nbd2/Nb3 ??? It's a difficult one to assess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: A really bad day for Topalov. A bit sad to see this great master entangling himself in speculative opening choices. Merciless punishment by Nakamura, who seriously has fought his way back into the tournament.
Dec-13-16  Ulhumbrus: Is there any need for 11 c4? 11 Nxg4 gains the bishop pair.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Sokrates,

Why a bit sad to see the speculative opening choices.

I find it very refreshing and look at the game it produced, Nakamura needed to find some good moves and Topalov could have set a real sneaky Pete (Which I doubt Nakamura would have fallen into - but you can never say never in chess) and set up a tougher fortress.

click for larger view

41.Rb4 instead of 41.Kg2. (41...Qxh2 42. Rh4 White is better though eith best play probably a draw.) the Rook on the 4th Rank is really annoying for Black as it holds e5-e4 which allowed Black to break through.

I don't think it was bad day for Topalov, yes he lost, but he is playing true to himself. A bad day is when one gets squished playing a lack lustre game without a even at sniff at the enemy King.

He has admitted he is playing for fun these days so is not up on the latest opening wrinkles so is playing off-beat stuff and the other lot know they are going to have to play chess and not have their memory tested.

We need Topalov and more like him.


Hi Ulhumbrus,

Gaining the over-rated Bishop pair with 11.Nxg4 takes the pressure off Black. Forget the Bishops are better than Knights R.O.T. Knights on e5/d5/f5 are worth more than Rooks.

And anyway, as the game went the e5 Knight managed to get both Bishops!

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: <Ulhumbrus>

White already has the 2Bs..

Dec-13-16  kyg16: "Caro-Nak"
Dec-13-16  Ulhumbrus: 11 Nxg4 removes the N as a target and makes the Black N on g4 into a target for the move Be2. The black knights have yet to establish either of themselves on powerful squares and it may be that in this position even a well placed knight will be at best the equal of a powerful bishop.
Dec-20-16  talwnbe4: 20..Nc5 is good too.. 21. Bb2 Nxb3 22. axb3 Rg8 23. Bd4 Qc2 24. g3 Ne4 1.8 1.8

22..Qf4? 23. Ra7+ Nd7 24. Nf5+ exf5 25. Rxd7+ Kxd7 26. Bxh8 0.00 this isn't a difficult calculation for a GM.. 25.Bxh8?? othen Qe3+ picks off the rook on a7

Dec-20-16  talwnbe4: 20.. Qe5+ gives Nakamura a winning position.. the idea seems simple Qe5 attacks the a1 rook and then Nc5 attacks its defender..then Nd3+ causes problems 2.5
Dec-22-16  talwnbe4: some kind of problem with my Fruit 2.1 (computer program) the above line .. 20.. Qe5+ 21. Be2 Nc5 22. f4 Nd3+ 23. Kd1 Nxf4 24. Bxf4 Qxf4 may be better than 20.. Nc5 but after 22.. Qf4 23. Ra7 Kf8 maintains a good advantage for Nakamura.. For some reason on a different run Fruit overlooked 23.. Kf8
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: This very much reminds me of a game I had with GM Tony Miles in the 1970s.

Our games was a French Tarrasch with ...b6. I was Black.

Around move 16 I 'won' Tony's Queen for Rook, Bishop and Knight. I thought I was losing - but then my Queen began to pick off pawns, my King was safe, and the White pieces were uncoordinated. So Miles offered a draw...

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