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Hikaru Nakamura vs Varuzhan Eduardovich Akobian
US Championship (2017), St Louis, MO USA, rd 11, Apr-09
King's Indian Attack: Yugoslav Variation (A07)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: The live commentary criticized 16. b4 which weakens White's Queenside Pawns; after 16 ... a5 17. bxa5 Qxa5 18. Bd2 Qa4 Black was thought to stand better. Then White set a trap with 26. Qd1 (26 ... Qxa2?? 27. Ra1) but they didn't like the Queen trade 26 ... Qxd1, suggesting 26 ... Qa7 instead. Black was in extreme time pressure after spending 14 minutes on 30 ... Rda7 leaving only 3 minutes for the next ten moves.

Stockfish had some interesting suggestions during play. After 51. f4:

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51 ... Rxe3+ 52. Kxe3 Bg1+ & 53 ... Bxc5 picks off the passed c Pawn, although the R vs B ending should be winning for White.

Then after 55 ... f5:

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56. Re6+! Rxe6 57. gxf5+ Kxf5 58. c8=Q and Black is stuck, as White threatens 59. Kd5 winning the Re6, but 58 ... Kf6 leads to 59. Qf8+ Kg6 60. f5+.

Great endgame technique by Nakamura.

Apr-10-17  Petrosianic: The turning point of the game seems to have been when Akobian thought for 20 minutes and then exchanged Queens, which weakened his central pawn position. Something like 26...Qa7, keeping the Queens on, and keeping the Bishop tied to e1 for the time being would probably have been at least equal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Akobian saw 26...Qa7, and it was his intent to play it with the continuation 27 Bf3 Bc5 28 Kg2 Re8 but finally chose the Queen exchange because he did not see any way for Black to improve his position after 29 a4 Rde7 30 Qd2

That is actually what Stockfish saw, but evaluates it as even slightly favorable for Black.

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