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Hikaru Nakamura vs Zhu Chen
Corus Group B (2004), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 5, Jan-15
Semi-Slav Defense: Stoltz Variation. Shabalov Attack (D45)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-09-05  siu02jm: <Saint><Now there's players like me, "From blunder to blunder to final victory!" :)> LOL
Apr-22-05  sharkbenjamin: I like this game. Fight. This is why I love to play chess.
Apr-22-05  WorldChampeen: Maybe this game also falls into the category, if not mentioned already & if I am getting the rule correctly;

50 moves with out a piece or a pawn exchanged is declared a draw.

Jul-13-05  azi: ...or a pawn moved not just exchanged, I believe. 50 moves with out any pawns on the board having not moved surely indicates that there is little hope of a winning plan being hidden away somewhere. No?
Sep-10-05  tiburon92: I don't think that he was playing for the win. I think that he kept on dragging it out so that he can just keep on looking at the player across the board. Keep in mind that he was 17 years old.
Sep-13-05  Peter Yang: < tiburon92: I don't think that he was playing for the win. I think that he kept on dragging it out so that he can just keep on looking at the player across the board. Keep in mind that he was 17 years old. >

of course, zhu chen is attractive after all ;)

Apr-28-06  soberknight: I'm not sure, but I think I posted somewhere else on this website that it's unsportsmanlike to play on endings that are theoretically drawn, such as king and rook vs. king and knight. As I look at the issue again, I think it depends on this question, which the stronger player should ask himself: Is there a reasonable chance that I can win? (A parallel question applies in losing positions: is there a reasonable chance that I can draw?) If the answer is no, then the player should give up, not because he has better things to do with his time, but because it would be inappropriate to seek victory from a colossal blunder by the opponent.

Now let me explain with a personal story. Recently I played a friendly game against a fellow named Dillon, a schoolboy aged 13 or 14 who's not nearly as good as me in chess. I was winning through the whole game, then suddenly during the concluding exchanges, I miscalculated and wound up with four kingside pawns for each player, and opposite-color bishops.

Against an experienced player I would have offered (or at least accepted) a draw right there. But I knew this kid was beatable, so I played on, hoping for a blunder. Sure enough, we reached a position something like this.

click for larger view

I played 1 g5 Kd4?? 2 g6 Kxd3 3 g7 and won the ending. I explained to Dillon afterwards what his mistake was, and I think he understood and accepted it. I should have told him to be proud that he reached a drawn endgame against me at all - my brother and sisters can't do that.

Why did I play on? Because, against that particular opponent, I had a reasonable chance to win. Against Zhu Chen, I would have had zero chance to win. So this is where the question of respect comes in. Sure, if Nakamura were playing against someone like me, he might certainly hope for me to blunder even in a simple rook vs. knight endgame. But against a women's world champion, that is so unlikely as to be ridiculous. So it was bad sportsmanship by Nakamura, although of course he was playing within the rules and had every right to keep playing as long as he wanted to.

The foregoing should answer the point that, in principle, the whole game of chess is a theoretical draw. It may or may not be, but the point is that, at the beginning of the game, each player has a reasonable chance to win, unless and until a simple drawn endgame is reached.

Jul-15-06  Whitehat1963: OMG!! Why???
Feb-05-07  Tactic101: I would have taken the draw about 80 moves back. No, make that 100 moves. No, even more than that. Nakamura was just playing on in a pointless position. Everyone knows that this endgame is drawn.
Feb-05-07  VinnyRoo2002: I think this whole post explains why no one here is a GM. If you are not willing to fight on in positions like these where you have no losing choices and all winning chances, I'm afraid it'll be nearly impossible to ever become a GM. So what if the position is theoretically drawn, in practice a lot of players have lost theoretically drawn positions. Nakamura just wanted to make Chen show him that she knew how to draw the position. If playing on was disrespectful to his opponent, maybe playing chess in general is disrespectful.
Feb-06-07  Tactic101: Yeah, but this is the B group of the Corus Tournament 2004! They are GMs and they sure aren't going to blunder endings like this. The technique has been known since 1900. Against a weaker opponent, things are different as they might blunder. But GMs? No way.
Feb-06-07  VinnyRoo2002: I disagree with the comment, "they sure aren't going to blunder endings like this." Look at Anand vs. Kamsky from earlier this year where Anand blew a dead drawn rook endgame, and if given the time, I'm sure I could locate many drawn endgames which super GM's lost. If the kibitzers here wanted to help me, I'm sure we could come up with at least 50 games where a GM has lost a dead drawn endgame position.
Feb-16-07  Tactic101: I guess there is nothing wrong in testing your opponent in a theoretically drawn position, where there are small traps that he can fall into. However, enough is enough! After, say, 30 moves of play in a drawn position and the opponent hasn't blundered, I think it is respect to accept the draw if he/she is a GM or some strong player. Its an insult to a GM to be forced through a drawn position, proving that he knows the position like a student in class.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Tactic> There are R vs N positions where with ideal game the N gets trapped only after 27 moves.
Mar-13-07  dabearsrock1010: I'm sorry, but there is no way you should criticize someone for fighting out an endgame, even if it's theoritically drawn. Chess is about winning and testing your opponent. If it's so easily drawn the opponent should have no problem playing it wihtout thinking to hard, and if it isn't so easy, then I guess playing it out is very justifiable.
Apr-09-07  Pulse: This game is hilarious in that Nakamura played on for 60 moves with the K+R versus K+N complex. I can understand up to 20, but 60 blows my brains...
Apr-09-07  Marmot PFL: <from move 122 on, there is no pawn move or piece capture...under the 50 move draw rule, shouldn't the game have ended after move 172? how did it go ten moves past that, to move 182? just curious... > Maybe Zhu Chen was hoping for this -

click for larger view

Jan-14-09  WhiteRook48: this is theoretically a draw already, and Nakamura's not going to drop his king down on h1.
Feb-04-09  WhiteRook48: a pawnless endgame is weird
Feb-13-09  WhiteRook48: it was a draw for a long time!
Feb-14-09  WhiteRook48: they did the 61 move rule
Jul-05-09  zzzzzzzzzzzz: Nakamura is rated 100 points higher, he dosen't want a draw.
Apr-03-14  Whitehat1963: Was Nakamura hoping to exhaust her into a couple of horrible blunders? Was he somehow trying to "punish" her for having the temerity to force a theoretical draw against a top-10 player? What might have been going through his mind during those 60-plus pawnless moves?
Dec-12-16  AlbertoDominguez: He wasn't top 10 (or even close) when this game was played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Plaskett: The ending of R vs N occured between Hebden and Basman in an Allegro Finish of a game at a weekend event in Edinburgh 1983. Spectating, and noting that, as here, black had just underpromoted with check to avoid mate, I told both players that the position was a book draw. But one sideīs flag had just fallen! The arbiter ruled it drawn.

Hodgson insisted that another arbiter, in 1989, was right to rule Suba the winner when I had two knights vs his pawn (he was white and the pawn was at h6) when my flag fell. I had offered a draw only a move or two earlier. Julian cited a recent instance where he had played Nunn, had a Rook vs Nunnīs Knight, and had lost on time when Nunn had but 6 seconds remaining.

There seemed no consensus on whether arbiter David Eustace had correctly ruled against my appeal that the game with GM Suba be called a draw. IM Pein later told me, "MANY people agreed with it."

IM Hartston wrote in The Independent that when setting the rules for The Master Game GM tournament, some years earlier, their first rule was, "We are all gentlemen." He added, "There were never any disputes."

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