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Nick de Firmian vs Hikaru Nakamura
US Championship 2006 (2006), San Diego, CA USA, rd 7, Mar-09
French Defense: McCutcheon. Lasker Variation (C12)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-10-06  The17thPawn: Nakamura on the come back trail? Look out!
Mar-10-06  iron maiden: Unfortunately he probably left it too long. He has the worst tie-breaks of any of the other A-group leaders, so even if he succeeds in tying for first, he won't make the finals match. To have a chance at defending his title, he needs an outright first-place finish.
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  keypusher: White has the good bishop, he has a great outpost for his knight on e5, and...gets hammered! Would love to hear what Nakamura and De Firmian have to say about this game.
Mar-10-06  Jim Bartle: Looks to me as if the pressure of black's queenside pawns became too much. Then black's rook and queen took over the 7th rank, with the white king already out in the open. Black chased the king up the board to its demise.
Mar-10-06  Fan of Leko: Nakamura had big clock edge all through the game, and it served him well. The same tonight in beating Gurevich.
Mar-10-06  Fan of Leko: Oh well, so much for the value of experience. Defirmian was an experienced GM before Nakamura was born, but talent is talent (not that Defirmian isn't talented too).
Mar-11-06  iron maiden: Watching the game live, 17...f5 and 19...h5 appeared downright suicidal. Naka voluntarily saddled himself with a couple of weak kingside pawns under constant fire. The black pieces would be tied to their defense and de Firmian would have an easy breakthough. In fact it looked so hopeless that I left to go to dinner with some friends, convinced that it would be 1-0 when I got back.

I returned at the end of the first time control and--surprise! Instead it is Black who wins, by exploiting a huge weakness in the ***White*** pawn structure. The tiny, isolated a-pawn, seemingly ignored in all the strategical proceedings on the kingside, was the only target Nakamura needed to stage a winning offensive. Perhaps he had planned on attacking it as early as move 14, when White for no good reason shoved it to its vulnerable position on a3. Or maybe Naka believed himself that he was losing, and lashed out at the pawn merely in desperation. Very interesting game regardless.

Mar-13-06  Ulhumbrus: 28...Nc7! supports the e6 pawn with a second minor piece instead of playing for ...Ne4 by ...Nd6. White will be able to attack e6 with both of his minor pieces by Ng5 and Bh3.
Mar-13-06  Ulhumbrus: 11 Nf3 attacks the Black king side more slowly than 11 h4. This will lead to Black being given time to castle on the Queen side. After that it will be Black who has the advantage. This is because after Kd2, White cannot make his king as safe as Black's king will be, if Black's king is able to castle on the Queen side.
Mar-18-06  EmperorAtahualpa: Could 50.Kf3 have avoided defeat for White?
Apr-02-06  patzer2: After 50. Kf3, Black wins easily with 50...Qg2+ 51. Ke3 Nd6 and White about to be mated.
Apr-03-06  SniperOnG7: It is interesting that even though Black has the worse set of minor pieces (ie bad bishop)he is able to create much counterplay. This reminds me of the KID
Mar-07-19  Howard: This wasn't the only game in the event where youth trumped experience. Kamsky beat Browne in the first round---Browne became a GM four years before Kamsky was born.

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