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Hikaru Nakamura vs Joshua E Friedel
US Championship (2009), St. Louis, MO USA, rd 9, May-17
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Polerio Defense Bishop Check line (C58)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-17-09  luzhin: Odd that Friedel had clearly missed 22.Bc1 -- but if 21...Qxd4 then 22.Nxf7! would have been most unpleasant.
May-17-09  notyetagm: MONOKROUSSOS:

<21...Rxd4?? 22.Bc1 Oops. At the very least, Black will have to throw another piece or two on the fireplace if he wants to save the queen. 1-0>

Premium Chessgames Member
  kdogphs: Congrats to Naka! Sweet game, nice opening, it's good to see club level play solidified at top level play.
May-17-09  blacksburg: my mistrust of the two knights defense is further reinforced. :(
May-17-09  Sicilian Dragon: <blacksburg>

It won it this game though :)

Estrin vs Berliner, 1965

May-18-09  parmetd: 2Ns is totally sound but 8... Be7 looks very dubious to me. Clearly the mainline 8... h6 is more solid and sound. I don't doubt 8... Be7 is playable but I don't see the compensation. Quite obviously 10... Rb8 is dubious now 10... h6 is all but forced. I don't under 12... Rb4 and 14... Rf?4 is almost the end of the world until 16.... Rxd3? and 17... Qxd3?? resigning after the worst blunder of the game 21... Rxd4 (though nothing could save the game at this point). Beautiful by Nakamura... and either Friedel knows nothing of the two knights or just had a really bad day (or really really bad preparation).
May-18-09  Nimzonick: Nakamura seems to be the one who went off the trodden path with 8.Bd3 (instead of 8.Be2). Usually after 8.Be2, h6 9.Nf3, e4 bumps the knight elsewhere, but because Naka played the bishop to d3 instead of e2, he could now play his knight to e4 instead of f3, where it would be protected, and strongly posted. Thus, 8.Bd3, h6!? 9.Ne4. In the process, that blockades the e-pawn. In the rare 8.Bd3 position, 8. ...h6 has only been played 9 times and won by white in 7 of them, with one draw. Besides, Be7 just seems like a normal developing move.
May-18-09  Marmot PFL: here is how I think black should play it - Morozevich vs Karjakin, 2008 though Nakamura would of course improve on Moro's play.
May-18-09  Marmot PFL: <Usually after 8.Be2, h6 9.Nf3, e4 bumps the knight elsewhere, but because Naka played the bishop to d3 instead of e2, he could now play his knight to e4 instead of f3, where it would be protected, and strongly posted.> He can't really play 9 Nf3 because of e4. 9 Ne4 Nd5 followed soon by f5 kicks the knight and black seems to me to have quite good play. An attacker would like black here and a defender white, and the better prepared player should win. Even 9 Nh3!? has been played by Steinitz but after Fischer revived it lost its surprise value.
May-18-09  parmetd: 8. Bd3 is a mainline which continues with h6 Ne4 Nd5 where black is totally compensated for the material with a pleasant attacking position.
May-18-09  parmetd: in my database 8.... h6 has been played 122 times (white scoring 56%) and 8... Be7 4 (this is one of the 4 (white scoring 100%)).
May-19-09  thesonicvision: for a second i thought i would see the
fried liver. lol. i wouldn't put it
past naka to do it, considering his
reputation. thankfully, friedel steered
the game into the solid, but
viciously tactical, 2 knights.

where could this have gone w/out
the blunder? i'm sure friedel was
thoroughly embarrassed by his
performance here.

was Rb4 the beginning of the end for friedel?

May-19-09  MaxxLange: <was Rb4 the beginning of the end for friedel?>

Yes, I think so. The exchange sac ...Rxd3 is more or less inevitable after that move, and that idea doesn't seem to be very good.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: I posted an article on 8.Bd3 on May 4:

Hikaru probably got the idea from the SOS article.

I discussed the line with my school classes two weeks ago, teaching them how to keep up with openings. In this game, which I teach this week, they see the proof.

May-21-09  parmetd: Actually Nakamura got the idea from the game Morozevich-Karajakin Moscow Open 2008 1/2-1/2 he said so in an interview right after the game. Still 8. Bd3 is a mainline that has been in books for years from MCO to Pinski to Palkovi to Estrin to Beliavsky to Tim Harding. I don't know why people are shocked to see a top flight GM play a mainline.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <luzhin>Odd that Friedel had clearly missed 22.Bc1

Backwards or retreating moves are often the hardest moves to see.

Jul-14-10  cjgone: Queen is trapped. :D
Sep-12-15  jemptymethod: 8...Be7 is too slow. Better may be 8...Ng4 (played once by Lasker!) or 8...Nd5 (played once by Karjakin), with a discovered attack on White's Ng5 and also allowing an eventual possible follow up of ...f5 targeting White's knight whether it goes back to e4 or f3 (in the latter case because of a further follow-up ...e4 forking the Bd3 and Nf3)
Dec-20-15  ChrisWainscott: The real question is what did Naka have cooked up against Friedel's normal at that time 5...b5 line which led to Josh playing 5...Na5 and ending up stuck in a line he didn't know!
Feb-02-17  Howard: Regarding that last comment, Andy Soltis stated in one of his books that Naka got up at 5am the day of this game to work on his opening for it.

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