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Hikaru Nakamura vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
"Nak on Wood" (game of the day Apr-15-2016)
Donostia Chess Festival (2009), Donostia ESP, rd 2, Jul-08
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. English Attack (B80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-08-09  MaxxLange: This is a nice smooth win. These top guys can make chess look so easy. It reminds me of how, when you go see some guitar hero type musician live, you feel like, "Wow, that seems really natural, I bet I could play that"....and then you go home and try it, finding it is not so simple!
Jul-08-09  whiskeyrebel: The final position is a good example of how a position can look even at first glance, but be thoroughly favoring one side.
Jul-08-09  goldenbear: All of White's moves in the opening are so logical, but I probably would never have played them, because I would have missed the strength of 16.a3!, which is a sweet move.
Jul-08-09  mcguigan97: After white plays Ne2,other Black players have gone with c4 instead of Bc6. That probably is a better move.
Jul-08-09  totololo: I think that this theory is wrong .... white has advantage... see better lines for black in Anand or Kaspy plays ( also Topalov) The French guy likes books not play...
Jul-09-09  acirce: Seems to have been a good game. <Nakamura definitely knew it was going to be a Najdorf and the players didn't spend a great deal of time getting to a well-known position on move 20. This position after 20.Ne2 has been seen in games by Anand, Kasparov, and even Nakamura himself in 2003. I think it's been under something of a cloud after 20..c4, but apparently Vachier-Lagrave thought 20..Bc6 was okay for Black. If he's right he didn't prove it today. White's new 21.Qc4, ignoring the a6 pawn while giving up the f3 pawn, put on the pressure with the queen on the very annoying c3 square. Black grabbed the pawn and if he's looking for a place to improve, perhaps the 23..Qb7!? Kasparov glanced at during the game is worth a deeper look. Back in the game it was remarkable how quickly it dissolved into a much better endgame for White. From there it was slow but sure progress. Black never blundered; it's hard to even figure out where he went wrong. Incredibly smooth stuff from Nakamura, who we can expect to face a sterner test with black against top seed Svidler tomorrow.> --
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: For the life of me, I cannot fathom why Black eschews 16...Nxa4 in this line. After 17.axb4 (White must avoid 17.bxa4 d5 ) 17...Qc7 18.bxa4 e5 19.Nf5 d5, Black is at least equal, which does not seem to be the case in the <theoretical> line with 16. ... Rc8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Just checked the openiong explorer on this: Opening Explorer

16. ... Nxa4 is actually the more popular choice (than 16. ... Rc8) in the database, and also more successful.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <ganso: *** Had Nak's [16.] a3 not been played before?>

See Opening Explorer.

Jul-09-09  visayanbraindoctor: This was a Capablanca-like game by Nakamura. He managed to lure his young and talented opponent into a wining endgame for White, without Vachier Lagrave realizing it until it was too late. The rapidity by which Naka picked apart Black's Queenside pawn structure must have come as a surprise.
Jul-09-09  Shams: I want to say 16.a3 (or 14.a3 if you take out the early repetition) is Anand's idea.
Jul-10-09  kurtrichards: 44. Re3 1-0
(44. ... Rxe3 45. Kxe3 Bxg4)
Lagrave should have played further more. He could have salvaged a draw. Who knows? Or was he in time trouble?
Jul-10-09  whiskeyrebel: With all due respect, it was over. But of course if it was an amateur level game it would probably be worth playing out for a few more moves.
Jul-14-09  aragorn69: Nakamura's take on the game:

<Round 2: More Familiar Faces

In round two, I got my second white in a row against French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. We are both quite familiar with each other having played in the rapids at Cap D'Agde last year and being teammates on Evry in the French League this year. Overall, our score has been pretty even as we drew all four games of rapid. However, I completely destroyed him in both blitz games and won a third one in Gibraltar earlier this year. In our game, I decided to play the English Attack against his patented Najdorf. Fortunately it all worked out for me, although Maxime had 21...Qb7 22.Ng3 Nd4 23.Bc4 with an unclear position. After 21..e5 I was able to get into a very comfortable ending in which I converted without any problems. I certainly was hoping to have a shot at being 2-0, but realistically, I did not expect it. Nevertheless, it was a pefect start.>


Jul-14-09  aragorn69: Naka means <23.>-Qb7 (instead of 23.-e5)
Apr-15-16  morfishine: Naka-play on word # 4,569 and counting and still not funny
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <morfishine: Naka-play on word # 4,569 and counting and still not funny>

Is the pun better than <Donost Disturb>, which popped into my head?

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I like this game for the solid defense in the middle game. Both players wanted to attack, and neither could get anything going.

In the end, the prosaic win of a pawn by White leads to a decisive endgame advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: With the rook on, this was a hard ending; now after the forced exchange, the ending should go smooth with two passed pawns.
Apr-15-16  The Kings Domain: It seems Vachier-Lagrave missed capturing the rook at the 28th move. He must have uttered all the curses the French language can offer as it could have won him the game :-). The fickle fancies of Caissa.
Apr-15-16  morfishine: <thegoodanarchist> I like that one <Donost Disturb> a lot

On a side note, about a year ago, I submitted the similar "Knox on Wood" for this game: V W Knox vs B H Wood, 1968

I wanted to get away from Naka

But it hasn't got any traction :(


Apr-15-16  RandomVisitor: After 20.Ne2

click for larger view


+0.22/38 20...c4 21.Bf4 Qc6 22.Kb2 Qxa4 23.bxa4 Be7 24.Nc3 Bf6 25.Rh3 Nb6 26.e5 Be7 27.Ka2 h5 28.g5 0-0 29.Bd2 Rfd8 30.f4 g6 31.Be2 Kg7 32.a5 Nd5 33.Nxd5 Rxd5 34.Bb4 Bc5 35.Rb1 Bxb4 36.Rxb4 Rd2 37.Bxc4 Rxc2+ 38.Kb3 R2xc4 39.Rxc4 Bd5 40.Rhc3 Rb8+ 41.Ka4 Bxc4 42.Rxc4 Rd8 43.Kb4 Rb8+ 44.Kc3 Rb5 45.Ra4 Rd5 46.Kb3

+0.43/38 20...Bd6 21.Nc3 Be5 22.Qxd7+ Qxd7 23.Rxd7 Kxd7 24.Na4 Kc6 25.Nxc5 Rhd8 26.Bd3 a5 27.Rd1 Bd6 28.b4 axb4 29.axb4 Kc7 30.Rh1 Rb8 31.Kb2 Bc8 32.Kb3 e5 33.Ra1 Bxc5 34.Bxc5 Be6+ 35.Kc3 Ra8 36.Ra5 Rdc8 37.Ba6 Rd8 38.Be3 Rd6 39.Rc5+ Rc6 40.Rxc6+ Kxc6 41.b5+ Kd6 42.Kb4 Bc8 43.Bxc8 Rxc8 44.c4 Kc7 45.c5 Ra8 46.c6 Ra1 47.Kc5 Rb1

<+0.44/38 20...Bc6 21.Qc4 Ne5 22.Qc3 Nxf3 23.Bf4> Qb7 24.Kb2 c4 25.Ng3 cxb3 26.cxb3 e5 27.Bxe5 Nxe5 28.Qxe5+ Qe7 29.Qxe7+ Bxe7 30.Bxa6 Ra8 31.Bc4 Bxa3+ 32.Kc3 Rb8 33.Rhf1 0-0 34.e5 Bb5 35.Rf4 Bxc4 36.Rxc4 Rb5 37.b4 Rfb8 38.Rdd4 Rxe5 39.Re4 Rd5 40.Nf5 Rd1 41.Kc2 Rg1 42.Kb3 Bc1 43.Rc8+ Rxc8 44.Ne7+ Kh7 45.Nxc8 g5 46.hxg5 hxg5 47.Nd6 Bf4 48.Nxf7 Rxg4

Apr-16-16  RandomVisitor: After 16.a3

click for larger view


+0.41/36 16...Qc7 17.axb4 Nxa4 18.bxa4 d5 19.e5 Nd7 20.f4 Nb6 21.Rh3 Nxa4 22.Bf2 Be7 23.Be1 Bc8 24.f5 Rb8 25.Rb3 Rb6 26.Qe3 0-0 27.Bd3 exf5 28.Ra3 Bd7 29.Nxf5 Re8 30.Nxe7+ Rxe7 31.Bf5 Rxe5 32.Qb3 Bxf5 33.gxf5 Rxe1 34.Rxe1 Qf4+ 35.Qe3 Rxb4 36.Qxf4 Rxf4 37.f6 Rxh4 38.Rd1 Kh7 39.fxg7 Rg4 40.Rf3 Kxg7 41.Rxd5 Rg1+

+0.45/36 16...Nxa4 17.axb4 Qc7 18.bxa4 d5 19.e5 Nd7 20.f4 Nb6 21.Bf2 Bc8 22.Rh3 Bd7 23.f5 Nc4 24.Qc3 Rb8 25.fxe6 fxe6 26.Qd3 Nxe5 27.Qxa6 Bd6 28.Nb5 Bxb5 29.Bxb5+ Ke7 30.Bd4 Ra8 31.Rc3 Qb8 32.Qb6 Qxb6 33.Bxb6 Rhc8 34.Bd4 Nxg4 35.Rb3 e5 36.Re1 g6 37.a5 h5 38.Be2 Nh6 39.Bd1 Nf5 40.Bxe5 Bxe5 41.Rxe5+ Kd6 42.Re1 Nxh4

<+0.76/36 16...Rc8 17.axb4 Nxb3+> 18.Nxb3 Qxa4 19.Kb2 d5 20.c3 dxe4 21.Ra1 Qd7 22.Qxd7+ Kxd7 23.Rd1+ Kc7 24.Bf4+ Kb6 25.fxe4 Bxe4 26.Rg1 h5 27.Ra1 Bb7 28.Be3+ Kc7 29.g5 Ng4 30.Bc5 Ra8 31.Be2 e5 32.Raf1 Bd5 33.c4 Be6 34.Kc3 Rd8 35.Ra1 Bc8 36.Ba7 Kb7 37.Na5+ Kxa7 38.Nc6+ Kb6 39.Nxd8 Bxb4+ 40.Kxb4 Rxd8 41.c5+ Kc7 42.Rgd1 Rxd1 43.Rxd1 Ne3 44.Rc1 f5 45.gxf6 gxf6 46.Bxh5 Ng2 47.Be2 Nxh4

Apr-16-16  Moszkowski012273: 23...e5 was quite innacurate. 23...Qb7 was the way to go.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <mozzer: 23...e5 was quite innacurate.>

As is your rendering of 'inaccurate'.

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