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Hikaru Nakamura vs Ruslan Ponomariov
Donostia Blitz Tiebreak (2009) (blitz), Donostia ESP, rd 1, Jul-16
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. Keres Attack (B81)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-16-09  RonB52734: The PGN says this is "Round 1". I assume this was the first tiebreak?
Jul-16-09  jeremy24: Qxe5! beautiful!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <33.Qxe5> is a nice pseudo ♕ sac.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Impressive 5 min game.
Jul-16-09  notyetagm: 33 ?

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33 ♕a5xe5!

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<jeremy24: Qxe5! beautiful!>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <RonB52734: The PGN says this is "Round 1". <I assume this was the first tiebreak>?>

That is correct. This was the first game in the blitz tie-break.

Jul-16-09  RonB52734: <Peligroso> at the time I posted my question, this game was listed as part of the tournament. It has since been changed so that it is listed as a tiebreak game, which took it out of the tournament proper. By the time changed the game from being just another game from the tournament to being a tiebreak game, I could not delete my original question. So please disregard my question. :)
Jul-17-09  notyetagm: MIG:

<Update:< Nakamura wins first tiebreak game with white. <<<(33.Qxe5!! is an instant immortal. Ow.)>>> After the usual blitz relay mess it appears he has also won game two! (No score yet.) And they said all those years smashing people on the ICC were a waste of time! US champ Hikaru Nakamura is the San Sebastian champion and winner of the txapela!>>

Jul-17-09  notyetagm: A <TACTICAL TOUR DE FORCE> by Nakamura to finish the game, 33 ♕a5xe5!! and 36 ♗g4xe6+!.
Jul-17-09  SetNoEscapeOn: Much like with Carlsen and Onischuk a couple of years ago in Biel, it's cool to have a clear winner, but I consider Pono's shared first in the classical portion to be more relevant. Naka is the champion but they finished = first.

Having said that, in the blitz games Ponomariov simply had no chance. No chance whatsoever.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: This is what happens if you don't castle, even if you are a GM!
Premium Chessgames Member
  JointheArmy: Nakamura is way too dominate to be messing around with blitz with anyone other than Kasparov, Anand or the top players on playchess/ICC.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Hopefully Naka will not rest on his laurels. He needs to keep working hard at improving his game, and if he can succeed in this, far greater results will be in the horizon.
Jul-17-09  kurtrichards: A 5-minute blitz game to break the tie? That only favors Nakamura.
Jul-17-09  aragorn69: Sorry, but IMHO 33.Qxe5! is cute but nothing that impressive. It seems to me that the obvious 33.Bh5+ Kf8 34.Qxe5 (threats: Rxf6+ or Qb8+) is equally good.
Jul-17-09  aragorn69: What is really brilliant, though, is the whole Qa5-h4-Bf3 idea, when Nakamura avoids exchanging the queens.
Jul-17-09  timhortons: its crazy amazing, i thought qxe5 is a blunder!as this game is relayed live..

the 36 BXE6 is beautifull, hes rook taken afterwards...

naka is very lucky to have not faced svidler here.

he know svidler owns him.

Jul-17-09  jhoro: i find 32.g5! even more impressive than 33.Qxe5!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <aragorn69: Sorry, but IMHO 33.Qxe5! is cute but nothing that impressive. It seems to me that the obvious 33.Bh5+ Kf8 34.Qxe5 (threats: Rxf6+ or Qb8+) is equally good.>

33. Bh5+ seems actually to be objectively stronger than 33. Qxe5 and was probably the only outright winning move after 32. ... hxg5. After 33. Qxe5!!?, Black could have put up real resistance with 33. ... Rh8!, for example: 33...Rh8! 34.Qg3 Qc3 35.Rd3 Qe5 36.Qxe5 fxe5 37.hxg5±.

On the othere hand, 33. Qxe5 was a quintessentially "!!" blitz move. Although pure shortage of time was surely a factor, so also must have been the shock value of 33. Qxe5!!(?). Ponomariov's next several moves were all inferior, culminating in 35. ... Qc5?? allowing a forced mate-in-five: 36.Bxe6+ and Black resigned here because of: 36...Kxe6 37.Qxg8+ Ke5 38.Rf5+ Kxe4 39.Qg4+ Ke3 40.Rd3#.

(BTW, nothing in this comment should be construed as any sort of endorsement of blitz as the primary tie-break method, but that is what the tournament regulations imposed upon and required of the players, so good blitz strategy and tactics in this context deserve to be commended.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Forget tie-breaks. Split the money for the first two places.
Jul-22-09  Jim Bartle: Video of the game:

No sound for me. Don't know what the problem is.

I suspect this will be a daily problem pretty soon.

Aug-08-09  Capablanca44: This game shows the importance of development. By move 16, Nakamura was fully developed, but Ponomariov still had two Rooks and a Bishop to develop. Also his King was still in the center and ended up being stuck there for the duration of the game. By move 17, Nakamura had established two batteries with his Queen, Bishop and a rook.

In the middle game, Nakamura puts constant pressure down the d and f files with his Rooks. By move 25, Nakamura has established a clear d file for his Rook at d1. The Rooks dominance increases when Nakamura wins the exchange of a Knight for a Rook.

At move 33, Nakamura offers a Queen sacrifice for a Pawn. Ponomariov declines the offer because he would be mated in two moves by Nakamura's white squared Bishop.

Ponomariov resigns because of a forced mate in four moves.The line of play would be 36 ...Kxe6 37.Qxg8+ Ke5 38.Rf5+ Kxe4 39. Qg4+ Ke3 40.Rd3#.

If 36... Kf8, then 37.Qxg8#.

If 36... Ke8, then 37.Qxg8+ Bf8 38.Qf7#

We have learned from this game that early development is vital. Using your Rooks to exert pressure on files is equally important. Finally, making it difficult for the King in the center too long to be forced to remain there.

An excellent game by Hikaru Nakamura!!!

Aug-17-09  notyetagm: 35 ... ♕c6-c5?? <left behind: e6>

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36 ♗g4xe6+! 1-0 <overloaded: e6,g8>

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Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: Breathtaking.
Dec-01-12  wordfunph: game toppings..

<When the game was about to start, a huge centipede crawled across the floor in the area between the players and the spectators, who were watching in deadly silence. When I (Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam) told him about the centipede after the tournament, Nakamura said that he had not seen it - he had only seen the fly that was circling around his king. That fly hadn't bothered him either and he won the first game in great style.>

Source: NIC 2009 #6

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