timhortons: Nakamura,Hikaru (2708) - Sasikiran,Krishnan (2653) [B25]
World Team Championship (2), 06.01.2010
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6
I suppose Hikaru must have prepared for Nc6, as he seemed a little surprised by this move.
3.f4 Nc6 4.g3
Now the game transposes into a Closed Sicilian. Another possibility was 4.Bb5.
4...g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.d3 e6
The point of e6 is to develop the knight to e7, leading to a more flexible type of development. Another move, which is no worse, is 6...Nf6.
An unusual move, although Hikaru is known for his offbeat play in the openings. In fact this move is normal in setups where Black has played e5, but in this position it is somewhat rare.
7...Nge7 8.Be3 b6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Kh1
This move is often useful due to the possibilities of checks on the g1-a7 diagonal. Also, Hikaru seemed to have a specific redeployment in mind.
10...d5 11.Bg1 was Hikaru's idea, I believe. 11...dxe4 12.dxe4 Ba6 is comfortable for Black.
11.Bg1 Bb7 12.Qd2 Rae8 13.Rae1 f5
A typical move in these positions, which challenges White's center.
14.Ng5 Nd4 15.Nf3
Finally White's knight has gotten back to it's "normal" position.
15...Nec6 16.Nxd4 cxd4
16...Nxd4 17.Nd1 is about equal as well.
17.Ne2 e5 18.c3 exf4
18...dxc3 19.Nxc3 (19.bxc3 fxe4 20.dxe4 Na5 and Black has good pressure against White's center.) 19...exf4 20.gxf4 Nd4 is pretty good for Black as he can play against White's hanging pawns.
This transposes to the above variations, so Nf4!? came into consideration.
19...dxc3 20.bxc3 Rc8
de as mentioned above was also worthy of consideration.
21.Ng3 Ne7 22.Bd4 Bxd4 23.cxd4 Qa4 24.Qe3 Rc2
Black is converging on White's a2 pawn, and also just getting his pieces more active. The problem for White is that he doesn't have much counterplay because he can't move his e-pawn.
25.Rc1 Rfc8 26.d5 fxe4?
A critical mistake. This move lets White get counterplay with f5.
27.Rxc2! Qxc2 28.f5 would have been quite dangerous for Black.
27...Ba6 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Rg1 Qxa2 30.Qd4
At this point the momentum was in Nakamura's favor as Sasikiran was low on time and Hikaru had improved his position considerably compared to ten moves before.
30...Qb2 31.Qa4 Bb5 32.Qxa7 Nc8 33.Qb7 Qg7
Sasikiran was in serious time trouble here, relying pretty much only on the increment.
34.Qa8 Qc3 35.Qa1
Possibly Sasikiran should have tried exchanging queens to reduce White's attacking potential, but the match situation (tied 1-1, but with a losing position on board 2) demanded a win from Black.
35...Bd3 36.Qd1 Ne7 37.f5 Rd2
Another mistake, but Black's position was hard to play in time trouble.
39.Qa7 Kf8 40.Qe3
Now White is clearly better, and on the last move of the time control Sasikiran made another mistake, leading to a lost position.
There are too many threats for Black to defend against.
42.f6 Nc8 43.Bh3 Ba6?
A final mistake. Rc2 was the best chance, but it doesn't change the evaluation of the position.
44.Bxc8 Bxc8 45.f7+ Kf8 46.Rf1
At this point Sasikiran resigned. A nice comeback by Nakamura, and an important victory for the US Team. 1-0