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Hikaru Nakamura vs Pavel Eljanov
Tal Memorial (2010), Moscow RUS, rd 2, Nov-06
Catalan Opening: General (E00)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-06-10  splatty: : Is 26.Rxd5 preparation so deep in the game? Or brilliant move found on the board? Nakamura is a tactical monster so I wouldn't be surprised if he found it at the board.
Nov-06-10  splatty: His style of play reminds me of a relentless computer crushing the human opponent : )
Nov-06-10  Eyal: <Is 26.Rxd5 preparation so deep in the game?> Obviously not... I watched Nakamura's commentary on the game on the video feed of the tournament, and he actually said that during the opening he was already surprised by 4...c5.

The game is a good demonstration of putting pressure on an isolated d-pawn. A critical moment arrives after 23.Rfd1, where 23...Qc5 - allowing the nice tactical sequence beginning with 24.Ng5 - is probably a serious mistake; 23...Nc4 was better. Note that when considering the consequences of the 26.Rxd5! shot, White has to make sure that his knights won't get trapped at the end - as after 29...Re8 in the game or, alternatively, 29...Rd8 30.Ne7+ Kf8 31.Nf5. And an attempt to defend the pawn by 25...Nc4 is refuted by 26.Qb1! with a double attack on h7 and b7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Heck of a win by Naka.

Eljanov has been owning Kamsky in classical.
+ 5 - 1 = 2

Nov-06-10  Marmot PFL: <he actually said that during the opening he was already surprised by 4...c5.>

Yeah, its only the main line.

Nov-06-10  Eyal: I kid you not... This can be watched, btw, on, starting from approximately 18:54:30 ("He surprised me pretty much right out of the opening... I wasn't expecting c5"). But anyway, this seems to be a kind of opening where you can get a good position by just playing more-or-less "natural" moves.
Nov-06-10  checkmateyourmove: move 24 through 31 really impressed me of naka's play. i actually enjoy hating on Naka, but when he plays like this in classical chess I have to give him props.
Nov-06-10  Marmot PFL: I saw the whole video right after the game. It seemed that Naka had no other idea in the opening than to play natural moves, and he spent enough time on those to be behind on the clock. Once the tactics started he played much faster, then dominated the ending. 2 minor pieces can better better than rook and 2 pawns in some middle games, but in endings the rook is at its best.
Nov-06-10  kapivarov: Naka lost several minutes thinking after 4...c5.
Nov-06-10  AVRO38: This is an excellent example of the elements of time and initiative in chess. Naka's play here is reminiscent of Morphy and Spassky.
Nov-06-10  Everett: In Marin's "Learn from the Legends" he used Tal's R vs 2 minors mastery in the endgame as a theme for a chapter. Eljanov could not get any piece coordination at all at the end due to the mobility and scope of Nakamura's rook.

I don't love nor hate Nakamura, but one thing is for sure. He's interesting, and this game is evidence of some strong play; solid positional opening, accurately taking advantage of a middlegame tactic, and efficient evaluation and execution of the resultant endgame advantage.

Nov-06-10  Shams: <Everett> I'm usually a dozen moves too late to see which side I'd rather have in the ending, the rook and pawn or the bishop and knight. Usually I take the minors in the middlegame but if I don't make anything out of it I get in trouble later on.
Nov-07-10  Everett: <Shams> Interesting insight. The transfer from middlegame to endgame is rife with these difficult decisions.

I remember in a Suba book, the author rattling off various combinations in the endgame (BN vs BB, QN vs NRR, etc) and how this is something to keep in mind while playing into or staying out of the endgame. It was just a passing comment, but it highlights an entire world of chess understanding that I'm trying to get a hold of.

Nov-07-10  el nanes: People alway complain about the many draws in elite tournaments but for me it is alway amazing that when so strong players meet one is actually able to beat the other. This deep combination by Nakamura shows how a very strong player can be outplayed.
Nov-07-10  patzer2: Not sure how to classify 26. Rxd5!!, except it wins a pawn with advantage with the help of the neat in-between move 27. Ne4!
Nov-10-10  Shams: Nakamura had intended 19.Qb4 but saw that it lost a pawn trivially to 19...Qxb4, 20...Bxd4 and 21...Nc6. Because of this he feels he should have played 18.Ne2 instead of 18.Nd2. Source: the postmortem in <Eyal>'s link below.
Dec-02-10  James Bowman: Nakamura has a nice abillity to coordinate his pieces and I've seen similiar knight and rook tactics from him before I can't remember which games though.

I would say none of the top players use their rooks more effectively than Nakamura and he utilizes his knights very well too. His bishops generally speaking are less effective as I see it.

Feb-08-11  notyetagm: <patzer2: Not sure how to classify 26. Rxd5!!, except it wins a pawn with advantage with the help of the neat in-between move 27. Ne4!>

Yes, very nice <TACTICAL PLAY> by Nakamura.

Feb-08-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: FORCING MOVES are MOVE-YOUR-PIECE-FOR-FREE card

Game Collection: FORCING MOVES show where the pieces *REALLY* are


Feb-08-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: Nakamura's Best Games
Jun-20-11  DrMAL: Not sure what 18.Nd2 was about, 18.Nxc6 would create some weakness on c5 even if difficult to later exploit. White moves it back with 20.N2f3 anyway starting a change in strategy as later maneuvers show. This change and 22.Nf4 proved fruitful as 23.Rfd1 preoccupied black with d5 versus c3, provokes 23...Qc5 and a favorable endgame.

At this point, white is up a pawn with insufficient compensation for black, but 29...Re8 (instead of 29...Rd8 or 29...Rf8) allows the sac 30.Nf6+ (either knight) increasing white's pawn advantage further. In the hands of someone as deadly as Nakamura, this was fatal. Great game for Naka!

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