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Magnus Carlsen vs Hikaru Nakamura
London Chess Classic (2010), London ENG, rd 4, Dec-11
English Opening: Anglo-Dutch Defense (A10)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-13-10  Kazzak: Yes, those were a fine repositioning - though a play-through of Carlsen's games the past two years will reveal that he has a fondness for placing a Rook on b1, to decisive effect when he does so. Usually it goes there from a1, but any which way will do.

Something his opponents would be wise to plan against, I'd think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Ulhumbrus: Nakamura suggested in the commentary room that the entire plan started by 21...a4 might be a mistake.>

I thought at the time that this was an over-reaction based on the outcome of the game, but if the pawn is a goner after 24 Bxb6 it makes sense.

24 Bxb6 is one of those clarifying moves that Carlsen comes up with, that look innocuous, and are therefore very hard to foresee.

Dec-13-10  Bobwhoosta: <I actually think this game makes Magnus look weak>

Yes, just like his win in Nanjing proved solidly that he cannot compete at the top level,

and his consistent results over the past two-three years prove that he was only a one-hit wonder, a flash-in-the-pan nobody,

and his training by Kasparov shows that all of the top players secretly know this,

and his endgame wins prove his technical weaknesses,

and his #2 rank shows he doesn't know the rules of chess.

As a Carlsen fan, the only hope I have lies in his recent streak of losses during and after the Olympiad. They are the only proof I have of Carlsen's true greatness.

Dec-13-10  Kazzak: Yes, Bobwhoosta, it's quite curious how a game as relentlessly obeisant to the power of logic to such an extent finds followers ignorant of the same.


Dec-13-10  Marmot PFL: <Nakamura played too fast, didn't believe in himself and his position, and deservedly lost.>

Sometimes he seems to lose confidence in himself during a game after mistakes. This is very common but the best players are those that can overcome it.

Dec-13-10  goldenbear: <Bobwhoosta> Oh c'mon, Magnus Carlsen is obviously the strongest tournament player in the world, in my opinion. But it just so happens that I also think this particular game makes him look weak. I imagine that beating Naka with White was probably the thing he wanted to do most during this tournament (besides winning) and THIS was the best opening idea he could come up with? He'll have to do better than this in order to beat Anand in a match. Nevertheless, much like Lasker (he reminds me of Lasker quite often), he "gets lucky" and wins anyway. Maybe that's a sign of strength, maybe of weakness, or maybe all aesthetic remarks are empty, pure semantics. <Kazzak>, maybe you are illogical for seeking logic in a casual, aesthetic remark.
Dec-13-10  zarg: <goldenbear>
What you consider weakness, was deliberate strategy by Carlsen, and winning this has little to do with luck and everything to do with positional skill.

The game was awarded best game prize of round 4.

Dec-13-10  goldenbear: <Zarg> That's what they always say of Lasker, and it's impossible to find fault with that argument. 1-0 tells the story.
Dec-14-10  Appaz: <<goldenbear> I imagine that beating Naka with White was probably the thing he wanted to do most during this tournament (besides winning)>

I would imagine that <the one> game he most want to win in this tournament is Kramnik - Carlsen.

Dec-14-10  rogge: <I would imagine that <the one> game he most want to win in this tournament is Kramnik - Carlsen.>

Yeah. Probable "want to crush list":

1. Kramnik
2. Anand
3. Nakamura.

Dec-14-10  Topista: Point 3 checked
Dec-15-10  patzer2: As Nakamura suggests, I suppose Black could have found something better than 21...a4?!

Maybe 21...Bxb2 to = or 21...h6 to = would have improved.

For an instructive tactical shot, at least for novices, I liked the little in-between move 38. Rxg6+!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 30...d5 was suggested by Shipov <Skakalec>

<[It was after all stronger to play 30...d5, but, it has to be said, you could sink in the calculations here: 31.Ne2! dxc4
(31...Rxc4 32.Qd1!)
32.Rd7 Ra5! and so on. The pieces jump around, your eyes see double...]>

White keeps an edge (.33/18) even here acc to Rybka 3 with 33 Qd1 Qc5 34 Rxb7 Rxa2 35 Qd7 Rf8 36 Nf4 Qd6 37 Qxd6 Bxd6 38 Bd5 Bxd5 39 Nxd5 Ra5 40 Nc7

Even if Black loses the c pawn he can probably draw, although it is not something Nakamura would steer for unless he thought his position was nearly lost.

Dec-21-10  elohah: Notes...

5 A solid approach to Black's opening - just saying it's actually an English Opening.

12 ? Misplacing the rook. 12 Rad1 is correct.

13 Were the QR on d1, White would have an interesting move in 13 f3! here, since obviously Black is all dressed up for ...e4. What would Nak do then?

Not 13...Qa5?, since 14 Qb2 would threaten b4, ( a move that's good even if the knight retreats). Or 13...Qa5? 14 Ncb1 Qxd2 15 Rxd2 e4? 16 d4 winning the d6-pawn.

Instead of 15...e4?, 15...Bh6 is better. Then 16 f4 would threaten N on b1 back to c3, which would threaten d4 again. 16...Ng4 would then force White to lunge d4 right away, which, however, isn't bad:

17 d4 Ne4 18 Bxe4 fxe4 19 Bxd6 Nxe3.

Here, White can just play 20 Re1, or try an exchange sac with 20 Bxe5 Nxf1 21 Kxf1. Overall, perhaps 14 Qb2 is better after 13...Qa5?

13...a5 looks better (after the hypothetical 12 Rad1! Nc5 13 f3!) but after 14 d4!, it wouldn't be out of the question for Black to get positionally crushed.

Nak would likely play the wiley
13...Bh6! against 13 f3!

Then 14 f4 does indeed threaten 15 d4 again. After 14...Ng4?, here's where 15 h3! could come in, or 15 d4! first, and then h3.

Instead of 14...Ng4?, 14...e4 is no improvement, since 15 de just wins a pawn.

Conclusion: With the correct QR placement, followed by stuffing Black's only bid for activity via ...e4, Carlsen could have placed Black's entire game 'en prise'.

Dec-21-10  elohah: Back to game:

14...If 14...fe 15 g4! ( a point of 13 h3).

21...This is committal. Maybe Black could just sit tight.

23... After 23...c5 24 Bxe5 Nxe5, White is able to cobble into d5 rather effectively:

25 Nc3! cb 26 Nd5 Qc5 ( 26...Bxd5 27 Bxd5+ will be better for White) 27 Nf6+ Kh8 28 Nxe8 Rxe8 29 Rxd6 Nxc4 30 Bxb7, White's better.

Or 25...Bxc4 26 Nd5 Bxd5 27 Bxd5+ and Qxa4 also looks better for White.

Or 24...dxe5 25 Qxa4 Nb6 26 Qa5 is likely better for White in every line, one ex: 26...Bxc4 27 bc Bxe2 28 cxb6 Qe7 29 Bd5+!

32 I'm not even sure if White is clearly better here.

33...Intending, after 34 f4 - ...Rxb5!

43...An unfortunate blunder. Black seems to have fair drawing chances if he just stops White's next move. Now he is lost.

Dec-25-10  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 29...Rxc5 is 29..dxc5 removing a weak pawn on d6
Dec-28-10  elohah: There is a mild mistake in my first posting above, in a minor variation.

Let's review again:

It's the paragraph beginning: 'Not 13...Qa5 ...'

Now jog down a bit.

'Or 13...Qa5? 14 Ncb1 Qxd2 15 Rxd2 e4?,' and here I meant to say that 16 de wins a pawn. I wrote 16 d4?, and this allows the zwizenkick of 16...ef!, followed by ...Nce4!, when Black would be better.

It's minor, since 13...Qa5? is lame, and 14 Qb2 is likely a better answer to it anyway.

Carry on.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game here:

Jul-26-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: OVERLOADED: TTTC: THE THREAT TO CAPTURE

Carlsen vs Nakamura, 2010 The answer's simple: 28. Qxa4? Bxg3! 29. fxg3 Qxe3+ with great losses

Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: It seems that Carlsen is stronger positionally at this point than Nakamura.

He steered the game into positional channels to take advantage of his superiority.

Jul-26-11  AuN1: nakamura is more of a coffeehouse sort of player; cheap tactics and silly antics.
Jul-26-11  Kinghunt: <AuN1: nakamura is more of a coffeehouse sort of player; cheap tactics and silly antics.>

I wouldn't go that far. Nakamura's chief strength is his tactical play, but his positional skills are certainly nothing to be laughed at. It just so happens that the very top players are in their own class when it comes to positional play, and that Nakamura's tactical play is nothing special at the 2800 level. (In fact, if anything, it's slightly below it, given how many of his losses have featured tactical errors, albeit in difficult positions.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <AuN1: nakamura is more of a coffeehouse sort of player; cheap tactics and silly antics.>

This comment is utterly fatuous-do you really believe this sort of thing could succeed in top-level play?

Aug-07-11  notyetagm: <Kinghunt: ... , and that Nakamura's tactical play is nothing special at the 2800 level.>

I personally think that Carlsen and Aronian are the world's strongest tactical players.

Aronian may in fact be *the* strongest tactical player in the world.

Mar-08-13  notyetagm:
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