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Hikaru Nakamura vs Robert Hess
"Stoneware Cooking" (game of the day May-15-2012)
United States Championship (2012), St. Louis, MO USA, rd 1, May-08
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Stone-Ware Variation (C51)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop for a knight.

The white queen controls the escape square of the black king. This suggests 29.Bxe6, weakening the black castle (29... Rxe6 30.Rd8+ Re8 31.Rxe8#).

The black queen is exposed to the attack of the white rooks but it looks unlikely to trap her (29.Ra3 Qd2).

After 29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Rd7 (30.Qg6 Qa5 31.Rg3 Rc7 32.Qxh6 Qxc4 33.Qg6 Qa4 and black seems to hold)

A) 30... Qf2 31.Qg6 Qf8 (31... Qxe3 32.Qxg7#) 32.Rf3 wins.

B) 30... Qa5 31.Rxg7+ Kxg7 (31... Kf8 32.Qh7 + -; 31... Kh8 32.Qh7#) 32.Rg3+ Kf8 (32... Kf7 33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Qg7# (or 34.Rg8#); 32... Kh8 33.Qg6 + -) 33.Qh7 and mate next.

C) 30... Qxc4 31.Qg6 Qf4+ 32.Rg3 Qf8 33.Rxg7+ and mate next.

Apr-19-13  M.Hassan: "Difficult"
White to play 29.?
Materials equal with White having a Bishop for a Knight.

<if...Rxe6 30.Rd8+ Re8 31.Rxe8#>

30.Qg6 Rcc8
31.Rg3 Re7
32.Qxh6 Qxc4
33.Qg6 Qc5
34.Rg5 Qc4(at first thought...Qf2 but changed it because white could attack Queen easily) 35.Rh5 Ree8
36.Qh7+ Kf3
37.Rf3+ Ke7
38.Qxg7+ Kd8 (White is now a pawn up)
39.Qf6+ Re7
40.Qg5 Kd7
<if....Ke8 42.Rh8#>

And Black Queen will be captured for a Rook.
let's see the solution

Apr-19-13  diagonalley: <moonwalker> ...same here
Apr-19-13  morfishine: I too was a <30.Qg6> guy, but following up differently: 29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Qg6 Rcc8 <31.Rg3> Attacking from the front instead of the side

<31...Re7 32.c5 Qf2 33.c6 Qf5 34.Qxh6 Qxe5 35.Rd7 Qc5 36.Rxg7+>

PM: 30.Rd7 is sharper or "more to the point" while 31.Rxg7 is off the charts; I guess this is the type of game one would expect when two eccentric players like Nakamura & Hess face off

Apr-19-13  arp001: Why doesn't this work?
29)Bxe6 fxe6
30)Qg6 Rcc8(or any other- plz specify) 31)Rd7
Apr-19-13  morfishine: <arp001> Probably because of 30...Qa4
Apr-19-13  gofer: The first move forces only one response. The second kills black dead.

<29 Bxe6 fxe6>
<30 Rd7! ...>

White threatens to get control of the seventh rank, which black simply cannot allow. There are alternatives to try to stop white's control, but really only one leaps out at me.

<30 ... Qa4>
<31 Rxg7+ Kxg7>
<32 Rg3+ ...>

32 ... Kf7 33 Qh7+ Kf8 34 Rg8#
32 ... Kf8 33 Qh7 any move 34 Rg8#

<32 ... Kh8>
<33 Qg6 Qd7>
<34 Qxh6+ Qh7>
<35 Qf6+ Qg7>
<36 Qxg7#>

Apr-19-13  mistreaver: Friday. White to play. 29.? Difficult?
It seems like white has splendid attacking chances because his rooks are ideally placed and black is a bit uncoordinated. The first move that went through my head was:
A) 29 Bxe6 fxe6 (forced, else mate on 8th rank)
30 Qg6
30... Rf8
31 Rg3 Rc7
32 Qxe6+ Kh8
and i will evaluate this in favor of white
30... Rcc8
31 Rg3 Re7
and white has nothing special. Perhaps instead of Qg6 there is a better move: A')
30 Rd7 (i quite like this seizure of key rank)
A'1)If black tries to be primitive then after:
30... Qxc4
31 Qg6 he gets nated
31 Qb7 is also hopeless
I don't see a satisfactory move for black here.
Time to check.
Okay, i missed the whole mating idea with the rook sacrifice, and i should reproach myself for missing the "cunning" Kh8 in order to defend with Rg8. Still i got the key idea, and i think i would have find the rook sacrifice OTB, as it is pretty obvious in the end. 0.5 for today, 4.5/5 this week so far
Apr-19-13  Abdel Irada: ∞

<<•> Strategic tactics? <•>>

I almost feel that I'm missing something, for the winning sequence in this puzzle is forthright, positional and involves no sacrifice. White's initial moves could in fact be considered as much strategic as tactical. Victory is won through sheer irresistible pressure.

The sole pitfall against which White must guard himself is his own impatience.

<<•> 29. Bxe6, fxe6 >

No option is (a) 29. ...Rxe6?? 30. Rd8†, with mate in one.

White has weakened Black's pawn structure and particularly his kingside, seizing access to vital squares. One could not find a better positional choice (and that it contains more than a drop of cyanide is only so much to the better).

<<•> 29. Rd7 ... >

Here is where White can go wrong with 29. Qg6?!, which allows Black to save himself with 29. ...Qa4. (Analyze the results, and see for yourself why treading a straight path sometimes demands that we first examine the full course of the crooked.)

Again, however, White is positionally correct: His rook has seized the seventh rank with pressure against one of those vital squares (and again there is tactical venom in the move, but that still remains in the realm of omen and far-heard prophecy; what will actually befall Black still depends upon his choice, and he has two real ones).

< (1) 29. ...Qxc4 >

No better is (b) 29. ...Qa4 30. Qb7 , when Black has no way to stop 31. Rxg7†, Kh8 32. Rh7†, Kg8 33. Qg8 (or some similar sequence), except by giving up his queen for a rook, which is slower death but death even so.

< 30. Qg6 ... >

Very forthrightly, White threatens a multitude of mates. Still no sacrifice, and none of our accustomed "flash."

< 30. ...Qf4† >

This is desperation, but what choice is there? Black has no means to guard against every threat, save only this one gamble: "Will White, with one slight test to pass, just possibly go awry in the moment of victory? (Such has, after all, happened before.)"

< 31. Rg3 >

We complete a straight path. Now there are three White heavy pieces biting on g7, and Black cannot save himself.

(Crooked option: (c) 31. g3??, Qf2†, and *somebody* is about to get crushed, but unfortunately it isn't our opponent.)

Meanwhile, Black has another defensive idea. so we must also dispose of that.

< (2) 29. ...Kh8 >

Here White can walk a crooked path (as to our "positional" theme) straightly, for (d) 30. Rxg7!, Kxg7 31. Rg3† mates quickly. But is this necessary?

< 30. Qg6, Rg8 >

This of course was the point of Black's king move. Will it be enough?

< 31. Rg3 >

No fireworks. No "tactics" as most puzzles would have them; they are possible but not necessary. Again, I am fallible and may be missing a defense to this series of "quiet" moves, but if so, blind to it I remain.

If the foregoing analysis is correct, the constant White "overattack" would seem to be a chessic version of the pragmatic military doctrine: Attack only with preponderant force. White can, but need not, take chances, and Black will meet his death by pressure rather than by blows.

Apr-19-13  Abdel Irada: Note (d), I see.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Clink effect bubble in evermores 29.Bxe6 mate in,

(one) if rook takes so pontifical 29...fxe6 when rooking penetrates to the seventh in fat chance to survive,

as thod d7 is a count down to mating g7 looms on the horizon sitter in e4 and river creep along,

rooke3 will in slide across to g3 engage bishop in e6 coned off cap investing 29...fxe6 again manage,

have the point serious business at hand it now in dilemma do it rook up in goofed 30.rd7

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: See the point in exactly it shuffle h8 across in heading,

for calm pasture debt of gratitude you in remember team rook queen black damp in squid fizzles out after a2 squab in chicken wing off queen side,

harbour in kingh8 matter in e4 will come to h7 in,

too a 31.Rxg7 looks it all over back in g7 takes the op 32.rg3+ hole got in bar it on in jail the rook ivestigate am in aid for duty it ramble in,

gourd a grecian angle go castle g3+ in Kf8 when at clucky it oh in protocol it climb in give a oomph I h7 then undress it safe in the knowledge h2 one step up to the good eli g3 h7 timeto call it is a day in enough.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White wins while black's queen is in hiding.
Apr-19-13  engmaged: got it easily. the more difficult "and fun" is to see how Nakamura outplayed his opponent strategically. 12.f4 was daring. positioning his pieces around the two central pawns... double rook lifts (protecting his c pawn by side).... and getting the d file.
Apr-19-13  BOSTER: Only is very greedy player can afford to take pawn a2 and move his queen in the desert out of his camp. After 29.Bxe6 fxe6 all black pieces are unprotected and have no coordination. Here I want to play 30.Qg6 and then 31.Rd7.
But this is wrong moves order, because black can play 30...Qa4 and white can't play Rd7, if 31. Rg3 Rc7. So, correct 30.Rd7 and if Qa4 31.Qb7 ,and the possession of the 7 rank is decisive. If 30...Kh8 31.Rxg7 Kxg7 32.Rg3+ Kh8 33.Qg6 and white win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Is 30...Rf8 more stubborn?
Apr-19-13  engmaged: <ajk68: Is 30...Rf8 more stubborn?> 31.Qg6 and black can not avoid the mate
Apr-19-13  Patriot: Material is equal.

29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Qg6 looks very strong. This threatens not only 31.Qxe8+ but 32.Rd7.

30...Rf8 31.Rd7

30...Rcc8 31.Rd7

30...Kf8 31.Rd7 Re7 32.Rd8+

The only move seems to be 30...Qa4.

30...Qa4 31.Rg3 Rc7 32.Qxh6 looks winning.

Apr-19-13  Patriot: I didn't find the best move 30.Rd7, but I achieved what I wanted--to prove 29.Bxe6 is winning!
Apr-19-13  Alex56171: Pals, let me ask a question off topic. When you click to view the pgn of this game, one of the information shown is PlyCount "65". What does it mean?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Alex> One ply is a move by either player; hence, the count of 65 is 33 moves by White and 32 for Black.
Apr-19-13  James D Flynn: Material is equal but Black has a potential back rank weakness. My thoughts inorder oa appearance were:
29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Qg6 Qa4(if Rf8 or any move along the back rank 31.Rd7(there is no answer to the threat of mate on g7) 31.Rd6(threat 32.Ra3 Qxa3 33.Qxe8+ Kh7 34.Rd8(threat 35.Qg8+ Kg3 36.Qxe6+ Kh7(not Kg5or h5 37.Qg4#) 37.Qf5+g6 38.Qf7#)Rc7 32.c5 29.Ra3 Qb2 30.Reb3 Qf2 31,Bxe6 fxe6 32.Rf3 Qd2 33.Qg6 29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Qg6 Qa4 31.Ra3 Qd7 32,Red3 Qc8
29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Ra3 Qf2 31.Rf3 Qd2 32.Rxa5
29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Rd7(threat Qg6 and mate on g7) Qa4 31.Rxg7+ Kxg7 32.Rg3+ Kh8(if Kf8 33.Qh7 and Rg8# next )34.Qg6 Qd7 35.Qxh6+ Qh7 36.Qf6+ Qg7Qxg7#
Apr-19-13  James D Flynn: It took me some hours to arrive at this solution. Nakamura did it over the board under time controls, A fine fusion of disparate combination themes.
Apr-20-13  Alex56171: Thanks a lot, <perfidious>!
May-03-19  patzer2: As <Ulhumbrus> observes on page 6 of the kibitzing here, <The move 12...Bxc1 moves the bishop a fifth time to exchange it for an unmoved White queen's bishop. Black has lost therefore no less than five moves for development.>

Instead of 12...Bxc1?! 13. Rxc1 ⩲ (+0.49 @ 23 ply, Stockfish 10), Black can apparently hold it level with 12...Bc5+ = (0.00 @ 20 ply, Stockfish 10).

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