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Hikaru Nakamura vs Veselin Topalov
FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013), Thessaloniki GRE, rd 7, May-29
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Traditional Line (B92)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-29-13  dekko: topa the wins will rain
May-29-13  RookFile: Maybe black should have played ...b5 at some point in the opening. That's sort of why you play the Najdorf, isn't it?
May-29-13  mistreaver: I am no Najdorf expert, but it seems to me that b5 will always run into a4. For instance 9...b5 10 a4 b4 11 Nd5 Nc6 (11... Nxe4?? 12 Bf3 ) 12 Na5 (this was found by computer) and white is much better. Or say
10... b5 11 a4 (11 Nd5 also comes into consideration) 11... Bc4 12 Qd2 Bxe2 13 Nxe2 bxa4 (13... Nxe4?? 14 Qd5 ) 14 Rxa4 and white retains some advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Awful play by Topalov.
May-29-13  Nerwal: In the 6. ♗e2 e5 Najdorf, the value of b5 depends on the concrete situation, and notably how much white has commited himself already. For instance after 9. f4, 9... b5 is very strong, because black has a check on b6 so a white piece on b5 is tactically vulnerable and it's possible to organize quick pressure on a weakened e4 pawn with ♗b7. After 9. ♔h1, 9... b5 is already more controversial. After 9. ♗e3 ♗e6 and without f4 played, it just doesn't look good. Sometimes a5-a4 is more appropriate than b7-b5 to get queenside counterplay.
May-29-13  RookFile: Topalov kept it simple and didn't do anything over there. The way he played it, black can hope for some tedious draw by passive defense.
May-29-13  Just Another Master: naka has decided if u cant beat him -MC - then join him, smart move
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I can't find a win after 50...Kg7.

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The logical followup is 51 Kxh5 Kf6, which looks like a nice fortress.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: black might play 51...K-g5, getting the best king position, for further infiltration. He can pick up the h pawn later on, with his Bishop. Black's Knight has to babysit the other white passed pawn(s).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: If white plays 51 Kg5 after 50...Kg7, then black can follow with 51...h4.

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The win still looks tenuous to me.

May-30-13  xanadu: According to Chessgames the novelty is White 13Nxc5 obtaining the passed-pawn at d5 and good prospectives on the open e-file, so it looks interesting...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: All of the difficulties that black has to contend with here stem from (what appears to be) a positional error on move twelve: Following 12... Nc5, white is able to swap off his poorly placed knight, break up black's center pawns, and with 15 c4 white is able to activate his queen-side pawn majority. When playing the Opocensky Variation in future events, I wonder if Grandmasters will continue to trade off the white Queen's Knight as soon as it lands on the d5 square; is there really the need to do this straight away?
Dec-27-16  izimbra: Echoing the comments of Jimfromprovidence, it seems that W had no way to force a win, even up 1 passed pawn, prior to the blunder move <50...Nd6>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: I see; to dismiss an endgame as "lost", when in actuality it was only "difficult to defend", is something that I often do. Many thanks for your analysis <izimbra>

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