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Hikaru Nakamura vs Sergey Karjakin
"I Hear you Nakin'" (game of the day Feb-12-2014)
Tal Memorial (2013), Moscow RUS, rd 3, Jun-15
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-15-13  EvanTheTerrible: This is a fantastic game.
Jun-15-13  SirRuthless: GREAT win. Missed 27. Qb2! according to the computers but was never in trouble a positional crush. Rare performance with white from Naka solid throughout.
Jun-15-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Nak had a stranglehold on the position, took down a big scalp here.
Jun-15-13  Shams: Can't remember the last time Karjakin was beaten down like this. Game of the tournament thus far for sure. Did Karjakin show up for the press conference?
Jun-15-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: It totally blows my mind how one day Naka can crank out the best game of the tourney, and the next day the worst lemon of the tourney. So erratic. He's gotta get this figured out if he wants to be a challenger.
Jun-15-13  Blunderdome: So is the idea that if 46...Kxg5 white plays Rg1+ and Rg8?
Jun-15-13  vergilam: I think instead Rg1+ Kf6 Bg8, if Ke7 then Rg7+
Jun-15-13  Ezzy: Hi Nakamura (2784) - Sergey Karjakin (2782)

Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (3), 15.06.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6< Karjakin almost exclusively plays 3...e6> 3.Nc3 d5 <Karjakin hadn't played the Gruenfeld for ten years until employng it against Radjabov (Draw) at the Zug Grand Pris 2013.> 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Bd2< A change from Nakamura who always plays 5 e4 in this position. Obviously trying to confuse Karjakin who doesn't usually play this opening. The move was brought back to prominance by Gelfand and Svidler who both played it at the London Candidates 2013.> 5...Bg7 6.e4 Nxc3 7.Bxc3 c5 8.d5 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 00 10.Nf3 e6 <Almost 30 minutes thought on this. Already this new repertoire with the Gruenfeld is causing him an headache. He must have been recalling Karpov v Timofeev Sochi 2007 (Draw) where 10...e6 was played.> 11.Be2 exd5 12.exd5 Bg4 13.00 Nd7< Novelty. 13...Qd6 (2 games in the database) and 13...Bxf6 (1 Game) have been played before.> 14.h3< 28 minutes thought on this.> 14...Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Ne5 16.Be2 Qd6 17.Rb1 b6?!< Already giving more light squares away, which isn't good when Nakamura has a light squared bishop.> 18.Re1 Rfd8?!< Black's not going to win the d5 pawn, so the rook should probably be contesting the 'e' file with 18...Re8.> 19.Ba6 <Already whites position is looking pretty good.> 19...Rab8 <[19...Qxd5? 20.Qxd5 Rxd5 21.Bb7 With a pretty skewer.] >20.c4 Nd7 21.Bb5 <Geez! I hope Karjakin doesn't play too many more Gruenfeld's.> 21...Nf6 22.Qe2 Rb7 23.Rb3 Nh5 24.Re3< Triple major pieces on the 'e' file! What a disastrous opening for Karjakin.> 24...Ng7 25.g4< To stop 25...Nf5 >25...Kf8 26.a4 f5 27.Re5< [27.Qb2! With the idea 28 Re6! 27...Kg8 28.gxf5 Rf8 (28...Nxf5?? 29.Re8+ Rxe8 30.Rxe8+ Kf7 31.Rh8 Nd4 32.Rxh7+ Kg8 33.Rxb7 Winning.; 28...gxf5? 29.Rg3) 29.fxg6 hxg6 30.Qe5 White has a strategically winning adavantage.]> 27...fxg4 28.hxg4 Rf7 29.Qe3 Qf6 30.Re2 Qf4 31.Qxf4< An important decision. The computer doesn't like it. It wants to play 31 Re4 maintaining the stranglehold. Nakamura had faith in thinking he could win the endgame where he does seem to have a strong advantage, but it was probably still a bit risky.> 31...Rxf4 32.R5e4 Rxe4 33.Rxe4 h5 34.f3 Kf7 35.Kg2 Kf6 36.Re1 g5 37.Kg3 Rh8 38.Bc6 Kf7 39.d6 h4+?< [39...hxg4 40.fxg4 Kf6 41.Re7 And black's still holding.]> 40.Kh2 Kf6 41.d7 Ne6? 42.Bd5< It's certainly not easy to find the finesses of this variation. [42.f4! gxf4 43.g5+ Ke7 (43...Kf5 44.Bd5 Nc7 45.g6! Kxg6 46.Bg8! Rxg8 47.Rg1+ Kf7 48.Rxg8 Ne6 49.Re8 Winning) 44.Bd5 Winning.] >42...Nc7 43.Be4 Ne6< [43...Ke7 44.Bc6+ Kd8 45.a5 bxa5 46.Re5 a4 47.Bxa4 Rg8 48.Bc6 a5 49.Ba4 Rf8 50.Rxc5 Rxf3 51.Rxg5 winning.] >44.Bd5 Nc7 45.f4 gxf4 46.g5+ Kg6 47.Re5 Rd8 48.Be4+ Kf7 49.Bf5 Rh8 50.Kg2 a5 51.Kf2 f3 52.Re1< And white can just mop up all black's pawns anytime he wants.> 10

Very strong game from Nakamura. He seems to have woken up since that disastrous game 1.

Totally dominated things on the 'e' file (Triple major pieces) and controled the light squares with his bishop. Nurtured his passed pawn forward and that was that!

NOT a good start to Sergey's Gruenfeld career. I hope he leaves it on the 'back burner' for a while until he has a few lectures with Peter Svidler.

It's certainly a rollercoaster ride so far for Hikaru. Aweful in the first game. On the verge of losing to Kramnik in the 2nd game, and won. Then an impressive 3rd game win!

The plot thicken's.

Jun-15-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <So is the idea that if 46...Kxg5 white plays Rg1+ and Rg8?>

<I think instead Rg1+ Kf6 Bg8, if Ke7 then Rg7+>


click for larger view

No - after <46...Kxg5>, 47.Rg1+ Kf6 48.Rg8 Rxg8 49.Bxg8 Ke7 doesn't work, and neither does 48.Bg8 Ke7; the idea is <47.Bg8!!> (threatening to queen the pawn) and then winning the rook after 47...Rxg8 48.Rg1+.

Jun-15-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Btw, there's a similar idea in a nice line that Nakamura mentioned in the press conference as a quicker and more elegant finish that he missed a few moves earlier:


click for larger view

42.f4! (instead of Bd5) gxf4 43.g5+ Kf5 44.Bd5! Nc7 45.g6! Kxg6 46.Bg8!!

Jun-15-13  tim butler: Naka said during his postmatch interview, that he knew he had a winning position sense Karjakin 17 ... b6.
Jun-15-13  Ezzy: Karjakin just tweeted -

"Played badly today and deserved to lose. Always dreamed to have 2777,7 rating!"

Jun-15-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Speaking of the press conference, Nakamura seems to be turning into a favorite of the Russian audience, after saying that yesterday he wanted to play like Tal (with the queen sac idea that he finally rejected) and today he felt playing like Alekhine with the "gun" of the three heavy pieces on the e-file; and then, in response to a question about his favorite sports, mentioned ice hockey and said that the Russian team is a favorite to win gold in the Sochi winter Olympics next year.
Jun-15-13  notyetagm:


click for larger view

Jun-15-13  csmath: This Bd2 variation seems to me misplayed by Karjakin. It is not a very ambitious play optically but it is definitely worthy Grunfeld.

If you do not have clear way to deploy knight on d6 to block the d5 pawn then you should not play e6 unless it is forced. Having queen blocking d6 is a pitiful positional decision. I know 10. ... e6 is played but that still does not look the best to me.

Somehow I think that f5 move was missed somewhere. Probably 18. ... f5 would be better since 18. ... Rd8 looks useless in the aftermath. It is surely a cliche move. Going Ne5-Nf7-Nd6 would be the shortest blocking path and Karjakin has not been able to block the d-pawn afterwards. f5 would be brave decision but then again this is Grunfeld and it is not for weak minded.

This game is very important theoretically since obviously white has tremendeous advantage after 19 moves, after rather "natural" play by black.

I don't know whether Nakamura has studied this or not but it is obvious to me that Karjakin was clearly outplayed in the opening.

Jun-15-13  csmath: Anyway excellent positional game by Naka. Strange is that he played superb positional game while missing decisive tactics on the way. Is that a sign of improvement? :-)
Jun-15-13  notyetagm: <csmath: ... f5 would be brave decision but then again this is Grunfeld and it is not for weak minded.>

The Grunfeld exerts a strong influence on the weak-minded.

Jun-15-13  csmath: I don't want to call Karjakin names but I think Grunfeld might not be suitable to his style. I do not think he has done careful study of this opening. Today was surely a good lecture for him in Grunfeld d-pawn blocking which is I think the first thing one needs to learn while playing Grunfeld.

Nakamura's choice of variation is quite foxy in my view.

Jun-15-13  notyetagm: Nakamura vs Karjakin, 2013

Game Collection: BLOCKADE THAT PASSED PAWN! Grunfeld newbie Karjakin pays price for not blockading delroy

<csmath: ... Today was surely a good lecture for him in <<<Grunfeld d-pawn blocking>>> which is I think the first thing one needs to learn while playing Grunfeld.>

Jun-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: 18...a6 must be better than 18...Rfd8

<18...a6> 19.c4 b5 20.cxb5 axb5 21.Bxb5 Rxa2 22.Qb3 Rfa8 23.Rb2 R2a3 24.Qd1 Rb8 25.Qe2 f6 26.Reb1 Rxb5 27.Rxb5 Qxd5 28.Rb8+ Kg7 29.R8b7+ Kh6 30.Qb2 Rd3 31.Qb6 Rd1+ 32.Kh2 Rxb1 33.Qxb1 c4 34.Rb5 Qd6 35.Kg1 Nd3

Jun-16-13  QueentakesKing: SerKarj 'the next K', what happened dawg?
Jun-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: The R+B vs R+N endgame is very tough for Black, among other things because at several points putting the knight on e8 would allow White to exchange all the pieces and transition into a won pawn endgame. But practically the game seems to be lost after 38...Kf7, which - in combination with 37...Rh8 - allows White to push the d-pawn; the point is that an immediate 38.d6 wouldn't be good because of 38...Rd8 followed by Ne6 & Nd4, but after 38...Kf7 39.d6, 39...Rd8 40.d7 Ne6 loses the knight to 41.Bd5.
Jun-16-13  OneArmedScissor: <QueentakesKing: SerKarj 'the next K', what happened dawg?>

He got Knocked out

Jun-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChemMac: <Ezzy> Karjakin just tweeted - "Played badly today and deserved to lose".

Indeed; it is not possible to win a game without mistakes by your opponent. However, it would have been nice if Karjakin had given Nakamura some acknowledgement for playing well and taking advantage of positional mistakes.

Jun-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ChemMac>: It is most unfortunate, but Nakamura has often been criticised for the same reason.

Maybe it is a case of a player being put out after a loss and blowing off steam, but one suspects these top players are far more objective in private than the way they can come off, as above.

Safe to say that they all know who can play at that level-it's a sure thing that, in the long run, they would have done over the likes of yourself or myself, even when we were at our respective peaks, yours being a bit higher than my own.

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