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Hikaru Nakamura vs Boris Gelfand
Tal Memorial (2013), Moscow RUS, rd 7, Jun-21
Sicilian Defense: Lasker-Pelikan. Sveshnikov Variation (B33)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-21-13  solskytz: Fantastic, Gelfand - I loved every bit of it, especially after ...e3!!!, putting the bishops to excellent use in disturbing white's king.

From that point, white's game has an air of fatality about it. Squirm as he may, Nakamura never managed to shake it.

Ninth, at 2770+ for the first time in your life, just a couple of points behind WC Anand, and all that's left to say is -

Happy 45th birthday! (in 3 days)


Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Superb mating attacks> Yeah, the threats of a mating net created by 43...Ng4! are really nice - 44.Nxg4 or Nexf5 would lead to immediate mate, of course, by 44...Bf1, and 44.Ndxf5 (or Ndc4) would lose to 44...Bf3! with the lethal mate threat by Nf2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Gelfand sure loves to twist the knife on these youngens...
Jun-21-13  RookFile: I think black's game benefited when the queens came off.
Jun-21-13  haydn20: Instead of the "tricky" 27. Nce3?! the plain 27. Rbd1 probably draws. When creating complications to avoid a draw, you often create conditions for the opponent's win.
Jun-21-13  csmath: This has to be painful loss. Ordinarily Nakamura losses can be ascribed to his positional errors but this time he was outcalculated as well.

Looks like Gelfand just kick his a.. anyway he wants.

Jun-21-13  csmath: By the way why would you want to play Kalashnikov against Gelfand. If anybody (apart from Kramnik) knows the theory here into minute details that is Gelfand. Nakamura gets beaten second time like he wanted to prove that he learned something afetr the previous loss?

Yet he has nothing but another fruitless deviation.

Jun-21-13  Ezzy: Nakamura,Hikaru (2784) - Gelfand,Boris (2755)
8th Tal Memorial Moscow (7), 21.06.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5< Nakamura vs Gelfand, 2012 Went 7 Nd5 (01)> 7...a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 <Nakamura vs Radjabov, 2012 Went 10...Bg7 1/21/2> 11.c4 <This is extremely rare in high level chess. In fact the only top player to have played it was Volokitin against Eljanov (10) at the Ukranian Championships 2012.> 11...b4 12.Nc2 fxe4 13.g3 Bg7 14.Bg2 00 15.Bxe4 Rb8 16.b3 f5 17.Bg2 e4 18.Rb1 Qa5 19.00 Qxa2 20.Nde3 <Threatening 21 Qd5+ picking up the c6 knight.> 20...Qa5 21.Qxd6 Rf6 22.Qf4 Qe5 23.Qxe5 Nxe5 24.Nd5 Rf7 25.Ncxb4 a5 26.Nc2 Rfb7 27.Nce3 <This is the tactical houdini computer line which is evaluated down to a draw. [27.Rbd1 Rxb3 28.Nd4 a4 29.Ne7+ Kf8 30.Nxc8 Rxc8 31.Nxb3 axb3 32.Rb1 Rb8 33.c5 b2 34.Rfd1 Nc4 35.Bh3 Na3 36.Bxf5 Nxb1 37.Rxb1 Rb4 38.Bxh7 Ke7 39.h4 Kd7 40.Kf1 Kc6 41.Ke2 Kxc5 Draw.]> 27...Nc6< Houdini gives 27...a4! and there are many lines with practical chances for black. Black can win the exchange in the line below, BUT with correct play it is debateable whether black can win. Anyway, human's aren't computers so they can't assess everything in this comples position. [ 28.b4 Be6 29.Rbd1 a3 30.Bh3 Rf8 31.Ra1 Nxc4 32.Nxc4 Bxa1 33.Rxa1 Bxd5 34.Ne3 Be6 35.Rxa3 Rxb4 36.Ra5 Rb1+ 37.Kg2 Rb2 38.Kg1 Rd2 39.Bxf5 Bxf5 40.Nxf5 e3 41.Nxe3 Rfxf2]> 28.c5 Rxb3 29.Nb6?! < 29.Rxb3 Rxb3 30.g4 fxg4 31.Bxe4 Rb8 32.Rc1 Nd4 33.Kg2 Bd7 34.Nb6 Be6 = Was correct says Houdini.] >29...Rxb1 30.Rxb1 Be6 <The bishops are looking good. Hitting thin air at the moment, BUT controling a lot of squares. >31.Bf1< White has to get this bishop into play, or else Gelfand will just march his 'a' pawn down the board. >31...Bd4 32.Rb5 Kf7 33.Nec4 Kg7 34.Nd6 Kf6< 34...Bxc5?! 35.Rxc5 Rxb6 36.Bc4 Kf6 37.g4 a4 38.gxf5 Bxc4 39.Nxe4+ Kg7 40.Rxc4 a3 41.Nc3 Ra6 42.Kf1 h5 43.Rh4 a2 44.Nxa2 Rxa2 45.Rxh5 Nb4 46.f6+ Kf7 47.Rh7+ Kxf6 48.h4 Nd3 49.h5 Nf4 50.Ke1 With no pawns , black can't win. >35.Na4?< Nakamura gives black the d5 square for his bishop. Now Gelfand starts to increase his momentum.> 35...e3! 36.fxe3 Bxe3+ 37.Kg2 Bd5+ 38.Kh3 Rxb5 39.Bxb5 Ne5!< Threatiening 40...Ng4 weaving a mating net.> 40.Nc3 Bf3< Again threatening 41...Ng4 weaving a mating net.> 41.Be2 <[41.Nc4 Nxc4 42.Bxc4 Bxc5 Still looks like a technical win for black, but black puts up a bit more fight.]> 41...Bxe2 42.Nd5+< [42.Nxe2 Bxc5 43.Nb5 a4 44.Nbc3 a3 Is still a technical win.]> 42...Kg5 43.Nxe3 Ng4 44.Kg2 Nxe3+ 45.Kf2 Nc4 01 <46.Kxe2 Nxd6 47.cxd6 Kf6 Winning>

So, game of the day - The two leaders clash!

A game deserving the top of the table battle. An extremely complicated game and well fought!!

The main noticeable aspect of the game was Gelfand's 2 bishops. They were working in perfect harmony together. This game should be in all the top books on the bishop pair!

The losing move was probably 35 Na4? - a harmless looking move, BUT it gave the d5 square away to the white bishop. and in conjunction with 35...e3!, Gelfand gained a strong initiative and forced Nakamura on a desperate defence. Also the passed 'a' pawn of Gelfand was always a thorn in Nakamura's side.

I think this was a pretty special game by Gelfand, who had a better understanding of the complex position than Nakamura.

So, Gelfand leads in what is becoming his best performance for a long while. Hope he keeps going, if not to just silence the doubters of his World Championship final credentials.

Jun-21-13  csmath: 11. c4 is the result of lack of theory for Nakamura or the attempt to deviate (my guess).

The idea of 11. g3 is in the same venue with what Nakamura did (he did 13. g3) but c-pawn is usually kept on c3 to allow transfer of knight from a3 via c2. 11.c4 seems overly aggressive and not very healthy.

Jun-21-13  csmath: We all might be too critical of Nakamura for this game. It seems as an interesting game from the opening that is much easier to play for black than for white. The errors in calculations later in the game are not hard to make. :-)
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

In the diagram position, 33...Kg7 - which at first glance might look just random - is actually a very clever move. Two moves that Black would like to play and can't at the moment are 33...a4 (pushing forward the passed pawn), because of 34.Nxa4! Rxb5 35.Nd6+ & 36.Nxb5, and White eliminates the pawn; and 33...Kf6 (bringing up the king), because of 34.Nxa5! and 34...Na7 fails to 35.Nd7+!. With 33...Kg7 Black avoids these knight checks, so that now 34...a4 is threatened, and 34.Nxa5 would lose a piece to 34...Na7 35.Rb1 Bxc5. 34.Nd6, as played by Nakamura, defends against 34...a4 (since now White can simply take with 35.Nxa4, as the rook on b5 is protected), but it allows Black to play 34...Kf6, since there's no more 35.Nxa5.

Jun-21-13  Peter Nemenyi: <Eyal: Is there such a lopsided score for Black in any other head-to-head between top players?>

It's not as extreme, but Fischer and Keres played ten games against each other and Black scored six and a half points. In their four-game mini-match at the 1959 Candidates' Black went 4-0.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Video analysis of this game by <Kingscrusher>:

Premium Chessgames Member
  hoodrobin: Hi <jess>! It seems jour link is some strange new music instead. Hope you fine!

Or was it a joke?!

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Hoot Robin> Hoot! Hoot!

Thanks so much yes I cocked that link up.

Here is the actual link to <kingscrusher's> interesting video analysis of this historic game:

Jun-21-13  SuperPatzer77: <ptrckmackay: I can undestand why Nakamura played 42.Nd5+ instead of 42.Nxe2 but I find completely extraordinary difficult to understand why he played 44.Kg2. Please explain why Nakamura did not played 44.Ndxf5.>

Black to move and win - see diagram

click for larger view

45...Bf3! (threatening 46...Nf2#) so, White has to give up his two knights. Then the Black Bishop covers c8 to prevent the White c-pawn from going queening.


Jun-21-13  ptrckmackay: Thank you.
Jun-21-13  SuperPatzer77: < ptrckmackay: Thank you.> You bet!!!

Addition to my analysis - below:

45...Bf3!, 46. Nd1 (preventing 46...Nf2#) Kxf5!, (forcing the White Knight on d1 to retreat). If the White Knight retreats after 46...Kxf5!, then the Black King will go back to g5 to set up the mating net again. Otherwise White will lose two knights immediately to avoid getting mated.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Commentary by Evgeny Gleizerov (posted live during the game):; in English google translation:
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Peter Nemenyi: ... In their four-game mini-match at the 1959 Candidates' Black went 4-0.>

Where did black went?

Jun-22-13  QueentakesKing: Lost in the opening!!!
Jun-22-13  QueentakesKing: 11) c4 is an inferior move. Or even dubious.
Jun-22-13  Mudphudder: Can someone explain 44.Kg2 to me??
Jun-22-13  Shams: <Mudphudder> It's been answered already; check below.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Fine video analysis of this game by <Daniel ♔> :

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