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Hikaru Nakamura vs Vladimir Kramnik
FIDE World Team Championship (2013), Antalya TUR, rd 2, Nov-27
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation (E32)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-27-13  csmath: @Marmot.
Yup, The ending was lost regardless, assuming correct play by white.

Basically the game was lost strategically after 30 moves but that is to assume perfect play. 36. ...Rxd7?! speeds up to loss and 38. ...Nxb5?? makes it obvious. The whole game is weakly played by Kramnik.

Even before 30 moves white looks lost as knight seems trapped and it is hard to give any good advice how to save it.

Nov-27-13  Marmot PFL: Video, with Kasparov in the background shaking his head

The Russians could have used Gary today.

Maybe Kramnik is trying to over-calculate instead of relying on his intuition. Intuitively it seems clear that after 12...c5 black's development would compensate for the pawn, but Kramnik may have seen something he didn't like.

Nov-27-13  csmath: My note on "error" 30. ...a5 is not correct, black actually has no better moves since his knight is trapped and there is really no any other way to release the knight. Kramnik's motivation for this anti-positional move is to save his knight.

[There is really nothing better.

30. ...f6 (...g6)
31. Kf2

and it seems white has ability to block d-file with knight on d4. There is a line where black does not lose knight but gets into lost knight ending anyway.

30. ...Rd7
31. Kf2 f6
32. Ke3

looks lost also for example 32. ...Kh6, 34. Rb3 Rd5, 35. Nxa7 Rc5, 36. Kd2. ]

Moreover the ending might not be necessarily lost:

36. ...Rc3
37. Nxe6 Nc5
38. Rxg7+ Kh8
39. Re7 Ne4+
40. Kf1 Nxg3
41. Ke1 Rxa3
42. Nd4 Ra4
43. e3 Ra2
44. Re6 a4
45. Rxb6 Kg7
46. Ra6 Kg6
47. b6 Rb2
48. Kd1 Ne4

and although white is a pawn up there is no straight way to win here.

Nov-27-13  fgh: <kingscrusher: I really like it when Naka beats Kramnik - good punishment for popularising the Berlin defence :)>

And the problem with popularising the Berlin is?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <fgh> The problem is it doesn't satisfy the blood-thirsty fans of chess. Take that however you like.
Nov-28-13  jphamlore: Isn't the best drawing defense in World Championship play arguably Kasparov's Sicilians as Black? He never lost to anyone two Black Sicilians in one match?
Nov-28-13  savagerules: About that video with Kasparov looking at this game near the end of it. He's probably shaking his head because he's thinking to himself- if I had just played 1 d4 against Kramnik like Nakamura did today I might still be world champion.
Nov-28-13  jphamlore: <savagerules: He's probably shaking his head because he's thinking to himself- if I had just played 1 d4 against Kramnik like Nakamura did today I might still be world champion.> Indeed Kasparov's record as White versus the Nimzo-Indian is just unbelievably favorable for him:

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <fgh> It is dull.

There is a reason why Mikhail Tal is one of the most celebrated players in the history of chess.

Cheers, K

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <jphamlore> Thanks for that - I noticed that IM Neil Bradbury beat Kasparov in a Simul. Neil is an honoury life member of Barnet Elizabethans chess club.
Nov-28-13  Everett: < kingscrusher: <fgh> It is dull. There is a reason why Mikhail Tal is one of the most celebrated players in the history of chess.

Cheers, K>

I agree with you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <csmath: What I do not understand is this reluctance to play c5.>

Yes, curious, but it may be as simple as.. He did not expect Naka to play Ne5 allowing simplifications. He DID play c5, but in a different sequence and with the support of the Na6. He just thought inaccurately about the position. 18. Kxg2 <Rxc1> 19. Rxc1 Nc5 20. b4 Rd8 21. Qe3 Nd7 22. Nxd7 Rxd7 23. Rc8+ Kh7 seems to head for a level position.

< Positional error 30. ...a5? is also not characteristical of Kramnik. One can always trust Nakamura going for tactics when available. Tactical complications are Achilles' heel for Kramnik lately.>

well, there are two other factors in the scenario.

1. Kramnik is heading for the big 40 soon, and we are seeing the early signs of age in a once great player, just as with Vishi.

2. Naka is trying to climb the ladder toward #1. He is currently #4 and Kramnik is #3, so it is obvious Naka is gunning for Kramnik, to pass him. We are just 3 days from the December FIDE top 100 list, so i will be watching to see the rating adjustments. I'll take a look at Naka's overall performance in the team championship event.

Nov-28-13  JustAFish: <Video, with Kasparov in the background shaking his head>...

Just to be clear, this video was from last year.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <maxi>: With that information to hand, time to make sure I am upwind of the great man for some time afterwards.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <Marmot PFL: Video, with Kasparov in the background shaking his head I happen to be privy to the information that Kasparov was shaking his head because he had had two large burritos, extra sauce, for lunch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <perfidious> now you know why Nakamura was rushing back to his table.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Incidentally, Kasparov lost in the same variation of the game to Bradbury in a simultaneous display, Kasparov vs N Bradbury, 1983. Cool game by Bradbury!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Can Nak pass Aronian? I doubt it.
Nov-29-13  john barleycorn: <HeMateMe: Can Nak pass Aronian? I doubt it.>

Maybe Nakamura will pass on this question. Have not checked his twitter yet.

Nov-29-13  SirRuthless: He wont pass aronian this event but he has already passed kramnik. Twice. I think he belongs in the 3/4 in the world slot. Aronian is a clear 2nd. Magnus is clear number 1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I video annotated this game here:

Cheers, K

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <HeMateMe: Can Nak pass Aronian? I doubt it.>

Naka is extremely sharp tactically, and very creative in complex positions, but Topa is more strategically mature. His planning and positional judgement is deeper and more refined. Naka has some growing to do, but the type that requires a LOT of work. So, can he pass Kramnik? Yea, Kram is aging and losing his tactical sharpness. Can he pass Topa? Not any time soon. 3-5 years maybe, if he studies all the games of Kasparov, Topalov, Gelfand, Karpov, Korchnoi, Carlsen, and Capablanca. At their best, each of these had qualities Naka lacks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm an American and would love to see Naka push up to #2 and challenge Magnus.. But I'm being realistic.

Nov-30-13  SirRuthless: <pawnsac> He should be. The guy is 15 years older. I am still not convinced he Topa is "stronger", Their record doesn't bear that out and Nakamura has had a higher average rating for quite some time and still has the higher rating. Topa is making a resurgence but I think he is a poor example. I think players like Carlsen, Aronian, Gelfand and Svidler are better modern examples to support your point. I think they all have a stronger strategical understanding of opening and middlegame strategy. In the endgame I believe only Carlsen is stronger. I think nakamura is where he belongs, Number 3/4 in the world and barring a meltdown should remain n that area through the new year. We will see where he stands w.r.t. other top 10 players more clearly after the first super events of the new year.
Dec-02-13  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 20...Rxc8, 20...Nxd4 21 Rxf8+ Kh7 (21..Kxf8?? 22 Nd7+ forks black's king and queen) accepts a queen for two rooks. In the ending this may favour the two rooks but in a middle game with knights on, who knows.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Natalia Pogonina: Annotations by GM Naiditsch:

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