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Pentala Harikrishna vs Hikaru Nakamura
Tata Steel Masters (2014), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 8, Jan-21
Sicilian Defense: Canal Attack (B51)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-22-14  SirRuthless: <csmath> Fair enough. I agree that when he gets hogtied he is not in his element. He needs activity to play "his game" but when he is not calculating well we get disasters like this. What the shoddy opening play really is about is him striving to get positions he can play his practical and tactical style in. He is even willing to enter inferior positions with white to try and force the type of play he likes. It's not that he doesn't study opening theory or know the latest theory very deeply but that he eschews drawish chess and strives for dangerous positions. In recent times I have seen a real effort to change this and it has been working but this event, barring a great finish, has erased the evidence of that progress.
Jan-22-14  parisattack: <csmath: In this particular game I see the following weaknesses in Nakamura's play: 1. He is not well prepared in the openings.

2. He wants to play tactical at any cost even while choosing inferior openings to get there.

3. When the opening does not go his way he loses patience.

4. He disregards safety of his king assuming that his opponent is not going to be as astute in the attack as he is. [This of course could be just an oversight in this game but I do have this impression of him in many other games.]

This is all old stuff for Naka, old weaknesses which were not remediated in the past. He is a tremendous talent but these weaknesses are preventing him from reaching the very top. As an attacker he is second to none but he has no ability to adapt to inferior game and is impatient in defence when such a game happens.

Most of this has more to do with his personality than with his development as a chess player.>

I could not have said it better - or even nearly as well!

That he can reach the Elite with what amounts to a coffee house style on steroids speaks to how deep his native talent does run.

Jan-22-14  Mendrys: When I see a chess player make bad moves I really have no idea what personality trait could have caused the oversight. There are so many outside factors one can never know.

A lot of the observations I have read here can apply to just about any chess player, GM or not. Who plays well when in a stranglehold? Some play better in difficult positions than others and it's my observation that Nakamura is better than most in this regard.

On the other hand this was a really solid game by Harikrishna. I'm sure he was quite astonished, however, by the laugher 29...Qc5.

Jan-23-14  Everett: <whiteshark: "The expected never happens; it is the unexpected always." -- John Maynard Keynes>

I knew you were going to post that ;-)

Jan-24-14  Starkraven: <<csmath: ...Most of this has more to do with his personality than with his development as a chess player.>> <parisattack; ...That he can reach the Elite with what amounts to a coffee house style on steroids speaks to how deep his native talent does run.> ... How /deep/ is his hubris is my impression - maybe he'll have gotten over himself in another few years, maybe not...
Jan-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <FamilyTree: <Is this a transposition to the ruy Lopez?>

It looks like a Breyer. 30.Nh5! is a nice shot.>

yes! it DOES look like a Breyer.

check the parmetd forum page 16 (Jan-18-13) where i posted a lengthy but interesting analysis of the sicilian breyer transposition.

Jan-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <capafischer1: Nakamura has lost 15.5 rating points so far. Great middle game play by harikrishna>

I would get that drops him from world #3 to #8 on the FIDE top 100 list

Jan-24-14  Everett: PawnSac: <FamilyTree: <Is this a transposition to the ruy Lopez?>

<It looks like a Breyer. 30.Nh5! is a nice shot.>

yes! it DOES look like a Breyer.

check the parmetd forum page 16 (Jan-18-13) where i posted a lengthy but interesting analysis of the sicilian breyer transposition.>

If the White player eschews capturing on c6, the Bb5 Sicilian can transpose into a Ruy. Not a bad idea for White if he wants to avoid Sicilian surprises.

Jan-25-14  Jaburu: Position after 25...Re8-b8. White with an advantage of pawn can trace a plan whose goal is to impose that material advantage, for instance, with c4-c5, to pass d5 and to promote it. But this seems long and uncertain. Another plan is the direct attack to the black king but for so much it will be at any moment necessary to break the black position with a rupture of pawn or a piece sacrifice. To break with pawn pretends to be a task difficult and also long; then it remains to break with sacrifice. To ponder force and break or break and to ponder forces, or to do to walk the two ideas simultaneously. This was the choices of white.
Sep-02-14  MarkFinan: Great game. That Nh5! shot looks so classy. A real Hollywood move, but after 12 moves this looks like a RL as opposed to a Sicilian..or it does to me anyway.


click for larger view

And 32..f5!?!? :-)

Feb-06-15  Alblitz: Very fine game! Pure attacking chess! Those knight maneuvers are so cool!
Feb-06-15  dfcx: 30.? white to move. white is ahead by a pawn with the rook under attack. White can save the rook, or try something else. I see two alternatives: Nf5 and Nh5. 30.Nf5 Qxa7 and white does not have good continuation. 30.Nh5
(a) 30...Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Ne3 33.Bxd6

(b) 30...gxh5? 31.Qg5+ Kh8 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf7+ Qh8 34.Qxh7#

(c) 30...Bxh6? 31.Qxh6 gxh5 32.Ng5 and mates soon

(d) 30...Bg7 31.Bxg7 Qxa7 32.Qh6 f6 (f5? Ng5) 33.Nxf6+ Kf7 34.Ng5+ Ke7 35.Ne6 wins

Feb-06-15  gofer: It looks like poor old Ra7 is cannon fodder...

<30 Nh5 ...>

The threat is 31 Nf6+ Kh8 32 Bxf8 ... 33 Qh6 mating. So what can black do to defend???

30 ... f6/f5?
31 Nf6+ Kh8
32 Rxh7#

30 ... g5?
31 Qg5+ Kh8
32 Qf6+ Kg8
33 Qxf7+ Kh8
34 Qxh7#

30 ... gxh5?
31 Qg5+ Kh8
32 Qf6+ Kg8
33 Qxf7+ Kh8
34 Qxh7#

30 ... Bxh6
31 Qxh6 gxh5
31 Qg5+ Kh8 (Kf8 32 Qe7+ Kg8 33 Qxf7+ Kh8 34 Qg7#/Qxh7#) 32 Qf6+ Kg8
33 Qxf7+ Kh8
34 Qxh7#

30 ... Bg7?
31 Bxg7 Qxa7 (gxh5 32 Bf6 Qxa7 33 Qh6 mating)
32 Qh6 Qe7
33 Nxf6+ Qxf6
34 Bxf6 any move
35 Qg7#

It looks like the only way black can survive for long is a counter sacrifice...

<30 ... Qxa7>
<31 Nf6+ Kh8>
<32 Bxf8 Ne3>


click for larger view

<33 Bxd6 Rb7/Rb6/Rc8/Rd8>

<34 Bxe5>

White still has the mate threat starting with Qh6, but has picked up 2 pawns and set up a rather nasty discovered check, probably black has left the room in huff by now...

~~~

Doh! I saw 30 Nh5 Bg7 31 Bxg7 Qxa7 32 Qh6. But completely missed the rather subtle defence at this point.

<32 ... f6!>


click for larger view

But so did Nakamura! It looks like white picks up three pawns for the loss of the going an exchange down, but its not a clear win...

...maybe the strongest continuation is 33 Nxf6+ Kf7 34 Nxh7 keeping the king close and personal... ...and with threats of 1 Bf8 ... 2 Ng5+ Kg8 3 Nf6#

Feb-06-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop, a knight and a pawn for the bishop pair.

Black threatens 30... Qxa7.

The first idea that comes to mind is 30.Bxf8 Qxa7 31.Qh6 but fails to 31... Rxf8 32.Ng5 f6.

Another option is 30.Nh5:

A) 30... Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Ne3 (32... Rxf8 33.Qh6 followed by Qxh7#) 33.Bxd6 Rd8 (33... Nc4 34.Qh6 + -) 34.Bxe5 + - [N+3P vs R], with many threats (35.Bxb8, 35.Q(f)xe3, 35.Bxe5, etc.).

B) 30... gxh5 31.Qg5+ Kh8 (31... Bg7 32.Qxg7#) 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf7+ Kh8 34.Qxh7#.

C) 30... Bxh6 31.Qxh6 gxh5 (31... Qxa7 32.Qg7#) 32.Qg5+ Kf8 (32... Kh8 33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.Qxf7+ Kh8 35.Qg(h)7#) 33.Qe7+ Kg7 34.Qxf7+ Kh6(8) 35.Qxh7#.

D) 30... Bg7 31.Bxg7

D.1) 31... Qxa7 32.Qh6

D.1.a) 32... f5 33.Ng5 wins.

D.1.b) 32... f6 33.Nxf6+ Kf7 34.Qxh7 with a winning attack.

D.1.c) 32... gxh5 33.Ng5 followed by Qxh7#.

D.2) 31... Ne3 32.Qxe3 wins a piece at least.

Feb-06-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: The only measure of success I can claim is having noticed White's rook was en prise :(

*****

Feb-06-15  wooden nickel: Good comments posted... as of being a puzzle 30.Nh5 looked promising but sure was tricky, especially after 30. ... Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Ne3, at first looking good for Black up until 33.Bd6!, if 33. ... Ra8 then White just takes the Knight on e3!
Feb-06-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has a knight plus a pawn for a bishop. Black threatens Qxa7, but has left a weakened castled position defended only by a bishop. My first candidate was Rxf7 (before I even noticed that the rook was en prise), which I rejected quickly. The second was

30.Nh5!!

Putting a 2nd piece en prise. Converging pieces towards weakened squares (e.g f6) is often a good idea, particularly when the king is the target. Certainly the knight is immune:

A) 30... gxh5 31.Qg5+ Kh8 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf7+ Kh8 34.Qxh7#

B) 30... Bxh6 31.Qxh6 gxh5 32.Qg5+ Kf8 (Kh8 33.Qf6+ as in A) 33.Qe7+ Kg7 34.Qxf7+ Kh6 35.Qh7#

C) 30... Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Rxf8 (or anything else, except Qe7 which is met by Bxe7) 33.Qh6 to be followed by Qh7# after a spite check or two.

D) 30... Ne3 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Rxf7 and black can only delay Rxh7# for a couple of moves.

Time for review....

Feb-06-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < morfishine: The only measure of success I can claim is having noticed White's rook was en prise :( >

Well that's more than me (not saying that means a lot). I didn't even see the rook was hanging. :(

Feb-06-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Missed the game defense, but found the correct continuation after seeing the game move Bg7.
Feb-06-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Didn't remember seeing this game last year, and missed the winning 30. Nh5!! solution to today's Friday puzzle.

Here's my look with Fritz 12:

<30. Nh5!! Bg7>

30... Qxa7 31. Nf6+! (not 31. Bxf8?? gxh5! 32. Bh6 f6 ) 31... Kh8 32. Bxf8 Ne3 (32... Rxf8 33. Qh6 ) 33. Bxd6 when play might continue 33... Ra8 34. fxe3 Qa1 35. Qxa1 Rxa1+ 36. Kh2 Kg7 37. Bxe5 Ra6 38. Nd4 Ba4 39. d6 Kf8 40. c4 h5 41. c5 g5 42. Kg3 Bc6 43. Nxc6 Rxc6 44. Nd7+ Ke8 45. Nb8 Rc8 46. d7+ Kd8 47. dxc8=Q+ .

<31. Bxg7 Qxa7>

31... Ne3 32. Qxe3 Qxe3 33. fxe3
gxh5 34. Bf6 .

<32. Qh6 f5>

32... f6 33. Nxf6+ Kf7 34. Ng5+ Ke7 35. Ne6! Ne3 36. Bf8+! Kxf6 37. Qh4+! g5 38. Qxg5+ Kf7 39. Qg7+

<33. Ng5! 1-0> Black resigns in lieu of 33...Qxg7 (33... gxh5 34. Qxh7#) 34. Qxg7#.

P.S.: For an explanation of where Black went wrong, see the analysis by <csmath> on page one.

Feb-06-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Longview: Like <morfishine> I noticed the hanging rook. I also saw the Q-B-h6 connection and both Knights able to come into near reach of the king. I missed the value of N-h5, however. I suppose one scenario considered was that Black might take gxh opening the g file. Sometimes Knights on the rim are not all that dim, eh.

I took the approach of Rxf7 would be the breakthrough with follow-on by the Knights, probably Ng5+ if Kxf7. I have difficulty seeing the usefulness of 30...Bg7 and would have probably replied Rxf7 there too to get a pawn for my rook and if ...Kxf7 then Ng5+ and the e6 square is open to keep Q guarding h6.

That being said, the initial position does have a "sense of pattern" as to the ability of white to mount a successful attack. The king is alone in the corner with only one minor piece for protection. All the other black pieces are totally out of coordination with the King side with the possible exception of the B8 rook that seems to be serving little purpose given the pieces that can be brought to bear on the King.

Feb-06-15  Bycotron: Move 30, white to play.

White enjoys great prospects against the black King in this position! The Bh6 and Ra7 work together to imprison him, while the Queen supports the Bh6 and the Nf3 is eager to leap to g5 for a kill!

Ideally, we would like our Queen to move to h6 and Knight to g5 when the mate threats will be unstoppable. It looks very easy to make this happen:

30.Bxf8 Rxf8
31.Qh6 1-0 black has no good way to stop Ng5 and mate from the Queen on h7/f7.

30.Bxf8 Qxa7
31.Qh6 Rxf8
32.Ng5 Ra8 (32....f6 is also possible) and it looks like black has built a nice defense. Imagining this position, I now see that I would like to stop that f-pawn from advancing and allowing the Queen to defend along the 7th rank. I also see the idea of Nf5/h5 coming into play, with the idea of making mate threats on g7 and (in the event of Nf5-gxf5-exf5) creating another sword in white's attack.

Hmm, now I need a new 30th move!

30.Nh5 (intending Nf6 and Qh6-h7#)
30...gxh5
31.Qg5+ Kh8
32.Rxf7 1-0

30.Nh5 Qxa7
31.Nf6+ Kh8
32.Bxf8 Rxf8
33.Qh6 1-0

30.Nh5 Bxh6
31.Qxh6 Qxa7
32.Nf6+ Kh8
33.Qxh7#

Could it really be that easy? Let's see.

Feb-06-15  Geronimo: Ok folks chess question here: how do you work with "intuition" when playing a stronger opponent? Here I took one glance at the board, saw the hanging rook and thought without hesitation, 30. Nh5. There was no doubt for me that it was the correct move and I didn't consider others. Did I find the continuation? No. So no point. Of course this is a puzzle, so it's a different exercise than otb play, but I did see the move. I attribute this to a positional intuition, which I've been rewarded for in the past, but what do you do to discipline your calculation when you "feel" the move but cannot tactically explain it? Responses and thoughts very welcome.
Feb-06-15  Edeltalent: 30.? White to move

It's not difficult to figure out that this game will be decided with a direct attack to the black king. Black's pieces are far away and all of White's in such good positions that you would imagine he has sacrificed a pawn or two to get to this (in fact he's even one up): The bishop will soon exchange the lone real defender, the queen will quickly enter through h6, the knights will follow and the rook is ready to support along the 7th rank.

Only problem is that currently the rook is hanging on a7. Of course we could sacrifice it, but in taking it, the black queen would also occupy a useful square. This becomes apparent when after the straightforward 30.Bxf8 Qxa7 31.Qh6 Rxf8 32.Ng5, Black holds everything together with 32...f6. If the rook moves first, Black could still play 30...f6 and cover g5.

At this point in the thought process, the idea 30.Nh5 to control f6 comes in handy. Now 30...Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 (an important point is that this doomed bishop keeps the black queen away for one more move, preventing Qe7) Rxf8 33.Qh6 and mate. The knight also can't be taken, because then the rook is still alive and makes his presence felt: 30...gxh5 31.Qg5+ Kh8 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf7+ and mate. Similar is 30...Bxh6 31.Qxh6 gxh5 32.Qg5+ Kf8 33.Qe7+ and mate. A desperate attempt to give the king some breathing room also makes the rook the hero: 30...f5 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Rxh7#. As Tal said when asked about having many pieces hanging at the same time: <"They can only take one at a time.">

Double-checking the lines, I realize 30.Nh5 Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Ne3 is a resource for Black, but he's still in a bind and White can start to collect material with 33.Bxd6 Rd8 34.Bxe5, as the knight can never move and allow Qh6.

As a last-ditch attempt, there's also the very odd 30...Bg7. Of course that can never work, but how to actually kill it? I have 31.Bxg7 Qxa7 32.Qh6 f6 33.Nxf6+ Kf7 34.Qxh7 Qa1+ 35.Kh2 Ke7 36.Bf8+ Kd8 37.Ng5 Kc8 and Black is still (somewhat) alive. Maybe 32.Bf6 Kf8 33.Ng7 and I don't see how Black stops Qh6xh7-h8# (he can't get to the bishop), but that seems quite sophisticated because it gives Black at least two free moves. Anyone having an easier refutation?

Feb-06-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Geronimo> I think it was Spielmann's complaint that he could see Alekhine's combinations as well as Alekhine, but the problem was that he couldn't get those positions for himself.

I think one exercise is to study the moves before the move 30 Nh5, and list the factors that make the move possible.

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