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Richard Rapport vs Hikaru Nakamura
Tata Steel Masters (2014), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 10, Jan-25
Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation (A04)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-25-14  SirRuthless: 15.Nxe3 with 10 minutes on the clock and 25 moves to go was a gutsy and amazing move to play. Nakamura's blitz chess was better than his classical in this game. Error free in time pressure.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: The strong point on e4 really stifled White's game throughout the opening. I love how Nakamura casually drops the Rh8 to get Queens off, knowing he had a winning advantage.

33. Rxh4 Be7 34. Rh6 Bg5 wins material.

Jan-25-14  csmath: 6. d4?! 8. Bf1?!

[Yet another strange opening by Rapport. The whole opening does not make any sense at all.]

After 12 moves white is already on defensive.

13. ...Nc8?!

15. ...Nxe3

[Nakamura will not miss a chance to play tactical game.]

16. Qe2?

[Of course it is hard to admit that bishop on f1 needs to be moved to e2 but that is needed:

16. fxe3 Qh4, 17. Kf2 d5, 18. Be2 Bd6, 19. Nf1 Ne7, 20. Qe1!

and even on defensive white's position is not shaky here.]

19. Qf3?

[19. Qc2 d5, 20. Bd3 dxe4, 21. Bxe4 and black will play with pawn up although white can now develop faster.

However playing this would amount to admitting that his whole opening was lousy and Rapport will rather lose that do that.]

29. d5?!

[29. ...Bh6 is clearly stronger.]

30. Rh5? Bg6

and white loses at least an exchange.


This game is below standards for Wijk An Zee, in particular Rapport's play.

Jan-25-14  MountainMatt: Ah yes, another amazing GM game that makes no sense to a moron like me. Would someone mind indulging this idiot and telling me how white is better off by NOT taking the knight after 15...Nxe3?
Jan-25-14  SirRuthless: Ask Rapport. He thought Qe2 was better and given the clock situation was probably playing for ideas he thought nakamura hadn't seen and calculated through. Nakamura spent 1 hour on the first 6 or 7 moves of this game and another 35 minutes on the next 8 or 9. He then played all the remaining moves under extreme time pressure. Rapport used no time in the opening and had a hefty time advantage for most of the game. After the brave and necessary Nxe3, Rapport may have been unable to clearly see if he was better or worse in the resulting position after fx Qh4 Kf2 d5 Be2 Bd6 Nf1 line so he went for complications trying to clock nakamura, it failed miserably but without seeing the clock situation the game score probably doesn't make sense as <csmath> so eloquently put it. I though it was one of the more hair raising games of the event. Chess isn't about objective reality in my view. it is at its soul a battle of wits and correctness is something to strive for but not more important than the result. These two players felt the same way. You dont have to be right. Just more right than the other guy.
Jan-25-14  RedShield: The idea of White being paralysed by a skewered knight on g3, despite an extra piece, reminded me of this classic:

M Fette vs B Perenyi, 1985

Jan-25-14  devere: Taking the knight sac with 16.fxe3 is probably best. 19.Qf3 loses; either Qxc2 or Kxc2 was OK.
Jan-25-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: If White accepts the original knight sac with

16 fxe3 Qh4
17 Kf2

we can presume Black's plan involved Rh6 and/or d5/Bd6, perhaps directly attacking with the center pawns as well.

Black can play Rh6/Rg6, while White defends by Be2/Nf1, after which the action could turn to the d-file.

The simplest lines I see turn out OK for White, but even so I'm guessing Nakamura was correct that there's a win there for Black somewhere, and given the story of the time consumption, I bet he'd already worked it out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Would someone mind indulging this idiot and telling me how white is better off by NOT taking the knight after 15...Nxe3?>

According to my Fritz 12 program's analysis, White is better off taking the Knight. However, according to the Chess Base commentary at , it would have left White all tied up in a cramped position which Nakamura commented "should be objectively won."

For what it's worth, Fritz 12 gives White even chances after 15...Nxe3!? 16. fxe3 Qh4 17. Kf2 d5! 18. Be2 Bd6 19. Ndf1 Be6 20. Qe1 Ne7 21. Kg1 Qg5 22. Rd1 Bc7 23. h4 Qg6 24. Rc1 Bd6 = (+0.25 @ 21 depth on a dual core processor running at 2.1 GHZ).

Jan-26-14  SirRuthless: Well I let my quad core i5 run the position after Nxe3 and houdini 3 gives a 0.00 eval of the position @depth 31.

click for larger view

which must represent some dynamic equality because the line it spits out

16. fxe3 Qh4 17. Kf2 d5 18. Be5 Be6 19. Kg1 Bd6 20. Bxd6 Nxd6 21. Qe1 Qf6 22. h4 Qc3 23. Rd1 Rh6 24. Nb1 Qe5 25. Be2 Kf8 26. Nd2 Kg8 27. Ndf1 a5 28. Qd2 Rd8 29. Rc1 Bd7 30. c3 Kh8 31. cxb4 cxb4 32. Rc5

resulting in this position

click for larger view

Where white is rather cramped and has lost 2 pawns and much piece activity for the knight . There must be improvements somewhere in the houdini line for both sides but given the time situation at the mment of 15.Nxe3!? Qe2 was probably just to take nakamura out of whatever line he calculated and force him to deal with a new position with only 10 minutes +30s/move increment at that point. It was a practical choice but he probably should have gone for this fxN line instead of entering dangerous waters with black being able to tie up his position with the constant threat of d5! in those lines.

Apr-09-14  Jambow: I'm at an utter loss on this game, might be brilliant, could be a blunder fest I'll probably never know. ;0]
Feb-12-22  EvanTheTerrible: Wild game with a novelty on move 5.

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