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Fabiano Caruana vs Hikaru Nakamura
Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2014) (rapid), Zurich SUI, rd 1, Feb-04
Benoni Defense: Fianchetto Variation (A62)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-04-14  SirRuthless: Wow. Caruana was a man possessed today.Completely outplayed Nakamura. He is establishing himself as a great rapid player over the 2013 london chess classic(rapid) and in this event. Also I notice he is exploring some of the more sketchy openings like Dutch and KID with black pieces. I think he is one of the strongest players with white pieces around but he seems to be searching for a way to spice up his repertoire with the black pieces. I see a concerted effort to play more fighting chess recently. Good for him.
Feb-05-14  ChessYouGood: Caruana played well, but Nakamura made it easier than it needed to be. The benoni as black is more suited to players who can solve the inherent opening difficulties, such as the backward d6 pawn and lack of space, tactically. This does not occur here. The 11...h6, 12...Kh7 manouvre just seems to waste time and provide an obvious target for white. The undevelopment of the queen's bishop doesn't help (although sadly necessary to give the queen's knight a solitary square). The king bishop, also requiring redevlopment at move 32 back to g7 (it meanwhile, like its consort, had to make room for the other clumsy knight), just concedes the misplacement of queen and c8 rook. But it's no excuse for 33....f5, which looks ugly in form and is in substance uglier: 34. e4 plays itself.
Feb-05-14  MarkFinan: This was a rapid game. You can't really judge any player on rapid games. I'm sure if this was a game of classical chess he wouldn't have made those moves!

Go Nakamura 😃

Feb-05-14  Jim Bartle: <This was a rapid game. You can't really judge any player on rapid games.>

I agree entirely. Shirov made similar comment in Fire on Board, something like "quickly played, quickly forgotten."

Feb-05-14  MarkFinan: Jim.. I don't think this crank would care if Nakamura had a 3000 elo, he *hates* him with a passion that I've never seen another person hate a chess player like!
Feb-05-14  RookFile: Be that as it may, the idea of the Benoni is probably something other than ...h6 and ....Kh7 for black.
Feb-05-14  MarkFinan: Rookfile.. Very good points that may be true for all I know about the benoni, but im just pointing out how much hate this guy has for one of the worlds greatest chess players. You should check his posts out then tell me whether you think he's giving fair criticism or spiteful insults? I think he knows his chess but I think he's jealous.

Either that or insane.

Feb-05-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ChessYouGood>'s criticisms of Nakamura are as fair-minded as any which emanate from the likes as such sterling contributors as <Conrad93> and <jombar>, though, unlike the force of nature known as <SirRuthless>, he hews consistently to his position.

<Mark> and <Jim> have each claimed they are not terribly strong players-and I do not propose to make any judgements as to the merits of their respective claims-but they have twentyleven times more common sense than <CYG>. This is no more or less than a rapid game, and there is little point in analysing it to death and proclaiming it prima facie evidence of one player's primacy over the other.

Feb-05-14  MarkFinan: Perf.. Go on lad, haha. And I want you to challenge old <CYG> to a game, or someone around your strength (AJ?? FSR?? JFK, MLK!? 😄) because you would think that he was a grandmaster the way he keeps giving "advice on chess" to Nakamura! You hear that mate, I have twentyleven more times common sense than you so you *are* in big trouble! Lol 😃
Feb-06-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Some lad mentioned something about the d6 pawn in the Benoni being backward. It's actually a trait in the Benoni and cannot really be classed as a backward pawn weaknes whilst that White pawn is on d5.


click for larger view

We Benoni players invite White to have a go at the d6 pawn, we do not tie our pieces down defending it, we are tying White pieces down attacking it. (Optimism is also a Benoni player's trait).

The 11...h6, 12...Kh7 (forced after 12.Qc1 unless you want to go into the 12..g5 lines) are known.

One plan being using g8 for the f6 Knight swinging the d7 Knght to f6 then the g8 Knight to e7 tickling the d-pawn. The strategy being to totally confuse White.

But the lad is correct in saying Nak could not get the Benoni going on full throttle. ALways a bad Benoni sign when you have your pieces treading on each other toes.

Though Here: (Black to play)


click for larger view

"But it's no excuse for 33....f5"

Well it was either that or drop the exchnage.

I would not shed a tear about giving up a Rook for a fianchettoed Bishop and I'm sure Nak has sacced more Rooks for Bishops than I've had hot dinners (and I hate salads.)

But with a blitz clocking ticking (blitz clocks tick faster than normal clocks - don't ask me how, it's a mystery) and seeing no way in he made a call. No need to drag any player over the coals for that one.

Feb-06-14  MarkFinan: <we do not tie our pieces down defending it, we are tying White pieces down attacking it.> I like!

<But with a blitz clocking ticking (blitz clocks tick faster than normal clocks - don't ask me how, it's a mystery) and seeing no way in he made a call. No need to drag any player over the coals for that one.> I also like! Lol. Seriously, when someone makes chess sound interesting then they always have my ear because as much as I love the game.. It's hard to do. I always try and get my mates playing, I don't expect them to pick it up to my level of play (which isn't very high. Maybe 1800 on a very good day. Anyway.. ) but I can't get them to keep an interest and they think I've turned boring because I love it so much! I don't agree with what you said about engines the other day, but you obviously know more about the game than me so I like it when someone says something about the game that will stick with me... Like your above quote on the benoni.

Feb-06-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi MarkFinan:

I'm on a one man crusade v engines.

Every great player before 1980 never got as good as they were using an engine. That's a fact. And we are talking about some great chess players there.

The up and coming players are using them to think for them. (and getting machine answers, not human.)

They really should be getting themselves to look for the answers first.

Plus constant studying on screen (if you call feeding every question you have into a machine.) will ruin your OTB vision.

Feb-06-14  SChesshevsky: <"But it's no excuse for 33....f5">

It think the move might be also to protect against White's g4 and eventual h5 which after ...Nf6 White Bxf6...Bxf6 White h5 pressure on g6 and then Rf3. Also if Black needs ...fxg6 White's Be6 might be very troubling to Black's King side with the Queen out of play

Feb-07-14  MarkFinan: <Sally Simpson: Hi MarkFinan: I'm on a one man crusade v engines.

Every great player before 1980 never got as good as they were using an engine. That's a fact. And we are talking about some great chess players there.

The up and coming players are using them to think for them. (and getting machine answers, not human.)

They really should be getting themselves to look for the answers first.

Plus constant studying on screen (if you call feeding every question you have into a machine.) will ruin your OTB vision.>

Hi 😃. Well I agree with you about *that* point above about engines although I'd change the date from 1980 to 1990. For sure there were great if not the greatest players prior to those dates, but I think engines serve a purpose. They're great for analyzing those old games and great to play against too. I think that now the strongest engine will always beat the strongest chess players in the world. I have a decent grasp of chess and in most cases I can look at a position on a board and predict who the engine would have in front, so I love them for those type of things. Times change and we have to change with them and in some cases that's a shame, especially in chess, but id still prefer chess with the benefit of engines than not. Btw I love that you gave yourself a female pseudonym, it reminds me of a very funny scene from a blackadder episode, but best not go into that, lol 😃

Feb-07-14  MarkFinan: SS.. This is a straight out of the opening book against the benoni position


click for larger view

I'm having so many problems with that fianchettoed Bishop on g7 putting pressure on the knight on c3 and pawn on b2 (same in 1 or 2 other openings like this too) and I just can't seem to overcome them. That position is with WTP and I just copied it from my engine clipboard mid game to come post here to ask if you had any tips? 😃

Feb-07-14  SChesshevsky: <MarkFinan: I'm having so many problems with that fianchettoed Bishop on g7 putting pressure on the knight on c3 and pawn on b2>

You'll probably get better answers but in my experience Black's not inclined to exchange the KB for the N on c3 quickly, it just weakens the King's position too much, too many holes. White often ensures the Bishop stays through to the middle game though by the threat on Bg5 which suggests...h6, a good target if Black loses the KB.

The b2 square is a problem, really the b1 square, if Black's QB can feel comfortable on f5. Then Black's combo B's could be a real threat. Here Caruana immediately pushes the B off, others have played h3 and g4, either way it's a key square.

So in general, a4's important hindering Black's Qside expansion plans, giving time to develop and weakening Black's Kside with the c1 diagonal, and making sure Black's Bf5 can't be posted for long doesn't appear bad play.

Check out Korchnoi's play against the Benoni, he had some good results.

Feb-08-14  MarkFinan: Schessevsky.. Thanks for that post. I'll check out Korchnoi's games against the benoni now. And for some strange reason I didn't think that the benoni was very popular in chess at the very top level anymore!? 😃
Feb-09-14  SChesshevsky: MarkFinan...

I'm wondering if computers blew up the Modern Benoni? It used to be that White played the Kpawn out early, which often made it a target and pressured White into moving quickly. It seems in many current games they don't advance the e-pawn at all, maybe due to computer analysis.

I had a chance to go through my Benoni notes and saw this game thread. where Petrosian really punishes the Black squared weakness.

Petrosian vs Nunn, 1978

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