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Fabiano Caruana vs Hikaru Nakamura
Gashimov Memorial (2014), Shamkir AZE, rd 6, Apr-26
Spanish Game: Open. Bernstein Variation (C80)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-26-14  SirRuthless: a5! is a nice way to get some play for black. The position looked somewhat bleak after 19. Nxg5 with f4 coming soon...
Apr-26-14  haydn20: White's counterplay comes just in time. Lots of really nice games here.
Apr-26-14  Strelets: <haydn20> This was a well-played game. It's also interesting to see the Open Spanish being played at the highest level again, what with all the attention the Berlin Defense has been getting. Nakamura seems to go back and forth between the Sicilian, French, and Spanish against 1.e4.
Apr-26-14  csmath: 5 ...Nxe4
[Korchnoi would be proud.]

16. ...Qd7

[It is interesting that both Caruana and Nakamura had played this line before as black.]

18. Bg5!
[Probably home analysis. 18. Be3 with Bd4 looks like a basic plan but it does not lead to much if any advantage.]

19. ...a5
[19. ...Rfe8 does not stop 20. e6! fxe6 21. Re3! for example 21. ...h6?! 22. Nxe6! threatening Ba2. Nakamura decided to take his chances with a5 break.]

click for larger view

Now black has to play very precisely to stay above the water.

24. ...Re8

[24. ...Bxd3? 25. Nxd3 and black loses a pawn without compensation.]

25. Qd1 axb4

click for larger view

26. cxb4?!

[26. Bxg6 Qxd1 27. Rxd1 hxg6 28. Na6 bxc3 29. bxc3 Re7 30. Rd5 Na7 and black has some serious difficulties in the ending.]

26. ...Bxd3

and black survives with some nice ending play.

I have a strong impression that Nakamura survived opening preparations by Caruana and that Caruana missed stronger play in 26th move. Nice game otherwise.

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