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Hikaru Nakamura vs Veselin Topalov
Tradewise Gibraltar (2015), Catalan Bay GIB, rd 6, Jan-27
Sicilian Defense: Canal Attack (B51)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-01-15  SirRuthless: Funny how the early a4 turns out to actually have a purpose in the system... To provide a lane for the rook to attack the weak b pawn! That Ra1-Ra3-Rb3 transfer along with the nearly buried bishops on the first rank were the key to this game for white after black's kingside forays fizzled out.
Feb-01-15  shintaro go: Who knew Nakamura could play positional chess?
Feb-01-15  Marmot PFL: Good job by white of avoiding Topalov's extensive Sicilian theory and still getting decent activity. Maybe black got impatient with all the maneuvering and played 30...d5 too hastily.
Feb-01-15  Papagambit: Strategy and Tactics are opposite sides of the same coin. Great win over a 2800 player!
Feb-01-15  shintaro go: Naka has a +2 whenever Topalov plays the Sicilian against him. All in all, very nice win by Naka. Back to number 1 US player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: What a great game! After 24...Qe7 (diagram below)

click for larger view

Black has a strong grip on the position, his pieces are well placed and White seems to have little or no counter play.

Then White finds the best chance he has to activate his game with the maneuver 25. Ra3! Nf4 26. Rb3! Rc6 27. Ne2! Nxe2 28. Bxe2 = to with a plan to pressure Black's weak Queen side pawns.

Though the computers don't give this as a big turning point, it is the point at which the initiative and the attack switches from Black to the White side.

Two other game changing moves in this game were 36. Qf1! and 41. Bc6!! . Maybe (41. ?) would make for a good Sunday puzzle.

In the final position, Black resigns in lieu of 41...Rxa6 51. Rxe5! fxe5 52. Qxa6 Qxb2 53. c4 .

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 36 Qf1 was a great move. Topalov spent a long time on the 31...Rc5 32...Ra5 maneuver, but White just covered his weaknesses with 35 Rb4 and Black had no resources left to guard a6.
Feb-02-15  Joules: Very nice analysis <patzer2>

Houdini found this nice combination:
33. Bxa6 Bxa6 34. Nc6 Qd6 35. Nxa5 exd5 36. c4 bxa5 37. Rxd5 ... yielding an exchange of R&P for B&N and a +0.92 evaluation of 1.40 compared to 33. Nc6

This was a very good game. Nakamura is looking good.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Joules: Very nice analysis <patzer2>>

I second that. Good insight.

But 41.Bc6 is not a very difficult move to find, no?

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Naka is finally demonstrating the kind of chessic form that leads to success.

It's long overdue, and great to see.

Looking forward to what's ahead in his career.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <chancho: Naka is finally demonstrating the kind of chessic form that leads to success.>

<Chancho>: Exactly! Thanks for expressing that. Maybe Hikaru N. is on his way to being a serious contender in the next candidates match/tournament/lottery/swiss/whatever that FIDE comes up with to determine a challenger to the Norseman.

In any event, to house a top 5 player in the world, a 2800-rated player, who has contended for the WC, that is quite a game by our USA standard bearer.

HK if you read this thread, congrats on a scintillating win!

Jun-01-15  CMDMB: It seems his fellowship is working out for him. Definitely a far more mature Naka which I am beginning to take a liking to. If he wants to contend, question is how (or if) he'll find a way to outplay Carlsen. Not an easy task.
Jun-25-15  Everett: Nakamura's q-side play, especially how he embarrasses the Topalovs Ra5 to gain the initiative and win material, is reminiscent of Karpov.

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