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Hikaru Nakamura vs Robert Bellin
Gibraltar Masters (2016), La Caleta GIB, rd 1, Jan-26
Dutch Defense: Stonewall. General Variation (A92)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-29-16  zanzibar: BTW- Nakamura handled this opening pretty well I think. By move 18 Stockfish 6 puts him up a pawn (+1.02/24) in eval.

Owes c-file, good outpost on e5, x-ray of e5/king on a1-h8, no real weakness save b3 if that.

click for larger view

What's not to like about Nakamura's handling of the opening?

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <What's not to like about Nakamura's handling of the opening>

Indeed. Just looked at the game again. I am very impressed.

Jan-29-16  JoeBerylwood: What's impressive about a 27XX beating a 23XX IM with white?
Jan-29-16  zanzibar: <JoeB> seeing as you wrote...

< <WannaBe> then I don't know what Anand and Nakamura are doing there. The prizes aren't much and they don't seem to be using any interesting preparation. They aren't making any effort to squeeze out extra half-points in the endgame. If this is their standard then they have no chance in the candidates>

Tradewise Gibraltar (2016) (kibitz #33)

It seems they would have to do a triple somersault, blindfolded, while making each of their moves, in order to impress.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < JoeBerylwood: What's impressive about a 27XX beating a 23XX IM with white? >

i think u r missing several important points here.

< Marmot PFL: Good win by the US champ over the author of "Winning with the Dutch" >

We r talking about an international master and former British champion who spent a significant amount of time, research, and personal experience in a particular opening line. Suffice it to say he is somewhat of an expert in the Dutch system, and it would be expected that in this particular opening he would perform above the average player of the same rating who is not as prepared in this system. So when a superGM outplays him strategically in his pet line, there MUST be some special value to the contest. Therefore this game has some theoretical value to say the least. I'm sure there is something to be learned by any genuine student of the game.

Feb-01-16  JoeBerylwood: That makes more sense. Thanks for that.
Jul-20-17  wtpy: A good rule to follow might be when a supergrandmaster stops defending a pawn directly,it's a good time,in the words of Elmer Fudd,to be vewy,vewy careful,and not just go grab it. Because super gms can be even trickier than Bugs.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Thursday solution I quickly got as far as the discovered attack with check combination 26.e6! Nxe6 27.Bxg7+ Kxg7 28.Qb2+ Kg8 29.Rxc5 .

But after 29...Nxc5, I opted for 30. Qb4 instead of 30. Qb6. However, after 30...Nd7 31. Qxb7 it doesn't appear to make any difference.

At any rate, it's a pleasure watching GM Nakamura's technique in winning this "won game." It makes the computers high assessment of the combination more understandable.

P.S.: Difficult to find improvements for Black in White's expert positional dismantling of this Dutch defense. Perhaps the Stockfish 8 suggestion 13...Bh5 (+0.54 @ 28 depth) might improve Black's survival chances.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: The two obvious plans of attack look like spoilers. e6 followed by Bxg7 to win the queen is spoiled by Nxe6. Bb4 to pin the Queen fails to QxQ.

Qxf5 would clear the way for both threats but black could just play Bd6 attacking the Q and creating a pawn blockade.

So let's see if there's a faster plan:

26. Qb2 Qe7 27. Bb4 wins the exchange.
26. Qb2 Qa7 27. e6 Nxe6 and this line doesn't work (drat)

Super accelerated plan:
26. e6 Nxe6 27. Qb2 Qe7 28. Bc4 c5 29. Rxc5 Nxc5 30. Bxc5 Qd8 31. Bb5 Qd6 32. Bxf8 Rxf8 (tilt, time to look)

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Damn, I overlooked the simple check'em and wreck'em tactic in the last variation with 27. Bxg7+ Kxg7 28. Qb2+. Actually I think I saw it and then got distracted which amounts to the same thing (losing)
Jul-20-17  Checker2: Strange week. I missed Monday's puzzle completely, found Wednesday's easy and today I saw the first two moves of the solution in a flash.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has the bishop pair for a bishop, a knight and a pawn.

Black is about to play Ne6.

The black queen is defenseless. This suggests 26.e6, creating the double threat Bxg7+ and exf7:

A) 26... Nxe6 27.Bxg7+

A.1) 27... Kxg7 28.Qb2+ wins decisive material. For example, 28... Kg8 29.Rxc5 Nxc5 30.Qb6 (30.Rc1 Nb3) 30... Ne5 31.Qxb7 + - [Q vs r+n].

A.2) 27... Nxg7 28.Qxc5 + - [Q vs n+p].

A.3) 27... Kg8 28.Qxc5 Nxc5 29.Bxf8 Nb3 (29... Kxf8 30.Rxc5 + - [R vs p]) 30.Bd6 Nxc1 31.Rxc1 + - [B vs p].

B) 26... Bxe6 27.Bxg7+ wins.

C) 26... Qe7 27.exf7 + - [2B vs n+2p].

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Material is pretty much even by 25...Nxc5, which is the end of the combination. It's pretty but is it that clever? What is it about the position at 25 that made it worth Nakamura's time to play the combo please?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Sorry - last message had a move number mistake. I can't delete it, so message should read

"Material is pretty much even by 29...Nxc5, which is the end of the combination. It's pretty but is it that clever? What is it about the position at 29 that made it worth Nakamura's time to play the combo please?"

Jul-20-17  Iwer Sonsch: 26.e6 Nxe6 (26...Bxe6 runs into 27.Bxg7) 27.Qxf5 (pinning the black pieces to each other's defense), and 28.Bb4 picks up the exchange on f8.
Jul-20-17  King Harvest: Garden variety combo there. Pawn grabbing against <Nakamura>...what could go wrong?
Jul-20-17  Iwer Sonsch: 27...Qxa3 refutes it.
Jul-20-17  The Kings Domain: Got the puzzle but missed the follow up 28) Qb2. Good game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: e6 as played is the thematic move but I missed it. I was concentrating on 26. Qb2 threatening a skewer but then Qa7. So I thought that 26. Qb1 was the move as if then Qa7 17. Qxf7 threatens to win with e6 but white White has a strong advantage (according to the machine), obviously 26. e6 is "obvious" once one sees it.

But 26. Qb1 also should win according to the engine.

<Dionysius 1> Nakamura played it correctly (according to my engine) and it wins material and the game soon. The only minor quibble is that 30. Qb4 was slightly better, but it isn't really relevant.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Perhaps 26. Qb1 should win is a bit strong. Much more incisive and beautiful is what Nakamura played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Perhaps Bellin could have held things by playing 25. ... Qc7 and then the thematic blockade Ne6. He had actually played quite well up to then. Nakamura cleverly disrupted his Stonewall but perhaps there was still hope for Black!
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Out of curiosity, I plugged the Stockfish 8 improvement 13...Bh5 in for a long and deep move-by-move analysis with the following draw result:

13...Bh5 14.Nb1 Bg6 15.Qe2 Bh5 16.Qd3 Bg6 17.Nfd2 Nb8 18.Nc3 Nxc3 19.Qxc3 c6 20.Nf3 Bh5 21.Ne5 Nd7 22.Nd3 a4 23.Rfe1 axb3 24.Qxb3 Nb6 25.cxd5 exd5 26.Nc5 Bxc5 27.dxc5 Nc4 28.Rxc4 dxc4 29.Qxb7 Bf7 30.Bd4 Qc8 31.Qxc6 Qxc6 32.Bxc6 Rxa3 33.Bd7 Be8 34.Be6 Bf7 35.Bxf5 Bd5 36.g4 h5 37.h3 Kg8 38.Rb1 c3 39.Rc1 Ra2 40.e4 Rxf5 41.gxf5 Bxe4 42.Rxc3 Ra1+ 43.Kh2 h4 44.f3 Bxf5 45.c6 Ra2+ 46.Kg1 Ra1+ 47.Kg2 Ra2+ 48.Bf2 Kf7 49.Rc4 Ke7 50.c7 Bc8 51.Re4+ Kf7 52.Rf4+ Ke7 53.Rxh4 Rc2 54.Rf4 Be6 55.h4 Rxc7 56.Bd4 g6 57.Bf6+ Ke8 58.Ra4 Kf7 59.Bg5 Bd5 60.Rf4+ Ke6 61.Rf6+ Ke5 62.Kg3 Rc3 63.Rf8 Rb3 64.Bf6+ Ke6 65.Bd4 Ke7 66.Rf4 Rd3 67.Be5 Ke6 68.Bb2 Ke7 69.Rf6 Re3 70.Kg4 Re6 71.Rf4 Re2 72.Bf6+ Ke6 73.Bg5 Rg2+ 74.Kh3 Ra2 75.Rf8 Kd6 76.Kg4 Ra4+ 77.Kg3 Ra3 78.Bh6 Ke7 79.Rf4 Rc3 80.Bg7 Rb3 81.Kf2 Ke6 82.Rf6+ Ke7 83.Kg3 Rb1 84.Kg2 Rb2+ 85.Kh3 Rb4 86.Rxg6 Bxf3 = (+0.21 @ 36 depth, Stockfish 8) (Diagram below)

click for larger view

Position from last move in analysis above is a 7-piece Table-base draw per online Lomonosoft table-base access from Aquarium 2017.

P.S.: This is not to say there might not be improvements in this analysis with a win for White. However, it does suggest 13...Bh5 is an improvement that offers Black practical drawing chances against strong play.

Jul-20-17  Tiggler: <Checker2> Finding two moves out of a 3-move combination is seldom a winning plan.
Jul-20-17  morfishine: Very nice win by Nakamura, but perhaps a wee bit too well known to be used for puzzle material


Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Thanks. I suppose my own answer to my question is that by move 29 what Nakamura has going for him is that his queen is very active and black's pieces aren't that well coordinated. I saw the combination but I don't think I would have played it in real life if I didn't see 30. Qb6 winning the pawn and black's pawn structure collapses.
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