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Fabiano Caruana vs Hikaru Nakamura
US Chess Championship (2016), St Louis, MO USA, rd 4, Apr-17
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. English Attack (B80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-17-16  Jambow: Ok Caruana has shaken Nakamura off his back and broke 2800 again
Apr-17-16  spazzky: According to my calculations, the finish is 31. ...fxg3 32. hxg3 Bxg3 33. Qf7 (no way to stop mate on b7)

31 ... Bg5 might've bought a few more moves, but white is a rook up

Apr-17-16  Poisonpawns: Analysis
Apr-17-16  Mudphudder: Well, I wasn't a fan of Caruana until after today's defeat of Naka. Go Fabi!!!
Apr-18-16  Pulo y Gata: Caruana's first win vs Najdorf Sicilian in a while?
Apr-18-16  ndg2: The engines actually don't like 18.f5 and prefer 18.e5. Naka could have played better, instead of 21...Kb8 Rdf8 was an option.
Apr-18-16  mrandersson: Look at that monster bishop on d5. Once it goes there its such a good outpost classic use of the theme I'd say.
Apr-18-16  RookFile: After 16 moves, I would have preferred to have the black pieces. Not sure where it went wrong for Naka.
Apr-18-16  Ulhumbrus: 6 f3?! is passive compared to f4 and the game Lombardy vs Fischer, 1960 suggests Black may consider the moves ...e6 followed by ...d5 or even 6...d5 at once.

7...h5? disturbs the king side pawns without necessity. As Black has made it less healthy to castle on the king side now, this suggests that White may be advised well to begin to prepare to attack the queen side, as Black might have been advised well to do in the games Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1892 and Capablanca vs C H Alexander, 1936.

One way to begin to prepare to attack the queen side is to play 8 a4, as Caruana plays.

12 Bb3 keeps the option of attacking the e6 pawn but also obstructs the b pawn. However that may matter less unless White can arrange b4.

Instead of 13 f4, 13 Kh1 keeps the option of f4 while removing the king from attack on the g1-diagonal. However that exposes potentially the king on the h file

16 Rad1?! leaves the knight on d4 pinned and invites ...e5. This suggests unpinning the knight at once by eg 16 Qd2

16...g6?! disturbs the king side again and the sequel suggests that it amounts almost to a declaration that Black is going to castle queen side. However it gives White a tempo to unopin his knight. On 16...e5! at once White can't avoid an exchange of queens.

The GM commentator said that 24...Qb4 was Nakamura's main mistake. After this Nd5 attacks the queen. They said as well that 24...Bxa4 was a second error. The bishop gets trapped on this square.

GM Ashley indicated that one reason why 27 Ra3! was better than Ra1 was that the rook helped to support the move b3 following the move c3.

Apr-18-16  paavoh: After the 16th move, where's the scope for the Black Bishops, and Rooks are underdeveloped. It appears a precarious position to me. But Nakamura must have a different disposition or evaluation than I do.
Apr-18-16  dangerhump: The opening went well for Naka. The move h5 is not a bad move at all. In fact, in the position after 16. Rad1 black has more than a few good moves:

16...O-O 17. Qg3 b5 18. e5 h4 19. Qe1 dxe5 20. fxe5 Ng4 is fine for black

16...Ng4 17. Qd3 O-O-O leads to a potential sacrifice that looks interesting with 18. h3 Rh6!? the idea being after 19. hxg4 Black brings the other rook to h8 allowing he dark squared bishop to back up and relocate to the g1-a7 diagonal with tremendous initiative for black as to avoid this the white king has to start running

16...h4 17. e5 dxe5 18. fxe5 Ng4 posing the question to the White queen. It's tough to find a good place for it as after 19. Qf3 (targeting b7 and a6)...Nxe5 20. Qxb7 Rd8 21. Qxb6 h3! and black is having fun. If white tries 19. Qf4 (challenging e5 square)...Nxe5 20. Ne4 Qc7 21. Nf3 h5 22. Nxe5 Rf5! and black has an edge.

In fact to keep himself in the game the only move I can find for White is 19. Qh3 which looks a bit awkward and I wonder if it would have been found OTB because after ...Nxe5 the best continuation is 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. Nxe6 Qc6 22. Nxg7 Kd8 and white has 3 pawns for the Bishop in an unclear position. I really doubt that Caruana would have willingly gone down that path.

So this really leads to g6 as the main culprit as there were 3 other moves that keep black not only in the game but with great chances of gaining an edge.

After 18. f5 Black has a chance to get back into the game...e5 19. Nf3 gxf5 20. Ng5 f4 (threatening Bh4 in case of Nxf7) 21. Rd3 and now instead of the game continuation of Kb8 the best continuation is ...Bg4 (anyway) 22. Qd2 Rhf8 23. Nxf7 Re8 24. Nxd6 Bxd6 h4 and although Black is a pawn down he's in far better shape than the game continuation.

In the actual game either 24. Qa5 or Qc8 keeps black in the game much longer than Qb4 which was, no doubt, the fatal and final error.

The counterplay is 25. h3 Nh5 26. Re1 Ng3+ although technically I think White is better.

Apr-18-16  dangerhump: <Ulhumbrus> 16...e5 is not possible due to 17. fxe5 dxe5 18. Nf5 Qxe3 19. Nxe3 Bc5 20. Ned5 Nxd5 21. Bxd5 and black is losing a pawn, i.e ...f6 22. Bxb7

This line is pretty much forced which is why I'm sure Naka rejected it

Apr-18-16  Marmot PFL: 21...Rdf8 22 Nxf7 Rh7 returns the pawn with a slightly worse position, but one black doesn't seem to be losing. A draw would have been a good result considering Caruana's rating, it's still the first half of the tournament and that all the other games were drawn. As played it's unlikely black will draw even without the mistakes that shortened the game.
Apr-18-16  activechess55: Very interesting game ! Both these players are not afraid to try out dynamic positions. One minus factor seem to be black's two passive bishops at be7 and bd7. Look how readily Fabio gives up bishop at e3 for knight with central pawn advance f4. He considers knight more powerful than bishop in this position.
Apr-19-16  ChessYouGood: Is there a B division for Nakamura?
Apr-20-16  Moszkowski012273: Actually the win comes via 33.Qf6... <spazzky>
Oct-12-16  lamsang: It is better for Naka to move 20Nf7 so to gain a R for the N.

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