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Varuzhan Eduardovich Akobian vs Hikaru Nakamura
US Championship (2019), St Louis, MO USA, rd 7, Mar-27
Rat Defense: See also: Modern Defense (for lines with ...g6) (A41)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: A difficult position to play as White: You are obviously behind, but you do not know if you are already lost enough that you can 'try stuff'.
Mar-27-19  ajile: 30.Ke2 seems necessary but then 30..Re5+ clears the way for the d pawn with tempo. White will have to work hard to draw this IMO.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: Hoping that they will play this out as long as possible; potentially a fascinating ending that could add something to existing theory. Guessing (emphasis: *guessing*) that Nakamura has the edge because he can both threaten the g5 pawn and an invasion of the seventh rank.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Black is near winning I think.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Good Evening Englishman, (not afternoon - where are you. Here in the UK it is 20:45)

" potentially a fascinating ending that could add something to existing theory."

Theory says all Rook endings are draw and I for one am not sticking around to watch this paint dry. I do not do endings.

Good Night Englishman. Take Care, please tune in tomorrow, always a pleasure chatting to you.

***

Mar-27-19  Ulhumbrus: Black has two potential connected passed steamroller pawns. White has two potential doubled crippled and hopelessly blockaded pawns. This suggests that Black will win.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: And always a pleasure chatting with you, <Sally Simpson>. We all have different tastes; personally quite fond of Rook endings; they account for some of the most important wins of my playing days, including two in one tournament that propelled me to first place and prize money great enough to support me through an entire semester of university.

In this current one, if White can't disrupt Black's pawns, it will get very difficult for him.

Mar-27-19  Ulhumbrus: 34...Kxg5? is unnecessary if 34...Re5+! wins at once
Mar-27-19  BOSTER: Rook c8 is tricky.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: The new rule is all rook and pawn endings are a draw except this one, because nakanaka's got it
Mar-27-19  BOSTER: Not yet.
Mar-27-19  ajile: Black's rook is now cleared laterally and White's sad g2 pawn is still home. Hard to see how White holds the draw here.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: White has to play Rh7 Rh1 to stop the pawn and black wins at least another pawn

<offramp: stop being so alienating!>

Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Well, white figured out a different way to lose but Kd6 and another pawn bites the dust
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Now, even if black had to give the rook for 2 pawns he still wins with 3 passed pawns versus a rook, right? Especially with the king close by.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: Nakamura snuffed White's counterplay very well. Would have liked to see Akobian force a Rook vs. a3, b4, c5 finish--those R v. 3 endgames pose a lot of problems for both sides.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: And the rook is dancing.
Mar-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Wow, Nakamura is one hula-dancin' fool!
Mar-28-19  lost in space: <<lost in space>: I predict a draw. Very very very solid play by white.>

I was wrong.

Mar-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I forget why, but Nakamura said that 20.Nxe4! would have led to a draw.
Mar-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi lost in space,

Never admit you were wrong. Say you were misled because for a wee while C.G. had transmitted the wrong move and was showing the wrong position.

I'll back you up and say that happened.

***

Mar-28-19  roninmb: Hmmm
Mr An Englishman suggested that black instead of 26... hxg4 could play, with impunity 26...Rxg5 ; " 26.Bxg4,Rxg5; 27.Be6+,Nxe6; 28.Rxf8+,Kxf8 seems to keep the Rg5 protected." But what if white instead of 27 Be6+ plays simply 27.Rxf4 ?! If black takes the Bishop he stays a peace down / white Knight / and if he takes the Rock 27... Rxf4, after 28. Be6+, and 29. Rxg5 , he is two peaces down / Knight and Bishop/. So Nakamura played correctly 26... hxg4
which is no surprise to me.
Apr-18-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < FSR: I forget why, but Nakamura said that 20.Nxe4! would have led to a draw. >

Maybe he had in mind something like...

20. Nxe4 Rxf4 21.Rxf4 Nxf4 Bc4 or

20. Nxe4 Nxf4 21. Raf1 g5 22. Nxg5 Bf5 and

a) 23. Rxf4 Bxd3 24. Rxf8+ Rxf8 25. Rxf8+ Kxf8 26. Ne6+ Ke7 27. Nf4 or

b) 23. Bxf5 Rxf5 24. Rxf4 Rxg5 25. Rf7 Rc8 26. Rd7 Rg7

look like draws, unfortunately in this line instead of 24.Rxf4 if white plays 24. Ne6 Ne2+ 25. Kh2 Rxf3 (not Rxd5? 26.Rf8+) 26. Rxf3 Rc8 27. Re3 Nc1 28. a3 and black may have a trapped knight ??? thus i think black would have to play the first line. but i haven't put any of this to stockfish and is very quick look, AND my daughter just came in to tell me my wife's brother died last night, so i'm outa here for a bit. Stay well all.

May-17-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Intrepid777: For "An Englishman" who posted on March 27, 2019: "Good Afternoon: 26.Bxg4,Rxg5; 27.Be6+,Nxe6; 28.Rxf8+,Kxf8 seems to keep the Rg5 protected."

However, after 28. Rxf8+, Kxf8, why not 29. Rf3+ which checks the black King on f8 while the black knight on e6 is still threatened by the pawn on d5. Neither the rook nor the knight can interpose on the f file without being lost. A quick look by Stockfish gives 29...Ke7 30.dxe6 Kxe6 31.Rf8 Kd7 32.Kf2 Kc6 33.g3 b5 34.Ne2 b4 35.Nd4+ Kb7 36.Nb3 c5 37.Nd2 Kb6 38.Nc4+ Kc6 39.Rb8 Rf5+ 40.Ke3 with a clear (over 1.8 pawn) lead for White.

May-17-19  Kirth Gersen: Although the rook ending was interesting, my favorite part was the sequence from 12.f4 until the rook ending was reached on move 29. It was after move 20 until it became clear that Black was not overextending and would keep, if not his extra pawn, at least better pawns with good activity. In fact I wouldn't be shocked of either side missed something eval-changing. But if ...Bd4 and ...Qh4 is the right way indeed, then it's very pleasing to see a game where all the scary moves you want to make are actually sound, even though it looks like White is just about to refute Black's onslaught at any moment.
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