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Leinier Dominguez Perez vs Hikaru Nakamura
Cuernavaca Young Masters (2006), Cuernavaca MEX, rd 5, Feb-07
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Montreal1666: What is the problem with a simple 50...axb> I ran Fritz 8 on this position to 25 depth and 667465kn and it could not find a win for White. Here are Fritz 8's main lines after 50...axb:

L Dominguez - H Nakamura

click for larger view

Analysis by Fritz 8:

1. ± (1.28): 51.Kxb4 Kc7 52.Nd4 Kd8 53.Ka5 Ke8 54.Nb5 Kf8 55.Nd6

2. ± (1.09): 51.Nxb4 Ba4 52.Na2 Bd1 53.Nc1 Kb5 54.d4 Kc6 55.Nd3

Even though White has more space and the initiative, like <Mateo> I don't see a forced win after 50...axb5. So, it would seem that perhaps Nakamura missed a draw by not playing 50...axb5!

Feb-10-06  niemzo: I think there is a win. Try to manually enter the moves in some lines.There is the threat of a knight sacrifice on g6 after the knight goes on f4.Then th knight can be relocated to c5 black is propably lost.
Feb-10-06  Shamtesticle: Yeah, I wondered about 50...axb4 also, and finally concluded that White should post his knight on C5 in that line. Since he would threaten
Nxe6 then, I would think the only
place for the Black bishop would be
on e8 or c8, and c8 would be UGH!
Because White's King would start
creeping in in the same way as in
your line - even getting to a7 or
b8 maybe by force, forcing ...Bd7
Nxd7, when of course White cleans
up easily in the K+P ending there.
You want to talk about a textbook
win! I guess Nakamura didn't wish to
be on the receiving end of something
like that. Is it forced?
Well, it's pretty hard to prevent the
knight from getting to c5, isn't it?
White's King just sits on b4, and then
White moves the knight around until it
gets there, forcing the bishop to
one of the passive squares. OK, now
White needs a TEMPO, right? And luckily, d4! would be handy then! It's amazing, sometimes, how it
all hangs together (someone once said).
But I didn't actually find the
sham after 40...Bxd3. Nak played
40...Qc7 instead. I guess it's 41 Qxc3, and then the knight cleans up in the ending here also against the B?
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <neimzo> <Shamtesticle> Even with the Knight on c5, the Bishop can stay on the e8 a4 diagonal and the Black King can block the White passers and the invasion of the White monarch.

I'll admit Black's position is passive and completely defensive, but it's hard to crack and in retrospect gives Black more chances than the game continuation.

Care to give some specific analysis to show a forced win? I had Fritz 8 up to 26 depth and couldn't find one after 50...axb5.

Feb-11-06  Eatman: there wouldn't be a forced win in 13 moves after 50. ... axb5 but black would be slowly pushed back, I am reasonably sure it is a win, even Fritz gives it over 1.00 just due to recognizing knight's edge over bishop. If you can get white king to d6 or so I think it is over.
Feb-11-06  Greginctw: <He is largely self-taught, learning chess primarily from playing Fritz and the like >

Actually his stepfather was Sunil Weeramantry Sunil Weeramantry

and he was trained by him from like the age of five. So i dont think he was self-taught at all. When I was a kid he was all over the tri-state area and Sunil was always with him.

Feb-11-06  LancelotduLac: <Greginctw>: From "A Conversation with Hikaru Nakamura and His Stepfather, Sunil Weeramantry," by Howard Goldowsky on (

HG: During those years between the ages of seven and ten, when you developed to the strength of your stepfather, was there any sort of specific guidance from him? Was it more life skills or was it specific things, like getting help on rook and pawn endgames?

HN: It was more general advice... mostly on openings. When I went from 1800 to 2200 or so, he was helping me. I actually wasn’t doing stuff on my own back then. Once I broke 2300, from there to where I am right now, I’ve basically studied on my own.

HG: How do you balance computer training with non-computer training?

HN: For the studying I do, I actually use a computer. That’s all I use.

From the top of the piece: <In the time since he has surpassed his stepfather’s ability, he has studied chess Fischer-like, mainly on his own, and his recent success can now only be attributed to magnificent individual talent..>

Feb-11-06  LancelotduLac: As for the discussion on 50...axb5!, it intuitively feels as though White should be able to win ... but when you start examining the variations, it seems that <patzer2> is right in claiming that Black can hold the draw. Black's bishop from e8 can always block knight-sacrifice ideas on h5 or g6, and I just don't see how White's king or Knight can ever break through. I'd be interested if anyone manages to find a winning line for White... at first I thought it must be a win, but upon analysis it looks like a draw. In any event, 50...a4? was a critical error, even if Black's position was already uncomfortable before that, as it greatly facilitated White's task.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: At is an analysis of the game, pointing out White's interesting attack on Black's weakened castled position with 27. f6!? (objectively 27. Qxd3= is better per Fritz 8) and the stronger defensive move 27...Nxe5! that Black did not play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Per the Fritz 8 analysis 27... Nxe5! 28. Nxe5 (28. Qg5?? Ng6 ) 28... Ba4 29. Qg5 Bxc2+ 30. Ka1 Bg6 31. fxg7 Qd8 32. Qf4 b3 (-1.22 @ 13 depth) gives Black a strong advantage, which would probably have been enough for Nakamura to pull off the win.
Feb-12-06  Dick Brain: The problem with 27...Nxe7! is that it looks so wrong that it's almost impossible not to miss. Black is being threatened by a thematic g7 mating attack and ...Nxe7 will bring a knight that was partially neutralized by white's on pawn at e5 to a very scary square with attack on the bishop on d7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: This loss cost "Nak" first place.

Perhaps he should give up quick (blitz/lightning) chess ... it will ruin your game.

Several other titled players have conveyed to me that if Nak slows down and finds the really good moves, he might be 2700+. (He plays a lot of fast chess on ICC and PC.)

There are several interesting article on this tournament on the ChessBase server. ( Patzer2 already pointed out the link to the article that covers this game.

Feb-13-06  Jim Bartle: I definitely get the impression Nakamura has high ambitions, to reach the top 5 at least. I think his results will tell him when and how to change.

When his results against tougher opposition begin to suffer, he'll be smart enough to make the necessary changes, be they playing less blitz, studying the games of the greats, or whatever.

Of course there's always the possibility his results will never take a dip, and he'll shoot right to the top using his present method.

Feb-13-06  Fan of Leko: <LIFE Master AJ> On the other side of the coin he gains quite a few wins by putting his opponents in time pressure.
Feb-13-06  Jim Bartle: I don't quite understand that. Does Nakamura play quickly? If so, that shouldn't throw off the opponent, who still has all his time. If it's because he creates complicated position which require a lot of time for analysis, that's to his credit. It's risky, but if he's good enough, more power to him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Capablanca and Fischer were two players who played a lot of blitz chess. (we all know Anand is great at this form of chess) Of course if a player plays standard games as if they were blitz, then he only deprives himself from using all his alloted time to properly analyze the position in front of him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  waddayaplay: I concur with Life Master AJ. Nakamura could be 2700+. I personally also account he doesn't get enough high-quality opponents in NY, but this is just my own guess.
Feb-13-06  Eatman: Incidentally, some guy called Tal also was (in)famous for playing blitz chess until the wee hours of the morning even before important tournament games the next day. :) Howevere, in tournament chess he didn't play as fast as say Anand these days. So what I am saying is that you can combine blitz and regular chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  waddayaplay: Nakamura is arguably the best blitz player on ICC. Had he put the same amount of study into his standard games, then who knows how good he'd be.
Feb-13-06  Fan of Leko: <Jim Bartle> It's always a little disconcerting to fall behind on the clock, and to think for 15-20 minutes and have your opponent replay almost instantly would rattle many players. Some don't manage their time very well to begin with so they are vunerable to complications around time control. He does play the endings too fast often but that is common with younger players and usually cured by experience.
Feb-13-06  izimbra: What does the opponent do when Nakamura is on the clock? If he is using the time to think, then a quick move means less time for him - possibly less time than he is accustomed to. If he is using the time to rest, then a quick move means less rest. In either case it is wrong to say that moving quickly has no effect on the other player. The strategic question is whether the effect is more or less the handicap on Nakamura himself. If Nakamura doesn't feel he would arrive at a better move by taking more time in a given game, then moving quickly is probably the best strategy for him. But then perhaps he should practice some other analytical techniques to take advantage of the time available.
Feb-13-06  Jim Bartle: I'm not claiming that moving quickly has no effect on the other player; I'm saying it SHOULDN'T have an effect.
Feb-13-06  izimbra: I tried to spell out my reasoning for why we expect it *should* have some theoretical (though perhaps small) effect on the other player. Which part of that do you disagree with?
Feb-13-06  Jim Bartle: OK, I'll agree that a strong player who plays quickly (such as Anand used to do) will likely gain some sort of advantage. I'm just saying a disciplined, well-prepared player in a classic time-control game should have enough time to think and play carefully, even if the other player plays instantly. Maybe I'm wrong.

I am pretty certain that as Nakamura moves up the ladder, any advantage he gains from playing quickly will disappear, or be more than counterbalanced by his own errors.

Don't know if this is relevant, but I once watched Kasparov play a 30-board simul. The rule was you had to play immediately when K reached your board. And believe it or not, he was so fast that he many of the players got flustered by the speed and made mistakes because they had to hurry. It was brutal to watch.

Jun-21-06  RookFile: The opening moves seem a little odd to me. I think Nakamura emerged a tempo down on a well known position.
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