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Hikaru Nakamura vs Robert Lee Hess
US Championship (2009), St. Louis, MO USA, rd 3, May-10
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Three Knights Variation (E21)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-11-09  Bobsterman3000: ahhh... the power of the knight oupost on d6.
May-11-09  Ezzy: Hikaru Nakamura - Robert Hess [E20]
3), 11.05.2009 US Championships

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 5.g3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Ne4 7.Qd3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Nc5 9.Qf3 0–0 10.Bg2 d6 11.0–0 Bd7 12.Rd1 Ba4 <Hess has had this position before,E Perelshteyn vs R Hess, 2007 so it seems like Nakamura has deliberately played this Nimzo-Indian variation and was thoroughly prepared for it.> 13.Nb3< In the above game white played 13 Rd2 >13...Qc7N< New move. There's a game in the database where 13...Nxb3 was played. Hess comes up with this novelty and it isn't a good one. The consequent forcing of moves leaves white a passed pawn up, and better placed pieces.> 14.Nxc5 Bxd1 15.Qxb7 Qxb7 16.Nxb7 Bxe2 17.Nxd6 Nd7 18.Bxa8 Rxa8 19.f4 Bf3 20.Be3 a6 <Doesn't seem any point in this. I think black should be striving for counterplay with 20...Nf6 21...Ne4 etc> 21.Rb1 Bc6 22.Bd4 Kf8 23.c5 Rb8 24.Rb3 Bd5 25.c4 Bc6 26.Ra3 Ra8 27.g4 h6 28.h4 f6 29.Re3< White has a dominating position, all because of black's poor novelty on move >13. 29...Ke7 30.Kf2 Rb8 31.Kg3 Rb4 32.Bc3 Ra4 33.Nf5+ Kf7 34.Nd6+ Kg8 35.Nc8< Obvious threat of 36 Ne7+ winning the bishop >35...Kf7 36.Bd4 e5 <[36...Rxa2 37.Na7 Ba8 38.c6 Nf8 39.f5! and black has to take the c6 pawn losing a piece or it will queen(39.c7?? Rg2+ 40.Kh3 Ng6 and black has turned the tables and is winning 41.Re4 Bxe4 42.Be3 Ne7 43.c8Q Nxc8 44.Nxc8 Bf3) > 37.Nd6+ Ke6 38.a3 g5 39.fxe5 fxe5 40.h5 Kf6 41.Bb2 Ke6 42.Nf5< Black is running out of moves. Excellently played by Nakamura. >42...Rxc4 43.Rd3 Rxc5 44.Rd6+ Kf7 45.Nxh6+ Ke7 46.Nf5+ Kf7 47.h6 Nf8 48.Rd8< Threatening 49 Rxf8+! and if Kxf8 50 h7 and the pawn queens. >48...Nh7 49.Rc8 1–0 <Threatening 50 Rc7+ and black can't play Kg8 because of 51 Ne7+. So black loses a piece in all variations. Black could struggle on, but to no avail 49...Kf6 50.Rc7 Rc2 51.Ne3 Rxb2 52.Rxc6+ Kf7 53.Rc7+ Kg8 54.Rg7+ Kh8 55.Nc4 Rb5 56.Nd6 Rb3+ 57.Kf2 Rb2+ 58.Ke3 Rb3+ 59.Ke4 Nf6+ 60.Kf5 Rf3+ 61.Kg6 Nxg4 62.Nf7+ Rxf7 63.Rxf7 Nxh6 64.Ra7 >

Because Hess had played this Nimzo-Indian variation previously, Nakamura must of prepared for it intensely. He played the exact variation for white, and when it came to the critical position that Hess had in a previous game, Nakamura had it all worked out and slowly crushed his opponent.

Great play by Nakamura who totally outprepared his opponent

May-11-09  timhortons: Hikaru Nakamura - Robert Hess, U.S. Championships 2009

click for larger view

1. (0.91): 14.Nxc5 Bxd1 15.Qxb7 Qxb7 16.Nxb7 Bxe2 17.Nxd6 Nd7 18.Bxa8 Rxa8 19.f4 Bf3 20.Kf2 Bc6 21.Ba3 Rb8 22.Rd1 a5 2. (0.72): 14.Bf4 e5 15.Nxc5 Bc6 16.Bxe5 dxe5 17.Qe3 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 3. = (0.20): 14.Rb1 Nc6 15.Ba3 b6 16.Qf4 Rad8 17.Nxc5 bxc5 18.Rd2 Na5

May-11-09  timhortons: Ezzy thanks for your analysis.

I replayed the game with rybka and amazing how slowly he crushed Hess,just like a boa smiling while constricting.Maybe Naka suffered nightmares with his humiliating loss with Hess at Foxwoods and now he even the score.

May-11-09  Ezzy: <timhortons: Ezzy thanks for your analysis.

I replayed the game with rybka and amazing how slowly he crushed Hess,just like a boa smiling while constricting.>

Yeah, fantastic technique from Nakamura.

It's amazing though how white still has to be careful because of some hidden resources lying dormant in black's position. For example, in my line above if black plays 36...Rxa2. Ok Nakamura can evaluate the dangers in these positions, but I really like black's finish after 39 c7??

You always have to be on your guard because there are always things lurking behind the scenes in a chess game.

No trouble here for Nakamura though. He was that Boa constrictor you was talking about!

May-11-09  timhortons: ICC Game of the day.
May 10, 2009.

By GM Nick de Firmian.

May-20-09  timhortons:

In the game itself, I once against forayed outside of my usual openings by playing 4.Nf3 in the Nimzo for the first time. This definitely threw Robert off, but he did not forget everything and followed a line he had played before against IM Eugene Perelshteyn with 12...Ba4. I then played the novelty 13.Nb3 which Kris had prepared for me. We reached the conclusion that the line is simply bad for Black and so we gave it a shot. Robert then played 13...Qc7!? which was not the best line in the position. After I played 14.Nxc5! Bxd1 15.Qxb7. I achieved a small but substantial advantage as we headed into the endgame. After nursing my advantage to a winning position, I promptly hallucinated badly with 31.Kg3 allowing massive counterplay to 31...Rb4. Had I simply played 31.g5 the position is close to winning. After a bunch of positional wrangling, I was once again able to obtain many winning chances. Black's best chance was with 43...Nxc5, however, I still feel that I would have had good winning chances with the two pieces for the rook. After Hess missed this, I converted the endgame relatively easily and won without too many technical problems

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