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Hikaru Nakamura vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Tata Steel Group A (2011), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 10, Jan-26
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Classical Variation (D86)  ·  1-0



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Given 25 times; par: 42 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-26-11  Marmot PFL: maybe black should have played 18...Qxd5 then if 19 Rd1 c4 20 Bc2 Qxd2 with what should be a playable ending.
Jan-26-11  Marmot PFL: I quit the Grunfeld (mostly anyway) because mistakes usually lose faster than almost any other opening. It's a great opening to play for wins if you don't mind learning lots of theory and still losing games every so often.
Jan-26-11  hellopolgar: there are some super GM's who Naka can just demolish(on a good day) with little trouble, Grischuk, MVL are two of them.
Jan-26-11  Eyal: One of the key factors in this Grunfeld line is whether Black manages to re-activate the knight on a5. In this game it remained stuck there until the end, so White was actually attacking on the K-side with a piece up. In a previous round, MVL won a very nice game in this line (Shirov vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2011) where White played 13.Bh6, and he did manage to get the knight back into the game and use it to stabilize his position. So did Black in Leitao vs Sutovsky, 2010, where White played 16.f4.

So one of the points of <16.d5> is that it makes it harder for Black to re-activate the knight via c6 (and after 18...c4 Black can't do it from that square either). Maybe, as <Marmot> pointed out, Black should have taken his chance to play 18...Qxd5 and get rid of that pawn; White can play 19.fxg6, though, and the black king remains rather exposed (Black can win a piece with 19...Rd7, but 20.Qg5 Qxd3 21.Qxe5+ might be too dangerous).

Jan-26-11  fisayo123: He has a very good record against MVL who is also his team-mate in the evry team.According to naka's tweet,he was fully prepared for the grunfeld(home-prep) which is MVL's favorite weapon against white.maybe he should have tried something like a QGD lasker? Also 18.... C4 seems to be the losing move.
Jan-26-11  Marmot PFL: That line is also very dangerous as 21...Kg8 22 Qe6+ Kh8 23 Nf4 is an important tempo for attack. Reality is very few players can find their way safely through these lines and even Fischer and Kasparov have lost their share.
Jan-26-11  shintaro go: A knight on the rim is grim, as they always say.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Ladies and Gentlemen (1. d4 Nf6), we are the things of shapes to come (2. c4 g6)/Your freedom's not free and dumb (3. Nc3 d5), this Depression is Great (4. cxd5 Nxd5)/The Deformation Age (5. e4 Nxc3), they know my name (6. bxc3 Bg7)/Waltzing to scum and base and married to the pain (7. Bc4 c5)/Bang - we want it (8. Ne2 Nc6)/Bang - we want it (9. Be3 0-0)/Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang (10. 0-0 Na5)/You came to see the Mobscene (11. Bd3 b6), I know it isn't your scene (12. Qd2 e5)/It's better than a sex scene [last book move], and it's So funky obscene ... obscene ... yeah! (13. Bg5 Qd7)/You want commitment (14. Bh6 Bb7), put on your best suit (15. Bxg7 Kxg7)/Get your arms around me now (16. d5 f5) we're going down down down (17. f3)/You want commitment [17. Qg5 h6 18. Qg3 f4 =], put on your best suit (17 ... Rf7)/Get your arms around me now (18. exf5 c4) we're going down down down [18 ... Qxd5 19. Qc2 Nc4 20. Bxc4 Qxc4 21. Ng3 =]/BE OBSCENE (19. Bc2 gxf5), BE BE OBSCENE (20. Rad1 f4)/BE OBSCENE BABY AND NOT HEARD [20 ... Kh8 21. Qg5 Rg8 22. Qh5 ]/The day that love opened our eyes (21. g3 Qd6) [ ], we watched the world end (22. gxf4 exf4)/We have high places but we have no friends (23. Kh1 Re8)/They told us sin's not good (24. Rg1+ Kf8) but we know it's great (25. Be4 Bc8)/War-time full-frontal drugs (26. Nd4 Qf6), sex-tank armor plate (27. Ne6+!)/Bang - we want it [Surprise!]/Bang - we want it (27 ... Bxe6)/Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang (28. dxe6 Qxe6??)/You came to see the Mobscene [28 ... Rxe6 29. Bd5 Rd6 30. Rg8+ Kxg8 31. Bxf7+ Kxf7 32. Qxd6 Qxd6 33. Rxd6 ], I know it isn't your scene (29. Bd5 Qh3)/It's better than a sex scene [29 ... Qe2 a fruitless try to alter the course of the game 30. Qd4 Qe5 31. Bxf7 Qxd4 32. Rxd4 ], and it's So funky obscene ... obscene ... yeah! (30. Bxf7 Qxf3+)/You want commitment (31. Rg2 Kxf7), put on your best suit (32. Qd7+ Kf6)/Get your arms around me now we're going down down down [32 ... Re7 33. Qf5+ Ke8 34. Qc8+ mates]/You want commitment (33. Qg7+), put on your best suit [33. Rd6+!? seems even better Ke5 34. Rdd2 Qf1+ 35. Rg1 Qf3+ 36. Rdg2 ]/Get your arms around me now we're going down down down (1-0) - Marilyn Manson + Fritz 7, "Mobscene"

Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang

Jan-27-11  Eyal: Seirawan, in his GOTD video on ICC, suggests that Black's position really starts to go downhill with 17...Rf7; instead, he should have played <17...f4!> to try and shut down the K-side, keeping the white bishop bottled up. This is much better than the same move as played by MVL three moves later, because with White not being allowed to exchange pawns on f5, if he tries g3 the pawn on f4 can be supported by ...g5; also, e4 doesn't become available as an attacking outpost for a white piece, and the b1-h7 diagonal remains closed. Note that White can't prevent that by playing 17.exf5 immediately, because then 17...Qxd5! wins a piece, due to the double threat of ...c4 and mate on g2. exf5 becomes playable only after White has blocked the long diagonal by 17.f3.

Overall, Nakamura's novelty 16.d5 and even the whole 13.Bg5 line may not be so objectively dangerous for Black - provided he plays very accurately; but it was definitely a good opening choice that managed to get MVL out of his comfort zone, even though in general he's quite an expert in the Grunfeld.

Jan-27-11  Kazzak: What to do when facing a Grünfeld expert? You show him something he hasn't thought of.

That's quite some distance away from the Nakamura who would play 2. Qh5 in order "to get my opponent away from his theory."

Nowadays we can set the engines churning and they will show that maybe d5 wasn't so smart, and maybe Bg5 wasn't so smart either - but you have to solve these things over the board - and Nakamura is presenting himself to us as the more compleat (sic) player:

1. He's acquiring the theory
2. While responsive to actual OTB situations

And he can also forget the basics, such as Be6 in the Najdorf. So heaven forbid if he'd won that one too.

Jan-27-11  Kazzak: I think I would love to see a proper match between Nakamura and Anand. With Anand at today's strength.

Let's establish a fund where we can donate money, and get some sponsors together to make this happen.

Jan-27-11  fisayo123: I would rather naka play anyone in a match but anand.Definitely the strongest player in the world,i doubt naka could cope with his experience and ability to understand the potential of different variations(not in terms of opening but of moves)
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The Tournament report on Round 10 at suggests 17...c4 18. Bc2 f4 as a possible improvement:

Earlier, perhaps 13...Qd6 as suggested in the video analysis by Claus Jensen at was worthy of consideration.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <maybe black should have played 18...Qxd5 then if 19 Rd1 c4 20 Bc2 Qxd2 with what should be a playable ending.> The commentary at suggests 18...Qxd5 might have led to a dangerous and possible winning attack for White after 19. fxg6!:

<Here Vachier had missed that he could not play 18...Qxd5 because of 19.fxg6 Rd7 20.Qe3 Qxd3 21.Qxe5+ Kg8 22.Qe6+ Kh8 23.Rad1 Qxd1 24.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 25.Kf2 hxg6 26.Nf4 with a winning attack for White. He panicked, tried 18…c4 "and was expertly kicked off the board in the following 15 moves," as the tournament bulletin diplomatically puts it. 19.Bc2 gxf5 20.Rad1 f4 21.g3 Qd6 22.gxf4 exf4 23.Kh1 Re8 24.Rg1+ Kf8 25.Be4 Bc8 26.Nd4 Qf6?>

Jan-27-11  Eyal: <The Tournament report on Round 10 at suggests 17...c4 18. Bc2 f4 as a possible improvement>

Playing ...f4 without allowing White to exchange pawns on f5 indeed seems advisable, for reasons I mentioned earlier (following Seirawan's commentary) – this doesn’t really require much "churning" by engines, btw, but is rather based on positional commonsense; but I don't really understand the point of prefacing it with ...c4. This move just seems to help White - forcing the bishop to a better square (where it doesn't block the influence of the heavy pieces on the d-file), depriving the knight on the rim of a potential square from which it might return to the game, and creating the danger of d4 turning into a very nice post for the white knight after a pawn exchange on f4 (as happened in the game).

Btw, that video analysis by Claus Jensen recommends <18...Qxd5?> for Black, which is actually refuted by 19.fxg6! Rd7 (after 19...hxg6 Black's position is just further weakened with no compensation) 20.Qg5 (or Qe3) Qxd3 21.Qxe5+ Kg8 22.Qe6+ Kh8 23.Rad1! Qxd1 24.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 25.Kf2 hxg6 26.Nf4 Rg8 27.Nh5!! and Black has to give back an exchange + the remaining K-side pawn: 27...Rd2+ 28.Ke1 Rd6 29.Qxd6 Re8+ 30.Kf2 gxh5 (now there's no mate on h6) 31.Qh6+ Kg8 32.Qxh5 and White should be winning this (here an engine definitely helps...).

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Eyal> <Btw, that video analysis by Claus Jensen recommends <18...Qxd5?> for Black, which is actually refuted by 19.fxg6!> After seeing the analysis at Chess Base, I quite agree.

P.S.: On second thought, I'm not too keen on Claus Jensen's suggestion of 13...Qd6!? either, especially in light of the possibility 14. dxe5 Qxe5 15. f4 .

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Sierawan's analysis on ICC can be viewed at

P.S.: If you're not a member, it stops the analysis with a discussion of the merits of Nakamura's novelty 16. d5.

Jan-27-11  esticles: Or even better, Naka's own analysis:
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: I notice in his video analysis that Nakamura says both he and Vachier-Lagrave say Black should have played 17...c4 18. Bc2 f4.
Jan-28-11  Eyal: <Nakamura says both he and Vachier-Lagrave say Black should have played 17...c4 18. Bc2 f4.>

Yeah, that's how it got to the tournament report in the first place. Like I said, I'm not sure that 17...c4 is really necessary - but maybe he thinks it's important to prevent White from playing c4. He continues the line with 19.g3 g5 20.gxf4 gxf4 21.Kh1 Kh8 22.Rg1, and here says that 22...Qh3 allows the dangerous 23.Nd4 - which wouldn't be possible without ...c4. After 22...Rg8 instead, where he stops the analysis, engines suggest the piece sac 23.Nxf4 exf4 24.Qxf4 as White's best option.

Feb-03-11  PokerPro: why cant 13...f6 be played???
Feb-04-11  Shams: <PokerPro> 13...f6?! 14.Be3 is a development that must favor white: the b2-g7 diagonal has been opened, also potentially the seventh rank. And black's DSB has much less say on the long diagonal.
Mar-04-11  OnePawnTragedy: Nakamura keeps it simple and kicks butt. Well done.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Keeps it simple! If that's simple show me complex!

Nakamura must be one bright fellow. Maybe he well be World Champion one day?

Him velly clever and velly blainy man.

Jun-29-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Nakamura vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2011.
Your score: 58 (par = 46)


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