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Hikaru Nakamura vs Levon Aronian
Grand Slam Chess Final (2011), Sao Paulo BRA, rd 8, Oct-08
Queen's Gambit Declined: Charousek (Petrosian) Variation (D31)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-09-11  anandrulez: Karpovian fashion , lol @ Naka
Oct-09-11  Ulhumbrus: 7 g4 disturbs the King side pawns without necessity. It has been played with success more than once, but that may mean no more than that Black has not found the right reply yet.

"Robert Byrnes's 7 Nge2! is best" (Bobby Fischer)

Two alternatives to 8...Nd7 are 8...f5 attacking the g4 pawn and 8...Bd6 attacking the weskened black squares

9...Nh6 develops the N on the edge of the board. 9..Nb6 avoids this, although it costs time.

An alternative to 11...g5 is 11...f6 clearing the square f7 for the manoeuvre ...Nf7 after which ...Bd6 or ....Nd6 may follow

15 Nxe6 gains the bishop pair as Bobby Fischer might have done.

18...f5?! looks like an error as White can exchange his g4 pawn for the f5 pawn and isolate it. 18...Ng8 may be better even though it loses time.

If 18...f5?! is dubious, 19...Nxg4? looks like a serious mistake because it breaks Black's King side pawn structure. It is as if Aronian is giving Nakamura the fruits of a minority attack for nothing. This may be a losing mistake. The eventual result of 19...Nxg4 is that White wins the f and g pawns for his g4 pawn, and eventually the game.

An alternative to 19...Nxg4 is 19...Nf7 with ...Nd6 to follow and Black may have greater hope of saving the game

After 50 Rf2 Black's N is trapped and Nakamura sets about winning it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: Karpov was a great endgame player, taking that mantle from Petrosian and Smyslov (not to mention Botvinnik and Capablanca) before him. I would even say that from 1973 - 1985 he was the greatest endgame player.

Karpov is only underrated by those who forget he was world champion for 10 years and defended his title against some incredible players while racking up tons of tournament wins and game victories. No one had held the world championship for ten consecutive years before him since Lasker! On endgame technique alone he beat another great endgame player, Korchnoi twice in World Ch. matches in several of their games.

So to say that Naka's endgame play was "Karpovian" is a high complement (although in this game I think it's undeserved).

Karpov was completely overshadowed by Fischer just before him and by Kasparov just after him, often undeservedly, but players rated 1700 and above who are pre-generation X, usually see his incredible quality, particularly in the endgame. Some even call themselves: "Karpofiles"!

Oct-09-11  kia0708: SteinitzLives, thanks for the interesting explanation
Oct-09-11  Everett: Well, maybe Naka should leave the Karpovian comparisons to others. Nonetheless, any endgame in which there is limited chances to convert and which is then converted through patience, deep understanding and accuracy can be described as Karpovian. No, Naka is not Karpov, but this ending could be described as Karpovian without too much trouble. Even without Aronian's help, Naka was slowly pushing him off the board. Similarly, Karpov's opponents would crumble under the pressure.
Oct-10-11  khursh: Nice Nakamura win !!!!
Aronian's time management remains unclear for me, he was lacking by an hour behind Nakamura! Was there any explanation?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kbob: In his fascinating game of the day coverage Yermolinsky cites 13. Bg3 as Nakamura's novelty but notes that 13. ... Nxg4 would win a clear pawn for black! After 14. Bxg4, Qd7 the king's knight is hopelessly pinned and 15. f3 runs into 15. ...f5. This would explain why historical games all inserted 13. f3 with much different play. So, who missed what, and when? I wonder what the experts and computers will say.
Oct-10-11  progrock64: When Nakamura played 70.exd4 he must have calculated this forced line: 70.exd4-Kxd4 71.Nd7-Rd8 72.c6-Rc8 73.Re6-Kd5(Aronian played Rc7 instead) 74.Nb6-Kxe6 75.Nxc8-Kd5 76.Na7-Kd6 77.Kxg4-Kc7 78.Kf5-Kb6 79.Ke6-Kxa7 80.Kd7 Nothing special for a top 10 player of course but unmentioned in the comments to this game. Commentators seem to focus totally on moves when their engines indicate clear mistakes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: This game is a great example of what makes grandmasters so much better than the rest of us. Whereas we mere mortals usually have a piece or two (or three or four) sitting around doing nothing, Nakamura always has his pieces involved in the game, ready to help out. His Knight in particular! On d1 it protected the weaknesses on f2 and b2. On d3 it protected his weakness on f2 and threatened Black's weaknesses on c5 and e5. After 77.Re6, Aronian couldn't play 77...Kd5 because of 78.Nb6+,Kxe6; 79.Nxc8,Kd5; 80.Na7!,Kd6; 81.Kxg4,Kc7; 82.Kf5,Kb6; 83.Ke7,Kxa7; 84.Kd7, and now the King is where it has to be. In this ending, whenever Nakamura needed a piece to reach a certain square, it could. That is how GMs play.
Oct-11-11  Everett: <Ulhumbrus: 7 g4 disturbs the King side pawns without necessity. It has been played with success more than once, but that may mean no more than that Black has not found the right reply yet.>

I imagined this response after your similar take on the Keres Attack. I can't say I disagree. Good to think for yourself.

However, if someone at your club is anything like Lasker, he would be playing g4 at the soonest reasonable time against you. If this does happen, I would love to see the games, for I am curious about improvements in these lines. Sincerely, good luck in your games.

Oct-12-11  Ulhumbrus: <Everett> I have looked up the opening explorer. I have not seen any entries for the move 8...f5 following the move ...Be6 in reply to either 8 h4 or 8 h3, and Black may have gone wrong in the two games where he plays 8...Bd6 and loses.
Oct-12-11  Everett: Ulhumbrus, are you an active player?
Oct-13-11  Shams: <Everett><Ulhumbrus, are you an active player?> I'd have to say no, we played once and he refused to move any of his pawns two squares at once.
Oct-13-11  Everett: <Shams: <Everett><Ulhumbrus, are you an active player?> I'd have to say no, we played once and he refused to move any of his pawns two squares at once.>

Ha! Clever...

Nov-06-11  DrMAL: <Everett: Besides those Botvinnik games in 1970, he also played it vs Petrosian in '63.> Thanx for some clarity, criticism of 7.g4 is silly and based on very simplistic view by low level player.

In order to better understand whole variation, let's step back few moves and look at 1963 Botvinnik-Petrosian WC match. They played QGA few times for draw. Botvinnik tried Tarrasch as black, also draw. On game 12, Petrosian tried Charousek (3...Be7) main idea was to avoid Carlsbad aka Exchange variation in QGD. Carlsbad variation allows black B on c8 to get free but in exchange (pun intended) white gets very active position for strong attack. This was also a favorite of Kaparov and one game showing its strength is Kasparov vs Ulf Andersson, 1988 this game also has 6.Qc2 called Reshevshky in USA, key modern move. Opening names often depend on country (e.g., in Russia 1.e4 c6 2.Bc4 is never called Hillbilly Attack LOL).

Charousek is also called Petrosian variation because he liked it so much as shown here. Strong line in Charousek is 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Bf5 often called Alatortsev but his name is also given to variations in Winawer French, Alekhine and Semi-Slav. 5.Bf4 is associated with Steinitz who used it in his later years, most notably Steinitz vs Lasker, 1896 one move 4 without exchange on d5, where 6.c5 (or 5.c5) is key move. Later on there were refinements involving Qc2 where transpositions could take place, good example is Kasparov vs Short, 1988 see discussion of transpostion there.

B on f5 in Alatortsev is strong for black, Bd3 to exchange Bs does not show any promising edge, neither did Ne2-Ng3 to harrass B. In WC game 12 (Botvinnik vs Petrosian, 1963) 7.g4! was tried, this move became main weapon it still is today. At first, 7.g4! looks like it merely compromises pawn structure but it is brilliant, modern move. One obvious reason is that black must give up b1-h7 diagonal, trying to hold onto it with 7...Bg6 gives white advantage through 8.h4! (e.g., 8...Bxh4 9.Qb3 b6 10.Nf3 Bb7 11.Bb8 and black position falls apart). Playing h6 merely compromise black K-side, making castling short too dangerous so that black K gets in jeopardy.

After 7.g4! Be6 (best), Botvinnik tried first of three moves 8.Bd3 to simply contol diagonal. While strong, game resulted in draw, so Botvinnik tried second move 8.h3 next time (Botvinnik vs Petrosian, 1963) resulting in win. For fun, here is computer eval after 7...Be6 showing three moves and their starting lines, using computer so early in game necessitates deeper computation.

Houdini_20_x64: 31/69 9:42:06 359,119,617,652
+0.10 8.h3 Nd7 9.Qc2 h5 10.gxh5 Rxh5 11.Be2 Rh8
+0.06 8.Bd3 Nd7 9.h3 g5 10.Bg3 h5 11.gxh5 Ngf6
+0.03 8.h4 Nd7 9.g5 h6 10.g6 f5 11.Qb3 Nb6
+0.02 8.Qb3 Qb6 9.f3 Nf6 10.Bg3 0-0 11.Nge2 Qxb3

Few years later Botvinnik tried 8.h4 sharper most aggressive move (Botvinnik vs Spassky, 1970) this attracted attention of Kasparov who used in game 21 of 1985 WC, being already ahead 2 points (Kasparov vs Karpov, 1985). Karpov came up with brilliant defense that avoided 10...Ngf6 in earlier Spassky game, where 11.f3 h5 12.Bd3 gave white solid advantage through greater space and f5 square (plan shifted to Q-side in this particular game so this advantage is not well illustrated by play). Moreover, B can retreat for Nf4 also strong plan. White K-side pawn weakness is illusory here, white can castle long or simply go Kf1-Kg2 for safe position.

Instead, after 9.h5 Karpov played 9...Nh6! strange looking but it helps stop white from strangling black position by putting pressure on g4 with idea of f5 to attack white pawn structure. Now 10.Be2 Nb6 and if 11.Nh3 then 11...g5! creates pressure ion white K-side, showing some drawback to 7.g4! as played in this Naka game (12.hxg6 hxg6 with equal double-edged position). Instead, Kasparov played 11.Rc1 in 1985 WC game and rather than passive 11...Bd6 Karpov could have played 11...Nc4 for more comfortable game, white gets some problem with K safety. In this game, Naka's natural 13.Bg3 was subtle mistake giving black initiative, computer shows 13.a4! as best move to keep some tiny edge.

Post is too long, so divided into two parts.

Nov-06-11  DrMAL: Botvinnik's 8.h3 idea was used in other games notably rematch game won by white (Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1981). Eventually, instead of 6.e3 played there, white switched to 6.Qc2 played in Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1968 but most in 1960s considered 6.Qc2 innocuous move (note, in that game Spassky had played 5...c6 and 6...g6). All was quiet for long time until Soviet Championship game Petrosian vs Beliavsky, 1982 where, after 6.Qc2 g6 Petrosian played 7.e3 Bf5 8.Qd2! showing how g6 creates big weaknesses in dark squares so move was avoided. Another interesting game was Miles vs Portisch, 1984 where black ended up winning. But this brings us back in circle to Kasparov vs Short, 1988 to better understand opening there too.

This was more complicated post than usual, my apology I try to keep simple for club player but it seemed references to multiple games better explained brilliant move 7.g4! I hope, as in criticism of Keres in Sicilian, players better understand merits of such moves, going beyond overly simple (wrong) idea of how it must be mistake because it "disturbs pawns" or the likes, cheers.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <I imagined this response after your similar take on the Keres Attack. I can't say I disagree. Good to think for yourself.>

Think for himself? Ulhumbrus is parroting about a thousand beginner books. If he said "knights before bishops" would you say he was thinking for himself?

Nov-06-11  DrMAL: <keypusher> LOL well, Ulhumbrus condemned Keres in similar way here Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984 those silly GMs don't know anything. Final post on Sep-08-11 may win stupidity award, hard to tell. It seems Ulhumbrus likes to shed his genius on lots of games, here is another example Kasparov vs Karpov, 1984. Like AJ who, armed with MCO bible, condemned another opening on Jul-05-11 here Morozevich vs Kramnik, 2008, it seems g4 moves from world's best players need guidance from higher powers, cheers.
Jan-20-12  Nemesistic: Am i the only kibitzer who doesn't understand 45.kg5??? Nobody's mentioned it,but apart from the brain of a GM what exactly am i missing with regards to that move??
Jan-21-12  Nemesistic: I officially declare move 45.kg5??? the strangest move ever played between two top GM's,it defies belief..

And i include Fischer's Bxh2 move against Spassky in that!!

$10 to the person who can explain that move to me??

Jan-21-12  TheFocus: <Neme> What do you see wrong with Kg5?

What move would you have made, and why?

Jan-21-12  Nemesistic: I'd have played 45.kxf5.

What am i missing??

Jan-21-12  AlphaMale: 45...Rxe3 probably.
Jan-21-12  Nemesistic: Of course, of course, of course lol.

This is what patzers without patience,nor engines do! Miss the obvious,but only once someone points it out..

Jan-21-12  AlphaMale: Well the engine says that 45.Kxf5 was fine because 45...Rxe3 46.Ne5 seems to be clearly winning but 46...Nxe5 47.fxe3 Nc4 and I'm not sure how easy Black's fortress is to break down.
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