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Fabiano Caruana vs Hikaru Nakamura
"Just Fab" (game of the day Jan-06-2017)
London Chess Classic (2016), London ENG, rd 6, Dec-15
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  1-0



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Given 13 times; par: 35 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-06-17  izimbra: <kwid: 16. Qxf4 Nexg4 17. Bxg4 e5 18.Qxf6> - <18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.Qf3 Nf4 20.Kb1> Better king safety gives white a small advantage.
Jan-06-17  morfishine: Where is <thegoodanarchist> when you need him?


Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Eyal> & <CHC> ... This is a beautiful game, and your comments are excellent. Thanks to both of you.
Jan-07-17  User not found: 19.Qxf6!! This game is well above my level of understanding! Gonna have to let the engine have a deek at this. Caruana must have seen 15 moves ahead!? The mind boggles, and the irony because this is a very Nakamura style game. Brilliant.
Jan-18-17  YouRang: <izimbra: <<Eyal>: I let my own Stockfish look at the position - it suggests 23.Rd3 instead of c4 and at a depth of 30+ actually starts showing a significant advantage for White. This rook move has all kinds of ideas - Ra3 to attack a6, doubling on the d-file, preventing castling (23...0-0? 24.Rg3+ Kh8 25.Rhg1), and the threat of Rc3 followed by Bb6 or Ba7 (for example, after the very natural 23...Rg8?, 24.Rc3 is winning). Black's best defensive plan is apparently to play Rb5 and give up the exchange on d5. If Black doesn't fall for any specific tactics, I suppose a winning idea in the long run would be to attack the weak pawn on a6 and advance on the Q-side.>

23.Rd3, a logical move, does look stronger for White, but I still see a game that's solidly in the draw range, lacking a way to force a black loss.>

I thought I would take a crack at settling whether <21.Nf5!> was winning by following the best moves calculated deeply with a strong engine.

[PART 1 of 2]

<21...Bxf5 22.Bxf5 Rb8 23.Rd3>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 49 ply:
+1.32 23...Bg7 24.h5 Rb5 25.Kb1 0-0 26.Bh4 Rxd5
+1.97 23...Rb5 24.c4 Rxd5 25.Rxd5 Be7 26.c5 Qb8

<23...Bg7 24.h5 Rb5 25.Kb1>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 43 ply:
+1.28 25...0-0 26.Bh4 Rxd5 27.Bxd8 Rxd3 28.Be7
+1.91 25...Qb8 26.Rhd1 Rxd5 27.Rxd5 Bf8 28.c4
+1.91 25...Rxd5 26.Rxd5 Qb8 27.Rhd1 Bf8 28.c4 Rg8

<25...0-0 26.Bh4 Rxd5 27.Bxd8 Rxd3 28.Be7>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 44 ply:
+1.22 28...Rf3 29.Bxf8 Bxf8 30.Rg1+ Kh8 31.Rd1
+1.31 28...Re8 29.cxd3 Rxe7 30.Bc8 d5 31.exd5
+1.40 28...Rd2 29.Rg1 Kh8 30.Bxf8 Bxf8 31.c3 d5
+1.92 28...Rd4 29.Rg1 Kh8 30.Bxf8 Bxf8 31.c3 Rc4

<28...Rf3 29.Bxf8 Bxf8 30.Rg1+ Kh8 31.Rd1>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 33 ply:
+1.21 31...d5 32.Rxd5 Bxb4 33.c3 Bf8 34.Bc8 Kg7
+1.70 31...Kg7 32.Rd5 Kf6 33.Ka2 Kg5 34.c4 Rf1
+1.83 31...Be7 32.Rd5 Rf2 33.c3 Kg7 34.Ka2 Bg5
+1.99 31...Kg8 32.Rd5 Be7 33.Ka2 Rf1 34.c3 Kg7+


Jan-18-17  YouRang: [PART 2 of 2]

<31...d5 32.Rxd5 Bxb4 33.c4>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 50 ply:
+2.14 33...Rf1+ 34.Kc2 Ra1 35.Kb3 Bf8 36.c5 Kg8
+3.03 33...Rf2 34.c5 Rd2 35.Rxe5 Kg7 36.c6 Bd6
+3.72 33...Bf8 34.c5 Rf1+ 35.Kc2 Rf2+ 36.Kc3
+3.73 33...Be7 34.c5 Rf1+ 35.Kc2 Bg5 36.b4 Rc1+

<33...Rf1+ 34.Kc2 Ra1 35.Kb3>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 50 ply:
+2.39 35...Bf8 36.c5 Rc1 37.Kb4 Be7 38.Bc8 Ra1
+2.53 35...Be1 36.Bg4 Bf2 37.Be2 Rc1 38.Rxe5
+2.93 35...a5 36.Kc2 a4 37.c5 a3 38.c6 axb2
+4.42 35...Be7 36.Rd7 Bc5 37.Rxf7 Kg8 38.Be6 Kh8

<35...Bf8 36.c5 Rc1 37.Kb4 Be7 38.Bc8 Ra1 39.Rxe5>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 37 ply:
+2.67 39...Bf6 40.Rd5 Bxb2 41.c6 Rc1 42.Bb7 Kg7
+2.93 39...Bh4 40.Rf5 Kg7 41.Bb7 Ra2 42.Bd5
+3.35 39...Bg5 40.Rf5 Kg7 41.Bb7 Bd2+ 42.Kc4
+3.79 39...a5+ 40.Kb5 Bh4 41.Rf5 Kg7 42.c6 Bd8

<39...Bf6 40.Rd5 Bxb2 41.c6>

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 42 ply:
+4.37 41...Rc1 42.Bb7 Kg7 43.Ka5 Kf6 44.Kb6 Be5
+4.54 41...Rb1 42.Ka5 Bc1 43.Rd7 Ra1+ 44.Kb4
+4.63 41...Kg7 42.Kc5 Bc1 43.c7 Bf4 44.e5 Rc1+
+4.65 41...a5+ 42.Kc5 Rc1+ 43.Kd6 a4 44.Bf5 Ba3

Looks like we're heading toward a white win.

Jan-19-17  Eyal: <YouRang> As mentioned in my last post here (quoting the correspondence player who analyzed this line in his blog months before it was played by Caruana), the more direct <23.c4> - aiming for the c5 break and also stopping the defensive resource Rb5 - should be winning as well, only after 23...Be7 White should continue 24.Kb1! rather than Kc2, which was originally mentioned by <izimbra> here (apparently that's what the engine shows at first).
Jan-19-17  Xeroxx: Carry-You-Ana.
Jan-19-17  YouRang: <Eyal> Yes, sorry I overlooked that in your earlier post, but as predicted, the computer was very slow to find <24.Kb1!>. Once it sees it, then 23.c4 becomes its new favorite move.

It's always fun to find positions that baffle the computers. It feels like a win for humanity. :-)

Jan-19-17  YouRang: FWIW, now that my computer has been "trained" to see the strength of answering <21.Nf5 Bxf5 22.Bxf5 Rb8> with 23.c4! Be7 24.Kb1!, it now sees three potential winning moves when I backtrack to move 23:

click for larger view

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 47 ply:
+1.85 23.c4 a5 24.b5 Be7 25.b6 Rc8 26.Bxc8
+1.56 23.Kb1 0-0 24.Ba7 Rb5 25.Be3 Bg7 26.c4
+1.18 23.Rd3 Bg7 24.h5 Rb5 25.Kb1 0-0 26.Bh4
+0.00 23.Rh2 Rb5 24.Rh3 Rxd5 25.Rxd5 0-0 26.Rg3+

While 23.Rd3 was the move the engine first learned to like, it has now dropped to third place. It looks like the immediate 23.Kb1! is quite strong. Admittedly, I would be at a loss to explain why...

In any case, it looks like 21.Nd5! was a deep winning shot by Caruana, even had Nakamura played it better.

Mar-01-17  JosephSire: If nakamura took the night with his bishop immediately after the queen sack I bet he would have won he left no room on his back rank
Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: Can someone explain why 25 h5 instead of going ahead with Be3? Haven't analyzed with computer, but I'm having trouble seeing what it addresses. Nor do I see the point of black's response qg5+, simply inviting the bishop where it wants to go and threatening nothing in particular (that I can see) given the threat of a rook on the G file.

Not that I see a whole lot of options for black, but what was that supposed to accomplish?

29 b5 is also mysterious to me. Is that just to block the a4-e8 diagonal for the eventually unpinned black queen?

Mar-14-17  7he5haman: <Alex Schindler> if 25.Be3 then maybe(?) 25...Rfd8 is good, which can't be played after 25.h5 because of 26.Bh4.

25...Qg5+ may have been a reaction to the threat of 26.Bh4. Honestly I don't see how Black can stop the dual threats of 26.Be3 and 26.Bh4. It's hard to suggest a better move without a computer / better chess brain!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: [Fritz 10]: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 h6 8. Bh4 Qb6 9. a3 [Last book move Opening Explorer ] Be7 10. Bf2 Qc7 11. Qf3 Nbd7 12. 0-0-0 [12. Be2 g5 ] b5 [=] 13. g4 Opening Explorer g5 14. h4 gxf4 15. Be2 [Less advisable is 15. Qxf4 e5 16. Qd2 exd4 17. Bxd4 Ne5 ] b4 [15 ... d5 16. exd5 Bb7 17. dxe6 Bxf3 18. exd7+ Qxd7 19. Bxf3 0-0-0 20. Ndxb5 Qxd1+ 21. Bxd1 axb5 22. Nxb5 Rhg8 ] (oh sure ;>D) 16. axb4 [ ] Ne5 17. Qxf4 Nexg4 18. Bxg4 e5 19. Qxf6 Bxf6 20. Nd5 Qd8 21. Nf5 ["A beautiful square!"] [21. Nc6 Bxg4 22. Nxd8 Bxd8 23. Rd2 ] Rb8?? [21 ... Bxf5 22. exf5 Rb8 ] 22. Nxf6+ [ ] Qxf6 23. Rxd6 [23. Nxd6+!? Ke7 ] Be6 [ ] 24. Rhd1 0-0 [24 ... Rxb4?? Black will choke on that pawn 25. Rxe6+! fxe6 26. Bh5+ Kf8 27. Bc5+ Kg8 28. Be7 Qxe7 29. Nxe7+ Kg7 30. Rd7 ] 25. h5 Qg5+ [25 ... Rxb4!? 26. Bh4 Bxf5 27. Bxf6 Bxg4 ] 26. Be3 [ ] Qf6 27. Nxh6+ Kh8 28. Bf5 [28. Nxf7+ Rxf7 29. Rxe6 ] Qe7?? [Leading to a quick end - 28 ... Rfe8 ] 29. b5 [29. Nxf7+ might be the shorter path Qxf7 30. Rxe6 Qxh5 31. Rh6+ Qxh6 32. Bxh6 Rfe8 ] Qe8 [29 ... Rbc8 30. b4 Qb7 31. Nxf7+ Rxf7 32. Rxe6 Rxf5 33. exf5 Qxb5 ] 30. Nxf7+! [Double attack: a6/h8] Rxf7 31. Rxe6 [31. Bxe6 Rf6 32. Bf5 Rxd6 33. Rxd6 Qxb5 ] Qxb5 [31 ... Qxe6 the only chance to get some counterplay 32. Bxe6 Rf3 ] 32. Rh6+ 1-0.

Commentators are calling Caruana, Nakamura and So the Big Three of American chess, after leading the US to Olympiad Gold in 2016, with talk of a C-N-S triangle similar to the K-A-K triangle of Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik from 15 years ago. This sharp Sicilian Najdorf line has already shown up in this year's Top Ten A Giri vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2016 which went 15 ... Rg8 16. Rdg1 d5 and Black won with a brutal attack. Car-Nak scored well by trading the Queen for two pieces which is always pleasing, yet it also demonstrates the crucial distinction between active and passive pieces; like so many White victories, Black's forces are mostly bystanders while the King gets hammered. Fritz the anti-human cyborg was generous with "?" as always, while frugal with "!" here, but remember these tactical slugfests will have lots of computer improvements that are not at all so easy to find over the board.

Lots of great posts in this thread, but don't miss the 34. Bc5+!! suggestion pointed out by <mistreaver> on Page 2.

Apr-02-17  whiteshark: <tpstar> Can't wait to see 'the winner' of Game Collection: Best Games of 2016 in just 2 days ... ;)
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <2 days> I hope the anticipation isn't making anyone insanely jealous!
Apr-03-17  whiteshark: <tpstar> Well, you have stretched the tension so much, that you exactly get me there... ;)
Aug-01-17  ZackyMuhammad: After 26.Be3, in my opinion 26... ♕ xg4 is better. Because 27. ♖ g1 and 27... ♕ xg1. How do you think? Do not agree with me?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <ZackyMuhammad:> Don't forget about the royal fork Nxh6 or the pin Rg1.
Aug-02-17  ZackyMuhammad: Thank you.
Sep-07-17  Monocle: Games like this make me wonder why the tradition of brilliancy prizes has more or less died out. Did Gazza's outburst at Linares 2003 kill them off, or were brilliancy prizes on the wane even before then? And would we get more exciting chess if significant brilliancy prizes were awarded at more events?
Feb-06-18  mikealando: Truly fab
Jul-07-18  paladintanks: 7..h6 according to MCO 1990 edition by nick de firmian hands the initiative to wh ite because a3 black queen would have to retreat at c7 Bf2 applying pressure to black queen in dark diagonal
Dec-22-18  Bernton: Picture showing the evaluations and where it went wrong for Hikara (Stockifsh 10 dev version very deep analysis) Graph:
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Caruana seems so brilliant in this game that he seems to be off in his own world at a completely unattainable level, which raises the question: Does he play less brilliantly now, or is it just impossible to shine against Carlsen? Even great tacticians like MVL and Mamedyarov seem to play relatively boring games against Carlsen.
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