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GM Nakamura - GM Kramnik annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 31
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 05 December 2013

By GM Arkadij Naiditsch, #1 German chess player, FIDE 2737

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We know that these two players don't like each other too much and recently Nakamura showed great personal results against Kramnik. In the current game it seems like Kramnik manages to almost equalize but not completely and this is where Nakamura is taking over with great positional play and a very pretty final calculation. We will see a great game by the American Number 1.

Nakamura,Hikaru (2786) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2793) [E32]

World Teams 2013 Antalya TUR (2.2), 27.11.2013

[Arkadij Naiditsch]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Quite an interesting choice by Nakamura. Lately Kramnik showed great results in the Nimzo with 4. Qc2 but it seems not to bother the American.
4...00 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.Nf3
We are in the main line, nothing new so far.
7...dxc4 8.Qxc4 b6 Black's main idea in this line is to develop quickly and push the c5 move, with big exchanges. 9.Bg5 Ba6

An interesting move. The main one is 10.Qa4.
10...h6 A very logical move and quickly played by Kramnik. White needs to decide what to do with the bishop on g5. 11.Bxf6 [After 11.Bh4 Nbd7 Black keeps the important option of playing g5 in a good moment.]
11...Qxf6 12.g3
Of course White has to develop his bishop.
12...Bb7 13.Bg2 Na6 A very strange looking move to me. I think Black could have avoided placing the knight to such a passive position. [13...c5 looks much more logical. 14.dxc5 (14.00 Nd7 just looks equal.) 14...Qxc3+ 15.bxc3

15...Rc8 And I think this position is just a draw.]
14.00 c5 15.Rac1 The position looks like it is close to equal, but Black has to suffer a bit because of the bad knight on a6.
15...Rac8 Preparing for cxd4.
A very good practical choice. With this move White chases the queen from f6 and the knight a6 is still in danger of not finding any good square.
After this move the position is getting very tricky for Black. [Maybe the best option was still to play 16...Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Qf5 and the black queen is coming back into the game.]
17.Qxd4 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Nc5
The black knight is finally out, but not for long.

White is using the moment. b4 is a typical strategic decision in an endgame as the threat of playing b5 followed by Nc6 could be deadly.
The black knight has nowhere to go.
20.Rxc8 Rxc8 [Black can of course not take the queen: 20...Nxd4 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Nd7++]
21.Qd7! Another very good move. White is forcing the black rook to go back to a passive square on f8.
21...Rf8 22.f4 An aggressive approach. [After 22.Nf3 Black would face huge trouble. The knight on b3 is almost caught. White's position is much better.]
Better later than never. Black finally activates his queen.

After this victory Hikaru Nakamura toppled Vladimir Kramnik on the live ratings and reached the #3 spot in the world
Images are (C) the offiical website

23.Rf3 Qc2 24.Qd3
A good move. The endgame is far away from being a draw.
24...Qxd3 25.Rxd3 Nc1 The black knight is almost caught.
26.Rd2 [I think that after 26.Rd7 Nxe2 27.Rxa7 White should also have very good winning chances.]

An usual move, Nakamura just wants to play h5 and fix the black pawn structure. The knight on c1 is cut and is going nowhere. [The direct 27.b5 would probably also lead to about the same position as in the game.]
27...h5 28.b5 The knight is going to the best possible position on c6.
28...Rc7 29.Nc6 Kh7
Black's position is very ugly. White just wanted to play Rd8Ra8 and win a pawn.
30.Rb2 The black knight is totally cut off.
30...a5 31.Kf2
Nice technical play. White is improving the position of his king and wants to play Ke3Kd2 next.
31...Rd7 32.Ne5 Now Ne5 comes with a tempo.
32...Rc7 33.Rd2! White returns to the d-file, but now Rd6 or Rd7 are both looking deadly as the b6 pawn is going down.
33...f6 34.Nd7 Nb3 35.Nf8+
Nakamura calculates until the end. [35.Rd6 would also lead to a winning position for White.]

36.Rd7! was Nakamura's key idea. Before taking the pawn on e6 White is fixing the 7th rank, so Black is forced to exchange the rooks.
36...Rxd7 37.Nxd7 Nd4 Kramnik tries his last practical chance, but of course Nakamura has calculated it before playing 36. Rd7!
38.a4 Nxb5
If Black lost the b6 pawn White would be winning anyway.

Vladimir Kramnik defeated Alexander Ipatov and Anish Giri in the following rounds, restoring the rating balance

39.axb5 a4 40.Nc5
Of course! The white knight easily stops the a-pawn and the game is over.
[40...bxc5 41.b6 a3 42.b7 a2 43.b8Q+ White is queening first with a check.]
41.Nb3 a2 42.Ke3
It is hard to say why Kramnik continued the game here... The rest doesn't need any comments. 42...Kf7 43.Kd4 Ke7 44.e4 e5+ 45.fxe5 Ke6 46.Na1 fxe5+ 47.Kc3 g5 48.Kb2 gxh4 49.gxh4 Kd6

50.Nb3 All in all a great game by Nakamura who made great use of the bad position of the black knight and finished the game with a great combination on move 36.


View the game

More annotated games, tactics & endgame puzzles, surprise section/study can be found in the weekly Chess Evolution bulletin. 25 pages total. Subscribe!

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Comments (2)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 14:29 05 2013 .
National Master
Black could have gotten approximate equality with 20...Nxd4! 21.Rxf8+ Kh7! 22.Nxf7 Qf5.
2. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 19:49 05 2013 .
Unrated player
Enjoyed he GM Nakamura-GM Kramnik game very much 
Thank you

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 December 2013 )
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