Tata Steel Chess Tournament: Round 6
Dominguez Perez, Leinier - Nakamura, Hikaru
76th Tata Steel Chess Masters 2014.01.18
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6
The Berlin Wall, an opening that seems to be included in the repertoire of every elite player these days.
4.O-O ( Dominguez is not one to shy away from the endgame with 4.d3 . He has consistenly been trying to gain an advantage in the main line.)
4... Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.h3 Bd7 10.Rd1 Kc8!?
10...Be7 was Magnus Carlsen's choice in his WC-match against Vishy Anand. In that game Vishy got nowhere following 11.Nc3 ( 11.g4 Nh4 12.Nxh4 Bxh4 13.Nd2 is a more critical attempt that was seen in Caruana-Grischuk, Warsaw 2013.)11... Kc8 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Rd2 c5 15.Rad1 Be6 16.Ne1 Ng6 17.Nd3 b6 18.Ne2 and the Fischeresque:18... Bxa2! when Anand had to dig deep in order to secure the draw. The game continuation has been Hikaru's choice in previous games as well. It is a much sharper alternative.
11.g4 Ne7 12.Ng5 Be8 13.f4
The battle now revolves around the following issue; Black is trying to prove that White has overextended on the kingside and that, in the long run, he will be able to undermine those pawns and get his bishops to work. White will be trying to hamper those bishops and slowly increase the pressure on the kingside.
13... b6 (13... h5 was Kramnik's choice and that is usually not a bad sign! It was also Nakamura's latest choice so it would be interesting to know why he deviated. I quote two fantastic games that are well worth replaying: 14.Kf2 ( 14.f5 hxg4 15.hxg4 Rh4 16.Kf2 Rxg4 17.Rh1 Nxf5! 18.Rh8 Bc5+ 19.Kf3 Rg1 20.Rxe8+ Kd7 21.Rxa8 Nd4+ 22.Ke4 Rxc1 and Black had enough compensation in Caruana-Kramnik, Moscow 2013)14... b6 15.f5 Kb7 16.Nc3 hxg4 17.hxg4 Rh2+ 18.Kg3 Rxc2 19.Nh7 c5! 20.Nxf8 Bc6 21.f6 Rg2+ 22.Kf4 gxf6 23.exf6 Rf2+ 24.Ke3 Rxf6 25.Nh7 Rf3+ 26.Kd2 Rd8+ 27.Kc2 Rxc3+! 28.bxc3 Ba4+ 29.Kb2 Rxd1 winning, Caruana-Adams, Dortmund 2013.)
14.f5 h5 ( And now the game enters uncharted territory. 14...c5 15.Nd2 h6 16.Ngf3 Bc6 17.Kf2 Kb7 18.b3 g6 19.f6 Nd5 20.Bb2 Nb4 was Caruana-Nakamura(!) and now 21.Ne1 may have been an improvement. The position is very messy though I'd blindly take White. White has the clear plan of slowly advancing on the kingside whereas Black has to play extremely resourceful in order to stop White from achieving just that.)
15.Kg2 c5 16.Nc3 g6 17.f6 Nc6
Now Black would idealy like to exchange his f8-bishop for the knight on g5 and erect some kind of white-square blockade with his knight on e6 and bishop on c6.
18.Nf3 Nb4 19.Bf4!
This is not the moment to think about meaningless pawns. Development is everything! Just note that the Berlin doesn't always have to be boring.
19... Nxc2 20.Rac1 Nb4 21.a3 Nc6 22.Ne4 Bd7?
In sharp positions just one mistake can cost you the game. It was absolutely forced to play 22...Kb7 when 23.e6!? 23... fxe6 24.Kg3 prepares Neg5 and gives White excellent compensation for the two pawns. If it is more than that would require a seperate analysis.
23.Neg5 ( This is strong, but so is the simple 23.Kg3 Nd8 ( Be6 24.Neg5 is no picknink either.) 24.Rd2! when I dont really see a defence for Black:24... Bc6 (24... Ne6 25.Nfg5! 25... Nxg5 26.Nxg5 highlights the weakness on f7.) 25.Rcd1 Ne6 26.Neg5! not afraid of ghosts!26... h4+ 27.Nxh4 and here both27... Nxf4 ( and27... Rxh4 28.Nxe6! ) 28.Nxf7! are winning for White.)
23... hxg4 (23... Nd8 would be desirable if Black could throw in Bf8-h6xg5 but there is just no time. 24.Rxd7! 24... Kxd7 25.e6+! 25... fxe6 (25... Nxe6 26.Ne5+ Ke8 27.Nxe6 fxe6 28.f7+ Kd8 29.Nxg6 is just over.) 26.Ne5+ Kc8 27.Nxg6 Rh6 28.gxh5 with excellent compensation for the exchange.)
24.hxg4 Bxg4 25.Nxf7!
Things have gone all wrong for Nakamura but from here on out he starts showing his amazing practical abilities.
25... Rh5 26.Kg3 Bf5 (26...Bxf3 27.Kxf3 Nd4+ get's brutally refuted with 28.Rxd4 cxd4 29.e6 when there are two pawns queening and Rxc7 is threatened.)
27.N7g5 Bh6 28.e6 Bxg5 29.Nxg5 Rxg5+!
The best chance. Black get's two pawns for the exchange and at least manages to stop one of the passed pawns.
30.Bxg5 Bxe6 31.Re1?!
( The first in a series of small errors that bring Nakamura back in the game. 31.b4! is the way forward but in slight timetrouble Dominguez may have missed31... Nd4 (31... a5 32.bxc5 b5 is perhaps best but should just be winning for White.) 32.bxc5 Ne2+ 33.Kf2 Nxc1 and the strong shot 34.c6!! decides. There is no stopping Rd8+ followed by f7+ and f8Q! For instance34... Bf7 35.Rh1 Kd8 36.Rh8+ Be8 37.f7+ and mate next move.)
31... Nd4 32.Rcd1 Bf7 33.Be3?!
( 33.Kf2! is a far from obvious but very strong move. The point is that Re7 is threatened and 33... Nf5 (33... Ne6 34.Be3! places the Black king in zugzwang. After Kb7 there will always follow Rd7.) 34.Rh1! and White penetrates with Rh7.)
33... Nf5+ 34.Kg4 Kb7 35.Bf4 Kc6 36.Rh1 Rf8 37.Rh7 Nd4 38.Rf1?
Mistakes don't come alone! After this move Nakamura confidently steers the game towards a draw. Not better was 38.Bh6 ( But 38.Be5 Ne6 39.Bc3 a5 40.Rd2! 40... a4 41.Rd1 b5 42.Kh4! places Black in a zugzwang we have seen before. If the king moves, Rd7 will follow. Still, this is a much better version for Black so matters are not entirely clear. A good sample variaton is42... Nf4 43.Kg5 Ne6+ 44.Kh6 g5 45.Re1 Kd5 46.Rxf7!? 46... Rxf7 47.Kg6 Rf8 48.f7 Nd8 49.Re8 Rxf7 50.Rxd8+ Ke6 51.Re8+ Re7 52.Rb8 ( 52.Rxe7+ Kxe7 53.Kxg5 Ke6 54.Kf4 Kd5 is a draw. It doesn't help that the a8-square is of the wrong colour.)52... c6 53.Kxg5 Kd5 with a position where I would estimate that Black should be able to hold. I am not going to place any bets on that though!)38... Be6+ 39.Kg5 Nf3+ 40.Kxg6 Ne5+ 41.Kg5 Nf3+ with perpetual check as White has to keep defending his f6-pawn.
This is the point! Suddenly White is losing material.
40.Rxc7+ Kb5 41.Rf2 Ne6+ 42.Kg4 Nxc7 And the players agreed a draw. After 43.Bxc7 White is a pawn down, but this is fully compensated by the strong passed pawn on f6. Given the fact that Dominguez just blundered the exchange, he may not have been too eager to push his luck.