Tata Steel Chess Tournament: Round 7

Jan 19, 2014
StaffCoachIGMLessenmakers 2379
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Nakamura, Hikaru - Van Wely, Loek

76th Tata Steel Chess Masters 2014.01.19

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g4!?

BD_60_36_0.pngDiagram #1

Even before the black knight lands on f6 White starts chasing it! This somewhat surprising move came into fashion after Karpov used it in the match for the world title against Kasparov in 1984.

6... Nge7 ( Kasparov went 6... h6 and after 7.h4 a6 8.Bg2 Be7 9.Be3 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 e5 11.Qd1 Be6 12.Nd5 Rc8 13.c3 Nf6 14.Nxe7 Qxe7 15.g5 hxg5 16.hxg5 Rxh1+ 17.Bxh1 Ng4 he had little to complain about.)


Of course White avoids Nxd4, which would make c6 available for the e7-knight. White has more space so in general he will not strive for exchanges.

7... a6 8.h4 ( Already a new move, and perhaps not a very fortunate one. More critical is 8.Be3 b5 9.f4 which has been seen in numerous high-level games.)

8... b5 9.Bg2 Bb7 10.g5 Rc8 11.Qe2 h5!?

BD_60_36_1.pngDiagram #2

( Very logical, preventing any further expansion by White on the kingside. A strong alternative was 11...Na5! when for instance 12.h5 b4 13.Nd1 d5! already hands Black a serious initiative.)

12.a4 b4 13.Na2 g6 ( One of two ways to finish development. The other being Ng6 which looks less natural. The game continuation does imply a pawn sacrifice though.) 14.Bf4 Bg7 15.Rd1 Ne5 ( 16.Nxb4 Nc4 17.Nd3 Qb6 18.O-O O-O 19.Nd2!

BD_60_36_2.pngDiagram #3

It is important to remove the strong knight from c4.

19... Rfd8 ( The tactical justification behind 19.Nd2 is 19... Nxb2 20.Nxb2 Bxb2 21.Nc4! when Black is collapsing.) 20.Nxc4 Rxc4 21.Ne5?!

BD_60_36_3.pngDiagram #4

(This looks very strong but in fact 21.b3! would have made matters much more difficult for Black. 21... Rc3 (21... Rcc8 22.c4! with the idea 22... Qxb3 23.Rb1!) 22.Nb2 d5 23.a5 Qb5 (23...Qxa5 24.Bd2!) 24.Qxb5 axb5 seems promising for Black on first sight but after the more or less forced sequence 25.Nd3 dxe4 26.a6! Bxa6 (26... Ba8 27.Nc5!) 27.Nb4 Rxd1 28.Rxd1 Bb7 29.Rd8+ Bf8 30.Rb8 Bd5 31.Bf1 White wins the b-pawn and keeps annoying pressure over the 8th rank.) 21... dxe5 22.Be3 (22.Qxc4 Rxd1 23.Rxd1 exf4 24.Rd7 Nc6 looks losing, but after 25.Qb3! it is all far from clear. Best Black may very well be to allow a draw with 25... Qa5 26.Qxb7 Qe1+ 27.Bf1 Bd4 28.Qc8+ Kg7 29.Rxf7+! Kxf7 30.Qd7+ Kf8 31.Qc8+ Ke7 32.Qc7+ and perpetual check. But the game continuation looks very strong. Isn't White winning material?) 22... Rcd4!

BD_60_36_4.pngDiagram #5

23.c3 Bc6 24.b3?!

BD_60_36_5.pngDiagram #6

( This doesn't work out well. It seems the simple 24.Qc2 protecting the queenside pawns, was a better option.)24... Qxb3!

BD_60_36_6.pngDiagram #7

Van Wely is not one to shy away from a fight. It has brought him both heavy losses and big wins!

25.cxd4 exd4 26.Bf4 Qxa4 ( This is better then 26...e5 27.Bd2 Bxa4 28.Qxa6! because 28... Bb5 29.Qb6! attacks the rook and pins the b5-bishop.) 27.Qf3 Bb5

It is obvious things have gone terribly wrong for White. Black has two pawns for the exchange and the d-pawn is about to turn into a real monster!

28.Ra1 Qb4 29.Rfd1 d3 30.Rab1 Qa3 31.Bf1 Nc6!

BD_60_36_7.pngDiagram #8

When looking for a move a good rule of thumb is to find your worst piece on the board and try to improve it. Here the knight was rather inactive on e7, but Van Wely is about to bring it to d4.

32.Qg3 Qa2 33.Rbc1?!

BD_60_36_8.pngDiagram #9

This hastens the end but I have trouble even suggesting a half-decent alternative.

33... d2!

BD_60_36_9.pngDiagram #10

34.Rxd2 Rxd2 35.Bxb5 axb5 36.Bxd2 Nd4!

BD_60_36_10.pngDiagram #11

( For the past ten moves Van Wely has been consistently hitting the nail on the head! Much worse is Qxd2 37.Rxc6 Qe1+ 38.Kg2! 38... Qxe4+ 39.Qf3 Qxh4 40.Rc8+ Bf8 41.Qf6! and the threat of Qe7 gives White enough counterplay to make a draw.) 37.Rc8+ Kh7 38.Qc7 ( 38.Qe3?

BD_60_36_11.pngDiagram #12

38... Qxd2 39.Qxd2 Nf3+ 40.Kg2 Nxd2 was the point of the whole operation starting with 33...d2. Impressive calculation indeed!) 38... Qb1+ 39.Bc1 ( Only move, as 39.Kh2 ( 39.Kg2 Qxe4+ is not much brighter.) 39... Be5+! loses the queen.)39... Nf3+ 40.Kg2 Nxh4+!

BD_60_36_12.pngDiagram #13

41.Kh3 Qxe4!

BD_60_36_13.pngDiagram #14

Threatening mate in various ways, the most obvious being Qg2(4)-g4(2)#.

42.Qf4 Qh1+ 43.Qh2 Qb7!

BD_60_36_14.pngDiagram #15

44.Rd8 ( Black's elegant point is 44.Rc7 Qf3+ 45.Qg3 Qh1+ 46.Qh2 Qxh2+ 47.Kxh2 Be5+! with an easy win.) 44... Be5!

BD_60_36_15.pngDiagram #16

45.f4 ( 45.Qxe5?

BD_60_36_16.pngDiagram #17

leads to the mate mentioned above with 45... Qg2+ 46.Kxh4 Qg4#) 45... Qf3+ 46.Qg3 Qh1+ 47.Qh2 Qf3+ 48.Qg3 Qh1+

with a 30-second increment after each move it makes sense to repeat moves once and gain some time on the clock.

49.Qh2 Qxc1 50.fxe5 Qxg5

Now it's all gone.


BD_60_36_17.pngDiagram #18

51... Qxd8 ( It's never to late to go wrong with 51... Qxf4 52.Rh8+! Kg7 53.Rg8+ Kh6 54.Rh8+ Kg5 55.Rxh5+! with stalemate next move! The game continuation leaves little doubt about the outcome though.) 52.Qxf7+ Kh6

White resigned. An important -and impressive- first victory for Van Wely!


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