Kavalek in Huffington: Chipmunk Chess

1/23/2012 – Six moves into his game at the Tata Steel tournament Hikaru Nakamura created a gap that was big enough for a chipmunk. You see such holes in the lawn and you never know how many chipmunks are digging until the house collapses. Czech GM David Navara chose the wait-and-see approach and a highly instructive battle began. GM Lubos Kavalek annotates it in his latest Huffington Post column.

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Chipmunk Chess

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

It was not surprising to see the world's top two rated players, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia, sharing a lead at the 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament at the Dutch coastal town of Wijk aan Zee. They amassed a 5.5-2.5 score and with five rounds to go, we can expect a dramatic finish.

But it was one single move that drew the attention away from the world's finest players. Since it created so many holes in white's position, the move could only have been invented by a chipmunk.

Six moves into the game Hikaru Nakamura-David Navara, the top-rated American grandmaster dented his position with a strange pawn move. He didn't create a crater, but the gap was big enough for a little chipmunk. You see these holes in the lawn and you never know how many chipmunks there are digging until the house collapses.

How to deal with chipmunk holes? You can plug them up, but the beasts usually pop them up somewhere else. Navara, the Czech grandmaster, chose the wait-and-see approach. After all, he controlled most of the central squares. But Nakamura's hibernation was short-lived. He opened the f-file, fixed his weaknesses and engaged in the modern tactical warfare, threatening Navara from a distance. His bishops were reaching far on the long diagonals and his heavy pieces settled on the only open file on the kingside. By move 17, he finally crossed the Rubicon into Navara's territory. The Czech made one mistake and by move 25 his position went downhill. Nakamura finished the game with a knight sacrifice.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post


The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site has around 13 million unique visitors per month (number for March 2010); according to Google Analytics the number is 22 million uniques per month.


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