Nakamura wins London!

by Alejandro Ramirez
12/16/2013 – After a lucky escape in the semi-finals against Kramnik, Nakamura proceeded to play resourceful and precise chess against Gelfand in the finals to emerge victorious. Despite his dubious opening choices in both games, Nakamura was clearly the better rapid player this time around as Gelfand was unable to keep up with all the resources that the American kept finding. Analysis of the victory.

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The London Super Sixteen rapid tournament has started. The main event of the London Chess Classic takes place from December 11th to December 15th at the Olympiad Conference Center in London, England. The tournament brings together many of the best players of the World as well as two qualifiers from the Open section of the London Chess Classic.

Daniel King's Highlights of the day

Semi-Finals

 
Player Rtg G1 G2 Pts
Kramnik, Vladimir 2793
½
0
0.5
Nakamura, Hikaru 2786
½
1
1.5

Nakamura and Kramnik drew the first game in a very strange game. Both sides had their chances but at the end Nakamura was trying to win with an extra pawn but with no real hopes of converting.

The second game was quite the tragedy. Kramnik outplayed the American and obtained a winning position, but a blunder equalized the situation as he could no longer make progress despite his extra exchange. A further two blunders somehow even managed to lose the game!

[Event "5th Classic KO 2013"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.12.15"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D35"] [WhiteElo "2786"] [BlackElo "2793"] [PlyCount "131"] [EventDate "2013.12.14"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5 7. a3 {an interesting way to combat Black's system.} (7. Nf3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ {forces a pair of bishops off the board, which is not necessarily what White wants.}) 7... g6 $5 {With this Black wants to transpose into a Gruenfeld like set-up. He is trying to prove that e6 is more useful than a3.} 8. Nf3 Bg7 9. h4 Nc6 10. Be3 Qa5 11. Qd2 cxd4 12. cxd4 Qxd2+ 13. Kxd2 O-O 14. Bb5 Bd7 15. Rhd1 Rfd8 $15 {This Gruenfeld endgame is not dangerous for Black. He already has good pressure on d4 and White has not developed any sort of initiative.} 16. Ke1 Nb4 $1 {Good tactics!} 17. Bxd7 (17. axb4 Bxb5 {is positionally bad for White. He is playing against the pair of bishops and his b4 and d4 pawns are targets.}) 17... Nc2+ 18. Kd2 Nxa1 19. Ba4 {The knight looks as if it is trapped, but there is a small detail} b5 $1 {Now the knight can come back to the game.} 20. Bxb5 Nb3+ 21. Ke2 Rac8 22. d5 exd5 23. exd5 Nc5 24. Rc1 Ne4 25. Rxc8 Rxc8 26. Bc6 {Black has a lot of technical problems to convert this position. Despite his material advantage White does have two strong bishops and his passed pawn cannot be underestimated.} Rb8 27. Bxa7 Rb2+ 28. Kf1 Ra2 29. a4 Ra1+ 30. Ke2 Nc3+ 31. Kd3 Nxa4 32. Bxa4 $6 {Its strange to eliminate the knight for a bishop.} Ra3+ 33. Ke2 Rxa4 34. Bb6 Kf8 35. g3 Ke8 36. Be3 Ra5 37. d6 Rd5 38. Bf4 f6 39. Nd2 Kd7 40. Ne4 Ke6 41. Bd2 h6 42. d7 {Black has steadily improved his position and the d-pawn has been lost. He just needed one precise move to capture it.} Kf7 $2 (42... Bf8 {wins the pawn and puts White in a very difficult situation, though in Rapid play it is possible that he would have held the draw.}) 43. Nc5 Bf8 44. Ba5 $1 {Suddenly Black's pieces are tied down as they have to keep watch over the passed pawn, but cannot actually take it. There is no way to make progress for Black anymore.} Be7 45. Bb6 Rd6 46. Ba5 Rd5 47. Bb6 h5 48. Kf3 f5 49. Kg2 Rd2 50. Ba5 Rd5 51. Bb6 f4 52. Kf3 fxg3 53. fxg3 Rd6 54. Ba5 Rd4 55. Bb6 Rd1 56. Ba5 Rd5 57. Bb6 Rd1 58. Ba5 g5 59. hxg5 Kg6 60. Bb6 Bxg5 61. Ne6 $1 Rd3+ $6 (61... Rxd7 62. Nf8+ Kf5 63. Nxd7 {is losing.}) (61... Bf6 62. d8=Q Bxd8 63. Bxd8 {should not be a difficult draw to hold.}) 62. Ke4 Rd6 63. Nxg5 Rxd7 64. Nf3 {This should still be drawn however.} Re7+ $2 65. Ne5+ Kf6 $4 {A horrible blunder.} (65... Kh7 66. Kf5 {starts getting dangerous for Black but it might still be holdable.}) 66. Bd8 {and Nakamura advances!} 1-0

 

Player Rtg G1 G2 Pts
Gelfand Boris 2777
1
½
1.5
Adams, Michael 2754
0
½
0.5

Gelfand found himself in a terrible position from the white side of a Catalan, but look at this amazing resourece he found:

[Event "5th Classic KO 2013"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.12.15"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Adams, Michael"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2777"] [BlackElo "2754"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2013.12.14"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. Ne5 c5 8. dxc5 Qxd1+ 9. Nxd1 Bxc5 10. Ne3 {A standard situation in the Catalan. White's fianchettoed bishop and better development give him slight chances to obtain an advantage. Meanwhile Black relies on the symmetrical pawn structure to keep the balance.} c3 $5 {An interesting idea. The point is that now White's pawn structure will be shattered. On the other hand, this opens up the b-file for White's rook.} 11. bxc3 Nbd7 12. Nd3 Rb8 13. Nc4 b6 14. Nxc5 (14. Bf4 Bb7 {is the trick that allows Black to play the way that he did.} 15. Bxb8 Bxg2 16. Rg1 Bd5 {And White loses material.}) 14... Nxc5 15. Ba3 Ba6 16. Ne5 Rfc8 17. Nc6 Rb7 18. Bxc5 $6 {It's hard to understand this move. White gets rid of the bishop pair and he could have done this trade at basically any point.} (18. Rd1 Rbc7 19. Bxc5 bxc5 20. Na5 {seemed like a better time to do the trade now that there is no rook on the b-file. However there is only equal.}) 18... bxc5 19. Ne5 Rb2 20. c4 {Something has clearly gone wrong for Gelfand.} h5 (20... Ne8 $1 {With the simple idea of kicking out the knight from e5 with f6 and then attacking the weakened c4 pawn, was quite powerful.}) 21. Bf3 Ng4 22. Nc6 Rc7 23. h3 Nf6 24. Ne5 {Black has clearly made no progress and White has slightly improved his position. However it should still favor Black.} Nd7 $2 {A blunder that is met in an unusual way.} 25. O-O-O $1 {You don't see this often! A powerful double attack completely changes the character of the position.} Nxe5 26. Kxb2 Nxf3 27. exf3 Bxc4 28. Rd8+ {Black is simply down the exchange and struggling to survive.} Kh7 29. Rc1 Bd5 30. Rc3 Kg6 31. h4 Kf6 32. a3 Ke5 33. Rh8 g6 34. g4 hxg4 35. fxg4 Kd4 {Black has realistic chances to save this position. He has a powerful bishop and his king is active. Unfortunately for him none of those pieces is going to stop the h-pawn...} 36. Re3 f5 37. gxf5 gxf5 38. h5 f4 39. Rh3 Rb7+ 40. Kc1 Be4 41. Rd8+ $1 Ke5 $6 {making things easier for Gelfand.} (41... Kc4 42. Kd2 (42. h6 $2 Bf5 $1 {forces the rook off the h-file, since if it goes for example Rh5 black will reply Kc3.}) 42... Rb2+ 43. Ke1 Bf5 44. h6 Bxh3 45. h7 Rb1+ 46. Kd2 Rb2+ 47. Kc1 Rb1+ 48. Kxb1 Bf5+ 49. Kc1 Bxh7 50. Rd7 $16) 42. h6 c4 43. Kd2 Rb2+ 44. Ke1 Rb1+ 45. Rd1 Rb7 46. Rh5+ Kf6 47. Rd4 Rb1+ 48. Kd2 Rb2+ 49. Kc3 Rc2+ 50. Kb4 Bh7 51. Rxf4+ Kg6 52. Rh3 e5 53. Rxc4 Rxf2 54. Rc7 {a pretty tragic loss for Adams but what a fantastic move 0-0-0 was} 1-0

Finals

Player Rtg G1 G2 Pts
Nakamura, Hikaru 2786
1
½
1.5
Gelfand, Boris 2777
0
½
0.5

The match was decided in this wild game. Nakamura's opening was more than questinoable, but afterwards he played in an impeccable manner:

[Event "5th Classic KO 2013"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.12.15"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Gelfand, Boris"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D97"] [WhiteElo "2786"] [BlackElo "2777"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2013.12.14"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. e5 {one of the sharpest lines in current theory: the Russian Gruenfeld.} b5 9. Qb3 Nfd7 10. Ng5 Nc6 (10... Nb6 {is the main line, but the move in the text is a good and new try.}) 11. Nxf7 $6 {I don't think too many people will repeat this after this game.} Rxf7 12. e6 Nxd4 13. exf7+ Kf8 {White is up the exchange, but thats the only good part about his position. He has basically no development and Black is very active.} 14. Qd1 Nc5 (14... Ne5 {may be slightly more accurate.} 15. Be3 c5 $17 {and now d4 really can't be taken.}) 15. Be3 Bf5 16. Rc1 $1 {Nakamura took a long time on this move. This is a very patient move.} (16. Bxd4 Qxd4 17. Qxd4 Bxd4 {is very uncomfortable for White as he still has no development and he will have to figure out a way to hold his queenside together.}) 16... Qd6 17. b4 Ne4 $6 {After this move, Nakamura plays like a genius and he never gives Gelfand another chance.} (17... Nce6 $1 18. g4 $2 (18. Bd3 Qxb4 $15) 18... Qc6 $19) (17... Rd8 $3 {is not something anyone is expected to find over the board.} 18. bxc5 Qe5 {Black is a full rook down, but there is no way to stop nc2+.} 19. Be2 Nc2+ 20. Qxc2 Bxc2 21. Rxc2 b4 22. Nd1 Qe4 {the point of the combination.} 23. Rc4 Qxg2 $15 {and Black's initiative outweighs the material advantage. Ok this will never happen in real life.}) 18. Nxe4 Bxe4 19. f3 Bf5 20. Qd2 Rd8 21. Kf2 Kxf7 22. Be2 {Black is still ok, he has sufficient compensation for the exchange.} Qf6 $2 {This move is very strange. It is just basically gifting away the c7 pawn.} (22... h5) (22... Rd7) (22... Bf6 {were all about equal}) 23. Rxc7 Ne6 $6 24. Rd7 Rc8 25. Bd3 (25. Bd1 $1 {With the idea of Bb3, was even stronger, but the move played in the game is more human.}) 25... Rc3 26. Bxf5 gxf5 27. f4 $1 {A solid move. Even though the computer doesn't agree with it I like it since it nicely holds down the fort.} (27. Rc1 Qh4+ 28. Kg1 Qxb4 {gives Black a pawn for reasons I cannot comprehend.}) 27... Rc4 $6 28. Rc1 Re4 29. g3 {Black is out of threats and the American cruises to victory.} h5 30. h4 Qg6 31. Bc5 Bf6 32. Re1 Qg4 33. Rxe4 fxe4 34. Qd1 Qf5 35. Rd5 Qh3 36. Qf1 {Peter Svidler commented on Hikaru Nakamura's resourcefulness. He doesn't need to have the best position in the world, but he is able to find the best continuations in situations where it is needed, and he takes full advantage of the opportunities his opponents give him.} 1-0

Gelfand certainly had his chances in game two, but he was unable to use them and Nakamura emerged as the winner of the 2013 London Chess Super Sixteen!

Find tomorrow the wrap up on the closing ceremony as well as the results of the FIDE Open

Semi Finals and Final games

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Semi Final matches:

Player Rtg G1 G2 Pts
Kramnik, Vladimir 2793
½
0
0.5
Nakamura, Hikaru 2786
½
1
1.5
Player Rtg G1 G2 Pts
Gelfand Boris 2777
1
½
1.5
Adams, Michael 2754
0
½
0.5

Quarter Final matches:

Player Rtg G1 G2 Pts
Kramnik, Vladimir 2793
½
1
1.5
Anand, Vishy 2773
½
0
0.5
Player Rtg G1 G1 T1 T2 Pts
Adams, Michael 2754
1
0
1
1
3.0
Svidler, Peter 2758
0
1
0
0
1.0
Player Rtg G1 G2 Pts
Short, Nigel 2683
0
½
0.5
Nakamura, Hikaru 2786
1
½
1.5
Player Rtg G1 G1 T1 T2 Pts
Caruana, Fabiano 2777
½
½
0
0
1.0
Gelfand, Boris 2782
½
½
1
1
3.0

Group Stage results

Round 01 – Group A: Wednesday December 11th, 14:00
Luke McShane 2697
0-1
Vishy Anand 2775
Andrei Istratescu 2709
0-1
Michael Adams 2761
Round 01 – Group B: Wednesday December 11th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
1-0
Peter Svidler 2746
Jonathan Rowson 2573
1-0
Matthew Sadler 2646
Round 01 – Group C: Wednesday December 11th, 15:30
Boris Gelfand 2764
1-0
Judit Polgar 2696
Gawain Jones 2633
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Round 01 – Group D: Wednesday December 11th, 15:30
Nigel Short 2684
½-½
David Howell 2644
Fabiano Caruana 2779
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
Round 02 – Group A: Wednesday December 11th, 18:00
Vishy Anand 2775
½-½
Michael Adams 2761
Luke McShane 2697
1-0
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 02 – Group B: Wednesday December 11th, 18:00
Peter Svidler 2746
½-½
Matthew Sadler 2646
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
1-0
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 02 – Group C: Wednesday December 11th, 19:30
Judit Polgar 2696
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Boris Gelfand 2764
1-0
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 02 – Group D: Wednesday December 11th, 19:30
David Howell 2644
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
Nigel Short 2684
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 03 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Gawain Jones 2633
0-1
Judit Polgar 2696
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 03 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Fabiano Caruana 2779
 ½-½
David Howell 2644
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Round 03 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Andrei Istratescu 2709
0-1
Vishy Anand 2775
Michael Adams 2761
 ½-½
Luke McShane 2697
Round 03 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Jonathan Rowson 2573
0-1
Peter Svidler 2746
Matthew Sadler 2646
 ½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Round 04 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
Judit Polgar 2696
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2764
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
1-0 
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 04 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
David Howell 2644
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 04 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Vishy Anand 2775
1-0
Luke McShane 2697
Michael Adams 2761
1-0 
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 04 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Peter Svidler 2746
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Matthew Sadler 2646
1-0
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 05 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Luke McShane 2697
0-1 
Michael Adams 2761
Vishy Anand 2775
½-½
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 05 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
½-½
Matthew Sadler 2646
Peter Svidler 2746
1-0 
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 05 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Boris Gelfand 2764
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Judit Polgar 2696
0-1
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 05 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Nigel Short 2684
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
David Howell 2644
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 06 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Michael Adams 2761
½-½
Vishy Anand 2775
Andrei Istratescu 2709
1-0
Luke McShane 2697
Round 06 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Matthew Sadler 2646
½-½
Peter Svidler 2746
Jonathan Rowson 2573
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Round 06 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
½-½
Judit Polgar 2696
Gawain Jones 2633
1-0
Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 06 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Emil Sutovsky 2663
1-0
David Howell 2644
Fabiano Caruana 2779
1-0
Nigel Short 2684

Photographs by Ray Morris-Hill

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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