Saint Louis: Nakamura equalises, Robson stays ahead

5/21/2011 – Ruslan Ponomariov and Ray Robson both won their first-round games at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. In round three the Ukrainian GM's opponent Hikaru Nakamura drew level, while GM Ben Feingold has not been able to win a game against the 16-year-old Guam-born GM who lives in Largo, Florida. Robson leads 2.5:1.5. Report after round four.

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The first-ever international match at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, is taking place from May 17-25, 2011. The marquis match-up features GM Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine against GM Hikaru Nakamura of Saint Louis. The Chess Club’s Resident GM Ben Finegold is also taking on 16-year-old GM Ray Robson, of Florida. Each match consists of six games played with a classical time control and four rapid games.

Rounds two to four reports

Round two: In both games, White played e4; in both games White refused to trade queens to remove Black’s castling privilege; and both games ended in a draw. “I had a pleasant position – two bishops,” said GM Ruslan Ponomariov about his game against GM Hikaru Nakamura. “This game requires a lot of analysis. Somehow Hikaru found a way.” In the other game, resident GM Ben Finegold played the Philidor defense and drew by repetition on move 29 against young GM Ray Robson. Finegold said he may have played Philidor’s defense “maybe 20 years ago” and saw Robson had played against it only two times.


The setup of two matches in Saint Louis


Ray Robson pondering his 17th move in his second game against Ben Feingold

Round three: Hikaru Nakamura evened the score at 1.5 against GM Ruslan Ponomariov, while Ben Finegold and Ray Robson drew their second straight game. Nakamura won but was the first to say it was not because of his opening play with the King’s Indian. His position had doubled a and c pawns at one point, and his decision to play Na6 on move seven was a deviation from his preparation. “I spent all day preparing a line…but at the last minute decided to play Na6,” he said after the game. The Finegold/Robson match ended in a draw after Finegold forced perpetual check. Instead he could have played Bd2, which he said was “a way to try to win or lose.”

Ken West

Round four

In spite of having drawn his second round game, Hikaru Nakamura was obviously not anxious to repeat the opening difficulties he had experienced against Ruslan’s Berlin. Instead of trying to completely revamp his preparation in it, he chose 1.d4 and a Semi-Slav was the result. This time neither player expereinced any major issues with the opening or middlegame, and though a few problems arose for both to solve, the position quickly simplified into a dead equal rook endgame with little to say about. Note how cleverly we have inserted the pictures in the exact place they were taken during the games. The lengths to which we will go!

Nakamura,Hi (2774) - Ponomariov,R (2754) [D31]
Nakamura-Ponomariov Classical Match Saint Louis USA (4), 20.05.2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 Nf6 9.Nge2 Nh5 10.Bxb8 Rxb8 11.f3 0-0 12.0-0 f5 13.a3 a6 14.b4 Qd7 15.Rae1 Rbe8 16.Nc1 a5 17.bxa5 Bxa3 18.Nxd5 Bxc1 19.Nb6 Qe6 20.Rxc1 Qxe3+ 21.Qxe3 Rxe3 22.d5 cxd5 23.Nxd5 Re5 24.Rfd1 Nf6 25.Nxf6+ gxf6 26.Rd7

26...Rf7 27.Rcc7 Rxd7 28.Rxd7 Rxa5 29.Rxb7 Ra1+ 30.Kf2 Ra2+ 31.Kg3 f4+ 32.Kxf4 Rxg2 33.h4 Rh2 34.Kg4 Rh1 35.f4 Rh2 36.Rc7 Rh1 37.Ra7 Rh2 38.Ra1 Kg7 39.Ra5 Rh1

40.Ra2 Kg6 41.f5+ Kh6 42.Ra6 Rg1+ 43.Kf4 Rf1+ 44.Kg4 Rg1+ 45.Kh3 Kg7 46.Ra7+ Kg8 47.Ra8+ Kf7 48.Ra7+ Kg8 49.Ra8+ Kg7 50.Ra7+ Kg8 51.Ra8+ ½-½.

The trend for unpredictability in the openings continued into the fourth round in both games. After essaying a rather offbeat, and less theoretical Philidor in the second game, Finegold instead went for the ultra theoretical and very sharp Sicilian Dragon, with the players going for a less common sideline of the Yugoslav attack. They followed theory for sixteen moves and after a tense, though not insane, middlegame, which often characterizes this opening, the major pieces came off and a drawn endgame was the result.

Robson,R (2545) - Finegold,B (2494) [B35]
Robson-Finegold Classical Match Saint Louis USA (4), 20.05.2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3 d6 9.f3 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 b5 12.a4 b4 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.exd5 Qa5 16.h4 h5 17.g4 Rh8 18.Qd4+ f6 19.Kf2 Qb6 20.Qxb6 axb6 21.Kg3 hxg4 22.fxg4 f5

23.Rae1 Rhe8 24.Rhf1 fxg4 25.Rf4 Bxa4 26.Rxg4 Bxb3 27.cxb3 Ra5 28.Rg5 e5 29.dxe6 Rxg5+ 30.hxg5 Kf8

and draw agreed. Score: 2.5:1.5 for the younger, skinnier player.

Albert Silver

Scoreboard

 
Nat.
Rtg
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
R1
R2
Tot.
Perf
Hikaru Nakamura
USA
2774
0
½
1
½
       
2.0
2754
Ruslan Ponomariov
UKR
2754
1
½
0
½
       
2.0
2774

 
Nat.
Rtg
G1
G2
G3
G4
R1
R2
R3
R4
Tot.
Perf
Ray Robson
USA
2582
1
½
½
½
       
2.5
2582
Ben Feingold
USA
2494
0
½
½
½
       
1.5
2457

You can watch extensive commentary of the round in the player on the tournament page – hours and hours of archived video. Live commentary by IM John Donaldson and WGM Jennifer Shahade for the next rounds can be found here. Rounds and commentary are open to club members, and memberships start at just $5/month for students or $12/month for adults.


Links

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