St. Louis Matches: Nakamura and Robson win classical

5/23/2011 – The start was inauspicious to say the least with Nakamura losing the first game, and getting into trouble against Ponomariov in the opening of most of the games. Yet sheer grit kept him alive, and in the sixth he finally got it all right. "I was just simply outplayed," Ponomariov explained. Robson also won his last game taking the score to 4.0-2.0. The rapids start Tuesday. Report and videos.

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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.

Round five

In the fifth game of the match, Nakamura proved steadfast in his belief of the King's Indian defense, and once again played 7...Na6. "It's playable," Nakamura said after the game about the King's Indian even though he said has had to play against the former world champion in worse positions. "Everyone plays multiple openings," Nakamura said. "Whether I play it again in matches, we'll see."

Nakamura said he was still in preparation on move seventeen and said his position should have been fine. However he thought 19...a5 was inaccurate. "My position was slowly, slowly improving, and I had some hope," Ponomariov said. "But he calculated some variations better than me."

Finegold said after his game with Robson that he was winning in the late-middle game until he hung a pawn. Shortly after that, Robson also dropped a pawn. Neither could remember having one of their games drawn by the 50-move rule.

Ken West

 
Interviews of Ponomariov and Nakamura

Round six

Grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura and Ray Robson each won with white Sunday to take the lead going into the rapid portion of their international matches at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Nakamura's win gives him a 3.5-2.5 lead over Ukrainian Grandmaster Ruslan Ponomariov. Robson leads Finegold 4.0-2.0. The match resumes with two rapid games Tuesday and ends Wednesday with two rapid games.

Nakamura played the exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit declined, a line he drew with in game four. They exchanged queens early on much to the surprise of Ponomariov. He had expected the American to decline the trade to keep the position complicated, which would require more calculation, being one of Hikaru's major strengths.

"I just made normal moves, and I suddenly realized there are no more good moves," Ponomariov told commentators WGM Jen Shahade and IM John Donaldson. "I was just simply outplayed."

He said in retrospect he should have taken more time in the opening.

 

Despite the result thus far, Ponomariov said he likes this type of match. He said he did not think he was showing his best chess but wants to talk to the Ukrainian Chess Federation about setting up a similar match in return. Shahade joked that he wanted a rematch on home turf. He said this match is preparing him to play in his country's championship, a twelve-player round robin.

As for the rapid games, Nakamura said for the off day Monday he will relax, watch hockey games and not work on preparation.

"I've prepared a lot the last six games," he said.

Robson-Finegold renewed their battle in the Dragon variation, again exciting Donaldson and Shahade, both Dragon aficionados. When Robson pushed h4 on move ten, Shahade laughed and called it "caveman chess", repeating Bobby Fischer's "sac, sac and mate." After the game Robson said h4 was "the only good deviation I could find."

Ken West

Scoreboard

 
Nat.
Rtg
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
R1
R2
R3
R4
Tot.
Perf
Hikaru Nakamura
USA
2774
0
½
1
½
½
1
3.5
2812
Ruslan Ponomariov
UKR
2754
1
½
0
½
½
0
2.5
2716

 
Nat.
Rtg
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
R1
R2
R3
R4
Tot.
Perf
Ray Robson
USA
2582
1
½
½
½
½
1
4.0
2614
Ben Feingold
USA
2494
0
½
½
½
½
0
2.0
2425

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

The games are being 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 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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