(1) Radjabov,Teimour - Nakamura,Hikaru [B94]
5th Kings Tournament Medias/Romania (5), 15.06.2011
[Dorian Rogozenco]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6
The Sicilian Najdorf is extremely complex and it often leads to very sharp positions. The present game is just another proof for it.

6.Bg5 Nbd7
[The main move is 6...e6 ]

7.f4 e5 8.Nf5

8...Qb6 9.Qd2 Qxb2 10.Rb1 Qa3 11.Be2
As a compensation for the sacrificed pawn White has an obvious lead in development and very active pieces. Black must continue to play very sharp in order to justify his risky opening plan.

11...h6 12.Bh4 exf4

A new move in this wild position. As Radjabov put it after the game: "These days you can't remember all variations. It is important to know the general ideas". Indeed, the Azerbaijani GM managed very well to cope with Nakamura's outstanding opening preparation. [In the only game played so far (Ganguly,S (2651)-Spoelman,W (2547)/Wijk aan Zee 2011) White was successful with 13.Bf2 Nc5 14.0-0 Bxf5 15.exf5 Be7 16.Bd4 0-0 17.Rf3 but there are certainly many ways to improve for Black.]

[After 13...g5 14.Bf2 White's compensation for the two sacrificed pawns is enormous. The immediate threat is 15.Rb3 followed by 16.Nxd6. ]

White must play actively and the piece sacrifice is a logical follow-up of the previous play.

[14...gxf5 15.Rxf5 is bad, since White is not only threatening to recapture the knight on f6, but also to catch the queen with 16.Rb3,]

15.Rb3 Qa5 16.Nxd6+ Bxd6 17.Qxd6

[17...gxh4 18.Rxf6 is hardly an option for Black.]

[After 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Qxf6 Rg8 the position remains double-edged. The important point is that 20.Nd5 is answered by 20...Qe1+ 21.Bf1 Rxg2+! 22.Kxg2 Qxe4+ 23.Kf2 Qxd5 and Black is better]

18...Qb6+ 19.Qxb6 Nxb6 20.Bxf6 Rg8 21.Rb3 Nd7 22.Nd5 Rg6 23.Bd4
Until this moment Nakamura played all the moves extremely quickly, spending less than 10 minutes altogether and openly showing that this is his home preparation. Only now for the first time did the American stop to blitzing out and took about 15 minutes before continuing. [After the game Nakamura revealed that his opening preparation went as far as this: 23.Nc7+ Kf8 24.Bb2 Ra7 25.Ba3+ Kg7 26.Ne8+ Kh7 27.Nd6 Ra8 28.Bh5 Rg7 29.Bxf7 Ne5 30.Bd5 f3 31.g3 Bh3 32.Bb2 Rf8 33.Nf5 Re7 34.Bg8+ Kh8 35.Bd5 Kh7 with repetition and a draw. All these moves are the best for both sides! There is little to comment on that... Except maybe that chess became very deep these days indeed and that the homework in opening preparation fully pays off.]

23...Rc6 24.c4 b5 25.cxb5
[Radjabov thought that 25.c5 Rb8 26.Nxf4 b4 would favour Black. At least from the practical point of view taking on b5 was certainly a wiser decision: with little time there was no point to complicate matters.]

25...axb5 26.Nc3
[Both players thought that 26.Bxb5 Rc1+ 27.Kf2 Rxa2+ 28.Kf3 Kd8 would favour Black.]

26...Ba6 27.Kf2
Here Nakamura missed the chance to set more serious problems to his opponent.

[After 27...Nc5 White's task would have been more complicated, since there are many possibilities, but no clear way to achieve equality.]

White is still a clear exchange down, but the strong bishop on d4 together with weak black pawns provide White sufficient compensation to keep the balance.

[28...Rc8 is hardly an improvement: 29.Nxb5 Bxb5 30.Bxb5 Rc2+ 31.Kf3 Rxa2 32.Kxf4 with the idea 32...Rxg2 33.e5 Rdg6 34.Ra4 and White gets counterplay.]

29.Kf3 Rc8
[29...Ne5+ 30.Kxf4 Nc6 would have kept some practical chances for a win.]

30.Nxb5 Bxb5 31.Bxb5 Ke7
After 32.a4 White has nothing to fear, so the players agreed to a draw. It must be said that some spectators felt sorry that in the tournament regulations the players are allowed to agree to a draw after move 30. 1/2-1/2