Bilbao: Nakamura beats Carlsen

by André Schulz
7/13/2016 – The first round of the Masters in Bilbao started with a bang. For the first time in his career Hikaru Nakamura won against Magnus Carlsen in a game with classical time control. World Champion Carlsen played too aggressively and an unimpressed Nakamura countered. The two other games were drawn. Wei Yi successfully defended a difficult ending against Anish Giri while Sergey Karjakin and Wesley split the point after some excitement in the middlegame.

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Follow the games live and with commentary on

Friendly gestures before the start of the
game between Wesley So and Sergey Karjakin

Fully focused: Hikaru Nakamura

For a long time it seemed as if Hikaru Nakamura was cursed when playing against Magnus Carlsen. No matter how good the American stood in some games, before Bilbao he had never managed to beat Carlsen in classical chess.

But Bilbao is not the first tournament in which
Carlsen started badly - and often he has won in the end.

Hikaru Nakamura



Sergey Karjakin at the start of his game against Wesley So

Wesley So on his way to Berlin

Anish Giri played with White against Wei Yi and thanks to the bishops pair he had a slight endgame advantage. However, against Wei Yi's tenacious defense he failed to convert this advantage into a full point.



Results of round 1

Board Title Name ELO Result Title Name ELO
1 GM Sergey Karjakin 2779 ½ - ½ GM Wesley So 2775
2 GM Magnus Carlsen 2851 0 - 1 GM Hikaru Nakamura 2787
3 GM Anish Giri 2790 ½ - ½ GM Wei Yi 2694



Standings after round 1

  Title Name Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts. TB
1 GM Hikaru Nakamura 2787           1 1.0 / 1  
2 GM Anish Giri 2790         ½   0.5 / 1 0.25
3 GM Sergey Karjakin 2779       ½     0.5 / 1 0.25
4 GM Wesley So 2775     ½       0.5 / 1 0.25
5 GM Yi Wei 2694   ½         0.5 / 1 0.25
6 GM Magnus Carlsen 2851 0           0.0 / 1  

Tournament page...

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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Surfer ll Surfer ll 7/14/2016 03:52
nice set boards
clkauto clkauto 7/14/2016 01:31
Karlsen made a mistake by playing an aggressive game, that's not for him. He should have played a boring and dull game as he always does, boring Nakamura to death until he either resigns or shoots himself on the spot.
fightingchess fightingchess 7/14/2016 11:51
surely it was not supposed to be 40-0 with 70 draws at the end of their careers, right? naka is a 2800 players and of course given enough time will win against magnus.
PaulPena PaulPena 7/14/2016 09:47
Someone posted "As many times as Naka has outplayed Carlsen only to fall apart before grabbing victory...". Ah the beauty of selection bias! I can only really think of 2 classical games where Naka truly outplayed Carlsen just to be robbed of victory. Let's keep perspective here, most of the time Carlsen has completely outplayed Naka. Today was a nice reprieve from that.
Truffaut Truffaut 7/14/2016 08:06
@ : yeah right - would'a, could'a, should'a
johnmk johnmk 7/14/2016 06:10
Analysis of Naka's victory completely missed the critical position. 14 e5!
jhoravi jhoravi 7/14/2016 01:33
Naka looks like Manny Pacquiao in that main pic 7/14/2016 01:03
Funny how everyone just gives credit to Naka for winning. How simple people are, just go with the results. No mention in the comments of how original and daring Magnus' play was, including a Queenside fianchetto not very common at top tier. My point is this: if Magnus wanted a boring game, simply going for the win, he could do it as he's amply proved! But here he went for experimentation, to get his creative juices flowing. That's a sign of how comfy and bold he is. Similar with that Caruana game [was it last year?] where he went for a crazy sac cos he's got the guts to do so! Then everybody was saying how great Caruana was for winning. These guys didn't beat Magnus! Magnus gave them the game cos he wanted to try stuff! Let's get that right!
Pionki Pionki 7/14/2016 12:52
No doubt Hikaru will start winning more games against Magnus, now that the psychological boundary has been crossed. He is easily able to achieve more wins.
RoughKnight RoughKnight 7/14/2016 12:02
Congratulations Naka! That's one hurdle you won't have to jump again.
LetsReason LetsReason 7/13/2016 11:45
Not a Naka fan, but I understand how he must be relishing the optics of the Standings Board knowing that his win created it. As many times as Naka has outplayed Carlsen only to fall apart before grabbing victory, I'm sure Naka is having a nice cold one tonight.
yesenadam yesenadam 7/13/2016 11:35
hehe I was, surprisingly, very excited for Naka when I switched on at 3am and saw he had a totally won position against Magnus. Congrats Bilbao Baggins. That must be very satisfying!
dumkof dumkof 7/13/2016 10:50
With the worldchampionship match in mind, it should be difficult for Carlsen and Karjakin to focus on other tournaments.
emerlion emerlion 7/13/2016 10:20
In the Carlsen game, isn't 19. h4 deserving a ? I mean it solves most of black's issues: the black queen is back in play. The pawns in front of the white king are now weak and black can counter with a center attack.