Great chess games

Rapport, Richard(2691) – Nakamura, Hikaru(2789) [A04]

Rapport has been playing a lot of strange openings and it usually went very wrong. This game is not an exception. After the opening White is quickly getting into trouble, but Nakamura decided to go into even deeper complications, for which there was no need, which gave White some attacking chances and finally a missed opportunity by Rapport ended the game on the spot.

1.Nf3 c5 2.b3 Well, what to say to such about move… It can’t be the right way to fight for any opening advantage.

2…d6 It seems very logical to me to put d6-e5 against White’s bishop on b2.

3.e3 White is preparing the d4 move.

3…e5 4.Bb5+! A strong check. [4.d4 wouldn’t lead to anything for White as after 4…e4 5.Nfd2 d5 the position is at least equal.]

4…Nc6 Nakamura is going for the complications. [4…Bd7 was a more simple move. 5.Bxd7+ Nxd7 6.O-O Ngf6 With an about equal position.]

5.Nc3 White is preparing the d4 push which was not possible now because of Qa5.

5…Nf66.d4 We already have a very strange position on move 6. It is clear that White’s pawn would be even better placed on b2 than on b3, but the position is very dynamic.

6…e4 A correct and typical move.

7.d5 White has nothing else left, it is not an option for White to let Black play d5.

7…a6! This little move makes it all work for Black! [Of course not 7…exf3?? 8.dxc6 and White is winning.]

8.Bf1 The white bishop needs to return to his starting position. [8.dxc6? would lead to a very bad position as after 8…axb5 9.Nd2 bxc6 Black has the bishop pair and a strong


8…Ne7 9.Nd2 Bf5 Now it is all about whether Black is in time to keep the pawn on e4 alive. In case he manages to, Black just has much more space, which means a clearly better position.

10.Bb2 The b3 move finally has some sense now. The bishop on b2 is somehow in the game.

10…b5! A good move. Black continues playing on “sqeeze” mode. [10…Nexd5 didn’t make much sense because of the following great tactical trick: 11.Ndxe4! Nxc3 12.Nxc3 d5

13.Bd3 White almost managed to equalize.]

11.h3 h5 Not letting White play g4.

12.a3 Black wanted to play b4 and win the d5 pawn.

12…Nc8? This logical move could have turned out to be a serious mistake. [It was more simple for Black to play 12…h4 followed by Rh6 and Rg6 with a pressure on g2. I think Black is clearly better here.]

13.a4? White is returning the favor.. . [13.f3! While the black knight is in a passive position on c8, it was time for White to take strong actions. 13…exf3 What else to play?! 14.Qxf3 And suddenly all white pieces are great. The next white move is 0-0-0 followed by e4-e5. Right out of nothing, Black’s position is really looking bad!]

13…b414.Ne2Nxd5!? After this move we are entering crazy complications. [14…Be7 was much more solid and I think Black is better here.; After the careless 14…h4? 15.g4! is a nice tactical move.]

15.Ng3 Nxe3 Black said “A” so he needs to say “B”… [After

15…Bg6 16.Ndxe4 White is better.]

16.Qe2! I have a feeling that Nakamura underestimated this move. [16.fxe3 wouldn’t lead to anything good for White as after 16…Qh4 17.Kf2 d5 Black already has 2 pawns and a strong attack. 18.Nf3 is an attempt to complicate the game. (18.Be2 18…Bd6 19.Nf1 Ne7 20.Qe1 Rh6 And White just cannot move!) 18…exf3 19.Qxd5 Bd6 Black should be winning here.]

16…Nxc2+ 17.Kd1 Bg6! A strong move! [After 17…Nxa1 18.Nxf5 d5 19.Nxg7+ Bxg7 20.Bxg7 Rh7 21.Bxa1 we have

reached a position which is really difficult to evaluate.]

18.Ndxe4! Rapport correctly takes his chances. [After 18.Kxc2 18…d5 Black’s initiative should be crushing.]

18…Qe7?! In a very complex position Black doesn’t choose the best move… [18…Ne7 was better and after 19.Qxc2 d5 20.Ke1! the position is very unclear.]

19.Qf3? A bad move. White is going for a “beating” when it was time to think objectively. [After the more concrete

19.Qxc2 19…d5 20.Bd3 dxe4 21.Bxe4 White is clearly better.]

19…Nxa1 The black material advantage is becoming huge.

20.Bc4[20.Bxa1 was also leading to  abad position for White. 20…d5 21.Nf6+ gxf6 22.Bxf6 Be4]

20…Nb6! Now Black has only moves, but these only moves lead to a winning position.

21.Nf6+ There was nothing else left, it is all or nothing now for White.

21…gxf6 22.Bxf6 Qc7 Nakamura stays cool. The black king will feel quite safe on d7.

23.Re1+ Kd7 24.Bxa1 It is too late to win back the material. Black is still a full rook up.

24…Qc6! A very good technical way to convert the advantage. By giving a full rook back Black is exchanging the queens and entering a totally winning endgame.

25.Qxc6+ Kxc6 26.Bxh8 h4 Chasing the knight.

27.Nf1 Nxc4 28.bxc4 Bd3 Black is a pawn up, he has a passed b-pawn, the bishop pair and many other plusses. The game is over.

29.Nd2d5 Two connected passed pawns are better than one!


30.cxd5+ Kxd5 31.Re5+ I guess that White could have resigned the game now.

31…Kc6 32.Rh5 Bg6 We just saw a crazy game with a very rare opening and in an unclear position Nakamura proved to be the better played. 0-1