Hikaru Nakamura - Vladimir Kramnik

Round 12
Tata Steel 2011


Note: To follow this game with computer analysis by Stockfish 2.0.1 click here

1.e4 Clear intentions by Nakamura, he will be looking for aggressive open game.

1... e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Ruy Lopez on the board, we are going to dive deep into the theory and look for novelties. Kramnik has shown strong preparation this tournament (he even had opening advantage against Carlsen yesterday), but Nakamura has certainly not shown less.

3... Nf6 Avoiding 3... a6 and going into the four knights. Black can play more aggressively by 4...Nd4, the Rubinstein Variation. White cannot win a pawn with 5.Nxe5, since Black regains the pawn with the advantage of the bishop pair after 5...Qe7 6.Nf3 (6.f4 Nxb5 7.Nxb5 d6) Nxb5 7.Nxb5 Qxe4+ 8.Qe2 Qxe2+ 9.Kxe2 Nd5! 10.c4 a6! White most often plays 5.Ba4.

4.O-O Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 O-O After the natural multiple exchanges, we see a balanced symetrical opening. Black will regroup with ...0-0, ...Re8, ...Bf8, and possible ...d6

9.d4 Bf6 10.Re1 Re8 Interesting to note, Kramnik is also looking for more simplified game. The rooks will inevitably be exchanged. ...Nf5 plus d5 was developing a freeing the bishop, this is postponed for later.

11.c3 Rxe1 12.Qxe1 Nf5 13.Bd3 d5 14.Bf4 c6 15.Nd2 White development is now complete, with c6 making the structure absolutely symetric.

15... Nh4 16.Qe2 Bf5 Offering more exchanges? This simplifies the game completely.

17.Bxf5 Nxf5 18.Nf3 Qe7 19.Re1 Qxe2 20.Rxe2 Absolute symetry, equal material, lots of time on the clock. These are ingredients of a draw at grandmaster level. With no clear perspectives ahead, the players shake hands and agree to a tie. Thank you for following with and see you tomorrow fo more live games commentary! 1/2-1/2