Wang Hao - Hikaru Nakamura

Round 13
Tata Steel 2011


Note: To follow this game with computer analysis by Stockfish 2.0.1 click here. Today we will be joined in the commentary room by the young talent from Switzerland FM Jonathan Rosenthal, as well as FM Guntram Hainke.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 White requested an English, Nakamura is going for the Kings Indian defence! He will fianchetto his dark-squared bishop with ...Bg7 and attempt to exert pressure on White's center. Clearly not yesterday's drawish odds opening.

3.g3 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 is the classical variation.

3... Bg7 4.Bg2 c5 5.d5 d6 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Nf3 e6 8.O-O exd5 9.cxd5 With both bishops fianchetto and kings well protected, a battle for the center will be key to the full point in the game.

9... Re8 10.a4 Supporting a square for Nb5 and blocking a possible ...b5

10... a6 11.Re1 Ne4 Nakamura does not want to follow the style of Wang Hao i.e. building pressure points and maintaining balance for as long as possible. Yesterday these tactics backfired for Wang Hao, but today with white the pieces are not cramped and he has good coordination. That is why Nakamura is aiming to break the central pressure point of the game.

12.Ra3 A very rare move by Wang Hao, not seen on high level. 12...Nxc3 13.bxc3 might be a possible continuation if Nakamura follows the above mentioned logic, otherwise ...Nd7 is a nice developing move.

12... Nxc3 13.bxc3 Nd7 Just as expected, each player is following his own style. Now Bf4, Qb2, and Qb3 are on the list for Wang Hao.

14.c4 This was played in view of possible 14... c4!? 15.Qe2 Nc5 16.Qxc4 Bg4 17.Nd4 Rc8. Another simplification request from Nakamura via ... Ne5 coming?

14... Rb8 Good news, Nakamura wants to play:) Black is preparing b7-b5.

15.a5 b5 16.axb6 Rxb6 17.Bf4 Qc7 Positional play by Nakamura. He created a solitary pawn on the a file and is now shifting focus, while still eyeing the tension in the center.

18.e4 Rb4 19.Bf1 19... Nb6 20. Qc2 Bg4 21. Bd2 a5

19... a5 20. Bd2 Ne5 21. Nxe5 Bxe5 22. Bxb4 axb4 23. Ra8 fire on the board?

20.Bd2 Ne5 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.Bc3 Wang Hao assessed the pawn was too dangerous after a take 22. Bxb4 and keeps the status quo on the board. However, it will still be alive on the a file, and shifting focus towards the center might be the only counterplay for white 22. ... Bxc3 23. Rxc3 a4 24. Rce3

22... Bd7 Again invites for Bxb4 and also supports a4 in case of a line like 23. Bxe5 dxe5 24. Qa1 a4..... And after long thinking a draw offer came and was accepted. It will all come down to Anand's game, Nakamura has guaranteed himself a shared first as a minimum. Fantastic tournament for Nakamura where he played lot's of exciting chess and provided excitement to the chess audience. With the ELO points gained and the interesting style shown, we will certainly see him for more action at top events. Thank you for joining the live commentary from Tata Steel and see you on Chessdom for more commentary, reports, and analysis in future events. 1/2-1/2