Esipenko vs Nakamura Bishops Opening Battle

Andrey Esipenko (2723) RUS vs Hikaru Nakamura (2750) USA
FIDE Grand Prix 2022
C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Na5 5. Qf3 Nxc4 6. dxc4 d6 7. Nge2 Be6 8. b3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. a4 Nd7 11. a5 a6 12. Ng3 Bg5 13. Nf5 Bxc1 14. Raxc1 g6 15. Ne3 c6 16. Ra1 Qe7 17. Qd1 Rad8 18. Qd2 Nf6 19. f4 exf4 20. Rxf4 Nh5 21. Rf3 Qg5 22. Raf1 Qxa5 23. g4 Ng7 24. Nf5 Qe5 25. Nh6+ Kh8 26. Nd5 g5 27. Qf2 f5 28. gxf5 Bxd5 29. exd5 Nh5 30. Re1 Qg7 31. Ng4 Nf4 32. f6 Qd7 33. Rxf4 gxf4 34. Qxf4 Rde8 35. Rf1 Qf7 36. Kh1 Qg6 37. Rg1 h5 38. Ne3 Rxf6 0-1!fide-gp-3-berlin—pool-stage-2022/329992158
  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 (This is the way it was played ‘back in the day’. All three Stockfish programs at extremely low depths [or is that high? The lower you go the higher the number], concur that 3…c6 is best) 4. Nc3 (Again, this is the way it was played ‘back in the day’, and it was the way I learned to play the Bishop’s Opening. These daze it is de rigueur to play 4 Nf3, transitioning to the C55 Two knights defence, Modern Bishop’s opening) 4…Na5 5. Qf3 (Stockfish 14 @depth 52 will play 5 Nge2, the most popular move by far, with the ChessBaseDataBase showing 635 games. Unfortunately, it has only scored 47%. There are 201 games with the move played in the game, 5 Qf3, and it has scored only 46%. I was extremely pleased to see that the best move in the position, at least according to the best Chess playing program currently competing, is 5 Bb3. Back in the day I would sit behind the White pieces in the position after 5 Bb3 feeling somewhat comfortable, especially after the trade of minor pieces that followed. White gives up one the two bishops, but the knight has taken three moves to capture a piece that has only moved twice, and after taking on b3, capturing toward the center, mind you, your Queen Rook has a semi-open file. What’s not to like?) 5…Nxc4 (SF 14 @depth 40 will play 5…c6, as will SF 310321 @depth 59) 6. dxc4 d6 (Almost invariably played, with the CBDB showing 72 games and only 12 for the second most played move of 6…Bb4. The choice of Stockfish 14.1 @depth 42 is 6…c6. The CBDB contains only 2 games in which the move has been played) 7. Nge2 Be6 8. b3 Be7 (SF 120322 @depth 29 plays 8…Nd7) 9. O-O (Stockfish 17 & 031021 both play 9 a4, which will be a Theoretical Novelty if and when it is played by a titled human player)

Pavel Ponkratov (2632) vs Hikaru Nakamura (2736)
Event: World Blitz 2019
Site: Moscow RUS Date: 12/29/2019
Round: 8.4 Score: 0-1
ECO: C28 Vienna game
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Na5 5.Qf3 Nxc4 6.dxc4 d6 7.h3 Be6 8.b3 Nd7 9.Nge2 Be7 10.Ng3 Bg5 11.Nh5 Rg8 12.Qg3 Bxc1 13.Rxc1 g6 14.f4 f6 15.Qf3 gxh5 16.Qxh5+ Bf7 17.Qxh7 Rxg2 18.Kf1 Rg8 19.Rg1 Rxg1+ 20.Kxg1 Qe7 0-1

One thought on “Esipenko vs Nakamura Bishops Opening Battle

  1. […] and a discussion of the position see the recent post: Esipenko vs Nakamura Bishops Opening Battle 5…Be7? (I was surprised to learn this move has been attempted in 16 games, with White to score […]

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