Is Nakamura Over The Hill?

This was the most “colorful” game of the seventh round. “Colorful” because half of the first the first fourteen moves shown at ChessBomb were “colorful,” which is NOT a good thing, at least for the players involved playing the game. “Colorful” moves will be shown in bold.

Zviad Izoria (2599)

v Hikaru Nakamura (2787)

1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2! (Look no further to ascertain the seeds of defeat. Seriously, all programs show this as the best move in the posiion) 5…O-O 6. O-O Nc6 (Although 6…Bg4 has been the most often played move, Komodo and Stockfish play 6…c6) 7. e5

Ng4? (The Fish and the Dragon both show 7…Nh5 as the best move, with 7…Ne8 as a strong second. 7…Nd7 and 7…dxe5 are lesser moves. Nakamura’s poor move does not rate and is not even shown at the ChessBase DataBase! Only one game with 7…Nh5 is shown at Nh5 8. h3 dxe5 9. dxe5 Nd4 10. Nxd4 Qxd4 11. e6 Bxe6 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. Qxe6+ Rf7 1/2-1/2, Theodor Ghitescu v Dragoljub Minic, Reggio Emilia 1968, B06 Robatsch (modern) defence. When Minic played the move favored by the clancking digital monsters I had only “played” and I use the word loosely, a few games of Chess, and it would be another couple of years before playing in my first USCF rated tournament, which, as it turned out, was not rated because the organizer absconded with the funds!)

8. h3 Nh6 (For 8…d5 see Pioch v Drozd below)

9. Nc3? (For 9 a4 see Wilger v Graelken below. The Fish shows 9 Rd1 as the best move, followed by, in order, 9 Re1; c3; and Nbd2. The move is more than a little questionable because the knight does not belong on c3).

9…Kh8? What kind of “Dilly Dally” move is this? What has happened to Naka? In this tournament he is producing all kinda dreadful moves. It is almost as if one is watching a player age before our eyes…9…Nf5 was what I was expecting, and it turns out to be the best move. Naka’s move does not even rate. SF shows that if 9…Nf5 had been played white would have a small advantage of about a quarter of a pawn. Naka’s ill chose move puts him down a pawn and a quarter.)

10. Rd1 a6 11. a3 b5 12. Bd5 Bb7

13. Bf4? (After a series of reasonable moves white shows atavism. 13 Qe4, or first 13 Bxh6 Bxh6 followed by Qe4 is much better)

13…Qc8? (13…e6 is best) 14. Be4? (14 Qe4!) 14…Rb8? (14…f6 or dxe5)

I can take it no longer…the damage has been done. Frankly, the opening of this game reminds me of some of the games played by triple-digit neophytes in grammar school I had to go over when teaching Chess. Some of those younger players could have produced better moves than the Grandmasters in this opening…

There followed:

15. Re1 dxe5 16. dxe5 Nd8 17. Rad1 Ne6 18. Bc1 Ng8 19. Bxb7 Rxb7 20. Qe4 c5 21. Nd5 c4 22. Ng5 Nxg5 23. Bxg5 Qf5 24. Nc3 Rfb8 25. Bc1 a5 26. g4 Qc8 27. Qf3 e6 28. Bf4 Ne7 29. Ne4 Rc7 30. Bg3 Qf8 31. Nf6 Rbc8 32. Rd6 g5 33. Nd7 Qe8 34. Nf6 Qf8 35.
Red1 h6 36. Nd7 Qe8 37. Nf6 Bxf6 38. exf6 Ng6 39. Qe4 c3 40. b3 a4 41. bxa4 bxa4 42. Ra6 e5 43. Qxa4 Qxa4 44. Rxa4 Rc6 45. Ra5 Re8 46. Rdd5 Rxf6 47. Rxe5 Nxe5 48. Bxe5 Rxe5 49. Rxe5 Ra6 50. Rc5 Rxa3 51. Kf1 Kg7 52. Ke2 Kf6 53. Kd3 Ra6 54. Rxc3 Ke6 55. Ke4 Ra4+ 56. Ke3 f6

57. f3? (And there goes the advantage. 57 Kd3; Ke2; Kd2; and even Rc6+ are much better options. Naka is back in the game, then he plays a Trump-like, LOSER move)

57 Ra1? (Pitiful…even I saw 57…h5…) 58. f4 gxf4+ 59. Kxf4 Ra4+ 60. Kg3 Kf7 61. Rc5 Ra3+ 62. c3 Ra1 63. Kf4 Rh1 64. Kg3 Rg1+ 65. Kf2 Rh1 66. Kg2 Rc1 67. h4 Ke6 68. h5 Kd6 69. Rf5 Ke6 70. Rf3 Ke5 71. Kf2 Rc2+ 72. Kg3 Ke6 73. Kf4 Kf7 74. Ke4 Rd2 75. c4 Ke6 76. Rc3 Rg2 77. Kf3 Rg1 78. c5 Kd7 79. c6+ Kc7 80. Kf4 Rf1+ 81. Ke4 Rf2 82. Rf3 Re2+ 83. Kf5 Re5+ 84. Kxf6 Rg5 85. Kf7 Rxg4 86. Rf6 Rg5 87. Rxh6 Rc5 88. Rh8 Rxc6 89. Kg7 Rc1 90. h6 Rg1+ 91. Kh7 Kd7 92. Rg8 Re1 1-0

There is some really bad Chess being played at the US Chess Championship this year. What do Chess fans think? Excerpts from the chat box at the Chess Bomb follow:

Sasori: can naka finally win a game?
Horse: seems he lacks the interest

jphamlore: Just win a game, Nakamura.

azertyloulou: still no win for 2787 elo nakamura. he should study real chess and quit playing bullet chess online

jphamlore: Nakamura’s problem isn’t that he plays bullet imo. It’s that he has never had a solid opening repertoire he can hang his hat on when has to draw.
jphamlore: He’s lost 3 straight times in World Cup for example as Black to the first player from the former Soviet Union who has any game.
Execute: Naka only has that 2100 guy as assistant….
jphamlore: @Execute: Yes I am totally baffled by that. It’s just ridiculous.
jphamlore: I’m not sure there is a single player over 2400 Nakamura can bounce ideas off of.
Execute: I think he earns enough to afford a better second
Execute: He wins his games largely on talent, but it won’t be enough.
sakredkow: Trust Naka.

Archimedes: naka so boring this tournament
Archimedes: not doing a damn thing
Archimedes: is naka over the hill at this point?
TurnovdeCompeval: reddish shades of grey this game
TurnovdeCompeval: sf interpretation of naka provoking for mistakes
ChessExpress1: needs more red bull
ChipPan: he’s already full of bull
ChessExpress1: true
Execute: Izoria’s time is ticking away….might blunder
Execute: We are still at move 12
attm: Izoria could win all big 3 in this tournament?
Execute: By trying not to get provoked, White may end up being worse. Psychology…
congrandolor: oh, so much red is hurting my eyes
ChipPan: Amazing. no pawns exchanged and the engine assessment is 1.5. Obviously not home preparation.
Wizboy: i think we said goodbye to prep with Ng4
attm: Naka sucks…

IronLion: naka plays like he is already in retirement

patzerforlife: Naka in decline since reaching the big three oh.

physica: he looks very angry
shtighnits: Angry about himself?
physica: and no handshake
shtighnits: Rude.
physica: naka the drama queen

koutsalogo: really? flagged in dead lost position and no handshake?!?

koutsalogo: what an ugly way to end such an embarrassing game

jdm: Replayed the video. Naka did shake hands. The shake was just blocked by the arbiter, but you

azertyloulou: nakamura IS A JOKE in this tournament as i said earlier. i was right guys
cardio: Naka shaked shoulders
Sasori: Hahahahahahahahahaha
osvaldo: At least a decisive game by Nakamura in this tournament

Zygmunt Pioch v Ryszard Drozd
POL-ch 31th 1974
B06 Robatsch (modern) defence

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. e5 Ng4 8. h3 d5 9. Bb3 Nh6 10. c3 Na5 11. Bd1 b6 12. Bf4 Kh8 13. Re1 Ng8 14. Nbd2 c5 15. Rc1 Bd7 16. Bc2 Qc8 17. g4 Nc6 18. Nf1 cxd4 19. cxd4 Qb7 20. Qd2 Na5 21. b3 Rac8 22. Ng3 Nc6 23. Bd3 a5 24. a3 Na7 25. Qe2 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 Rc8 27. Ng5 Nh6 28. Re1 Rc3 29. e6 fxe6 30. Qd2 Qc8 31. b4 a4 32. Bb1 Nb5 33. Be5 Bxe5 34. Rxe5 Kg7 35. Nxh7 Rc1+ 36. Kg2 Rxb1 37. Nh5+ Kxh7 38. Qd3 Qc1 39. Nf4 Qh1+ 40. Kg3 Rb3 0-1

Frank Wilger (2071) v Matthias Graelken (2179)
Muensterland Verbandsklasse-B 0304
Germany 03/06/2004
ECO: A40 Modern defence

1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. e5 Ng4 8. h3 Nh6 9. a4 Nf5 10. c3 d5 11. Ba2 Kh8 12. Qb5 e6 13. Bg5 f6 14. exf6 Bxf6 15. Bxf6+ Qxf6 16. Nbd2 Nd6 17. Qd3 Bd7 18. b4 Nf7 19. Rae1 Rae8 20. b5 Ne7 21. c4 g5 22. Nb3 Bc8 23. Bb1 Qg7 24. Ne5 dxc4 25. Qxc4 Nd5 26. Nc5 Nxe5 27. Rxe5 Nf4 28. Nd3 Nd5 29. Qc1 Rg8 30. g3 Ref8 31. Qd1 Qf7 32. Qg4 h5 33. Qe2 b6 34. Rc1 Rg7 35. Rc6 Bd7 36. Rc1 Bc8 37. Ba2 Rd8 38. Rc6 Kg8 39. Qd2 g4 40. h4 Qg6 41. Bxd5 Rxd5 42. Rxd5 Bb7 43. Rg5 1-0