(3990) Nakamura,Hikaru (2753) - Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2716) [A25]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (5.1), 01.10.2011
[Monokroussos,Dennis]



1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 a6 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 Nge7 7.b3 Ba7 8.Bb2 Rb8 9.d3N
[9.d4 exd4 10.exd4 0-0 11.0-0 Bf5 12.Qd2 Re8 13.Nd1 Qd7 14.Ne3 Bh3 1/2-1/2 Damljanovic,B (2587)-Vallejo Pons,F (2645)/Lanzarote 2003/CBM 094 ext]

9...Bf5 10.Qd2 Qd7 11.h3 0-0
We've been out of theory for a few moves, but transpositional possibilities still exist.

12.f4
[12.Rc1 was played in an earlier game Moreno Ruiz,J (2459)-Anton Guijarro,D (2302)/Madrid 2010 (1-0, 64)]

12...Be6 13.d4 Nf5
[13...exd4 14.exd4 d5 15.g4 is unclear after 15...f5 (or especially 15...dxc4 16.f5 Nxf5 (16...Bd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.bxc4 ) 17.gxf5 Bxf5 ) ]

14.Bxc6
[14.d5 Nxe3 15.dxe6 Nxg2+ 16.Kf1 Ne3+ 17.Qxe3 fxe6 is still another unclear mess.]

14...bxc6 15.0-0-0 exd4 16.exd4 Ne7 17.g4 f5 18.g5 Bf7 19.Ng3 a5 20.h4
White's attacking chances are looking good, so Black decides on radical measures.

20...a4 21.Nxa4 Bxc4!? 22.bxc4 c5 23.Nc3 Rb4
Black certainly has compensation, but enough for a full piece?

24.Qd3
[It looks like White can get away with the greedy 24.dxc5 , e.g. 24...Rfb8 25.Ba1 Bxc5 (25...Rxc4 26.cxd6 ) 26.Qd3 and everything seems to be covered, leaving White a full piece up.]

24...cxd4 25.Nb5 d5
A second sac, but this one's very temporary.

26.Nxa7?!
Perhaps not best, but it's always tempting to trade off the attacker's pieces. [26.Nxd4 Rxc4+ 27.Kb1 Rb4 28.a3 Rb7 29.Rhe1 Rfb8 30.Rd2+- looks convincing.]

26...c5 27.cxd5 Qxa7 28.a3+/=
/+/- It's still a full piece, but d5 is loose, the b-file is open for business and the c-and d-pawn duo might get mobile.

28...Rb6
[28...Rb7 ]

29.Qc4?!
Right idea, incorrect implementation. [29.d6 Rxd6 (29...Nd5 30.Rd2 Rxd6 31.Qc4+/- ) 30.Qc4+ Nd5 31.Rhe1+/- ]

29...Nc8?
[29...Qb7! 30.d6+ Nd5 31.Rh2 Rb8= White must be very careful here! 32.Rdd2? looks natural, for instance, but it loses to 32...Rb3 Threatening both the knight *and* 33...Rc3+ 34.Bxc3 Qb1#. White can save the knight and that threat with 33.Ne2 , but now Black grabs on b2: 33...Rxb2 34.Rxb2 Qxb2+ 35.Kd1 Qb7-+ and Black is winning. Once the king moves to h8, the Nd5 will become a holy terror. (Or an unholy one - I'll leave picking sides to the reader.)]

30.d6+
Now regular service is resumed; White is winning.

30...Kh8 31.d7?
Another error. Well, it's a complicated position and they're short of time. [31.Qxc5+- ]

31...Qxd7+/= 32.Rh2 Qb7?
[32...Nd6 ]

33.Rc2+- Rb5
Now Nakamura finds a very nice idea.

34.Nxf5!
Free knight!

34...Rxf5 35.Rxd4!
And here's a rook, too! Of course, Black can't take it because 36.Qxc8+ mates in at most two more moves. The upshot is that White is (only) a pawn up, but Black's attack is over and White has the better position too.

35...Rf8 36.Rdd2
[36.Rd1 was better.]

36...Ne7 37.h5 Nf5 38.h6 Rxb2
A desperate expedient, but less dramatic measures are also inadequate. [One example: 38...Rb3 39.Rh2 Rg3 40.hxg7+ Nxg7 41.Qxc5 Re8 42.Kb1 Qb3 43.Qd4 Qf7 44.Qc4+- ]

39.hxg7+ Kxg7 40.Qc3+ Nd4 41.Rxb2
With the time control made, the old saw is apt: the rest is a matter of technique. Essentially White's task is to activate his pieces and create threats against Black's king while making sure that nothing awful happens to his own king.

41...Qd5 42.Qh3 Re8 43.Rb6 Kg8
[43...Re1+ 44.Kb2 is a dead end for Black.]

44.Kb2 Qf7 45.Qh6 Qxf4 46.Rh2 Re7 47.g6
Very effective. The cost of avoiding the queen trade is getting mated.

47...Qxh6 48.Rxh6 Re2+ 49.Kc3 hxg6 50.Rhxg6+
So Black instead chooses the endgame, but this is completely hopeless as well.

50...Kf7 51.Rbf6+ Ke7 52.Ra6 Ne6 53.a4 Kd7 54.a5 Nc7
[Trying to maintain the status quo allows the simple exchanging "sacrifice" 54...Ke7 55.Rgxe6+ Rxe6 56.Rxe6+ Kxe6 57.a6 and the pawn promotes.]

55.Ra7 Re7 56.a6 Ke8 57.Rb7 Kf7 58.Rc6 Nd5+ 59.Kc4 1-0