Saturday 17 February 2018

Next year, World Champion Magnus Carlsen will have to defend his title.

Next year, World Champion Magnus Carlsen will have to defend his title.

The challenger will be determined in an eight- player tournament, into which three of the participants have already earned their place.

These are Caruana, Anand and Nakamura, who are currently numbers 2, 3 and 4 on the rating list respectively.

Caruara and Nakamura have qualified by coming first and second in the FIDE Grand Prix. I'd like to show one of Nakamura's wins in the fourth and final leg of the Grand Prix, which recently took place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 b6

3.c4 Bb7 4.Nc3 e6

5.a3 d5 6.e3 Bd6

7.Bg5 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6

9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qa4+!

This move causes Black inconvenience as 10...c6? would lose a pawn to 11.Nxd5, while 10...Bc6 or 10...Nd7 will be met with 11.Bb5.


11.g3 c6 12.Bg2 g6

13.Nge2 Kg7 14.0-0 Qd8

15.e4! dxe4 16.Nxe4 Re8

17.Rad1 Na6 18.N2c3 Nc7? (D)

All of White's pieces are superbly placed, while the b7-bishop is very passive. Nakamura proved his advantage with a little combination a la Capablanca:

19.Nc5! bxc5 20.dxc5 Nd5

21.cxd6 Qxd6 22.Ne4 Qe5

23.Rc1 Nb6 24.Qb4 Rad8

25.Nc5 Rd4?

Grim as it may be, 25...Ba8 was called for.

26.Qc3 Bc8

27.Rce1! 1-0

Maybe the French GM expected only 27.Rfe1 Rc4!, but Nakamura's cunning 27th move ruled out that option.

Sunday Independent

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