Nakamura H. (2701) - Friedel J. (2516)

US Championship/Saint Louis (9) 2009


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5

Nakamura can literally play anything,which makes him very difficult to prepare against. He relies on his tremendous tactical talent enabling him to navigate in almost any position.

4... d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3!?

This is very unusual,but perhaps we will see more of it now. White's idea is to sap Black's strength by reinforcing e4

8... Be7

If 8... h6 White simply drops his Knight back: 9. Ne4 Nd5 10. O-O Be7 11. Ng3 O-O 12. Qf3! The idea takes shape. White controls the light squares and denies Black compensation. 12... f5? (12... Nb4 13. Nf5 Nxd3 14. Nxe7+ Qxe7 15. Qxd3) 13. Bxf5 Bxf5 14. Nxf5

9. Nc3 O-O 10. O-O Rb8

Black has to take whatever open lines he can and hope that his lead in development is enough to hold off the extra White pawn. The drawback of 8 Bd3 is obvious: White's queenside devlopment is clumsy, but if Black cannot find anything fast, Whte will simply catch up in development and remain a pawn up.

10... h6 11. Nf3 (11. Nge4 Nd5 intends ....f7-f5) 11... Bd6 12. Re1 Re8 13. a3 Nb7 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Bd7 16. d4 Jurlina,R (2130)-Pielmeier,T/Germany 2002 looked good for White

Meanwhile 10... c5 11. Qe2! Controlling light squares holds the key. 11... Nc6 12. Nxh7! Nxh7 13. Bxh7+ Kxh7 14. Qe4+ Kg8 15. Qxc6 Rb8 16. d3 Molnar,T (2075)-Brignone,R/Budapest 1999 saw White initiating favourable tactics

11. h3 c5 12. b3 Rb4 13. Re1 Bb7 14. Ba3!

14. Rxe5 looks pretty good too: 14... Bd6 (14... Rf4 15. Bb2 h6 16. g3! Something similar happens in the game.) 15. Re1 h6 16. Nge4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Re8 18. d3 Be5 19. Bb2 Bxe4 20. Rxe4 Rxe4 21. dxe4 Qf6 22. Nd5 Bh2+ 23. Kxh2 Qxb2 24. f3 Nakamura probably didnt do this because he thought the game move was clear-cut

14... Rf4 15. g3 Rd4 16. Nf3 Rxd3

16... Bxf3 cedes a very powerful Bishop, but the text move isnt good enough.

16... Qd7 17. Rxe5 Qxh3 18. Bf1! Bxf3 19. Qxf3 Qd7 20. Rae1 Bd6 21. Bb5 Qh3 22. Bxc5 Ng4 23. Bxd4

17. cxd3 Qxd3 18. Nxe5 Qf5 19. g4 Qf4 20. d4

Black soon runs out of steam

20... Rd8 21. Qe2 Rxd4 22. Bc1

Black players may have to take a very close look at 8 Bd3 in the coming months!

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