Sunday 2 February 2014

Great Escapes

The 2014 Zurich Chess Challenge provided more entertainment overnight, in the form of the Nakamura - Carlsen game. Before the game Nakamura was talking himself up as the future threat to Carlsen's title, and up until move 37 he might well have been. But he chose a move that he thought was winning (as did the on-site commentators) but turned out  to simply throw away his advantage. And in what is a familiar script when facing Carlsen his position went from winning to equal and then losing in a surprisingly short time.
After the game most comments concerned how amazing the collapse was. Of course at the highest level it is incredibly rare to see a game end this way, but visit any local club or tournament and such tragedies are more common place. For example, the diagrammed position comes from a game I played on the weekend (it was G/15m). I was white, and am completely lost in this position. Yet amazingly I managed to win the game in the space of 10 moves. My opponent (who was behind on the clock), thought the b pawn was going to queen, but missed my plan of h3-g4-gxf5-h4-Bh3-Bxf5 when I am covering b1 and the f pawn is running. Even then it is a draw, but having missed the win, he took one move too long to get the bishop back to e8, and the point was mine.

Nakamura,Hikaru (2789) - Carlsen,Magnus (2872) [E20]
Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 Zurich SUI (3.2), 01.02.2014

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