Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hikaru Nakamura Wins 2009 US Championship

Position after 8.Bd3!?

I have annotated Nakamura - Friedel, US Championship 2009, where GM Hikaru Nakamura used a 19th Century variation of the Two Knights Defense to win the crucial last round game that secured him the championship.

The surprising 8.Bd3, which blocks the d-pawn, was first played by Isidor Gunsberg but recently revived by Daniel Stellwagen, who presented an article on it in "Secrets of Opening Surprises, Volume #9." Nakamura played a nearly flawless game with the line, ending in a neat little move that traps Black's queen nearly in the middle of the board (see diagram below). Not only did this near-miniature secure Nakamura sole possession of the $40,000 first prize, but also (I predict) will bring him $275 more in the "SOS competition," for the best game played with a variation written about in Secrets of Opening Surprises!

White to play and win.

There are lots of great resources online for those interested in learning more about the US Chess Championship or this final round game. Here are some links worth exploring:

1 comment:

katar said...

Nice joke at the end! :)
One cool thing about Naka is that he plays everything and is impossible to prep for... unlike, say, Josh Friedel :)