H. Nakamura (2774) - J. Friedel (2513) [A11]

United States Championship 2006/San Diego USA (1) 2006


Young Massachusettes IM Josh Friedel demonstrates his tactical awareness in this wild game with the U.S. champion.

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 e6 4. Qc2 Bd6 5. Nc3 f5 6. h3!?N

White's idea is to break with a quick g4, which has gained legitimacy as an anti-Dutch weapon. One line, discussed in one of the SOS books, goes 1.d4 f5 2.Qd3!? e6 3.g4!? The simple 6. d4 Nf6 7. Bd3 Ne4!?= would lead to a more standard Stonewall.

 

6... Nf6 7. g4 O-O

Opening lines with 7... fxg4? 8. hxg4 can only be good for White, really. 8... e5!? 9. g5 Rf8!? 10. gxf6! Qxf6 11. Qxh7 Qxf3 (11... Bg4 12. Rg1!) 12. Qg6+!

 

8. gxf5 exf5 9. b3!

White plans on targeting g7 and so places his dark-squared Bishop on the long-diagonal.

 

9... Qe7 10. Bb2 Na6!

with annoying ideas like ...Nb4 or ...Nc5-e4.

 

11. Rg1 Bd7 12. cxd5 Nb4! 13. Qb1 cxd5!?

More logical seems to be 13... Nbxd5 when White gains nothing from 14. Bc4 Kh8 15. Nxd5 cxd5 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. Bxd5 due to 17... Ba3! 18. d4 Bb4+ with more than sufficient compensation for the pawn.

 

14. a3 Nc6

The Knight finds a good square, but now White gets some initiative going due to his play against g7.

 

15. Nxd5! Nxd5 16. Bc4 Be6 17. Rxg7+ Qxg7 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Qb2+?!

This is a logical move in a wild position, seeking play along the long-diagonal and preparing to castle long without dropping the a-pawn. But Fritz find something better: White appears to gain an edge with 19. Qd3! Nce7 20. Nd4 Bg8 21. Ke2!! Kh8 22. Rg1 Be5 (22... Bxa3 23. Rxg8+ Rxg8 24. Bxd5 Nxd5 25. Qxf5 Rgd8 26. Ne6) 23. Rxg8+ Rxg8 24. Nxf5

 

19... Rf6

Fritz likes 19... Kh6!?

 

20. O-O-O h6 21. d3!?

with the idea of Pe4, attacking Black's central mass of pieces. But Black is able to coordinate his forces without losing material. Perhaps 21. Nd4 Nxd4 22. Qxd4 Bxa3+ 23. Kb1 Rd8 24. Rg1+ Kf7 25. Qxa7 unclear

 

21... Kf7 22. e4 fxe4 23. dxe4 Rxf3 24. exd5 Bf4+ 25. Kb1 Bf5+ 26. Ka2 Ne5

Now Black's pieces hold together in a different shape! White's passed d-pawn might be trouble, however.

 

27. d6+! Kg6 28. Be2

Perhaps 28. Rd5!?

 

28... Rxh3 29. Qd4!?

29. d7?! Nxd7 30. Rxd7 Bxd7 31. Qd4 Re8!

 

29... Rf8 30. Bb5 Be6 31. Qe4+

31. d7!? Bxb3+ 32. Kb1 Bxd1 33. Qd6+ Kg7 34. Qxf8+ Kxf8 35. d8=Q+ Kg7 36. Qxd1 unclear

 

31... Kh5 32. Be2+ Kh4 33. d7! Bxd7 34. Rxd7

34. Rd5!? Bg4 (34... Bc6? 35. Rxe5!!) 35. Rxe5 Bxe2 36. Re8! Rf6 (36... Rxe8? 37. Qxf4+! Kh5 38. Qf7++-) 37. Qxe2 Fritz

 

34... Nxd7 35. Qe7+?

Probably the losing move! White still is better after 35. Qe6!! Nf6 (35... Ne5 36. Qe7++-) 36. Qe7 Fritz, and pieces start dropping or Black gets mated: 36... Rc3!? (36... Rg8 37. Qxf6+ Bg5 38. Qd4+ forces mate.) 37. Qxf8 Rc6 38. Bf3+-

 

35... Bg5! 36. Qxd7 Rf4!

Suddenly Black is poised to seize the initiative by gaining the second rank with his Rooks.

 

37. f3

37. Qxb7? Rxf2-+

 

37... Rh2! 38. Qd3 Kg3 39. b4 Rf2 40. Kb1 Kg2 41. Bd1 Bh4 42. Qg6+ Bg3 43. Bc2 h5!

Forcing White's Queen to a bad square.

 

44. Qxh5 Rc4 45. Be4 Rd4

Black's back-rank mate threats are quite real!

 

46. f4+ Rxe4 47. Qd5 Rfe2 48. Qxb7 Kg1

White can only delay the inevitable back-rank check. I think Nakamura got into complications that were just beyond anything that humans can really cope with, while Friedel showed that he could go toe to toe with a top GM and emerge victorious. A great contest. 0-1

Game in PGN