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.
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.
White plans on targeting g7 and so places his dark-squared Bishop on the long-diagonal.
with annoying ideas like ...Nb4 or ...Nc5-e4.
The Knight finds a good square, but now White gets some initiative going due to his play against g7.
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
Fritz likes 19... Kh6!?
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
Now Black's pieces hold together in a different shape! White's passed d-pawn might be trouble, however.
Perhaps 28. Rd5!?
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+-
Suddenly Black is poised to seize the initiative by gaining the second rank with his Rooks.
Forcing White's Queen to a bad square.
Black's back-rank mate threats are quite real!
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