Saturday, 21 August 2010

NH Chess Tournament

From the NH Chess Tournament here is a surprising easy win for US GM Hikaru Nakamura and there is a twist to the whole story. I will let GM Ian Rogers (courtesy of Chess Life Online) explain:

Nakamura,Hi (2729) - Van Wely,L (2677)
4th NH Chess Tournament Amsterdam NED (7), 2010.08.19
Opening: Sicilian Najdorf

Losing a game in 17 moves is bad enough, but worse was to come for van Wely when the editor of New in Chess, Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, showed van Wely a copy of his article in the as yet unpublished issue of New in Chess.

In it van Wely states "Not 12...Nd7 because of 13.Nd5! Qc5 14.Nb3! Qc6 15.Na5 Qc5 16.Nxb7 and Black loses." Never would a player have received less satisfaction from having their analysis proved correct.

After the game, which lasted less than one and a half hours, both players appeared somewhat shell-shocked. They stood outside the press room discussing how such an error could be possible and whether the line was playable at all.

"My memory started to go when I was 25," admitted van Wely, perhaps giving Nakamura pause to think that he might only have a few more years left to get to the top.
In GM Rogers' notes there is the reference to the earlier game between Smith,Bryan (2468) and Laznicka,Viktor (2636). Brian Smith turned up at Chess
Life Online and posted this comment:
Can we chess players please make a pact to let my poor game with Laznicka go to rest? You know, like a wounded horse - maybe it is better to just shoot it, that might be more merciful, right?

Please, couldn't someone point out that I was just up a rook in a completely won position that Laznicka would have simply resigned if there were even a somewhat normal amount of time on the clock. As it were, each of us had 15 seconds or so for five moves, which should have been perfectly sufficient as well, but I guess nerves (and a gigantic crowd around the board) interferred. Not to mention the fact that my final blunder was made on move 41 (!) after the time control was reached and I was winning again, because i wanted to make one more move "to make sure". Ironically, I did not even make that move fast enough! Instead, the correct move would have forced resignation...So please stop revisiting my pain.

I have no idea why this silly game was picked up by all commentators - after all, Laznicka played many good games in the World open, surely this was his worst. It is also one of the most silly games I have ever played. Besides that the opening is simply aweful, white can win in multiple ways which various commentators have pointed out and even I saw during the game (although was unable to come to a good decision because of extreme tiredness due to playing another tournament just before the world open). So why Van Wely repeated it is actually baffling. Thanks!

Bryan Smith
For readers enjoyment (and education) here is the Smith-Laznicka game annotated by GM Lubomir Kavalek (courtesy of the Huffington Post):

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