Nakamura First Series Winner: FIDE Grand Prix Berlin 2022, Stage 3, Semi-Final, Day 2

GM Hikaru Nakamura won the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix series by securing a half point against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on Thursday. Although there are still games to play in the second leg, Nakamura has already scored more points than GM Richard Rapport, the former leader, in the overall standings.

In the other game, GM Amin Tabatabaei defeated GM Wesley So in a must-win situation after losing the first game. After a very dramatic mid-game, Tabatabaei had a decisive advantage, forcing So to retire. With these results, both matches head to the tiebreakers tomorrow.

The tiebreakers to decide the semi-finals will take place Friday, April 1, at 6 a.m. Pacific / 3 p.m. Central Europe.


Nakamura-Mamedyarov

After a somewhat bloodless draw in the first game of the semi-final, it was expected that Mamedyarov, with the white pieces, would try something to avoid a draw and a quick game tiebreaker against Nakamura .

In a Queen’s Gambit Declined with Bf4, Nakamura predictably chose a line he’s used dozens of times before. In fact, as co-commentator and former world champion Viswanathan Anand pointed out: during online events during the COVID crisis, Nakamura was making a living playing this variation as a black guy.

Nakamura ponders his decision. Photo: World Chess.

Mamedyarov sharpened the game with 9.h4, but even this line has been present in Nakamura’s practice before, and unsurprisingly he had something fresh prepared in 10…Ng4, deviating from his previous games which all featured 10…Ne4. Even though engines like that move, they were less impressed with Black’s follow, 11…h5.

In the transition from the opening to the middle game, Mamedyarov seemed to have several promising options but chose none of them, allowing Black to equalise. You might have guessed this would be the start of a wood chopping contest in the spirit of yesterday’s yawn party, but then you’d be wrong!

Mamedyarov sharpened the game with the move 9.h4, but Nakamura was ready. Photo: World Chess.

Nakamura has made an art of playing the kinds of positions that flow from that line of the Queen’s Gambit, and once he’s won something to hang his hat and cane on, he’s like a teenager who’s been allowed to stay out. beyond its usual curfew. , liberated and pursuing every opportunity that comes his way. This attitude unfortunately led him to try to cash in his chips earlier than expected; his 26…Bxa4 was impatient and let most of his advantage slip away.

Eventually the players found themselves in a more or less even final, but as Nakamura said after the match: “It sucked, but at some point I wanted to continue, then Shakhriyar wanted to continue, but nobody had anything special.”

So-Tabatabaei

In yesterday’s match, So hammered a long build-up, culminating in an advantage which he converted with precision. Today Tabatabaei also played fast but opted for a particular combination of the Samisch Variation and the Fianchetto Variation against So’s Nimzo-Indian. This type of setup usually makes the c4 pawn impossible to defend, but when that became a problem, Tabatabaei boldly sacrificed it, arguing that it would give the bishop pair more room to move. It seems So and the Engines agreed with this assessment as it wasn’t long before So decided to pay the pawn back. The engines were less enthusiastic about this decision.

A tense match between Tabatabaei and So. Photo: World Chess.

It seemed like the start of a major action. But rather sprinting forward with precision and unmeasured, it was as if the gunshot rattled the players, causing one error after another, notably So whose puzzling blunder, 23…Nh4??, forced white finds the one rather obvious move not to lose immediately, 24.Rd3, which also gives white a winning position.

As Tabatabaei said after the game: “I completely blundered…Nh4, but after Kd3 it’s so strange that he was completely winning. I thought he was completely lost, but then I have a move that is completely winning.”

I thought it was completely lost, but then I have a shot that’s completely a winner.

—GM Amin Tabatabaei

A surprising turnaround occurred in Tabatabaei-So. Photo: World Chess.

The game’s few remaining moves saw Try So Confusing Things with Tabatabaei waving the attempts as if representing a lazy and only slightly annoying fly.

With this Tabatabaei win, he added another impressive scalp to his belt and no doubt lifted his spirits ahead of tomorrow’s tiebreaker.

Chess.com game of the day dejan bojkov

Results

All matches – Semi-finals Day 2

The FIDE Grand Prix Berlin is the final leg of the Grand Prix 2022. The Berlin tournament runs from March 22 to April 4. Tune in every day at 7 a.m. Pacific/3 p.m. CET for our broadcast.


Previous reports:

  • Wesley So wins match one: FIDE Grand Prix Berlin 2022, Stage 3, Semi-Final, Day 1
  • Mamedyarov, So Win Groups: FIDE Grand Prix Berlin 2022, stage 3, group tiebreakers
  • Nakamura, Report In For FIDE Candidates: 2022 FIDE Grand Prix Berlin Leg 3, Round 6
  • Nakamura wins again, leading with Aronian: 2022 FIDE Grand Prix Berlin, Stage 3, Round 5
  • Nakamura Wins On Demand: FIDE Grand Prix Berlin 2022, Stage 3, Round 4
  • FIDE Grand Prix Berlin 2022, stage 3, R3: Keymer wins, Nakamura escapes
  • FIDE Grand Prix Berlin 2022, stage 3, R2: 8 draws
  • FIDE Grand Prix Berlin 2022, stage 3, R1: 4 wins, chess fight
  • FIDE Grand Prix 2022: all the information
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