Hikaru Nakamura vs Sasikiran – (USA vs India)

Fighting for first place in the 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, the USA (with Hikaru Nakamura) faced a very powerful team from India. With Gata Kamsky being squeezed and ultimately losing on Board 2, and Boards 3 and 4 ending in draws – it was up to our young superstar Nakamura to save the day for the US. Hikaru unwrapped the Scotch Game, quite possibly refined during his work with Kasparov a few years ago. His 15.Qe3 preparing to complete mobilization with Bd3 and Rhe1 seems to be a new move in this exact position. With 16.Re1 Hikaru protected his e5 strongpoint pawn, and then launched his a-pawn with 17.a4! Black played to undermine the white e-pawn with 17…d6 and 18…Nd7, while Hikaru began drifting towards the black king with 18.a5, 19.Nb5 and 20.Qb3! When Black lost the thread a bit with 20…Ba8 (?!), Hikaru’s 21.f4! totally activated the White forces. The attacking sequence 23.Na7+, 24.Bxe5, 25.Qb8+ and 26.Bh3+ netted white the exchange. With 30.Nc6+, 31.Rxg7+ and 32.Qxc6, Hikaru returned the exchange for a promising Q+R ending with a passed a-pawn. Mutual mistakes in time pressure – Hikaru’s 36.a6 (?!) and Sasikiran’s 37…Rxa7(??) saw the black king walk into a forced mate with 39.Qe8+.

Click to see the interactive chess board - Hikaru Nakamura

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