Vallejos’s Creative Play Against Nakamura
GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Francisco Vallejo Pons are two of the greatest chess players in their countries. Although they haven’t played against each other on many occasions, their games are full of dramatic moments.
In this free preview of the A Decade of Benjamin Mega Bundle, GM Joel Benjamin analyses one of their encounters.
Analyze the next position, and decide what Black should play.
Nakamura, with the White pieces, has a clear advantage, as he has a powerful plan in mind – just advance the h- and g-pawns and destroy Black’s castle!
Black’s lack of space and lack of pawn breaks makes his position very uncomfortable. Look at his poor minor pieces – they can barely move!
So, Vallejo Pons decides to burn the bridges and create chaos with 20…a4!? 21.Nxa4 Bxc4!
In a very complicated game, Vallejo first sacrifices the bishop on c4 and then the Ba7, creating many powerful threats that would have won in 9 of 10 games. But Nakamura was in great form and discovered the best practical variation to slow down the attack. And then to convert his material advantage!
You must see the rest of the video to check how Naka defended himself and became triumphant in a very complicated game!
To really understand what happened in this game, learn very important strategical motifs, and train your tactics, then you must see this free preview. GM Benjamin will give you a masterclass!
If you want to improve your play in every phase of the game, then check out the huge A Decade of Benjamin Mega Bundle and learn from the incredible analyses of GM Joel Benjamin!
Vallejo Pons Gets His Revenge Against Nakamura
Fortunately for Vallejo Pons, he did not need to wait very long to get his revenge. In the same tournament, he got his chance with the white pieces and evened the score.
Hikaru Nakamura might consider himself unlucky to lose on time, but even a pawn up against Vallejo Pons, winning this major piece endgame is no easy task.
We must not forget rook endings are complicated and offer many drawing chances, even in a battle between two Super GMs.