Hikaru Nakamura: Winning a drawn position! (2012 World Chess Olympiad)

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2012 World Chess Olympiad, Istanbul Turkey – Round 2
USA — Lithuania (GM Hikaru Nakamura — GM Vidmantas Malisauskas)

If I had to pick two words to describe Hikaru’s approach to chess — the words DETERMINATION and PERSERVERANCE come to mind! In the USA 3.5 to .5 match victory over Lithuania, Hikaru with the match already decided reached a completely equal queen endgame. Many players would have long since agreed to a draw, but Hikaru managed to find a way to squeak out a valuable point.
After a Sicilian defense battle that raged across the whole board, we pick up play in the queen endgame at move 77. Black seems to (and is) doing quite OK. He threatens to promote his pawn on g1 and he even threatens to capture Hikaru’s b4 pawn with check. With a bit of toggling around in between, both sides manage to promote their pawns (78…g1=Q and 82.c8=Q). With 82…Qg-d4+ and 83…Qxc3+ one pair of queens come off, still leaving us with a completely equal queen endgame where each sides remaining passed pawn is still way back on their respective fourth ranks. Hikaru spends several moves checking the black king to play on his opponents nerves and then each pawn advances to their respective fifth rank (90…e4 and 91.b5). Pretty riveting stuff – ☺ With 92…e3, Black is actually the first to achieve the sixth rank with his passed pawn, but Hikaru had come up with the blockading plan 92.Kc1, 93.Kd1 and 94.Ke2. The position was still completely equal, but Black had new challenges to face. Hikaru’s 98.Qb4+ placed his queen behind his own passed pawn while driving the black king away from the black e3-pawn. Black correctly sacrificed his last pawn (99…Qh2+!), but failed to appreciate the moment when he needed to bring his own king over (100…Ke6!!) to control the white passed b-pawn and secure the draw. Black’s 100…Qg3+?? backfired as Hikaru was able to bring his king up to support his advanced passed b-pawn — 101.Kd3, 102.Kd4, 103.Kc4, 105.Kc5and 106.Kb5! with a winning position. Hikaru’s cross-check 107.Qc4+


[Event “Olympiad”]
[Site “0:03.59-0:01.40”]
[Date “2012.08.29”]
[Round “02”]
[White “Nakamura, Hikaru”]
[Black “Malisauskas, Vidmantas”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]
[WhiteElo “2778”]
[WhiteCountry “USA”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[BlackElo “2451”]
[BlackCountry “LTU”]
[Remark “Olympiad M 02.1”]
[PresId “1000020021”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e5 7. Nb3
Be6 8. Be3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O a5 11. Bb5 Na6 12. Kb1 Nc7 13. Bb6
Nd7 14. Bxc7 Qxc7 15. a4 Nb6 16. g4 Rfd8 17. Qe2 d5 18. exd5 Nxd5 19.
Nxd5 Bxd5 20. Nd2 Rac8 21. Ne4 Be6 22. Rxd8+ Rxd8 23. h4 Qb6 24. c3
Bd7 25. Bxd7 Rxd7 26. Kc2 Qc6 27. b3 h6 28. h5 Qe6 29. Nd2 Bg5 30. Nc4
f5 31. gxf5 Qxf5+ 32. Qe4 Qf7 33. Kb2 Rd5 34. Rh2 Bf4 35. Rg2 b5 36.
Nxa5 bxa4 37. Qxa4 Qxh5 38. Nc4 Kh7 39. Qc6 Qf7 40. Nd6 Qe6 41. Qb7
Bg5 42. Ne4 Be7 43. c4 Rd7 44. Qb5 Qh3 45. Rf2 Bh4 46. Rc2 Rd3 47. Nf2
Bxf2 48. Rxf2 Qh4 49. Qb6 Qf4 50. Rg2 g5 51. Qb7+ Kg6 52. Qc6+ Kg7 53.
Qb7+ Kg6 54. Qb6+ Kg7 55. Re2 Rxf3 56. Qc7+ Kg6 57. Qc6+ Kh5 58. c5
Qd4+ 59. Ka2 Rf2 60. Rxf2 Qxf2+ 61. Ka3 g4 62. Qe8+ Kh4 63. Qe7+ Kh3
64. c6 Qb6 65. Qd7 Qb5 66. Qd6 Qa6+ 67. Kb2 h5 68. Qd5 Qb6 69. Qd3+ g3
70. Qf5+ Kh4 71. Qe4+ Kh3 72. b4 g2 73. Qf3+ Kh2 74. Qxh5+ Kg1 75.
Qd1+ Kf2 76. Qc2+ Kf1 77. Qc4+ Ke1 78. c7 g1Q 79. Qc3+ Kd1 80. Qc1+
Ke2 81. Qc4+ Kf3 82. c8Q Qgd4+ 83. Qc3+ Qxc3+ 84. Qxc3+ Kf4 85. Qd2+
Kf3 86. Qd3+ Kf4 87. Qf1+ Kg3 88. Qd3+ Kf4 89. Qd2+ Kf3 90. Qd5+ e4
91. b5 Kf4 92. Kc1 e3 93. Kd1 Qa5 94. Ke2 Qc3 95. Qf7+ Ke4 96. Qe6+
Kf4 97. Qd6+ Qe5 98. Qb4+ Kf5 99. b6 Qh2+ 100. Kxe3 Qg1+ 101. Kd3 Qf1+
102. Kd4 Qg1+ 103. Kc4 Ke6 104. b7 Qf1+ 105. Kc5 Qf8+ 106. Kb5 Qf1+
107. Qc4+ 1-0


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