Hikaru Nakamura vs Fabiano Caruana – 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014

This is the 5th round game between Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana from the 2nd Sinquefield Cup chess tournament of 2014. Caruana replies with the Slav Defense against Nakamura’s d4, with Nakamura choosing the Breyer variation (Nd2). After Caruana’s Bf5, Nakamura eventually obtains the bishop-pair. When it is your opponent who has the bishop pair, one typically tries to keep the position closed. However it is Caruana who initiates a pawn break with e5, which looks to capitalize on his slight lead in development and Nakamura’s more vulnerable king. A key moment in the game arises regarding pawn structure with each side underestimating the significance of a white pawn arriving on f4. A better pawn structure will often translate into a superior game due to one side finding it much easier to slowly improve upon the positioning of pieces; this game is no exception. The tournament was held in the United States – Saint Louis, Missouri at the Saint Louis Chess Club & Scholastic Center (Home of the World Chess Hall of Fame). This tournament’s 6 competitors (Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Veselin Topalov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave) have an average rating of nearly 2802, making it the strongest tournament in chess history.

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