Nakamura Victorious Over Ponomariov

  • SonofPearl
  • on 5/26/11, 11:24 AM.

On the final day of the international chess match in St. Louis, Hikaru Nakamura won another rapid game against his Ukrainian opponent to take the match victory by a score of 6.5-3.5.

Ray Robson also won a rapid match on the final day to emerge the winner in his match with Ben Finegold by 6-4.

Thanks to the Chess Club And Scholastic Centre Of St.Louis for hosting these highly entertaining matches and for providing great online coverage.





Best wishes to Ben Finegold's original opponent Viktor Korchnoi for a speedy recovery.  Maybe we'll see him play in St.Louis another time!


Whirlwind Rapid Play Ends International Match

By Ken West

Tornado warnings sent the four grandmasters in the international match to the basement more than once at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis Wednesday, but the unusual had already hit the boards.

GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Ray Robson each won with black in the first of their two rapid games on the final day of competition. Nakamura finished with a 6.5 to 3.5 score against former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov and Robson had a 6 to 4 score over Ben Finegold.

In the first of two rapid games, Nakamura played the Slav against GM Ruslan Ponomariov's d4, and GM Ben Finegold played d4 followed by Nc3 on his second move, the Veresov, according to commentator WGM Jen Shahade.

Ponomariov may have been thrown off his game briefly as he had never experienced a tornado. As the games were halted, he joined others and watched as the weather maps lit up red, which signified tornado warnings. In the meantime, his second, GM Ivan Salgado Lopez of Spain and GM Alejandro Ramirez played blitz during the delay. Once play resumed, Nakamura was able to quickly dispatch the former FIDE World Champion.

But Ponomariov provided tornado action in the final rapid match, busting out the Benko, an opening IM John Donaldson said was one of the Ukrainian's childhood favorites.

I wanted to have some fun because I already lost the match, Ponomariov said. Why not have fun?

He said he thought it would be an easier line for him to play since he knew it.

Somehow even in this game, Hikaru played faster than me, Ponomariov said.

The young Ukrainian expressed thanks for such an opportunity to play such games.

Discussing about what he learned from the match, Ponomariov talked about Nakamura's play.

Its interesting to see Hikaru fights in every game and finds ways to put pressure on the position, he said.

He also will talk about his experience and the organization of the match when he returns to Ukraine. He asked about DVD's to show, not just tell about the club and the event.

Nakamura also complimented the former world champion on his play. The Saint Louis grandmaster noted he was usually the one dealing with jet lag and time zone changes to play such matches.

I think Ruslan was better prepared than me in general, he said. I think I was a bit fortunate, especially game three.

Finegold said the weather break gave the GMs a rare opportunity.

We got to chat a little bit, the clubs resident GM said.

But the chatting did not get in the way of chess. In their first game, Finegold and Robson played 97 moves before the game settled.

The candidates matches players should be ashamed of themselves, Finegold said about several short draws. Hikaru played for wins, Ruslan played aggressive chess and Ray played for the win.

Finegold pointed out there were draw offers in their games, but there also was a draw by the 50-move rule and repetition of the position.

Asked about what he learned from the match, the young Robson said he had to improve every aspect of his game.

The next event at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is the U.S. Junior Closed Championship from June 15-25.

6040 reads 21 comments
2 votes


  • 5 years ago


    Go Naka go! You are a true master.

  • 5 years ago


     Hope to see you as a champion.. way the go Naka!!!

  • 5 years ago


    I agree with Valentin.....

  • 5 years ago


    like to see an nba type of chess tournament. runs for a whole season...

  • 5 years ago


    @ bigbikefan The long time control games would have been rated, but not the rapid ones.

  • 5 years ago


    Does anyone know if these games were FIDE rated?

  • 5 years ago


    nice win by robson

  • 5 years ago


    great job naka

  • 5 years ago


    "...Nakamura finished with a 6.5 to 3.5 score against former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov..."

    I guess I'm a little late on this, but can we stop calling Ponomariov "former world champion"?

    He was a former FIDE Champion and never the universally recognized World Champion.

    There are only four living former world champions: Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik.

  • 5 years ago


    Gelfand gave a good response to the question about why there were so many draws in the candidates' matches.  He said it takes mastery to defend many of the positions, and a weaker player would undoubtedly not have that level, which would result in more non-draw games, but that's artificial because the game content would actually be lower, not higher.  At the level of these super GMs, I can believe that statement.

  • 5 years ago


    Wow, blowout wins by Nakamura and Robson! I wish Nakamura was playing in the candidates matches. God knows he'd still be in it, with all the dependence on blitz matches...

  • 5 years ago

    NM dcremisi

    nice job Nakuakara too bad you didnt get a chance at the canidates

  • 5 years ago


    thank you. really enjoyed.

  • 5 years ago


    Great, great show put on by the players, of course, but the Saint Louis Chess Club as well.  I really appreciate what they are doing for Chess in America.

    Nakamura was pretty impressive in this match.  As I mentioned in a different forum post, I was wrong when I predicted Ponomariov would win.  I had promised to admit it publicly, so this makes twice.  Embarassed

  • 5 years ago


    I wonder how Finegold would fare against the candidates matches participants. 

    Great job Nakamura!

  • 5 years ago

    FM VPA

    Congrats to Naka & Robson for their fine victoriesKiss

  • 5 years ago


    Now updated with the official press release for the last day. Cool

  • 5 years ago


     Good stuff Ryan, as always! I was really hoping for Viktor to be a part of this event and I hope is doing ok and on the mend.

       And to anyone reading this, I uploaded the full event PGN to the Downloads section of Both matches are there and all games are separated into different PGNs, numbering 4 in all.

       Here is the link directly to the download.   Cool


  • 5 years ago


    I want to see Robson vs Korchnoi while Big K's still around and able to put up a good fightSmile

  • 5 years ago


    Good job to all! Way to keep creepin' (like a T-Rex) on that top 5 Naka!!

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