Morozevich beats Nakamura in 8th round Reggio Emilia

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

With two rounds to go, nothing has been decided yet in Reggio Emilia as tournament leader Hikaru Nakamura lost to Alexander Morozevich on Wednesday. Anish Giri maintained his third place thanks to a win against Nikita Vitiugov. Vassily Ivanchuk lost his 4th consecutive game, to Fabiano Caruana.

Nakamura loses to Morozevich in round 8 | Photo © Reggio Emilia

Event54th Torneo di Capodannno |  PGN via TWIC
DatesDecember 27th-January 6th, 2011
LocationReggio Emilia, Italy
System6-player double round robin
PlayersIvanchuk, Nakamura, Morozevich, Vitiugov, Caruana, Giri
Rate of play100 minutes for the first moves followed by 50 minutes to finish the game with 30 seconds increment from move 1

The 54th Capodanno tournament could have been decided already (well, almost), if Hikaru Nakamura had won against Alexander Morozevich in round 8. It didn't happen, no, in fact Nakamura didn't seem to be himself, perhaps because of the pressure, and played a bad game. Afterwards Morozevich said in an interview by the organizers:

It seems that he was in the mood for pushing. He confused the move order in the opening. For me it was a very easy game but probably I was just lucky.

Indeed, White's early f4-f5 and f5xe6 looked like the most aggressive approach at first sight, but in fact Black had less problems than he normally does in this line, and soon he was two pawns up for nothing.

[Event "54th Reggio Emilia"]
[Site "Reggio Emilia ITA"]
[Date "2012.01.04"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Morozevich, Alexander"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2758"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2011.12.27"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Qb6 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2
Qxb2 9. Rb1 Qa3 10. f5 $5 {A rare move in this position.} (10. Be2) (10. Bb5) (
10. Nb5) (10. Rb3) (10. dxc5) (10. Bd3 {have all been played more often.})
10... a6 11. fxe6 (11. Be2 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Nxd4 13. Bxd4 Bc5 14. Rb3 Qa5 15. fxe6
fxe6 16. Bh5+ g6 17. Bg4 Bxd4 18. Qxd4 Nc5 19. Rb4 O-O 20. Bf3 Bd7 21. O-O Rac8
22. h4 Rf7 23. h5 Rcf8 24. Re1 Rf4 25. Qxf4 Rxf4 {0-1 Voigt,M (2260)-Gleizerov,
E (2540)/Hamburg 1995}) 11... fxe6 12. Be2 $146 (12. Ng5 cxd4 13. Nxe6 dxe3 14.
Qxe3 Qa5 15. Be2 d4 16. Qg5 Ndxe5 17. Nxg7+ Bxg7 18. Bh5+ Ng6 19. Bxg6+ hxg6
20. Qxg6+ Kd8 $19 {Puczylowski,M (2070)-Bebel,A (2272)/Karpacz 2010}) 12... Be7
$1 {Before everything, Black gets his king into safety. White doesn't seem to
have enough compensation.} 13. O-O O-O 14. Kh1 {Giving another pawn.} (14. dxc5
) 14... cxd4 15. Nxd4 Ndxe5 16. Rb3 Rxf1+ 17. Bxf1 Qd6 18. Nxc6 Nxc6 19. Na4 b5
20. Nb6 Rb8 21. Bf4 e5 22. Nxc8 Rxc8 23. Bg3 Qe6 {White has nothing.} 24. Rb1
e4 25. a4 bxa4 26. Bxa6 Rf8 27. c3 a3 28. Be2 Bd6 29. Bh4 Rb8 30. Rxb8+ Bxb8
31. Qa2 Qd6 32. Bg3 Qc5 0-1

Nakamura tweeted:

Just one of those days where everything went wrong and my opponent played well. Fortunately, I still have the lead and can sleep it off.

The round was coloured by another game: Ivanchuk-Caruana. After his three black losses, the brilliant but unpredictable Ukrainian went down yet again. OK, this can happen, but then something occurred that can be seen quite often in youth tournaments, but never in a super tournament. Before resigning the game, Ivanchuk first gave away almost all of his pieces.

[Event "54th Reggio Emilia"]
[Site "Reggio Emilia ITA"]
[Date "2012.01.04"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A48"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2727"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2011.12.27"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. e3 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Be2 b6 7. O-O Bb7 8. c3
Nbd7 9. Bh2 Qe8 10. a4 a6 11. Na3 e5 12. Nc4 Ne4 $146 13. Nfd2 Nxd2 14. Nxd2
Kh8 (14... f5 15. Bf3 e4 16. Be2 g5 17. Re1 Kh8 18. f4 Bh6 {Cibulka,V (2280)
-Divis,J (2275)/Czechoslovakia 1992}) 15. Qc2 f5 16. Rfe1 g5 17. Bd3 Qg6 18. f3
Rae8 19. Rf1 d5 20. a5 c5 $1 {Black was already fine, and now he's grabbing
the initiative.} 21. g4 $6 {This won't have the desired effect.} e4 $1 22. fxe4
dxe4 23. Be2 f4 24. axb6 Qxb6 25. Qb3 Qa7 {Ivanchuk might have pinned his
hopes on...} 26. Bb5 $2 {...but it fails to} cxd4 $1 {Black is suddenly
winning in all lines.} 27. Bxd7 dxe3 28. Nc4 Rd8 29. Ba4 (29. Qb6 Qxb6 30. Nxb6
Rf6 $19) 29... Rd2 ({Nice, but the simple} 29... e2+ 30. Rf2 e3 {is also
completely winning.}) 30. Qxb7 Qxb7 31. Rxf4 gxf4 32. Nxd2 exd2 33. Bxf4 Rxf4
34. Bc6 Qb6+ 0-1

After this, it's a relief to see that Chuky seemed to be in relatively good spirits in this post-game interview. After dealing quite well with questions like 'Why do you have never been number one on rating' and 'How many languages do you speak', he was asked about having to play three games in a row with the black pieces.

I don't think that this is such a problem for me. OK, I lost three games but not because I was Black. I already played already three times in a row with black at the Capablanca memorial, but I don't consider this a serious problem.

Anish Giri started with two draws and two losses, but since then he's been playing really well and after four more rounds he's added 10 points to his score! In round 8 he used 1.e4 to beat Nikita Vitiugov in a nice attacking game, that started with a typical exchange sacrifice.

[Event "54th Reggio Emilia"]
[Site "Reggio Emilia ITA"]
[Date "2012.01.04"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B41"]
[WhiteElo "2714"]
[BlackElo "2729"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "107"]
[EventDate "2011.12.27"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Be2 {A tricky move order.} Nf6 6.
Nc3 Bb4 ({There's nothing wrong with this but safer are} 6... Qc7 {and}) (6...
d6 {(the Scheveningen).}) 7. e5 $5 ({More popular are} 7. Qd3 {and}) (7. O-O)
7... Nd5 8. O-O $5 ({And here usually} 8. Bd2 {is played.}) 8... Nxc3 (8...
Bxc3 9. bxc3 Nxc3 10. Qd3 Nxe2+ 11. Qxe2 {will also give White ample
compensation over the black squares, e.g.} O-O 12. Ba3 Re8 13. Bd6 b5 14. Rad1
Bb7 15. Qg4 Nc6 16. Nxc6 Bxc6 17. Rd3 {Batuev,A-Bastrikov,G/Riga 1954}) 9. bxc3
Bxc3 ({Safer is} 9... Be7 10. Bf4 O-O 11. Qd3 Bg5 12. Bxg5 Qxg5 13. f4 Qe7 14.
f5 f6 15. Qh3 Nc6 16. fxe6 Nxe5 17. Bd3 Nxd3 18. exd7 Bxd7 19. Qxd3 {Negi,P
(2621)-Muzychuk,A (2523)/Wijk aan Zee 2010}) 10. Ba3 $5 {Making it an exchange
sac, which in fact has been played before.} (10. Rb1 Qc7 11. Rb3 Bxd4 12. Qxd4
O-O 13. Rh3 Qd8 14. Bd3 g6 15. Bh6 {also gave White a dangerous attack in
Zelic,M-Jerkovic,B/Bela Crkva 1983}) 10... Qa5 11. Bd6 Nc6 (11... Bb4 12. Nf3
Nc6 13. Rb1 Bxd6 14. Qxd6 Qd8 15. c4 Qe7 16. c5 f6 17. Rb6 fxe5 18. Bd3 Qxd6
19. cxd6 O-O 20. Be4 a5 {and Black managed to hold the draw in Anagnostopoulos,
D (2495)-Tringov,G (2405)/Athens 1997}) 12. Nxc6 dxc6 13. f4 Bxa1 $146 {Taking
the rook is the first new move.} (13... Bb4 14. Qd4 Bxd6 15. exd6 f6 16. c4 c5
17. Qd3 Bd7 18. Bh5+ Kf8 19. f5 exf5 20. Rae1 g6 21. Re7 Bc6 22. Qe3 h6 23. Qe6
{1-0 Civric,Z (2206)-Mikavica,D (2034)/Budva 2009}) 14. Qxa1 {White clearly
has nice compensation.} Qd2 15. Bd3 Qe3+ 16. Kh1 Bd7 17. Qb2 b5 18. a4 Rc8 19.
f5 $1 {Of course.} exf5 $6 {Very risky.} (19... h5 $5 {might have been better.}
) 20. e6 $1 Qxe6 {Giving back the exchange.} (20... Bxe6 21. Qxg7 Kd7 22. Bf4
Rcg8 23. Qc3 (23. Qxg8 $2 Qxd3) 23... Qb6 24. a5 $1 {is also good for White.})
21. Qxg7 Qxd6 22. Qxh8+ Qf8 23. Qxh7 Kd8 24. Bxf5 Bxf5 25. Qxf5 Kc7 26. c4 $1 {
A new wave of attack begins.} Kb6 27. Rb1 b4 28. a5+ Kc7 $6 ({Why not} 28...
Ka7) 29. c5 $1 {This will win the b-pawn.} Rb8 30. Qe5+ Kc8 31. Qf5+ Kc7 32.
Qf4+ Kc8 33. Rxb4 Rxb4 (33... Rb5 $5) 34. Qxb4 Qh6 35. Qc4 Kd8 36. h4 f5 $6 ({
After} 36... Qe3 37. Kh2 Ke7 {White has a tougher job.}) 37. Qd4+ Kc8 38. Qc4
Kd8 39. Kh2 Ke7 40. Qd4 Qh5 41. Kh3 {White is winning.} Qg6 42. Qe3+ Kd7 43.
Qd2+ Ke8 44. Qf4 Qf6 45. Qd6 $1 Qc3+ (45... Qxd6 46. cxd6 Kd7 47. h5) 46. Kh2
Qxa5 47. Qxc6+ Kf7 48. Qd5+ Kf6 49. Qd6+ Kf7 50. Qd7+ Kf6 51. Qc6+ Kf7 52. Qb7+
Kg8 53. Qc8+ Kg7 54. Qxf5 1-0

Giri beats Vitiugov with 1.e4

The 9th round (with Nakamura-Giri and Ivanchuk-Morozevich) promises to be another exciting one. The tie-breaks in Reggio Emilia are as follows:

  1. Match point (3 – 1 – 0)
  2. Sonneborn-Berger
  3. The result of the players in the same point group
  4. The greater number of victories

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 8 Standings

1Nakamura,H275815.0/8 2878
2Morozevich,A276214.0/8 2826
3Giri,A271412.0/8 2796
4Caruana,F272711.0/8 2754
5Ivanchuk,V27758.0/8 2644
6Vitiugov,N27295.0/8 2557

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 8 Standings (classical)


Reggio Emilia 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 127.12.1115:00 CET Round 602.01.1215:00 CET
Ivanchuk½-½Giri Giri1-0Ivanchuk
Vitiugov0-1Nakamura Nakamura1-0Vitiugov
Caruana0-1Morozevich Morozevich0-1Caruana
Round 228.12.1115:00 CET Round 703.01.1215:00 CET
Giri0-1Morozevich Morozevich½-½Giri
Nakamura½-½Caruana Caruana½-½Nakamura
Ivanchuk½-½Vitiugov Vitiugov1-0Ivanchuk
Round 329.12.1115:00 CET Round 804.01.1215:00 CET
Vitiugov½-½Giri Giri1-0Vitiugov
Caruana0-1Ivanchuk Ivanchuk0-1Caruana
Morozevich½-½Nakamura Nakamura0-1Morozevich
Round 430.12.1115:00 CET Round 905.01.1215:00 CET
Giri0-1Nakamura Nakamura-Giri
Ivanchuk1-0Morozevich Morozevich-Ivanchuk
Vitiugov0-1Caruana Caruana-Vitiugov
Round 531.12.1115:00 CET Round 1006.01.1213:00 CET
Caruana0-1Giri Giri-Caruana
Morozevich1-0Vitiugov Vitiugov-Morozevich
Nakamura1-0Ivanchuk Ivanchuk-Nakamura


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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