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Nakamura - Ponomariov Match 2011 (3)

Nakamura levels match against Ponomariov after 3 games

Nakamura in interview after game 3.

Nakamura in interview after game 3. |

Hikaru Nakamura levelled his match against Ruslan Ponomariov winning game 3 on the black side of a King's Indian. Again however Nakamura had a significant disadvantage from the opening and only after errors by Ponomariov did he turn the tables and win a queen and pawn ending. Nakamura was again unhappy with his play.

Finegold, Robson Draw; Nakamura Draws Even By Ken West

Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura evened the score at 1.5 in his international match against GM Ruslan Ponomariov Thursday at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Ben Finegold and Ray Robson drew their second straight game.

Nakamura won but was the first to say it was not because of his opening play with the King’s Indian. His position had doubled a and c pawns at one point, and his decision to play Na6 on move seven was a deviation from his preparation.

"I spent all day preparing a line - but at the last minute decided to play Na6," he said after the game.

During postgame comments with International Master John Donaldson and Women’s GM Jen Shahade, Nakamura said he was worse out of the opening. On Ponomariov’s Qd6 on move 16, Nakamura said he was "significantly worse." He was concerned about Ponomariov then playing Qa3, hitting the a6 pawn.

Ponomariov also played an exchange sacrifice after Nakamura played Bg4 on his 19th move. Ponomariov took the bishop on g7 and Nakamura took the rook on d1. Ponomariov retreated his bishop to f6 and Nakamura’s bishop jumped back to g4.

"I think I have a nice position," Ponomariov said about the resulting position after the exchange sacrifice. "After Qc5 check I started sinking," he told Donaldson and Shahade. He said he had to improve his calculation.

After the exchange sac happened, Donaldson said Ponomariov’s bishop on f6 was "like a bone in the throat - white has a tremendous grip on the dark squares."

But at some point, the game shifted. Both Donaldson and Shahade said they weren’t sure when the game shifted or if the exchange sac was the problem. After Ponomariov’s Qb6 on move 30, Shahade said it appeared Nakamura was playing for the win. The Saint Louis grandmaster got the win but said it was a learning experience.

The King’s Indian may be "a bad opening to play in a match format," Nakamura said. "It’s pretty much all or nothing. But that’s why I’m playing this match. I get experience and learn something from it."

The Finegold/Robson match ended in a draw after Finegold forced perpetual check. Instead of forcing the perpetual check, Finegold could have played Bd2.

"Bd2 is a way to try to win or lose," Finegold said.

He played 3.Bb5 against Robson’s Sicilian. The choice didn’t surprise the young grandmaster.

"No, I expect him to play something different every day," Robson said.

Luckily, Robson said, Finegold played a line with which he was familiar.

This is the first time Finegold has played under a match system. Robson said his previous matches were only two-game affairs.

"We both had issues," Finegold said about preparing for this match. Finegold prepared to face legendary Viktor Korchnoi but health issues forced him to withdraw. Robson came in as a late replacement.

"So we are doing our preparation day by day," Finegold said.

Robson leads their match 2 to 1.

To follow the games live, visit Live commentary by IM John Donaldson and WGM Jennifer Shahade can be found at Rounds and commentary are open to club members, and memberships start at just $5/month for students or $12/month for adults.

Game 3 interviews: Ponomariov and Nakamura

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Another important aspect of our mission is to develop in-school and after-school scholastic chess programs. Chess teaches valuable lessons for developing students like problem solving, critical thinking, spatial awareness and goal setting. Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new programs within regular school curricula.

Call 314.361.CHESS (2437), e-mail or visit us in person at 4657 Maryland Avenue, St. Louis, Mo., 63109 for more information.

Match Saint Louis
Ponomariov, Ruslan - Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 93 E98 King's Indian Classical
Nakamura, Hikaru - Ponomariov, Ruslan ½-½ 37 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Ponomariov, Ruslan - Nakamura, Hikaru 0-1 43 E94 King's Indian Classical

Match Saint Louis (USA), 17-23 v 2011
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total Perf
Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2774 0 ½ 1 . . . 2754
Ponomariov, Ruslan g UKR 2754 1 ½ 0 . . . 2774
Match Saint Louis
Finegold, Benjamin - Robson, Ray 0-1 51 B22 Sicilian Alapin
Robson, Ray - Finegold, Benjamin ½-½ 29 C41 Philidor's Defence
Finegold, Benjamin - Robson, Ray ½-½ 30 B52 Sicilian Rossolimo

Match Saint Louis (USA), 17-23 v 2011
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total Perf
Robson, Ray g USA 2545 1 ½ ½ . . . 2 2619
Finegold, Benjamin g USA 2494 0 ½ ½ . . . 1 2420

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