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Nakamura - Ponomariov Match 2011 (1)

Ponomariov convincingly defeats Nakamura in game 1

Nakamura was caustic about how badly he played in game one.

Nakamura was caustic about how badly he played in game one. |

Ruslan Ponomariov in spite of fighting off jet-lag handed out a bit of a beating to Hikaru Nakamura in a King's Indian Defence in game 1 of 6 of their Classical Chess Match. Nakamura could not have been more critical of his own play and promised that he really couldn't play any worse in the remaining games of the match. Ray Robson beat Ben Finegold in the second match. Video interviews available with the players.

Ponomariov, Robson Score Round-One Victories By Ken West

Grandmaster Ruslan Ponomariov uncorked Nf3 on the fifth move against Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura's King's Indian Defense and went on to win the first game of their international match Tuesday at the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.

"This is what happens when you take three and a half months off classical chess," Nakamura said during post-game comments with International Master John Donaldson and Women's Grandmaster Jen Shahade.

In the other game, Grandmaster Ray Robson won on the black side against Grandmaster Ben Finegold, the club's resident GM. Finegold played 2.c3, the Alapin, or closed Sicilian.

Nakamura said he knew he would "get something tactical" from Ponomariov, who played 13. g4. Donaldson said the young Ukrainian also usually plays 5. f3, the Saemisch variation against the King's Indian. Nakamura said his Nf6 on move 21 was a major mistake.

"Just about everything wins here for white," he said.

The former world champion then traded his knight on b3 for Nakamura's knight on d4. After Nakamura recaptured with his e pawn, Ponomariov got the e5 pawn push. Nakamura had to give up his knight for two pawns because of the pin of his pawn on d4. Nakamura resigned after Ponomariov's 93rd move as the young Ukrainian was weaving the knight/bishop mate.

Ponomariov said his move 49. Bd5 was a mistake, saying he is still fighting jet lag. Nakamura said he had technical drawing chances in the end game if he could have exchanged his dark-squared bishop for Ponomariov's knight.

The Finegold-Robson game ended with mate on the board.

"At time control, I thought maybe it's a draw," Finegold said.

However, after 42. d5, the St. Louis grandmaster said he was losing.

Robson said he didn't look at any lines against the closed Sicilian "and not even e4 a lot."

The young grandmaster said he thought he was winning after 43. Bc5.

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.

Match Saint Louis
Ponomariov, Ruslan - Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 93 E98 King's Indian Classical

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

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 . . . . . 1
Finegold, Benjamin g USA 2494 0 . . . . . 0

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.

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