[Event "Chess.com"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.02.09"] [Round "5"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E73"] [WhiteElo "2736"] [BlackElo "2764"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Be3 {A form of the Averbakh system, where the bishop is provocatively placed on the g5-square. The oldest living GM just turned 100, and this is a good occasion to honor him $1} e5 {6...Na6 is the other main line.} 7. d5 Na6 ({More common is} 7... a5) 8. h4 {That is the major point behind the Averbakh system. By delaying the development of his kingside knight, White keeps the path for his pawns opened.} ({The other pawn can also get straight into motion.} 8. g4 Nc5 9. Bf3 Bd7 10. b4 Na6 11. Rb1 Qc8 12. g5 Ne8 13. h4 f6 14. Be2 fxg5 15. hxg5 Rf7 16. c5 Nb8 17. Nf3 a5 18. a3 axb4 19. axb4 {and White achieved everything he wished for in Aronian,L (2773)-Firouzja,A (2728) Lichess.org INT 2020}) 8... Nc5 {After some thought, Grischuk deviated from an earlier game of his.} ({That game went: } 8... h5 9. Qd2 Nc5 10. f3 Bd7 11. Bd1 a5 12. b3 Qb8 13. Nge2 b5 14. cxb5 Bxb5 15. Nxb5 Qxb5 {and Black got enough counterplay in Aronian,L (2773)-Grischuk,A (2777) Lichess.org INT 2020}) 9. Qc2 {Nakamura is practically blitzing his moves.} c6 10. h5 cxd5 11. cxd5 Qa5 ({Nobody had yet tested} 11... Qc7 $5 { here, or on the previous move with the rude threat Nc5xe4 $1}) 12. h6 {A modern treatment of the position. In the past, the Averbakh adherents used their kingside pawns to try and completely seal that part of the board. Nakamura tries \"only\" to lock the bishop—ideally forever.} Bh8 13. f3 Bd7 ( {The active move} 13... Nh5 {simply begs for} 14. Rxh5 {and an active player like Gunina could not stand the temptation. After} gxh5 15. Qd2 Bf6 16. f4 Nb3 17. axb3 Qxa1+ 18. Kf2 Kh8 19. Bxh5 Bd7 20. fxe5 dxe5 21. Bg5 Qa6 22. d6 Qb6+ 23. Kf1 Qd8 24. Nf3 {it was as crazy as it may get, Gunina,V (2471) -Kashlinskaya,A (2490) Chess.com INT 2021}) 14. Rb1 Na4 {Grischuk creates some queenside trouble, just in time.} 15. Qd2 ({There was also the interesting computer suggestion} 15. Bd3 $5 Nxc3 16. Qxc3 Qxa2 17. Ne2 {but judging by the speed with which the American GM was blizting his moves, it was not interesting enough.}) 15... Nxc3 16. bxc3 Qc7 {[#]} 17. g4 $146 {This novelty was also blitzed out. White enjoys more space and better perspectives on both flanks.} ({Black held his own in the predecessor:} 17. c4 b6 18. g4 Bc8 19. Nh3 Nd7 20. Nf2 Nc5 21. Nd3 Bf6 22. Nxc5 bxc5 23. O-O Bd7 24. Rb3 Rab8 25. Rfb1 Rb6 {Eljanov,P (2676)-Demchenko,A (2679) Germany 2019}) 17... Bc8 $1 {A nice regrouping.} ({The typical opening of a file on the kingside} 17... Ne8 18. Nh3 f5 $2 {would have backfired} 19. gxf5 gxf5 20. Rg1+ Kf7 21. Ng5+ {and White wins.}) 18. Nh3 Nd7 19. Nf2 {At last some thought by the American GM, who as expected was way ahead on the clock.} ({The move in the game was certainly stronger than} 19. g5 Nc5 20. Nf2 f6 {and White cannot seal the kingside.}) 19... Bf6 {Out, in freedom $1} ({However, there was an argument for} 19... Nc5 20. Nd3 Nxd3+ 21. Bxd3 Bf6 22. a4 Bd7 {although here too White keeps an edge.}) 20. O-O Be7 ({And here there was an even stronger argument to transfer the knight to a better square first with} 20... Nc5 $5 21. Nd3 Na4 22. c4 b6) 21. Kh2 Nc5 22. Nd3 {The black knight is a key piece and needs to leave.} b6 $1 { Ultimately Grischuk decided to defend as Demchenko did, allowing the opening of the b-file.} ({Instead} 22... Nxd3 23. Bxd3 Bd7 24. c4 b6 25. Ra1 {followed by the a-pawn advance looked clearly better for White.}) 23. Nxc5 bxc5 ({ Certainly not} 23... dxc5 24. a4 (24. f4 $5) 24... Bd6 25. Bb5 $1) 24. f4 $1 { That is the difference in comparison to the above-mentioned stem game. White can open a second front on the kingside. It turns out that the h-pawn was not only good for blocking the black dark-squared bishop.} exf4 $1 {Black cannot afford to let a pawn get to the f5-square.} ({As the line} 24... f6 25. f5 g5 26. Qb2 {looks horrible for Black.}) 25. Bxf4 Bd7 {Now it is all about the long diagonal; who will have it $2} ({Unfortunately for Black, he is a move short in establishing the e5 outpost in the line} 25... Bf6 26. Qe3 Re8 27. Qf3 Qe7 28. Bb5 $1) 26. c4 Rab8 {Only this move seems like a serious inaccuracy by Black.} ({So far Grischuk defended with great precision and} 26... Bf6 $1 { would have brought him very close to equality. For example} 27. Qe3 ({Perhaps the Russian GM disliked the typical sacrifice} 27. e5 $5 {but it seems he is in time after} dxe5 28. d6 Qd8 29. Be3 e4 $1) 27... Rae8 $1 {As we shall see, Black often needed both his rooks to hold the fort.}) 27. Qc3 $1 {Now the long diagonal is in White's hands.} f6 28. Rb3 {Nothing should be forced yet. Plus, both sides are trying to force the opponent to make a concession and capture first.} ({A premature clash might make things easier for the defender.} 28. g5 Rxb1 29. Rxb1 Qd8) 28... Rb6 {One more inaccuracy. Grischuk might have missed White's next idea.} ({Here, a better choice seemed to be} 28... Rf7 $5 29. Bc1 Re8 30. Bb2) ({Or even} 28... Rxb3 29. axb3 Rf7) 29. g5 Rf7 30. Bc1 $3 { The long diagonal it is $1} Qd8 31. Bb2 Qf8 32. Kg2 $1 {One more accurate move. Grischuk will be soon running out of moves.} Bd8 33. Qf3 Bc8 ({Definitely not} 33... fxg5 $4 34. Qc3) ({Whereas the computer suggests as more resilient} 33... Rxb3 34. axb3 a5 {but does not say how will it defend both the f6- and a5-weaknesses.}) 34. Qe3 $1 {One last preparation.} Rxb3 ({Maybe Grischuk should have tried} 34... Be7 35. Rxb6 axb6 36. Qc3 Bd8 {although here too} 37. Rf4 $1 {should be winning somehow. A plausible plan seems to be to bring the light-squared bishop to c2, thus threatening further infiltration via the a4-e8 diagonal, then capture the f6-pawn, and breakthrough with a timely e4-e5 to finally sacrifice on g6 and make it to the enemy king.}) 35. axb3 fxg5 { Now it is all happening by force.} 36. Qc3 Rxf1 37. Qh8+ Kf7 38. Qxh7+ Ke8 39. Qxg6+ ({Not falling into the trap} 39. Bxf1 $4 Bh3+) 39... Ke7 ({After} 39... Rf7 {both} 40. h7 $1 ({And} 40. Bh5 $1 {win outright.})) 40. Qxg5+ Rf6 { Now the pawn is unstoppable.} ({But Grischuk would not have saved himself after } 40... Kd7 41. Bg4+ Kc7 42. Qg7+ Kb8 43. Qxf8 Rxf8 44. Bxc8 Kxc8 45. h7 { either, as after regaining the rook White has a clear plan of trading his e4-pawn for the one on d6 and winning while playing against the two black weaknesses.}) 41. h7 Kd7 42. Qg8 {The pawn is unstoppable and Nakamura wins an excellent game $1} 1-0