Mamedyarov – Nakamura, Tromsø ending


Towards the tail end of round 11 (the final round) of the Tromsø Olympiad, whilst I was watching to see if David Howell could win his struggle, I also watched several other endings. The one which caught my eye most was Mamedyarov-Nakamura, where I was intrigued to see if it was a win for white or a draw: I didn’t know which.

The crucial position

Hikaru took on g5, 40…hg, and resigned a couple of moves later. The point is that white will eventually sacrifice on f7 and the resultant king and pawn ending is won: white’s king muscles black’s king away from g6, and the pawn promotes.

The spoiler

On the evening of the game Hikaru tweeted:

I was puzzled. If 40…hg was the losing blunder, then what should he have played? The only sensible alternative is (perhaps, but we will come to that later) 40…h5.

Before I could…

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