Reports | December 30, 2011 22:47

Nakamura & Ivanchuk lead after spectacular 4th round Reggio

Nakamura & Ivanchuk lead after spectacular 4th round Reggio

After a bloody round with three decisive games, Vassily Ivanchuk and Hikaru Nakamura are sharing the lead in Reggio Emilia. Ivanchuk beat Alexander Morozevich in a brilliant game, Nakamura won against Anish Giri with Black in a King's Indian. Fabiano Caruana jumped to 4th place after beating Nikita Vitiugov, also with Black.

Event 54th Torneo di Capodannno |  PGN via TWIC
Dates December 27th-January 6th, 2011
Location Reggio Emilia, Italy
System 6-player double round robin
Players Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Morozevich, Vitiugov, Caruana, Giri
Rate of play 100 minutes for the first moves followed by 50 minutes to finish the game with 30 seconds increment from move 1

In the past year there have been many talks, again, about the (short) draws in chess - especially after the Candidates matches in Kazan. Chess journalists also discuss this matter frequently during tournaments, and most of them agree on one point: one of the best ways to avoid (a high number of) short and boring draws is to invite players known for their creative style and fighting spirit. The tournament in Reggio Emilia might not be a 'super tournament' at all levels yet, but this aspect is something the Italians understand very well!

Two of the most popular chess players out there met each other behind the board in round 4: Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Morozevich. Including rapid, blindfold and blitz they had met 46 times since 1994, according to Megabase 2012. The score is slightly better for Ivanchuk, and he improved this a bit further on Friday with what we would like to call a brilliant victory.

From a 5.d3 Ruy Lopez Ivanchuk found a splendid pawn sacrifice at move 25 on the queenside to divert the opponent's queen and build up a kingside attack. He then allowed his bishop trapped on h6 because it would always keep back rank mates in the position, continued with a piece sac that kept that black queen out of play a bit longer,  and finished with a nice mating attack. OK, the engines point out a few quicker wins for Ivanchuk but we don't care.

Morozevich allowed his opponent to execute the mating move, which was indeed a pretty one. (Much nicer than last year, when Morozevich played until mate with bare king against knight and bishop for Ivanchuk.)

PGN string

After his game against Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura tweeted:

The Kings [sic] Indian Defence lives!

Well, at least it's more accurate than something along the lines of 'is a killer' or 'rulez'. :-) In the game White seemed to have a nice advantage, but after some calculating errors on Giri's side the position collapsed quickly. The young Dutchman is struggling to find his best form, while Nakamura played yet another fine game.

PGN string

After some unfortunate moments in the early rounds, Fabiano Caruana finally got his full point. Thanks to the football score system he jumped to 4th place. Nikita Vitiugov repeated a line from the Trompovsky in which he had beaten Wang Hao last year, but, as always, Caruana had done his homework well. That wasn't the whole story: Vitiugov's knight sacrifice wasn't that bad, but the Russian GM missed some chances to make things really messy.

PGN string 

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 4 Standings

No. Name Rtg Score/game Tiebreak Perf
1-2 Nakamura,H 2758 8.0/4   2924
1-2 Ivanchuk,V 2775 8.0/4   2924
3 Morozevich,A 2762 7.0/4   2832
4 Caruana,F 2727 4.0/4   2667
5-6 Vitiugov,N 2729 2.0/4   2553
5-6 Giri,A 2714 2.0/4   2565

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 4 Standings (classical)


Reggio Emilia 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 1 27.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 6 02.01.12 15:00 CET
Ivanchuk ½-½ Giri   Giri - Ivanchuk
Vitiugov 0-1 Nakamura   Nakamura - Vitiugov
Caruana 0-1 Morozevich   Morozevich - Caruana
Round 2 28.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 7 03.01.12 15:00 CET
Giri 0-1 Morozevich   Morozevich - Giri
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Nakamura
Ivanchuk ½-½ Vitiugov   Vitiugov - Ivanchuk
Round 3 29.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 8 04.01.12 15:00 CET
Vitiugov ½-½ Giri   Giri - Vitiugov
Caruana 0-1 Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Caruana
Morozevich ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura - Morozevich
Round 4 30.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 9 05.01.12 15:00 CET
Giri 0-1 Nakamura   Nakamura - Giri
Ivanchuk 1-0 Morozevich   Morozevich - Ivanchuk
Vitiugov 0-1 Caruana   Caruana - Vitiugov
Round 5 31.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 10 06.01.12 13:00 CET
Caruana - Giri   Giri - Caruana
Morozevich - Vitiugov   Vitiugov - Morozevich
Nakamura - Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Nakamura


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


BL's picture

I am glad that Hikaru and Moro are playing well. They represent a very exciting chess future. I am not unhappy that Giri isn't playing well. He's extremely arrogant and needs a good lesson.

Jhoravi's picture

that's a TYPO. You're pertaining to NAKA i'm 100% sure.

columbo's picture

Can you explain this ??? Never saw Giri as an arrogant player ?!?!?!?!

biggy's picture

not sure if Giri is arrogant (I know him very well, so I know who he is)...what do you think about your comment, is it bigheaded? What I see is that a number of people in the ‘chess-world’ simply envy and jealous about what this young lad has achieved so far (which is still nothing, but still!). In his 17, he has partly proved himself as a unique personality, and not only plays chess, but in general an intelligent and matured boy...
this is sport; winning and losing are two equally important parts of this business...what can I say, he makes many happier even by losing!.. Buddy, you are a follower of so called 'intellectual game' (hard to believe, though), so simply enjoy the game. In order to say something about the people, we have to be well acquainted with them and able to learn closely and understand them.
No hard feelings…Wish you a very happy new year!


hatsekidosie's picture

Giri is not arrogant, and if he is, then not 'extremely'. He is an enthousiast, a fanatic. That's not the same.

mathijs's picture

giri arrogant? as it happens i know anish and hes one of the most humble guys ive ever met . please do not spew ignorance about things you dont know. ontopic; great round, hope naka doesnt peak too early with tata tournament in two weeks.

TMM's picture

I don't understand why Giri went for a KID against Nakamura. I'm certainly not a Nakamura-fan, but his reputation as a KID-expert is well-known, and Giri simply is not as experienced in that opening as Nakamura. He should leave the theoretical discussions about the KID to the KID-experts (at least for now).

MoneyBoss's picture

There was a significant amount of chatter on ICC today about Giri's "arrogance", supported by one very well respected Grandmaster who had many concerns about Giri's past behavior. Probably the most well-known example of this was Giri's post-game insults to Kramnik in Hoogeveen (after getting smashed with the White pieces in some Bayonet), best discussed at

Hopefully this is all chalked up to the fact that Giri's still 17, and thus allowed to be a bit bratty at times. It is sad that he already does have quite a few rooting against him, though.

h8dgeh0g's picture

I am not sure exactly which part in the above article shows arrogance.

redivivo's picture

It's just some carefully selected quotes intended to make the reader see Kramnik as a victim of Giri's naughty comments :-)

mishanp's picture

As the writer of that news item I'd just like to point out it was in no way intended as a criticism of Giri! He's a phenomenally talented young player with a good sense of humour, and of course not taking what other top players say about the openings at face value is a prerequisite for beating them :) His comments about Kramnik were funny rather than in any way arrogant or malicious, in my opinion.

Thomas Richter's picture

I also think that Giri's comments on Kramnik were just (meant to be) funny, at the same time a bit naive: did he really expect Kramnik to reveal opening secrets to a (current or future) competitor?

The original discussion reminds me of Nakamura's comments after his game against Giri in Wijk aan Zee - where he had to earn a draw with the black pieces: "Incredibly bad game, but I drew it somehow. Hopefully I will remember how to play chess for the last 9 rounds!" "I just played it like a complete idiot". So even if Giri is considered arrogant, what about Nakamura?

S3's picture

what's the name of the well respected GM?

Septimus's picture

Super aggressive play by Nakamura! Congrats! Has anyone played the four or five pawn attack against Nakamura's KID before?

bridge troll's picture

well Naka called Kasparov's training only worthwhile for opening. As far as arrogant, that one is gonna be difficult to top.

Daniel's picture

Well done Chucky!!!

Sergio's picture

I don't think Giri is arrogant, although it sometimes looks like it, but I think this has more to do with communication and expressin himself then with arrogance. What I heared from people who spoke with him and saw on a Dutch television program that he is quite humble.

The Devil's picture

I feel sorry for Morozevich losing, but the other side I think it's good to see Ivanchuk win some games. I guess my brain is ½ for the result.

Poor Morozevich though :(

S3's picture

3 very nice wins but Giri and Vitiugov were spoiling for a fight and deserve credit!

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