A Tribute to Captain Evans

Round three of London Chess Classic saw only peaceful games at the end. And while two of the games were solid Berlin defenses the third one was a different affair:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.12"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C52"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2793"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 {Diagram [#] Wow! The Evans Gambit at the
highest possible level! Hikaru supoprts his reputation of a trouble-maker.
Some years back he tried the King's Gambit, now it is the turn of the Evans
one. "It is an English opening", Hikaru explained later, "and much better
than the King's gambit." Since the opening is named after the Welsh sea
Captain William Davies Evans the hosts felt quite enthusiastic about it and
Nijel Short even joked that Nakamura had already deserved his next year's
invitation with this choice.} Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 {On the other hand, Hikaru's
opening choice should not be a complete surprive if we recall the player who
revived the gamebit. Garry Kasparov that is, yes! The following crushing game
was played roughly 25 years ago, and the victim is... Anand} (5... Be7 6. d4
Na5 7. Be2 $5 exd4 8. Qxd4 $1 $146 Nf6 $6 (8... d6 $5 9. Qxg7 Bf6 10. Qg3 Qe7)
9. e5 Nc6 10. Qh4 Nd5 11. Qg3 g6 (11... O-O $6 12. Bh6 g6 13. h4 $5 $40) 12.
O-O Nb6 (12... d6 13. Rd1 $44) 13. c4 d6 14. Rd1 Nd7 15. Bh6 $1 {and Garry
went on to win in mere 25 moves, Kasparov,G (2805)-Anand,V (2715) Riga 1995.
We should not forget that Nakamura worked with Kasparov some years back. Vishy
on his turn menntioned at the press conference that he had looked at the Evans
recently.}) 6. d4 d6 7. Qb3 Qd7 8. dxe5 Bb6 9. a4 {Diagram [#] "This got me
slightly off-line" Vishy. Indeed, this is quite a rare move and the majority
of the games continued instead} (9. Nbd2 {One recent example saw} dxe5 10. Ba3
Na5 11. Qb4 c5 12. Qb2 Nxc4 13. Nxc4 Qe6 14. Nfxe5 Nf6 15. Qb5+ Nd7 16. Rd1 a6
17. Qb3 Bc7 18. Nd6+ Bxd6 19. Qxe6+ fxe6 20. Nxd7 Bxd7 21. Rxd6 {with pressure
for White in Najer,E (2664)-Melkumyan,H (2649) Germany 2012 rue, Black has
plenty of scope for improvement upon this game.}) 9... Na5 {The ight-squared
bishop is a beast and should be traded at once!} 10. Qa2 Nxc4 11. Qxc4 Ne7 ({
Please note that the pawn is untouchable} 11... dxe5 12. a5 {and this is one
of the ideas behind the a2-a4 push.}) 12. exd6 ({If} 12. O-O {then} d5 {is
possible and the players agreed there is no problem at all for Black.}) 12...
cxd6 13. O-O $146 ({There is a predecessor:} 13. a5 Bc7 (13... Bc5 $5 {can
transpose to the game}) 14. O-O O-O 15. Rd1 Nc6 16. Be3 Re8 17. Qd5 {with some
pressure for White in Spiegel,W (2363)-Koegeler,A (2242) ICCF email 2010})
13... O-O {Vishy decided to make the sensible and solid moves first and not to
risk unnecessarily.} ({Black cannot easily clarify the situation in the center
as he risks to get stuck with the king in the middle} 13... d5 14. exd5 Qxd5
15. Qe2 Be6 16. Rd1 Qa5 17. Ba3 $1 $40) 14. Qd3 Ng6 ({There was a second route
for the knight} 14... Nc6 {and from here the knight will stop all the a4-a5
ideas. Black is comfortable after} 15. Na3 {(Nakamura)} Ne5 16. Nxe5 dxe5 17.
Qxd7 Bxd7 18. Nc4 Bc7 19. Ba3 Rfc8 {The players briefly discussed this
position and I tend to agree with Anand who was optimistic about the black
chances. He owes the bishop pair an dthe better pawn structure and it is
Nakamura who needs to prove equality.}) 15. a5 Bc5 16. Be3 {Diagram [#] White
wants to attack the d6 pawn and needs the bishops off the board.} Re8 {Vishy
plays in a very classical way and prepares the d6-d5 advance.} (16... Qe7 {
[%cal Gf7f5,Gc8d7]} 17. Nbd2 Ne5 {looks OK for Black as well.}) 17. Nbd2 Bxe3
18. Qxe3 d5 19. Rfe1 dxe4 20. Nxe4 {The weak isolated pawn disappeared but
White has the initiative. He threatens now Ne4-f6!} Qe7 ({There is a second
defensive way} 20... Re7 21. Qd4 Qxd4 22. Nxd4 Be6 {when Black solves the
problem of the bishop development.}) 21. Nd6 Qxe3 22. fxe3 Rd8 {The white
pawns are a mess but since Black did not finish the development there are
various problems along the open d and half-open b files.} ({Hikaru thought that
} 22... Re6 {is the easier eqaulizer} 23. Rad1 Ne5 24. Nb5 Nxf3+ 25. gxf3 Rg6+
26. Kf2 Bh3 $11) 23. Red1 Rb8 24. Rd4 ({In case of} 24. c4 {Anand intended} b6
25. a6 Ne7 $1 {with the idea Ne7-c6. The knight defends the a7 pawn and
further intends Nc6-a5 to win the a6 one.} 26. Ne5 f6) 24... Be6 {The bishop
is out and it is time for White to take care of the balance.} 25. c4 b6 26.
axb6 axb6 27. Ra7 h6 28. h3 Ra8 29. Rb7 Rdb8 30. Rc7 {Nakamura keeps the
active rook on the board.} Ra5 $1 31. Kh2 Rc5 32. Ra7 Kf8 33. g4 {Diagram [#]}
Ra5 {Vishy forces the draw.} ({He could have tried to play a bit further with}
33... Ne7 $5 {Indeed, he is not risking at all thanks to his better pawn
structure. At least until Hikaru starts shooting tactics} 34. Rf4 {"I would
have played for tricks" Nakamura} Nc8 35. Nd4 {Looks very scary for Black, but
he has at least two good replies} ({Instead} 35. Nxc8 {forces a draw} Rbxc8 36.
Rb7 Rxc4 37. Rxb6 $11) 35... Bxc4 $1 {(Anand)} (35... Nxd6 $2 36. Nxe6+ Kg8 37.
Nxc5) (35... Nxa7 36. Nxe6+ Ke7 37. Nxc5 Kxd6 $11) 36. Nxc4 Nxa7 37. Ne6+ Kg8
38. Nxc5 bxc5 {and Black wins a pawn.}) 34. Rc7 {Nakamura cannot avoid the
repetition.} (34. Rxa5 bxa5 $15) 34... Rc5 35. Ra7 (35. Rxc5 bxc5 36. Rd3 Rd8
$15) 35... Ra5 36. Rc7 1/2-1/2

Complete report.

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