Carlsen edges Predojevic in rapid match

6/30/2013 – As an opening event for the Norwegian Chess Championship, Carlsen and Predojevic played a four game rapid chess match. The number one took the victory in the end, but was unable to win more than one game in a long and technical endgame. The ski town of Lillehammer now hosts the top players from Norway who are playing for the national title. Pictures and analysis.

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Magnus Carlsen and Borki Predojevic played a friendly four game rapid match to open the 2013 Norwegian Chess Championship that is currently being held from June 29 to July 6, 2019. The match and the tournament are hosted in Lillehammer, a town in Oppland county, Norway.

Lillehammer is a beautiful summer touristic destination.

But it is best known for being a big ski town in the winter.

The Radisson Blu is one of the main sponsors of the event, and the host of the tournament.

Before the match the players played a friendly game outdoor game with giant pieces.

The players explained their moves while the spectators observed, or cooled off in the fountain.

A smiling Norwegian gives his input on chess, modeling and the upcoming match.

The match was much closer than most people expected. Predojevic held Carlsen to a draw in the first two games without any real problems, in both cases never being afraid to go into complications. Despite always being ahead considerably on the clock, the world number one was unable to convert in the first day of competition.

Things changed however in the third round, where an inexact opening by the Bosnian allowed Carlsen to slowly build up an endgame advantage that he was able to cash into a full point.

[Event "Rapid Match"]
[Site "Lillehammer NOR"]
[Date "2013.06.29"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Predojevic, B."]
[Black "Carlsen, M."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B40"]
[WhiteElo "2616"]
[BlackElo "2864"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2013.06.28"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Na3 Nc6 (6... a6 {is
another choice, but lately Black has shown that there is no need to fear Nb5.})
7. Nb5 Qd8 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. Bf4 Ne4 $1 {Carlsen shows great
opening knowledge even in this somewhat off-beat line of the c3 Sicilian.} 11.
Ng5 Nxg5 12. Bxg5+ f6 13. Be3 Bxe3 14. fxe3 {Black cannot be unhappy with the
result of the opening. His king being stuck in the center is not a bad thing,
since after the trade of queens it is very likely that in any resulting
endgame the king will want to be precisely near the middle of the board. On
top of that White's e-pawn can potentially become weak.} Ke7 15. O-O-O Ne5 16.
Be2 Bd7 17. Nd4 Rac8 18. Rd2 Rc5 19. Rhd1 Rhc8 20. Nf3 Ba4 21. Re1 Nf7 22. c4 {
Not bad, but it does seems a little strange to push a pawn into a somewhat
more vulnerable position.} Bc6 23. b3 Nd6 24. Kb2 a5 (24... b5 25. cxb5 Bxb5
26. Bxb5 Nxb5 27. Nd4 {would open the c-file for the black rooks, but its
unclear what else it achieves. Carlsen chooses a slower path.}) 25. Nd4 Be8 26.
Red1 Re5 27. Bf3 Ne4 28. Bxe4 Rxe4 29. Re1 Rc5 30. Nc2 e5 31. Na3 Rg4 32. Nb1
b5 $1 {It is important that Black breaks the queenside before White finishes
his knight maneouver to d5.} 33. cxb5 Bxb5 34. Nc3 Bc6 35. e4 h5 36. a3 h4 37.
Re3 Ke6 38. Re1 g6 39. Re3 f5 40. exf5+ $6 {The start of real problems.
Black's passed pawn is more dangerous than the pressure on White's e4 pawn, so
it was imperative to retain the passive position and hold on to the static
structure.} gxf5 41. g3 Bh1 42. Ne2 Rd5 43. Rc2 $2 (43. Kc1 {holding on to the
second rank, was necessary. After Carlsen's response White is lost.}) 43... Be4
44. Rc4 {Black's position is too active.} (44. Nc3 Bxc2 45. Nxd5 Kxd5 46. Kxc2
f4 47. gxf4 exf4 {seemed hopeless.}) 44... Rd2+ 45. Kc1 Ra2 46. h3 Rxe2 $1 47.
Rxe2 Rxg3 {The exchange sacrifice is easy to make since White will need to
give up another pawn and the e and pawns will roll to victory.} 48. Rc5 Rxh3
49. Rxa5 Rxb3 50. Ra6+ Kd5 51. Ra5+ Kd4 52. Ra4+ Kd3 53. Rh2 f4 54. Rxh4 Ke3
55. Rb4 Rxb4 56. axb4 f3 57. Rh1 {The pawn will cost White his rook and the
game is over.} 0-1

Despite trying his best, Predojevic fell the the World number in game 3.

Predojevic was described by Carlsen as his "childhood hero".

The players were allowed to do some light skittles after they finished their games.

The last game ended in a draw as well and Carlsen took the match 2.5-1.5

A video of the games can be found here. Aditionally there are plenty of interviews with Carlsen, Predojevic and even some of the sponsors. Most of it is in Norwegian but several snippets are in English.

The Norwegian championship has started and the rating favorite, Jon Ludvig Hammer, won his first game. However there are several other grandmasters in the mix and the tournament should be very close. The official website has all the pairings and the schedule.

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