Norway 03: Mayhem over the board!

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/19/2015 – Another vibrant round from Stavanger! Two decisive results only, but at least four games took crazy turns left and right. Caruana committed suicide against Nakamura, playing some very strange moves in the endgame, MVL was crushed easily by Topalov, while Grischuk and Anand played an interesting draw. The game of the day was Carlsen-Giri, in which the World Champ missed an absolute beauty!

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The third edition of the Norway Chess tournament runs from June 15th to June 26th, and will mostly be played in Stavanger, Norway. As in previous years, the drawing of lots was determined by the blitz tournament taking place the day before the official start. Not only one of the strongest tournaments in the World, Norway 2015 is also part of the 2015 Grand Chess Tour, which includes the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic later this year.

Round 3 - 18.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anand Viswanathan 2804
½-½
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Carlsen Magnus 2876
½-½
Giri Anish 2773
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
1-0
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
0-1
Topalov Veselin 2798
Aronian Levon 2780
½-½
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677

Daniel King shows the highlights of round 3

Another vibrant day over the board in Norway

Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ Grischuk, Alexander
A very complicated Sveshnikov. Anand said in the post-grame interview with Yasser Seirawan that he felt both players "were scared of their position". Indeed with both kings being in danger, precision was necessary! However, both players were up to the task, and despite the multiple sacrifices seen in the game, the dangerous passed pawn from White and the back rank ideas, Grischuk's position held by a thread and he managed half a point.

A very exciting game that was slightly overshadowed by the drama in the other encounters

Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ Giri, Anish
It was clear that the World Champion was going for blood against one of his most difficult opponents... Carlsen has yet to defeat Giri in a classical time control tournament, while Giri defeated Carlsen in their very first encounter in Tata Steel 2011!

Before we start, there is a puzzle for you:

White to play and win!

Carlsen trying to put himself in the scoreboard

The game was a 3.Bb5+ Sicilian that quickly turned into a Spanish structure. Giri decided to sacrifice a pawn, even though he didn't need to, to obtain certain pressure on the queenside, but Carlsen fought back and Giri's initiative was slowly evaporating. Finally, the Dutch struck out hoping to create complications:

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.18"] [Round "3.3"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B51"] [WhiteElo "2876"] [BlackElo "2773"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r3k1/1br2p1p/1q1p2p1/1P1Pp2n/1Q2P3/3BbN1P/5PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 32"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 32. Rxe3 Rc3 33. Rae1 f5 $5 {Giri had sacrificed a pawn on the queenside for some pressure, but Carlsen slowly but surely pushed him back. Now the Dutch tries some kind of desperate attempt to break through the center and create complications.} (33... Nf6 34. g3 {and White will slowly but surely consolidate and use his pawn on the queenside.}) 34. exf5 Nf4 35. Be4 $1 R3c5 36. fxg6 hxg6 37. Bxg6 $1 {A brilliant sacrifice... even though the position remains very complicated!} (37. Nh4 {was perhaps easier from a human point of view.}) 37... Rxb5 (37... Nxg6 38. Qg4 Kf7 39. Ng5+ {loses very quickly.}) 38. Qe4 $2 {Surprisingly, White has no win after this move. Carlsen had to find one of most brilliant, machine-like and unlikely moves I have seen.} (38. Bf7+ $3 {This idea did not occur to any of us in the analysis room. Talking later to Kasparov about it, before he knew the answer to the "puzzle", he only knew that Qe4 was incorrect as Carlsen played it. Instantly he thought of 38.Bh7+, but that move fails to the surprising 38...Kh8! And instantly he smiled, thought for a second, and said. "Of course, 38.Bf7+!"} Kxf7 39. Qe4 {Black cannot prevent the threats of Qf5+ and Ng5+, even then it is not obvious how the attack proceeds, but Black simply cannot save himself. We will not overwhelm the readers with the analysis and instead invite you to try out the different variations, with or without your favorite engine!}) 38... Rf8 39. Nxe5 $6 {spectacular but insufficient} (39. Nh4 $1 Bxd5 {and White is up a pawn, but the position is not clear at all.}) 39... dxe5 40. Rg3 Rxd5 $1 {The only move to survive, and Giri did it with confidence. Carlsen thought for a long time after this trying to come up with some idea, but there simply is no win in this position any more.} 41. Qb1 {Inviting simplifications.} Qxb1 42. Bxb1+ Kh8 43. Be4 Rd7 44. Bxb7 Rxb7 45. Rxe5 Rh7 46. Re4 Rhf7 47. Kh2 Kh7 {A dead drawn position. Carlsen got more chances than he deserved, but Giri never let go of the draw.} 48. Rf3 Kg6 49. h4 Nh5 50. Rxf7 Rxf7 51. Re2 Nf4 52. Rd2 Nh5 53. g3 Nf6 54. Kg2 Rd7 55. Ra2 Rd5 56. Ra4 Re5 57. g4 Re4 58. Rxe4 Nxe4 59. Kf3 Nd6 60. Kf4 Nf7 61. Ke4 Kf6 62. f4 Nd6+ 63. Kd5 Nb5 64. h5 Nc3+ 65. Kd4 Nb5+ 66. Kc4 Nd6+ 67. Kc5 Ke6 68. Kc6 Nf7 69. Kc7 Nh6 70. g5 Nf7 71. g6 Nh6 72. Kd8 Kf5 73. Ke7 Kxf4 74. Kf8 Kg5 75. g7 Kxh5 76. g8=Q Nxg8 1/2-1/2

What a miss by Carlsen, but it is difficult to imagine too many players that would have spotted Bf7+ during a game! One of the best moves of the tournament, not to say the history of chess, but it will be left in the annotations and variations!

What a complicated game from these two players! Every available ounce of brain power was used today!

Jennifer Shahade and Alejandro Ramirez, along with Maurice Ashley, with live coverage at www.grandchesstour.com

Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 Caruana, Fabiano
After a dull opening Caruana committed chess suicide:

With this gift Nakamura is now World's #2 and America's #1,
no matter what you think Caruana's current Federation is!

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.18"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A35"] [WhiteElo "2802"] [BlackElo "2805"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/3r1p2/1pk3pp/p1p2p2/P6P/3PP1P1/1P1K1P2/2R5 w - - 0 38"] [PlyCount "37"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 38. Kc3 {The endgame here looks to be about even. Perhaps White has the tiniest of pulls, but that must be the extent of it.} b5 $2 {An inexplicable move, shattering his own pawn structure. Still, with perfect play one would think Black should have no problems holding a draw.} (38... Kd5 $11) 39. axb5+ Kxb5 40. b3 g5 $4 {But this move is completely suicidal. The mistake is very hard to understand. Why does Black shatter his own pawn structure and give White such a wonderful open file to attack his pawns? It's a mistake that doesn't seem to be based on a miscalculation... just an incomprehensible move!} 41. hxg5 hxg5 42. Rh1 Ra7 43. Rh7 f4 44. gxf4 gxf4 45. e4 $1 {With this move White threats to wrap around with Rh4 and take the f4 pawn for free. Caruana attempts some counterplay but it falls way short.} a4 46. bxa4+ Rxa4 47. Rxf7 Ra3+ 48. Kd2 Ra2+ 49. Ke1 Ra3 50. Ke2 Ra2+ 51. Kf3 Rd2 52. Rd7 Kc6 53. Rd5 Kb6 54. e5 Kc6 55. Rd8 Kc7 56. Rd6 1-0

Nakamura thought that after b5 Black's position was already losing

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 0-1 Topalov, Veselin
MVL simply was unable to find his footing in this opening, he seemed at a total loss about what to do and that gifted a point very quickly to Topalov:

Topalov was lucky in round one, got an easy game in round three and leads with 2.5/3

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.18"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D47"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2798"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 {The Meran has been an interesting battlefield for top players for many decades now. It is far from being fully understood, as is clear in this game.} Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O a6 10. e4 c5 11. d5 Qc7 12. dxe6 fxe6 13. Bc2 {This position has been seen in thousands of games still.} Bd6 14. Ng5 Nf8 15. f4 O-O-O 16. Qe1 {Qe2 and Qe1 are different variations, both have been seen many times.} e5 17. f5 $6 {From a practical perspective, even though this position has been seen in dozens of games still, I cannot recommend closing the center. White loses any chance for active play, his e4 pawn becomes a real target and it is far easier to find moves and plans for Black than for White!} (17. Nd5 $5 Bxd5 18. exd5 exf4 19. Bd2 $1 {Is very unclear and has been seen in some old strong games, such as Piket-Khalifman, 2000.}) 17... h6 18. Nf3 N8d7 19. Kh1 (19. Bd2 {seems more accurate, Kh1 was maybe unnecessary.}) 19... Rhe8 {Technically the novelty of the game.} (19... Nb8 {was played in a strong correspondence game between Knight-Loinjak, 2008.}) 20. Bd2 {Topalov criticized this plan after the game, thinking that the idea to put the bishop on a5 was not good. I tend to agree with him, but also fail to come up with a better idea.} (20. Be3 b4 { leaves the e4 pawn undefended.}) (20. b3 {was probably ok, trying to prevent c4 or b4 later, but after} Nb8 $1 {With the idea of Nc6-d4 Black seems to have the edge.}) 20... Qc6 $1 {I like this move, putting further pressure on e4 and disallowing any tricks on the a7-d8 diagonal.} 21. Rd1 Nb6 {Another strong move. Black further controls d5, maybe threatens Nc4 and has the idea of playing b4 in the near future now that White's knight cannot go to a4.} 22. Nd5 $2 {Perhaps based on a miscalculation, perhaps based on sheer panic of not knowing what to do.} Nbxd5 23. exd5 Qd7 $1 {Not the only move for an advantage, but definitely the most accurate. Black will take on d5 when he feels he is ready, and for now prepares the advance of the e-pawn down the board.} 24. Ba5 e4 $1 25. Ng1 (25. Bxd8 exf3 {is completely winning as all of White's pieces are hanging.}) 25... Bc7 {White isn't even down material yet, but d5 is very lose and Black's strong pieces are better than MVL's. Another important factor is the pressure generated by the e-pawn.} 26. d6 Bxa5 27. Qxa5 e3 $1 28. Ne2 $2 {Allowing Topalov to finish the game off quickly, but it was hopeless regardless.} Qc6 {MVL simply threw in the towel, and it's impossible to blame him.} (28... Qc6 29. Rf3 Rxd6 {and Black has every plus in this position.}) 0-1

Aronian, Levon ½-½ Hammer, Jon Ludvig
The Armenian obtained a small advantage from the opening, but he was unable to do much with it. Hammer put up a very stubborn defense. His only weakness on d4 was solidly defended and Aronian could not penetrate the fortress. After an immense amount of maneuvering, Aronian was forced to finally agree to a draw.

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Live on www.playchess.com!

Today we had a very special guest at the ChessBase studio, where Wesley So joined Erwin l'Ami and Karsten Mueller for analysis of today's games! He was live on www.playchess.com, but we bring you some impressions, including a video of his thoughts:

Standings

Round Three Games

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Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
19.06.2015
Round 4
Daniel King
20.06.2015
 
 
21.06.2015
Round 5
Chris Ward
22.06.2015
Round 6
Chris Ward
23.06.2015
Round 7
Daniel King
24.06.2015
Round 8
Simon Williams
25.06.2015
Round 9
Daniel King

Tournament schedule

Round 1 - 16.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Giri Anish 2773
1-0
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Anand Viswanathan 2804
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Carlsen Magnus 2876
0-1
Topalov Veselin 2798
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
1-0
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
1-0
Aronian Levon 2780
Round 2 - 17.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
½-½
Aronian Levon 2780
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Topalov Veselin 2798
½-½
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Caruana Fabiano 2805
1-0
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Giri Anish 2773
½-½
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Round 3 - 18.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anand Viswanathan 2804
½-½
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Carlsen Magnus 2876
½-½
Giri Anish 2773
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
1-0
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
0-1
Topalov Veselin 2798
Aronian Levon 2780
½-½
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Round 4 - 19.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Topalov Veselin 2798
Aronian Levon 2780
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Giri Anish 2773
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Round 5 - 21.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Giri Anish 2773
Aronian Levon 2780
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Topalov Veselin 2798
Round 6 - 22.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Topalov Veselin 2798
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Giri Anish 2773
Aronian Levon 2780
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Round 7 - 23.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Aronian Levon 2780
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Giri Anish 2773
Topalov Veselin 2798
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Round 8 - 24.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Giri Anish 2773
Topalov Veselin 2798
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Aronian Levon 2780
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Round 9 - 25.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Aronian Levon 2780
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Topalov Veselin 2798
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Giri Anish 2773

Links

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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rubix rubix 6/20/2015 01:11
Naka's next games sound horrendous. Carlsen, Aronian,Anand, Grischuk, MVL. How can you be optimistic about results from that!?
Wem420 Wem420 6/20/2015 01:04
Yes usain jolt 20 meters
rubix rubix 6/20/2015 12:36
Hmm! I still think it's like seeing Usain Bolt ahead already at the 20m mark
DJones DJones 6/19/2015 11:37
Topalov has 3 blacks and two whites left. I expect him to beat hammer but I also expect him to lose a couple games with black as well. Nakamura has 3 whites and two blacks left. I expect him to lose to Carlsen or Aronian but not both since he will have black in those games. I expect him to beat MVL and one of either Anand or Grischuk so I expect Nakamura to finish +3 or +4. I think he and Topalov will tie at +3 and have a playoff for the event championship.
rubix rubix 6/19/2015 10:13
It is over! Topalov is historically, a late-starter. Here he is holding the lead from the beginning! It is over!
alekhina alekhina 6/19/2015 05:44
Carlsen is stronger in boring and dry positions ( usually endgame).
Jarman Jarman 6/19/2015 12:52
Finding 38. Bf7 is not that hard when you are certain a beauty is around the corner and you are a trained solver (I almost prefer solving over actual playing these days). Nice puzzle btw!
Rejean Tremblay Rejean Tremblay 6/19/2015 03:08
At first when it said Carlsen miss a beauty, i thought about 38. Qxf4 exf4 39. Re7 intending 40. Bh7+ Kf8 41. Nh4 with 42. Ng6 mate but it was just a nice dream after 39...Rc7 :-)

Réjean Tremblay
Karbuncle Karbuncle 6/19/2015 01:50
I'd love to hear Caruana's reasoning behind b5 and g5. They look to have zero merit or purpose even to a casual player like myself.
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