Norway 04: 0.5/4 – Anand the executioner

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/20/2015 – Perhaps it is the Norway Curse. Perhaps it is the psychological destabilization from his first round loss. Perhaps he is sick. Perhaps Armageddon is upon us. Whatever the reason is, Carlsen, the obvious #1 player in the World and the reigning World Champion, lost again, today to Anand, and sits with only 0.5/4. Topalov beat Aronian and it is the lucky Bulgarian who leads.

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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 4 - 19.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
1-0
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Topalov Veselin 2798
1-0
Aronian Levon 2780
Caruana Fabiano 2805
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Giri Anish 2773
½-½
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Anand Viswanathan 2804
1-0
Carlsen Magnus 2876

Daniel King on Anand-Carlsen

Grischuk, Alexander 1-0 Hammer, Jon Ludvig
A mysterious game. White's cheeky move Nh3!? was met with the interesting g5!?... and Grischuk undeveloped his knight immediately! The Russian player felt that the Norwegian was over-aggressive with h5, and he liked his position after that. The structure certainly favored White. Hammer was unable to defend against the strong pressure against all of his pawns, and despite his resourceful tricks he ended falling in a long endgame.

A nice win for the Russian player, who returns to 50%

Topalov, Veselin 1-0 Aronian, Levon
A tough game for the Armenian. He purposefully chose a variation of the Ragozin that was very solid, but extremely passive. Topalov enjoyed putting pressure on Black's position throughout the entire game, and Aronian was never fully out of danger. However, just when things were looking somewhat manageable, Aronian blundered:

Topalov becomes the sole leader with a fabulous (and somewhat lucky) 3.5/4

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.19"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Topalov, Veselin"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D38"] [WhiteElo "2798"] [BlackElo "2780"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1n2kpp1/1r2p2p/r1p1P2P/8/1bRN1P2/P5PK/2R5 w - - 0 37"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 37. axb3 Kd7 $2 {After playing a tough and passive defense, Aronian seemed to be finally be heading towards a draw. The position seems even as White can only win the c5 pawn by losing his own b3 pawn, but disaster strikes... out of nowhere!} (37... Rab5 38. Nxc5 Rxc5 39. Rxc5 Nxc5 40. Rxc5 Rxb3 (40... Rb7 $1 { with good chances to hold the endgame.}) 41. Rc7+ Ke8 42. Rc8+ Ke7 43. Rg8 $16) 38. b4 $1 {Strangely this pawn is poisoned due to a mating attack.} cxb4 39. Rc8 {The immediate threat is R1c7 mate, not an easy move to parry!} Nd8 40. R1c7+ Ke8 41. Nc5 {This is the point of Topalov's combination - which Aronian clearly missed. Rd7 is unstoppable next move, creating a deadly Rxd8 mating threat. The Armenian gave up the exchange and put up a valiant fight, but the material difference was too big.} Rxc5 42. Rxc5 b3 43. Rc1 Kd7 44. R8c7+ Ke8 45. Rc8 Kd7 46. R8c3 Ke7 47. Rd3 Nb7 48. Rdc3 Nd8 49. f4 f6 50. Rc7+ Ke8 51. Rxg7 fxe5 52. Rcc7 Kf8 53. Rh7 Kg8 54. Rcg7+ Kf8 55. Rd7 Kg8 56. Rxh6 Nf7 57. Rg6+ Kh8 58. Rf6 1-0

Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Caruana repeated the variation that they played in Wijk aan Zee earlier this year. MVL was the first to deviate with a quick b5, but it was not terribly successful. Caruan probably had a an edge with a kingside initiative. When the Frenchman took a pawn on f4, Caruana had two ways of taking back. One led to a strong initiative while the other allowed a nice combination that equalized the game. Caruana underestimated this continuation, MVL took full advantage of it and forced an opposite colored situation that drew the game, despite being down a pawn.

Giri, Anish ½-½ Nakamura, Hikaru
Giri repeated an opening preparation that Sam Shankland used against his compatriot, Sam Sevian, in Tata Steel earlier this year. Perhaps he obtained a small advantage from the opening, but with his strange moves it seemed that he lost most of it - his bishops ended up in rather awkward squares. Nakamura tried to force the issue and equalize via tactics, but he was not 100% precise and Giri was allowed a very slight edge with a passed pawn in an opposite colored bishop position.

At the end of the day Nakamura defended resourcefully and Giri was not even close to creating real problems to Black.

Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 Carlsen, Magnus
A fantastic game from Anand, and another subpar performance from the World Champion:

The opening transposed into known paths, but the route there was strange

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.19"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C84"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2876"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 d6 7. c3 O-O 8. Nbd2 Re8 9. Re1 b5 10. Bc2 Bf8 11. Nf1 g6 12. h3 Bb7 13. Ng3 Nb8 14. d4 {Notice that White has wasted a tempo with d3-d4, but has recovered it by putting his bishop on c2 without first stopping on b3. This direct transposition into the Breyer System of the Closed Spanish cost the players 30 minutes on the clock.} Nbd7 15. a4 c5 16. d5 c4 17. Bg5 Bg7 (17... h6 {is massively more popular, but the idea of playing Bg7 without h6 has also been seen.}) 18. Qd2 {It's difficult to kick out this bishop from g5 now, which is why most players prefer to put the pawn on h6 before White can do this.} Rb8 {A novelty, and not a very impressive one.} (18... Nc5 {was seen in the old game Kuzmin-Spassky, 1973!}) 19. Nh2 $1 {A very classical idea. Anand swings the knight to g4 to exploit the weakness of the dark squares around Black's king.} Bc8 20. Ng4 {"I was kicking myself for not taking on b5 first!" was Anand's reaction after the game. That being said, it is possible that there is no need to take on b5 just yet.} (20. axb5 axb5 21. Ng4 $14) 20... Nc5 21. Nh6+ (21. axb5 Bxg4 {is not clear as Black gets rid of a generally useless bishop for an attacking knight.}) 21... Bxh6 (21... Kf8 22. Re3 {with Rf3 next move is too dangerous. Black cannot afford to play like this, so he must give up the bishop. Grischuk mentioned that something went wrong in Black's game if he was forced to give up the darksquared bishop.}) 22. Bxh6 bxa4 {Black's counterplay on the b-file is not terribly threatening. White has several ideas on how to proceed, but Anand chooses a very direct and aggressive way - but first he must close the hole on b2.} 23. Ra2 a3 24. bxa3 Nfd7 25. f4 {All-in. White desires to attack on the kingside, specifically by launching his f-pawn forward and backing it with his rooks on the f-file.} a5 $6 {Carlsen believes he has some counterplay based on the activity of the bishop on a6 and the weakness of d3, but this is not the case.} (25... exf4 26. Qxf4 Qf6 27. Qe3 Ne5 {is still a very complicated game.}) 26. Rf1 f6 {As Anand said after the game, this is already a concession.} (26... exf4 27. Qxf4 Ne5 28. Bg5 {and it looks very dangerous to be so weak on the darksquares, but Black's position already looks to be bad.}) 27. f5 $1 {Excellent. This binds Black's pieces on the kingside and White will transfer his queen to the g4 square.} Nd3 $1 {Trying to create counterplay. Carlsen will be happy to give up this pawn if it means that he will have play on the queenside and if it slows down the attack on the kingside.} 28. Bxd3 cxd3 29. Qd1 $1 {A nice move, perfect in Anand's style. The queen will swing over to g4 to put pressure on g6, not bothering to take on d3 just yet.} Re7 30. Raf2 Rf7 31. Qxd3 (31. h4 {was more precise, and some engiens give it as a decisive advantage already! However there is nothing wrong with first taking the pawn.}) 31... Nc5 32. Qf3 Ba6 33. Qg4 $1 {An important move. Now White does not slow down and the attack on the kingside cannot be resisted. Black could try to move Bc8, pinning the f-pawn, but that is just sad.} g5 34. h4 Bxf1 35. Rxf1 Qd7 {Anand was running low on time, so he decides to take a very pragmatic route.} 36. hxg5 fxg5 37. Qh5 (37. Bxg5 { was also good.}) 37... Kh8 38. f6 {Whtie will at the very least regain his exchange with a bishop check on g7.} Rg8 39. Bg7+ Rfxg7 40. fxg7+ Qxg7 41. Nf5 $1 {After this Black's position is absolutely hopeless.} Qg6 {otherwise Nh6 followed by mate.} 42. Qxg6 Rxg6 (42... hxg6 43. Nxd6 {is kaput.}) 43. Ne7 Kg7 {desperation.} (43... Rh6 44. Rf8+ Kg7 45. Rc8 $1 Kf7 46. Nf5 Rg6 47. Nxd6+ Rxd6 48. Rxc5 {is a totally lost rook endgame.}) 44. Nxg6 Kxg6 45. Rf8 a4 ( 45... Nxe4 46. Ra8 Nxc3 47. Rxa5 {is hopeless, Black cannot stop the a-pawn with just a knight.}) 46. c4 h5 (46... Nxe4 47. Ra8 Nc5 48. Kf2 {also wins easily.}) 47. Kf2 (47. Kf2 Nxe4+ 48. Ke3 Nc5 49. Rd8 {and the d-pawn falls.}) 1-0

The Norwegian Curse seems to be in full force here against Carlsen. The Norwegian has had bad performances in all of his tournaments in Norway in the past. Neither of his 2013 or 2014 performances in this tournament was impressive, and his Tromso result was mediocre at best. This disaster, however, is simply unprecedented. It seems hard to believe that Carlsen can bounce back from this and win the tournament (even winning the next five games in a row might be insufficient), but there is the entire Grand Chess Tour to think about, and Carlsen needs to win games quickly if he wants to obtain some Grand Chess Tour points.

Grischuk checking out how busted Carlsen is

After the game the World Champion mentioned that he wanted to play tomorrow instead of having a rest day, but I suspect that team Carlsen will be happy about the break, something must change before this spirals even further out of control!

Things are already beyond repair in this endgame

VG, one of Norway's main newspapers. The title translates
along the lines of "Carlsen loses again. Badly. It is embarassing."

The Norwegian press is, as Yasser Seirawan puts it, "in a tizzy". Carlsen has not had such a bad start in a tournament in 10 years, since he was a teenager back in Gausdall Classic 2005.

Anand gave a nice interview after the game for the grandchesstour.com broadcast. He mentioned how this must be a consequence of the mental destabilization caused by the freak occurence in the first round, in which Carlsen lost on time.

Standings

Round Four Games

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Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
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
1-0
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Topalov Veselin 2798
1-0
Aronian Levon 2780
Caruana Fabiano 2805
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Giri Anish 2773
½-½
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Anand Viswanathan 2804
1-0
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

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

 



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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The_Tenant The_Tenant 6/23/2015 03:57
" A fantastic game from Anand, and another subpar performance from the World Champion:"

I think it was more the former, not so much the latter. Did not see any real mistakes by Carlsen. Anand simply outplayed him. All credit to Anand.
The D M G The D M G 6/22/2015 02:37
Wem420 - the moderator(s) should deal with your trash talk. Trash is always first to come out when people lack intelligence
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 6/21/2015 07:13
carlsen's continuous set back reminds me of garry's continuous losses aganist karpov in the very first match......later, garry recovered....hope magnus will do so.... remember, federer wins a slam and loses in the first round in the next tmt., these things happen frequently nowadays ....may be first time for magnus....
Wem420 Wem420 6/21/2015 06:59
Have a reason or shut the fuck up dmg
The D M G The D M G 6/21/2015 01:19
Typical black-n-white vision DJ. Sad...
sranj sranj 6/20/2015 10:15
All the best players are playing here! Great tournament
DJones DJones 6/20/2015 07:26
Sounds like a lot of slurping on the chess god to me. Put up or get the hell out of the way. This is a results oriented business. There is no magic. Make good moves on the board, manage your clock and reap the fruits of your labor. IF you lose, you lose. No excuses.
The D M G The D M G 6/20/2015 02:36
People tend to see in black and white when reality is infinetely richer in its full kaleidoscope. For example: you win: you're great; you lose: oh-oh... Anand Carlsen - case in point. Firstly, great presentation by DK, in contrast to his blaze engine-reliant analysis of round 3. Now, last year Carlsen, at the height of his powers, made a dubious Bishop sac v Caruana. It should be apparent to any one with a modicum of chess understanding that at Carlsen's level of ability, it would have been obvious to him that his move was dubious. What was actually happening is that the Norwegian was testing the waters, pushing the boundaries, as he always does, probing deeper and deeper in that grey area between tangible and intangible. He wanted to see if his opponent could punish him, and how. People offcourse concentrated on the result, without an inkling of critical questioning. Now I think you'll agree that when you're at the top, you eventually tend to "calcify" as GK beautifully put it in My Great Predec/s echoing Yuri Dokhoyan. To me Carlsen's approach is the very remedy to that (as long as he continues like that). He is still probing and experimenting, testing the guidelines that are often confused for rules. It is these very defeats that keep him fresh. For example, his 17...Bg7, 25...a5 and so on. He is aware of the old dictums but he needs to test them, and test them at the highest level possible: against the formidable Ruy powerhouse Anand. His understanding and instinct can only improve by this. It is this very approach that keeps him fresh. Fusing old ideas with new, questioning the "principles" and so forth. I'd like to add: great game by Anand! He wasn't even satisfied with his performance which is a mark of the player! In his forties playing at the summit of a game that is becoming increasingly youthful, he is an inspiration to us all. So no such and such is better than so and so from me. We have a great bunch of players in this tournament and such events/games only make chess richer!
algorithmy algorithmy 6/20/2015 01:56
This world doesn't deserve Magnus Carlsen, as it didn't deserve many great men before.
Absurd comments and wicked desires to see him loosing! so far I don't see any thing unusual with Magnus, he lost two games with black against very strong opponents, and he is actually 1.5 out of 4 since he actually won against Topalov in chess respect.
jhoravi jhoravi 6/20/2015 11:57
Carlsen won too many tournaments. Got to give chance to others.
daftarche daftarche 6/20/2015 09:47
this is just a setback. he is human and can have a bad tournament. these things can happen to anyone. he will learn his lessons and recover.
alekhina alekhina 6/20/2015 07:41
Anand was already comforted after his grief.
ChessTalk ChessTalk 6/20/2015 03:54
Dear Magnus, don't let others make excuses for you...especially those that want their championship back.
guest1227491 guest1227491 6/20/2015 03:37
Alejandro, nice report! I just want to correct one thing. The move Anand said he was "kicking himself" for not playing, was not 20. axb5. It was 23. Be3, with the idea 23 ... Rxb2 24. Bxc5 dxc5 25. Qc1 followed by Bxa4 giving white a plus. He discussed this with Carlsen after the game. After 23. Be3, 23 ... Nb3 is impossible because of 24. Bxc3 axc3 25. Bg5 which Anand calls an "eternal pin". Instead Anand's game move of 23. Ra2 made it much harder.

Watch Anand's remarks on the official website http://2015.norwaychess.com/category/livestream-archiv/ Round 4 video, Part 2, starting at 3:27:35.
HKS HKS 6/20/2015 03:13
Everyone is talking about how Carlsen's unfortunate 1st round loss could have affected his play. But one has to remember that Anand is playing after losing his mother only a few weeks ago.
DJones DJones 6/20/2015 03:13
This is like Tiger Woods after the comedy of life errors in 2009. Never the same in majors again and his body began breaking down. Perhaps Magnus is paying a toll for his lavish lifestyle and poor treatment of others.
stephen brady stephen brady 6/20/2015 02:58
Very interesting to see how Carlsen responds. Psychologically, if he no longer feels invincible, and also although players sense his vulnerability, the next world championship could get interesting. It's possible that this is just a fluke, but time will tell.
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