Norway 06: Topalov wins, Anand brilliant

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/23/2015 – The forty-some year old players in this event are showing the young guns how it is done! Topalov won yet again, and with black, this time against Grischuk. Time pressure combined with great play from the Bulgarian gives Topalov a seemingly unstoppable 5.5/6 lead. Meanwhile Anand showed that he is as sharp as ever, and in a difficult Najdorf he annihilated Vachier-Lagrave.

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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 6 - 22.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
0-1
Topalov Veselin 2798
Caruana Fabiano 2805
½-½
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Giri Anish 2773
½-½
Aronian Levon 2780
Anand Viswanathan 2804
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Carlsen Magnus 2876
½-½
Nakamura Hikaru 2802

Grischuk, Alexander 0-1 Topalov, Veselin
An interesting Nimzo-Indian set-up, and one that suited Topalov's styles quite well. A position in which Black definitely had good counterplay chances, though White's solid central structure gave him a space advantage. Grischuk, as usual, played too slowly. The combination of that and missing Black's amazing g5 resource cost him the game:

Grischuk's time trouble needs to be solved if the Russian wants to return to 2800

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.22"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E20"] [WhiteElo "2781"] [BlackElo "2798"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 O-O 6. e4 d6 7. Nge2 b5 8. Nf4 exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. Be2 Nbd7 11. O-O c4 12. Be3 Bc5 13. Bxc5 Nxc5 14. b4 cxb3 15. axb3 b4 $5 {After a complicated Nimzo-Indian we have the following situation. It is quite complex, and as usual Grischuk had already used a fair chunk of his time to get here while Topalov played rather quickly. The Russian player attempts to reposition his knight to a better square, but it backfires.} 16. Nb5 $6 {Overlooking the following continuation} (16. Na4 Nxa4 17. Rxa4 { and the game is approximately equal.}) 16... Qb6 17. Kh1 (17. Nd4 Nxb3 18. Qxb3 Qxd4+ {is just bad.}) 17... g5 $1 {An impressive situation. The knight on f4 (which should probalby have gone to g3 earlier in the game rather than f4) finds itself trapped!} 18. Qd4 {Grischuk took a very long think making this move, which seemed nearly forced.} (18. Nh3 Bxh3 {is winning for Black as the rooks are connected on the back rank, and now the b5 knight can be taken.}) ( 18. Nd3 Qxb5 {cuts off the defense of the bishop on e2.}) 18... Ncd7 (18... Qd8 19. Nd3 Nxb3 20. Qxb4 (20. Qb2 {is also possible, but less human.}) 20... Nxa1 21. Nd4 {and Black has an extra exchange, but the compensation cannot be underestimated.}) 19. Qxb6 Nxb6 {Now both of White's knights are under attack since the rook on a8 is defended.} 20. Nc7 (20. Nxd6 gxf4 21. Rfc1 {is still not clear. Black is up a piece but there is some compensation.}) 20... Ra7 21. Nb5 (21. Rfc1 $1 gxf4 22. Rc6 {was probably the most testing for Topalov. Black is up a full piece at the moment, but they are hard to coordinate and Topalov has too many weak pawns. White here has a good chance to hold on to a draw.}) 21... Re7 22. Nxd6 gxf4 23. Bxa6 Rd8 24. Bxc8 Rxd6 25. Bf5 {With the dust more or less settled White seems to be slightly worse, but no more than that. He has two pawns for the knight, some control over the open files and two passed pawns.} Nbd7 26. g3 (26. Ra4 $1 {trying to get that important pawn on b4.} Rb6 27. Ra7 {is annoying.}) 26... fxg3 27. Rg1 $2 {The idea of taking on g3 with the rook is simply bad.} (27. hxg3 {this would have gone into a very long game, and despite Grischuk's time trouble he might have been able to save the position.}) 27... Kf8 28. Rxg3 Nc5 {The weakness of f4 will soon be felt.} 29. Bh3 Re8 $1 30. Rb1 Nh5 $1 31. Rg5 Nf4 {With the knights swarming the position, this is clearly over. The fact that Grischuk has one minute and a few seconds to make all the moves until the 40th did not help the situation.} 32. Bf1 Ra8 33. Bc4 Ra2 34. Rg4 Rh6 35. h4 Nfd3 36. Rg2 Rxh4+ 37. Kg1 Ra7 38. d6 Rh6 39. Rh2 Rxd6 0-1

A good time to look at the live rating list!

# Name Classic +/− Age
1 Carlsen 2859.2 −16.8 24
2 Topalov 2821.1 +23.1 40
3 Anand 2813.2 +9.2 45
4 Nakamura 2810.8 +8.8 27
5 Caruana 2797.9 −7.1 22
6 Giri 2786.2 +13.2 20
7 Kramnik 2783.0 0.0 39
8 So 2780.1 +2.1 21
9 Aronian 2773.3 −6.7 32
10 Grischuk 2771.3 −9.7 31

courtesy of 2700chess.com

With his gigantic lead going into this tournament, Carlsen is still the number one player in the World, of course. The battle for second, however, has been reduced to four players. Caruana's poor performance in Norway means that he is now below 2800, a completely different person than the 7-0 player in Sinquefield. Meanwhile Topalov achieves the fifth highest live rating in history, even higher than Anand's best! Anand himself is not looking bad with third in the World with 2813, but it is surprising that the super high rating of 2810 of Nakamura is only good enough for fourth!

Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ Hammer, Jan Ludvig
Not a very good game. Hammer's opening choice was dubious to say the least, and Caruana's strong pawn center seemed to prevent Black from making any good moves. However a mistake with his knight placement allowed Hammer good counterplay on the light-squares. When things were looking good for Hammer, he made the bizarre decision to exchange his powerful blockading knight for a useless White bishop. Caruana obtained a small edge, did nothing with it and the game ended in a draw.

Not the game of the round

Giri, Anish ½-½ Aronian, Levon
A very interesting game, but it was mostly a theoretical battle. Aronian handled the sharp variations of this Vienna position with excellent understanding, but Giri obtained an extra pawn from the complications. That being said, the a-pawn was so weak that the Dutch player could not hold it. The resulting endgame was completely drawn.

Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
What a clear example that only one bad move can cost a chess game, especially in the sharp lines of the Najdorf!

Anand, 45 years old, showing sharp and accurate chess

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.22"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2723"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e6 7. g4 h6 8. Bg2 Nc6 9. Be3 Be7 10. f4 Nd7 11. O-O Nxd4 12. Qxd4 O-O 13. Qd2 Rb8 14. Ne2 b5 15. Rad1 Qc7 16. f5 Nf6 17. Ng3 {So far we have been following the game between Navara, D - Grischuk, A in the 2014 Tromso Olympiad. That thrilling game ended in a draw after 17...Re8, but in the annotations to that game for ChessBase Magazine by Igor Stohl, he mentioned the possibility of playing Bb7 in this position.} Bb7 18. Kh1 {an interesting idea. Black has a few options in this position.} (18. Bxh6 {was considered by Stohl. You can look at those annotations in your CBM, or simply in your MegaBase 2015! There are many variations and tactical nuances.} gxh6 19. Qxh6 d5 20. g5 Qxg3 21. Rd3 Bc5+ $1 22. Kh1 Be3 $1 {Is a key point of the position. It will be obvious why soon.}) 18... Rbd8 $2 {Already the losing blunder. The variations after Bxh6 now work without a problem.} (18... Kh7 {looks unnatural but does defend against Bxh6, so it is worth a try.}) (18... d5 {looks the main line here, for example} 19. e5 $1 {the point} Qxe5 20. Bf4 Qxb2 21. Bxb8 Rxb8 {Black finds himself down the exchange, but he has two pawns for it. Perhaps White's initiative here is enough for an advantage, but more practical tests will be needed.}) 19. Bxh6 gxh6 20. Qxh6 d5 {What else? Without this breakthrough Black's position will just get annihilated on the kingside.} 21. g5 $1 {Excellent calculation from Anand, identifying the differences in the position.} Qxg3 22. Rd3 {Now there is no possibility to play Bc5+, as the move is not check! Black is toast.} Nh5 (22... Nxe4 23. f6 $1 Bxf6 (23... Qxg5 24. Qxg5+ Nxg5 25. fxe7 {will leave White up the exchange after recovering taking a rook next move, but more importantly the knight on g5 is hanging to the pin on the g-file in too many variations.}) 24. Bxe4 {threatening mate on h7} dxe4 25. Rxg3 {and Black is simply down too much material. The pair of bishops is nothing compared to the queen. However this was MVL's best chance.}) (22... Qe5 23. gxf6 Bxf6 24. Rf4 { and the rook lift is absolutely deadly. Now rg4 next move wins the game.} Bg7 25. Rg3 $18) 23. g6 $1 {An important move to find.} fxg6 24. fxg6 Rxf1+ 25. Bxf1 Nf6 {what else? Without this move Black is powerless against Qh7+ and Qh8 mate.} 26. Rxg3 dxe4 27. Be2 {White's position is not only crushing, he has plenty of extra material.} e3+ 28. Kg1 Bc5 29. Kf1 1-0

MVL is not happy with his position

Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ Nakamura, Hikaru
Carlsen obtained nothing from Nakamura's ultra-solid opening. He kept declining repetitions, but the position was simply not going anywhere. He finally managed to win a pawn, but by that point Nakamura had managed to exchange most of the pieces and he simplified all the pawns on the queenside. The resulting 4v3 on the kingside with rooks on is a theoretical draw, and Nakamura defended perfectly, making it look easy.

Carlsen and his coach both thought he needed "magic" to obtain an advantage in this game

Round Six Games

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Standings after six rounds

Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
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
1-0
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
½-½
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
½-½
Giri Anish 2773
Aronian Levon 2780
1-0
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
0-1
Topalov Veselin 2798
Round 6 - 22.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
0-1
Topalov Veselin 2798
Caruana Fabiano 2805
½-½
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Giri Anish 2773
½-½
Aronian Levon 2780
Anand Viswanathan 2804
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Carlsen Magnus 2876
½-½
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 D M G The D M G 6/25/2015 02:40
royc, "technically" the way you applied it was silly, because with the same reasoning Magnus "technically" won the first game...
rubix rubix 6/24/2015 12:47
Why doesn't anyone appear to be celebrating Topalov's magnificent return?
hserusk hserusk 6/23/2015 11:52
Lasker defence against the queen pawn? And then trash talk that Carlsen's game is boring and dry?
Reminds one of the time Fischer played the fighting Grunfeld against Botvinik in the olympiad at first board as Black.
But yeah, that isn't going to happen with Naka - who's just all talk.
luishon luishon 6/23/2015 10:00
Tapalov has Kick and he is a force to be aware of
he never plays his way out like most of this top players
and he always is looking for the well known move
in Chess there are players of different nomination
but Tapalov it is not afraid to try for a new Idea
and that make him to stand out of the crowd
way to play Chess Tapalov
hserusk hserusk 6/23/2015 05:32
No video segment from Daniel King today?
Petrosianic Petrosianic 6/23/2015 04:49
@algorithmy Nothing strange about it at all. You say Vishy and Naka are playing "better", but that's not an actual fact, it's an opinion. But let's say you're right. You could just as well argue that the Red Sox played better than the Mets in 86. If not for that ball going through Buckner's legs, the Red Sox win. But that's what a game is. People make mistakes, their opponents capitalize on them. Sometimes outrageous mistakes.

This is a glaring example of why the world championship shouldn't be decided in a tournament, but there's nothing particularly odd about Topalov being in the lead. He's a bit lucky to have benefitted from a lightning strike twice in the same event, but that is the nature of the tournament beast.
alekhina alekhina 6/23/2015 09:35
Just like in the old times, when Gms like Botvinnik, Petosian, Karpov, Spassky, Tal, Korchnoi and many others were still strong in their 40's. But why most Chinese players or maybe all of them stop playing chess or inactive before that age.
dunican dunican 6/23/2015 08:16
The game Navara-Grischuk in Tromso did not end in a draw, as stated in annotations to Anand-MVL, but in White crushing Black.
vodkarov vodkarov 6/23/2015 05:47
This tournament reminds me the last soccer world cup in Brazil, where the host was spanked in such a way that will be tough to forget in a near future.
Some try to blame some "unlucky" events, like flagging in the first round (Neymar being injured by a colombian player), as an explanation for the results. But the fact is that Topalov is playing a very nice chess (despite he almost lost to MC, as well as Germany almost lost to Algeria in the first knockout stage). Anand is playing a chess far more beautiful and creative than that showed by the world champion. I agree with @algorithmy about Grischuk. Being in time trouble is part of his style. He's just in bad shape. Soon he'll be back in top 5. He is a much better player than Hikaru, in my opinion.
royc royc 6/23/2015 05:38
Technically, Magnus is still 'winless' if one consider that won game with Grischuk as technically drawish. For such a great world champion who has notched 3 to 6 straight winning streak in past strong tournaments, Magnus performance is 2-3 notches below his usual mark. The lingering question remains:
... can Magnus make at least one convincing win before Norway Chess 2015 ends ??
For me, surely he can, at least on Hammer Jon Ludvig.
guest1227491 guest1227491 6/23/2015 02:59
It is strange that there is only one rest day in this 9-round tournament (10 rounds if you include the blitz day). So they are going to play 5 days in a row to finish the tournament. It will be brutal, especially for the older guys. They could have had one more rest day, and split the games up 3 + 3 + 3. I think all the top-level tournaments I remember (Linares, Wijk, Dortmund) always had at most 3 games in a row.
KevinC KevinC 6/23/2015 02:27
It would be a three-way tie if not for the "gifts".
DJones DJones 6/23/2015 01:49
@algorithmy I think chess is too easy for him so he gets his kicks off with this self induced zeitnot.
DJones DJones 6/23/2015 01:47
They don't hand out trophies for quality chess unfortunately. Topalov has been luck to be sure but he is also playing enterprising chess with both colors and has been rewarded. Anand and Nakamura chose a more careful approach and are reaping the fruits of that. I still think Topalov will bleed a little coming down the stretch when he has to play Caruana and Anand will get a shot at him in the last round so it's not over. On the other hand Nakamura has two whites coming up against guys who are playing poorly in this event so he will have some chances to make things close in the end.
algorithmy algorithmy 6/23/2015 01:46
Why every body keeps talking about Grishuk problem with time control?? isn't it obvious that he does it intentionally? that's simply his style of play, some times it pays off some times it back fires, he can't and he is probably not willing to change that. And have you all forgotten how that worked perfect for him in the 2012 candidate tournament and how he used this way to beat Aronian then Kramnik only to be stopped by Gelfand who was at his best shape at that time. so plz stop repeating this crap about his time management problem, he is 2800 GM and he is most aware of what he is doing.
algorithmy algorithmy 6/23/2015 01:40
Chess is a strange game, both Vishy and Nakamura are playing far better chess than Topalov yet they are one point behind!! and indeed Topalov had a whole extra point from Carlsen and extra half point from Hammer, but who said Earth is a fair place!!.
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