Norway 07: All drawn

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/24/2015 – Five draws today in Norway 2015. Interestingly, all the games ended in repetitions, but the way they got there was very different for each game. Carlsen went pawn hunting with home prep against MVL, who accepted a draw though he didn't have to. Topalov almost pushed too hard and was in trouble against Caruana. He seems in good shape to win the first Grand Chess Tour event.

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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 7 - 23.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
½-½
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
½-½
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Aronian Levon 2780
½-½
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
½-½
Giri Anish 2773
Topalov Veselin 2798
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2805

Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ Grischuk, Alexander
Nakamura wanted to up the pressure on Topalov by winning his game against Grischuk. His variation of the symmetrical English led to an interesting position, and his quick movements put the Russian player against the wall in terms of time management. However, Grischuk played precisely and even obtained a very slight edge. Nakamura neutralized it, by but that point the game was simplified into a draw.

A hard-fought draw

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime ½-½ Carlsen, Magnus
A short game, but one that was relatively interesting. Carlsen, tongue in cheek, mentioned that people "should not try this at home" - mentioning that the variation that he chose was extremely risky. Ironic, for two reasons: first that it was obvious he had played this position in his home during an analysis session, and second because he played it in Norway!

Analyzing this game the pawn sacrifice jumped at me as a possibility

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.23"] [Round "7"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Black "Carlsen, M."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2876"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "34"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 Ne4 $6 {This move simply cannot be good, but it is clear that Carlsen had at least looked at the situation. MVL thought for a few minutes and decided to go for the sacrificial route.} 8. Nxe4 (8. Nd2 Nxg3 9. hxg3 Bg7 10. e3 a6 {was a blitz game between Grischuk-Kramnik from 2008. White obtained the better position and won the game.}) (8. e3 {might be the simple move and the true refutation of Black's intentions. He might have to start attacking with Bb4, but it should be insufficient} Bb4 9. Qb3 Qa5 10. Rc1 Nd7 11. Bd3 $14) 8... dxe4 9. Nd2 Qxd4 10. e3 {This is the point. The threat on the queen and on the e4 pawn is strong, so Black must keep munching pawns to stay in the game.} Qxb2 11. Rb1 Qc3 $1 {The only move} 12. Be2 Nd7 (12... Bb4 13. Rxb4 Qxb4 14. O-O {is already extremely dangerous for Black. For example:} f5 $2 15. Nxe4 $1 fxe4 16. Bh5+ Ke7 17. Qd4 {with a decisive advantage: the attack is too strong.}) 13. O-O Nc5 {Incredibly Black is holding. There are still many interesting possibilities in this position, but the situation is very unclear. Carlsen had blitzed up to this point and it was clear that he had seen this position in his analysis, so MVL took the practical decision to force the draw.} 14. Nb3 Nd3 (14... Be7 15. Nxc5 Bxc5 16. Bd6 {looks uncomfortable for Black.}) 15. Nd2 Nc5 {Black must defend the e4 pawn.} 16. Nb3 Nd3 17. Nd2 (17. f3 $5 {would have been a completely different story.}) 17... Nc5 1/2-1/2

Aronian, Levon ½-½ Anand, Viswanathan
Sixteen moves of theory, in which the Armenian supposedly had a new idea. However Anand equalized without problems. Aronian accepted a repetition of moves in a position that could have been played on, but offered no better chances for White.

Levon was not too happy with a quick draw in his game

Hammer, Jon Ludvig ½-½ Giri, Anish
Trying to win with black is always risky, as against a strong opponent it is easy to fall into a worse position when one violates certain opening principles. This is exactly what happened today as the Norwegian player was better throughout the entire game. Giri's Modern defense certainly did not pay off. Hammer did not play too accurately in the endgame, however, and his exchange of a bishop for a knight was not precise. Giri set up a fortress that could not be penetrated, though Hammer was readying himself to torture Giri for a long time. A slip by Hammer allowed a three-fold repetition that was far from obvious (the first position occurred ten moves before the second iteration) and the game was drawn.

Hammer was about to try to break Giri's fortress... but he walked into three-fold repetition!
The game was objectively drawn anyway.

Topalov, Veselin ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano
A very solid Grunfeld that could have been drawn easily in the following position, but Topalov made it hard on himself:

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.23"] [Round "7"] [White "Topalov, V."] [Black "Caruana, F."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E60"] [WhiteElo "2798"] [BlackElo "2805"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nf3 Bg7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Ne5 e6 9. O-O Nfd7 10. Nf3 Nf6 11. Bf4 Nc6 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 Bd7 14. Qd2 Qe7 15. Rac1 Bc6 16. Rc2 Rfd8 17. Rfc1 Ne8 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. e3 Nd6 20. Ne2 Bb5 21. Nf4 Rac8 22. h4 Rxc2 23. Rxc2 Rc8 24. Rxc8 Nxc8 25. Qa5 Qd7 26. b3 b6 27. Qc3 Qc6 {The position almost fits the description of dead drawn. With a trade on c6 the symmetrical pawn structure would surely lead to a draw. Topalov wants to fight for a win, but in the way that he does it is rather strange.} 28. Qa1 {threatening e4 ideas, with a discovered check down the long diagonal in case of a capture by the d-pawn.} Qc7 29. Bh3 $2 {This move is just bad though. Black's position is still not that much better, but White is allowing Caruana chances for no reason.} (29. e4 dxe4 30. d5+ e5 31. Bxe4 Qe7 $15 {the knight comes to d6 with a nice position for Black.}) 29... Qc2 {This is the point. The queen penetrates in this square now that e4 is not really available.} 30. a4 (30. e4 Qxe4 31. Qc3 {is still equal, but hard to play.}) 30... Ba6 31. Qa3 Qd1+ (31... Qd2 {might have been an inch more precise as it doesn't allow White access to c1 too easily.}) 32. Kh2 Qd2 33. Bg2 $1 {in the nick of time.} h6 (33... Qxf2 34. Qc1 {gives White enough counterplay with Qc7 coming up and multiple threats.}) 34. a5 $1 {The only move to equalize.} Qxa5 (34... bxa5 35. Qc5 $11) 35. Qc1 Qb4 36. e4 Qxd4 37. exd5 e5 38. Ne6+ {The final detail. The perpetual is forced and the game ends in a draw.} fxe6 39. Qc7+ Kf6 40. Qd8+ Kf7 41. Qd7+ Kf8 42. Qd8+ Kf7 43. Qd7+ Kf8 44. Qd8+ 1/2-1/2

Topalov never thought he had any issues, but that is arguable

Blitz Marathon

photo courtesy of Norway Chess

This might look like a random blitz game, but that is not the case! The match Magne Sagafos vs. Joachim Berg Jousen is a long one! Trying to break the Guiness World Record of consecutive blitz chess between two players, they are prepared to go for a total of 80 hours straight! The record currently sits at only 40 (only?!). The rules are that the players must continuously play chess for the duration of the event. They have five minute breaks every hour that accrue (so after twelve hours they accumulate one hour of rest). An amazing achievement if they can manage!

Round Seven Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings after seven rounds

Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
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
½-½
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
½-½
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Aronian Levon 2780
½-½
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
½-½
Giri Anish 2773
Topalov Veselin 2798
½-½
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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hserusk hserusk 6/24/2015 03:01
Looks like Aronian might soon retire. 20-move draw as White?
This game seems to bore him these days. The picture kind of shows it too.
hserusk hserusk 6/24/2015 12:46
In Topalov-Caruana game, according to Ramirez, 29,Bh3(?) is wrong and yet the alternative cited (29,e4) is better for Black?
Good work unlocking the truth in the position!
hserusk hserusk 6/24/2015 12:40
@luishon: it's Topalov, not Tapalov
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 6/24/2015 04:10
Round 7 and Danny King is BACK!

Welcome back, Dan-O.
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 6/24/2015 03:24
Topalov is 1.5 ahead with 2 games to go. However, he plays two of his closest rivals. It's not over yet. In fact, Anand SHOULD beat Hammer (he's 130 elo higher rated and has White) so if Giri-Topalov is a draw, then Anand has a chance in the last round to win the tournament (on tie-break). Obviously, if Giri can beat Topalov (as he did in Norway 2014), then it becomes even more likely someone can catch him. The next round has huge importance. Should be exciting to watch. I'm glad it's still competitive and interesting.
luishon luishon 6/24/2015 02:58
Mr. Tapalov show he it is not playing for Draws
some Grand Masters get their wins by waiting for their opponents to make mistakes
but Mr. Tapalov showed one more time that
he rather lose the game than playing openly looking for a Draw
but today If he played for a Draw he got a brilliant Draw
making Caruana looking like a pawn picker
rubix rubix 6/24/2015 02:49
Ah! He plays Giri first! Draw???

rubix rubix 6/24/2015 02:47
Even if he loses to Anand...Giri can't finish the job!
Tsasaa Tsasaa 6/24/2015 02:05
Game is over. Topalov wins!
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