Norway 08: Topalov-Anand defines all

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/24/2015 – The results today in Norway have blown the tournament wide open! Anand beat Hammer with ease, while Giri ground down Topalov in a long game. The Bulgarian still leads, but he faces Anand tomorrow. If the Indian player wins he will claim clear first place! Nakamura was unable to keep pace as he drew MVL from an advantageous position. All eyes on Topalov-Anand tomorrow.

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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 8 - 24.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Giri Anish 2773
1-0
Topalov Veselin 2798
Anand Viswanathan 2804
1-0
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Carlsen Magnus 2876
1-0
Aronian Levon 2780
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723

Grischuk, Alexander ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano
A solid Grunfeld that was a long winded draw. Despite the very high level of this game, it just seems as if this match-up was not very relevant to the standings.

Giri, Anish 1-0 Topalov, Veselin
The Dutch player came prepared in the Catalan. Following the game Hungaski-Gajewski, it seemed that Giri knew more about what was going on than Topalov. The Bulgarian deviated and obtained a slightly worse position. He had a tough and passive defense ahead of him in the endgame, but that is not his style! He tried to create some counterplay but it all backfired:

Giri with +2 is tied for third with Nakamura

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8"] [White "Giri, A."] [Black "Topalov, V."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E10"] [WhiteElo "2773"] [BlackElo "2798"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r2k1/1R1Nbppp/4p3/1p6/8/1P4P1/4PPKP/8 b - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 33... Bd6 34. g4 {Giri has some pressure: his knight on d7 controls Black's position and b5 is weak. However it is difficult to make progress as the d7 knight is hanging whenever the rook stops protecting it, and there is no obvious way to retreat it.} h5 $2 {Too frisky. Passive defense is uncomfortable, but it was what the position called for.} (34... h6 35. h4 Kh7 36. h5 g6 {White keeps some pressure, but Black is in no immediate danger.}) 35. gxh5 Kh7 36. b4 {Topalov probably missed this move. Now there are serious issues in the position.} Bxb4 (36... Kh6 37. Nc5 Bxc5 38. bxc5 Rd2 39. Kf3 Rc2 40. Rxb5 {is of course unpleasant, but perhaps a better chance than what Topalov played in the game.}) 37. Ne5 Rd5 38. Nxf7 {Black's shattered pawn structure on the kingside now gives Giri many targets.} Rxh5 39. f4 Kg6 40. Ne5+ Kh7 41. Nf7 Kg6 42. Ne5+ Kh7 43. Nf3 $1 Rf5 (43... Kg6 {was still bad for Black.}) 44. Ng5+ $1 Kh6 (44... Kg6 45. Nxe6 Rf6 (45... Kf6 46. Nxg7 Rxf4 47. Nh5+) 46. e4 $18 {taking advantage of the king on g6.}) 45. Kf3 {Now Black is out of moves. The pawn on e6 will be taken next and his position is collapsing. On top of everything, the position of the king on h6 is dubious.} Bd2 (45... e5 46. Nf7+ Kh7 47. Nxe5 $18) 46. e3 b4 47. Nxe6 Rh5 48. Nxg7 Rxh2 49. Nf5+ Kg6 50. Ne7+ Kf6 51. Nd5+ Ke6 52. Ke4 {White is completely winning.} Rh3 53. Rb6+ Kd7 54. Kd3 Bc1 55. Rxb4 Kd6 56. Kd4 1-0

Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 Hammer, Jon Ludvig
Anand also used the English against Hammer, for some reason or another everyone has used this to try to defeat the lowest rated player in the event. Hammer seemed to obtain a good position from the opening, but was slightly outplayed, and then he started to make serious mistakes:

Anand made it look easy

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8"] [White "Anand, V."] [Black "Hammer, J."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A20"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2677"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r4r1k/1pp1nqp1/3b3p/pP2pbB1/8/P1QP1NP1/5PBP/2R2RK1 w - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 23. Bxe7 $5 Qxe7 24. Nh4 Bxa3 25. Bxb7 Bxc1 $2 (25... Rab8 26. Nxf5 Rxf5 27. Be4 Rf6 $14) 26. Nxf5 Rxf5 27. Bxa8 Ba3 28. Qxa5 Bc5 29. Be4 {White's advantage is very strong. He has an extra pawn and can hope to improve his position slowly. Hammer makes it easy for Anand.} Rf8 30. Kg2 Qd6 31. h4 h5 $6 32. Qd2 Qf6 33. Qe2 g6 $2 (33... Qf7 $16) 34. Bxg6 {A simple tactic.} Qxg6 35. Qxe5+ Kg8 36. Qxc5 {White's up too many pawns.} 1-0

He is now only half a point behind Topalov!

Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Aronian, Levon
A strategically complex Ruy Lopez was defined in time trouble:

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Aronian, L."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C90"] [WhiteElo "2876"] [BlackElo "2780"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r2k1/5pp1/1q2P2p/p2r4/1n6/1Q2RN1P/1P3PP1/R5K1 b - - 0 29"] [PlyCount "22"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 29... fxe6 30. Rae1 R8d6 31. Rc1 Nd3 $2 (31... Rd3 $1 $11) 32. Rc8+ Kh7 33. Qa4 $1 {A nice repositioning of the queen. From here the queen can threaten the king with Qe8, and it also has access to e4 with lethal checks.} Qxb2 34. Qe4+ Rf5 35. Kh2 $1 {A key and excellent move. White prepares the moves g4 and Nh4, but Black still has some resources.} (35. Nh4 Qxf2+ 36. Kh2 Qf4+ $19) 35... Nf4 36. Rc2 $4 {Based on a strong miscalculation - due to the fact that Carlsen only had about a minute and a half in this position!} Qa1 $4 {This move, however, is completely based on an oversight. Aronian had plenty of time to think and he clearly went wrong.} (36... Qb8 $1 {Is fancy} 37. g3 (37. g4 Ng6 $1 38. gxf5 exf5 $1 {A hard move to find, but the point is that no matter where the queen goes, the rook will give a deadly discovered attack winning the White queen, giving Black a decisive advantage.}) 37... Nd5 $15) (36... Qb4 37. Rc4 {would still force Aronian to find the Qb8 resource.}) 37. g4 Qf1 { Perhaps here Aronian forgot about White's next move} 38. Ne1 {Everything is defended and Black is helpless against gxf5.} (38. Nh4 Rd1 $19) 38... Nh5 39. gxf5 exf5 40. Qc4 1-0

Somehow or another, if Carlsen beats Hammer tomorrow he will reach 50%

Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Nakamura will be kicking himself for today's missed opportunities:

Nakamura hard at work trying to press an extra pawn against MVL

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8"] [White "Nakamura, Hi"] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2802"] [BlackElo "2723"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Qd3 b5 9. a4 b4 10. Nd5 Bb7 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Bd2 a5 13. c3 bxc3 14. Bxc3 O-O 15. O-O Nc6 16. Rfd1 Re8 $2 {This move was simply bad. It is the source of all of Black's problems.} (16... Qb6 17. Qb5 Qc7 $11 {Chances are about even in this complicated position.}) 17. Bf3 Be7 18. Qb5 {Now the rook on e8 is a tactical target. For example:} Qc8 (18... Qc7 19. Nxa5 $1 Nxa5 20. Bxa5 Qxa5 (20... Rxa5 $2 21. Qxe8+ $18) 21. Qxb7 $16) 19. Bg4 $1 Qxg4 20. Qxb7 Rec8 21. Nxa5 Nxa5 22. Qxe7 Nb3 23. f3 Qf4 {White has managed to win a pawn, and he is close to winning with his passed pawns on the queenside. However, he still hast to be careful.} 24. Ra3 $2 (24. Rab1 $1 Nd4 25. Bd2 Ne2+ 26. Kh1 {and White is simply winning. We can compare this to the same variation but with 24.Ra3?}) 24... Nd4 25. Raa1 {"I spent all my time calculating 25.Bd2, but I could not see anything clear. Raa1 was also Stupid" - Nakamura.} (25. Bd2 Ne2+ 26. Kh1 ( 26. Kf2 Qxh2 27. Kxe2 Qxg2+ 28. Ke3 d5 $1 29. exd5 e4 $1 {And the computers with sufficient depth seem to think that this game is only a draw. The complications are very wild, but White is not winning.}) 26... Qxd2 {even loses for White due to the back rank checkmate.}) 25... Ne2+ (25... Nb3 26. Rab1 {is not what MVL wanted.}) 26. Kh1 Nxc3 27. bxc3 h5 {Black has some definite counterplay now. Winning the position is not easy.} 28. Qxd6 Rxc3 29. Qd5 Ra6 30. Qb5 Rac6 {Black is planning on attacking White's king. White might be able to win with precise play, but Nakamura's time was running too low for him to do anything.} 31. Qf1 (31. a5 Rc2 32. Rg1 {would still leave MVL struggling against the a-pawn, though with plenty of fight ahead.} (32. a6 Rxg2 $1 $19)) 31... h4 32. h3 Rc2 33. Re1 Qd2 {Now it is impossible to make progress. The winning threat is Rg6.} 34. Red1 Qg5 35. Re1 Qd2 36. Rad1 Qb4 37. Qd3 Kh7 38. Qd8 Rf6 39. Rc1 Qxa4 {By this point it is obvious the game is a dead draw.} 40. Rxc2 Qxc2 41. Qd1 Qf2 42. Rf1 Qg3 43. Qd7 Rg6 44. Rg1 Rf6 45. Rf1 Rg6 46. Rg1 Rf6 47. Rf1 1/2-1/2

With these results it all goes down to one single game. Either Anand or Topalov will emerge as the clear winner of the tournament, taking home $75,000 and 13 Grand Chess Tour points. Anand must win with black in order to win the event, while Topalov just has to hold the draw with the white pieces. All eyes in this game as the conclusion of Norway 2015 is tomorrow!

It's all about this tomorrow!

Round Eight Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings after eight 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
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Giri Anish 2773
1-0
Topalov Veselin 2798
Anand Viswanathan 2804
1-0
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Carlsen Magnus 2876
1-0
Aronian Levon 2780
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
½-½
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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luishon luishon 6/25/2015 02:40
I'm betting the Ranch on Tapalov to win
he has done his Job
and all he has to do is like the rest
wait to win with no problem
Mr Tapalov has and it has been Champion material
I like his stile of play very similar to Carlsen's
but of course Tapalov it's not afraid to lose a game with a good or bad Idea
it is just not enough time on the clock
and this is Chess just a Game of Chess
karavamudan karavamudan 6/25/2015 09:40
What an excellent tournament - a real boos for classic chess
zedsdeadbaby zedsdeadbaby 6/25/2015 09:32
yesenadam. I agree with you. I remember the talk about the death of chess because of computer based opening prep. The better prepared player had a clear advantage. Then Carlsen came along. In the opening his main goal is to get a position where all homework becomes irrelevant and two players have to then find good plans and moves. Now people talk about the death of chess because of his dry style. I also find this confusing.
yesenadam yesenadam 6/25/2015 05:31
More respect for the world's best player thanks vodkarov. ("the boy"!)

So Carlsen's style "kills imagination and creativity" in chess huh?! I don't suppose you remember before Carlsen came along? It was all about memorizing computer lines to move 20, 25, 30... Not that things have totally changed, but there's another way these days - Carlsen tries to 'play chess' as soon as possible. So that it's 2 humans playing, not 2 computers. A revolutionary injection of humanity, human thinking, chess skill - not just powers of memorization - back into the game. And people manage to complain about it! I find that amazing.

If by 'imagination', you mean a Tal, Kasparov-like attacking, sacrificial style, well, of course, who doesn't love a bit of excitement. But as I learn more about chess, I appreciate more and more a game won following goals, plans, strategies (a la Karpov) and less one largely decided by just one brilliant move or sacrifice. It doesn't seem to me the more strategic style needs or involves any less imagination. It's possibly Kasparov's 'pernicious' influence that makes people think the sky's falling when the strongest player in the world plays in a style other than raging attacking aggression from start to finish.
mymomoka@gmail.com mymomoka@gmail.com 6/25/2015 04:36
"Topalov just has to hold the draw with the white pieces". And all people love a game called "CD" = Chess Draw. They should have fix this system.

BTW, 75k USD for GM tournament seems to far behind esports (price money) today.
vodkarov vodkarov 6/25/2015 04:26
As I have said in the last years, Carlsen's hegemony on the chess world is pernicious. His pragmatic approach to survive the opening and middlegame to only then start the real fight tends to kill imagination and creativity in chess. And it happens since he started to dominate. His dry style and his endgame techniques became acclaimed around the world. Even the old generation (Anand, Topalov, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, and others) became highly impressed (but perhaps a more precise word should be frightened) with his results. It explains their terrible results against the boy in the last couple of years. They really feared the norwegian, trying to enter in his own game. But you cannot combat ice with more ice. Against ice, it's necessary fire, creativity, imaginative chess. I see this tournament in Norway as a turning point. Topalov and Anand fighting for the title means much more than to win this single tournament. It means that other different styles and approaches to chess can be as strong and effective as MC's endgame weapons. It means a possible recovery of self-confidence for many players. It means for the young generation they can have other very strong references of play which can definitely challenge that of the reigning champion.
libyantiger libyantiger 6/25/2015 12:51
back to the good old days when there was no carlsen ..topa and vishy .on the final match ...........

carlsen have ruined the beauty of the games by his computer like 7 wins out of 7 matchs...well it is not carlsens problem
that he is too good ..but it is not good for the audience who like challenges suspense lose and win
jhoravi jhoravi 6/25/2015 12:44
Atleast Hammer can improve Carlsens standing a little bit tomorrow. What's the purpose of putting another Norweigian in this tournament? Reinforcement ofcource :)
mike warner mike warner 6/25/2015 12:17
Topa should play the kings gambit tomorrow
guest1227491 guest1227491 6/25/2015 12:15
I don't think Magnus was particularly lucky. He convincingly outplayed Aronian, and then for just 1 move, gave Aronian a (difficult) chance to escape. If Aronian had found Qb8 and drawn the game, I think it would be Carlsen who could be called a bit unlucky.

This was nothing like Hammer-Topalov, where Hammer well and truly secured the draw, only to lose his mind, and the game, in a one-move blunder. And nothing at all like Carlsen-Topalov, where 1-0 turned into 0-1 because Carlsen did not know about the time control. NONE of which is Topalov's fault, of course. He deserves credit for reading the rules better than Carlsen, and for keeping his chair warm until Hammer self-destructed. But to get 1.5 points for that is... well, a bit lucky.
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 6/24/2015 11:48
Umm . . . okay, I'll say it. Magnus was lucky. As he said after the game, Aronian outplays him more than any other player in the world, but Lev always seems to make a huge blunder later. Magnus was upset about the game (and his play in this tournament). No one is denying Magnus was lucky. It's just a shame Anand isn't in the lead, since he's played the best chess by far. I don't think he was in any trouble in ANY game, and he's been a killer as White. Hopefully, he can beat Topalov and win the tournament. I'm disappointed Nakamura couldn't find a way to win against MVL and make it that much more interesting going into the last round. But I guess one high-stakes game is enough!
sexaybachay@gmail.com sexaybachay@gmail.com 6/24/2015 11:29
No one's here shouting how lucky Magnus was; it'd be a riot if Topalov had won that way.
bronkenstein bronkenstein 6/24/2015 11:01
Some intrigue remains, but I am afraid that Vishy`s black repertoire is bit too academical and tame for sharp winning attempts.
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