Norway 2015 Rd5: Topalov is untouchable at 4.5/5

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/22/2015 – It is said that in order to win a tournament, one needs both good play and a bit of luck. Topalov, who has certainly been playing well, has been under the umbrella of a guardian angel so far, and after his miracle turnaround against Carlsen, was ready to shake hands today against Jon Hammer, when his opponent blundered the game away. He is now at 2816 in the Live Ratings. Round Five report.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

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 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

Daniel King shows the highlights of round 5

Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Grischuk, Alexander
What a respite for the World Champion! A much needed win after the rest day, and the atrocious start that Carlsen had. He played a decent game, that as he mentioned got interest only after a certain point. Grischuk seemed to have a decent position, but his time pressure trouble, which was completely unnecessary, basically cost him the game:

This guy won a game!

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.21"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B91"] [WhiteElo "2876"] [BlackElo "2781"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. g3 e5 7. Nde2 Be7 8. Bg2 b5 9. Nd5 Nbd7 10. Nec3 Bb7 11. a4 Nxd5 12. Nxd5 Nf6 13. axb5 Nxd5 14. exd5 axb5 15. Rxa8 Qxa8 16. Qd3 O-O 17. O-O Bc8 18. Be3 Bd7 19. Rc1 h6 20. Qd1 Qb7 21. Ra1 Ra8 22. h4 Ra6 23. b3 Bd8 24. c4 bxc4 25. bxc4 Bb6 26. c5 $1 {The only practical chance. Before this Grischuk's position was very acceptable, and he had relatively good chances to equalize simply. With this move Carlsen creates complications - extremely important since Grischuk was, as usual, in severe time pressure!} Bxc5 27. Bxc5 dxc5 28. d6 Qb6 29. Rxa6 Qxa6 30. Bd5 $1 { Binding Black's position. The pawn on d6 and the weakness on f7 create a slightly uncomfortable position. With a couple of accurate moves Grischuk should be out of trouble, but when you have only a few minutes to make 10 moves things tend to go wrong quickly.} Qc8 $2 (30... Qb6 $1 31. Kg2 (31. Qh5 Qb1+ $1 {an important resource.} 32. Kg2 Qf5 {with equality.}) 31... Be8 $11) 31. Qb3 {Now the pressure is real, it is difficult for Black to find moves.} Be8 32. Qc3 {It's not easy to defend all the pawns, but Grischuk still has a way to equality.} c4 (32... Qf5 $1 33. Qxc5 g5 $1 {and the passed d-pawn gives White a slight edge, but Black should hold with perfect play.}) 33. Bxc4 Bd7 34. Qb3 Qe8 35. Qf3 Kf8 36. h5 $1 Kg8 (36... e4 $1) 37. Qe4 Bc6 38. Bd5 Bd7 39. Kg2 Kh8 {Girschuk's passive defense was prompted by his lack of time. Carlsen plays a tricky move on the decisive 40th move.} 40. f4 exf4 $6 {losing instantly. You can't blame him for playing this move since he only had 18 seconds, but you can blame him for getting to a situation where he only had 18 seconds.} (40... f5 $1 41. Qxe5 Qxh5 42. Qe7 Kh7 {is holding according to some engines, but this looks nearly losing for Black.}) 41. Qxe8+ Bxe8 42. Bxf7 $1 Bc6+ 43. Kf2 fxg3+ {Grischuk spent a fair amount of time on this move, understanding he is completely lost.} 44. Kxg3 Bd7 45. Bg6 (45. Bg6 Kg8 46. Kf4 Kf8 47. Ke5 Kg8 48. Kd5 Kf8 49. Kc5 {Black can't do anything.} Kg8 50. Kb6 Kh8 51. Kc7 Bb5 52. d7 Bxd7 53. Kxd7 {and due to the existence of the g7 pawn, here Black gets zugzwanged and loses.} Kg8 54. Ke8 Kh8 55. Ke7 Kg8 56. Bf7+ Kh7 57. Kf8 g5 58. hxg6+ {and a quick mate.}) 1-0

And Norway breathes a sigh of relief! And yet, the two bottom spots are still Norwegian players...

WGM Jennifer Shahade was sick, and today WGM Tatev Abrahamyan brought insightful commentary to the coverage at grandchesstour.com. Meanwhile the dude on the right turned 27 today. Wish him happy birthday below!

Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ Anand, Viswanathan
Following a game between two non-elite grandmasters, Nakamura obtained a little bit of pressure in a symemtrical pawn structure out of this Nimzo-Indian. Anand's position was slightly unpleasant, but a mistake allowed his pieces, specifically his knights, to jump with incredibly momentum. Nakamura tanked, thinking about 30 minutes when he saw what he had done to his position. Wisely, he simplified into an easily drawn rook endgame.

A very mature decision from Nakamura after messing up his position

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime ½-½ Giri, Anish
Black equalized easily by out-preparing MVL. This was barely a game.

Aronian, Levon 1-0 Caruana, Fabiano
Another suicidal mission from Caruana. He had been holding solidly in an unpleasant endgame with an isolated pawn, but in another fateful 40th move today, he lost the thread of the game...

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.21"] [Round "5.5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A30"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2805"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/5p1k/1p3n2/p1np4/P5q1/1PQ1PNP1/6K1/8 w - - 0 39"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 39. Qxf6 Qxg3+ $2 {Falling for a clever trap. Caruana saw a mirage - thinking that he was up a pwn in the endgame he had no chances of losing, but actually he is already much worse!} (39... Qg6 $11) 40. Kxg3 Ne4+ 41. Kf4 Nxf6 42. Ke5 { Suddenly it is clear that White's initiative on the queenside is enough to win the b6 and a5 pawns. Black must be extremely careful.} Kg6 43. Nd4 Kg5 44. Kd6 Ng4 45. Nc2 Kf5 46. Kxd5 Nf6+ 47. Kc6 Ke4 48. Kxb6 Kd3 {Here Aronian missed an unbelievable win} 49. Ne1+ (49. Nb4+ $3 axb4 (49... Kc3 50. Kxa5 Kxb3 51. Kb5 $18) 50. Kc6 {and the king dominates the knight, the a-pawn promotes by force.} ) 49... Kxe3 50. Kxa5 Kd2 $2 {missing a draw, but it's hard to blame Caruana.} (50... Nd5 $3 {is a draw. Why? ask your engine, the lines are too long!}) 51. Nf3+ Kc3 52. b4 Nd5 53. b5 Kb3 {Now every move wins.} 54. Ne5 f5 55. Nd7 { White wants to play b6 and take with the knight. The rest is trivial for Aronian.} Ne3 56. b6 Nc4+ 57. Kb5 Nd6+ 58. Kc6 Nc4 59. Kc5 Na5 60. Kb5 1-0

Hammer, Jon Ludvig 0-1 Topalov, Veselin
The game that everyone is talking about. Topalov takes a commanding lead in the tournament by beating Jon Ludvig Hammer.. but the way that he got there is simply unbelievable.

Maurice Ashley loved White's position from the opening

Topalov's opening was more than dubious, allowing the Norwegian an impressive initiative. With excellent understanding, White sacrificed a piece to obtain a bind that disallowed Black's pieces from moving. However, he started messing up after that. His unnecessarily passive play gave Topalov all the room he needed to develop his pieces. Hammer obtained three pawns for the piece, but was holding the balance and nothing more.

Just when it seemed everything was over and Hammer earned his hard-fought draw, the following happened:

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.21"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D12"] [WhiteElo "2677"] [BlackElo "2798"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r6/5k2/P1R3p1/6P1/3b1P2/K7/8/8 w - - 0 68"] [PlyCount "14"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 68. Ka4 Rf8 69. Kb5 Kg7 70. Rc7+ Rf7 71. Rxf7+ $1 {Good calculation into a drawn endgame, with a little trick.} Kxf7 72. Kc4 $1 {The point, gaining a tempo} Ba7 73. Kd5 Ke7 (73... Bb8 74. Kc6 $1 {Threatening Kb7, winning! Black must return to a7.} Ba7 75. Kd5 $1 {and Black can only repeat positions.}) 74. Kc6 $4 {Absolutely horrible.} (74. f5 {was as obvious as it was effective.} gxf5 75. Ke5 $11) 74... Ke6 {The pawn endgame is very obviously losing. Hammer suffered in his chair for a few minutes before stretching his hand out and resigning in shame.} 0-1

Hammer was simply disgusted with himself after blundering in such a basic position

With this Topalov has been gifted at least two games with Black (Carlsen forfeiting on time against him from a won position, and Hammer giving up a completely drawn position in one move), while his other Black win was against a very poor showing against MVL. The Bulgarian leads by a full point over Nakamura now, who has a very tough pairings tomorrow as the American is Black against Carlsen!

Round Five Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings after five rounds

Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
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
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
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.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

chesspasky chesspasky 9/8/2015 07:54
I love the way Alejandro comments the games and happy birthday
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 6/22/2015 11:18
Seriously?? I'm not a Carlsen fan, but that analogy is ridiculous. Topalov didn't grind Carlsen down from a better position. He was losing, then Magnus flagged because he didn't know the time control (which is ridiculous). By the way, if you watch the video, Topalov didn't even call the flag, the arbiter did (which is against the rules). It was a gift. Hammer had a dead draw in one move, but blundered instead and immediately had to resign. That is not in "good form", that's luck. He played well against Aronian, but literally half of his wins have been pure luck, not technique and not grinding. Topalov is a great player, truly, but he has not played better chess than Nakamura or Anand (or Giri). Look over the games and you'll see few "!" for Topalov.
Petrosianic Petrosianic 6/22/2015 11:01
"When one blunders or flags against Topalov, Anand and others it is pure luck!"
With this particular blunder, yeah.

If you don't believe it, ask Topalov himself. He says the move happened only because Hammer mistakenly thought he'd played Bb8 on the last move. You wouldn't call that lucky?
vodkarov vodkarov 6/22/2015 09:08
It's an interesting logic. When one blunders against MC its due to his endgame "technique", or the opponnent was tired because of so many complications in endgame, and so on. When one blunders or flags against Topalov, Anand and others it is pure luck!
Truthbe Truthbe 6/22/2015 09:04
What's up with Topalov? He got a full point when Kramnik protested and gave up a game.
One more when Carlsen lost for not knowing a time control rule. And, now Hammer Ludwig strangely plays a terrible move, which even a 2000 rated player would not play, and loses to Topolov! Which mind controller did Topolov employ to disorient his opponents?
Omoplata Omoplata 6/22/2015 09:01
Topalov isn't lucky. You can't win consistently against players in the top 10 out of luck. He's in good form just like when he wiped the floor with everyone in San Luis in 2005, and just like Caruana was in good form (and not 'lucky') in St Louis with his 7 out of 7.
mickey cruise mickey cruise 6/22/2015 06:50


WGM Jennifer Shahade gifted the new team of commentators an opportunity to shine, and they did shine. They seem interested in they're role as commentators where some others are not. I hope to see the new team commenting in the future.
firestorm firestorm 6/22/2015 03:17
Norway 2015 Rd5: Topalov is untouchable at 4.5/5
by Alejandro Ramirez

6/22/2015 – It is said that in order to win a tournament, one needs both good play and a bit of luck. Topalov, who has certainly been playing well ...

That's the title and opening lines of this news report.

With criticism like that, who needs praise?
sexaybachay@gmail.com sexaybachay@gmail.com 6/22/2015 02:44
This kind of one-move losing blunders happen in all super tournaments and most of the are in games against Carlsen simply due to exhaustion. No one gives all the credit to luck there. Also bring back Jennifer.
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 6/22/2015 12:04
Topalov is on track to win the luckiest Super GM tournament I've ever seen. He's been gifted 2 full points in 5 rounds. Hopefully Grischuk can beat him tomorrow, just to even it out a bit.
sharpnova sharpnova 6/22/2015 11:59
@psamant - Yes Chessbase frequently acts childish. But I didn't see any "grudge" displayed against Topalov in this article.

@royc - Childish comment. Borrowed time and luck about to change are completely meaningless. Stop trying to empower yourself, girl.
river77 river77 6/22/2015 10:01
Topalov is Keyser Soze!
daftarche daftarche 6/22/2015 09:35
i think some of your commentaries on the games are not correct or some important moments left unnoticed today. happy birthday!
psamant psamant 6/22/2015 08:35
Happy birthday Alejandro!
I understand that toiletgate made Topalov a monster. That was truly a horrendous episode in chess history. But, to a lay reader, it feels that Chessbase has carried a grudge against him for far too long. Topalov has played well; you do not reach such a position and get invited to these tournaments otherwise. Your constant nitpicking manner of reporting showing Topalov in a bad light ends up getting him sympathy and lessening the wrong that he has done to Kramnik and to chess in general. Anyway, chess reporting can do with chessbase leading the way with unbiased reporting, even if Topalov is a beneficiary of the reports!
royc royc 6/22/2015 06:20
I think Magnus is a great champions but in his homeland of Norway, he lacks the Almighty favour. Still nursing his 3 defeats, a gladiator in Nakamura is the last thing Magnus needs tomorrow.

Topalov is still in borrowed time ... but his luck is about to change.

What's happening to Fabiano?! He has difficulty shying away from erroneous end games in otherwise drawn positions
NMcrazyim5 NMcrazyim5 6/22/2015 06:12
Thanks for the articles. Happy birthday Alejandro!
superstoned superstoned 6/22/2015 05:48
Hey man, I finally registered just to wish you a happy birthday!! I'm a big fan of your YouTube videos and your chessbase analyses, both of which are free.

Thanks Alejandro and again, Happy Birthday!
bronkenstein bronkenstein 6/22/2015 02:56
Topalov is, it seems, "going Caruana" :)

On incoming Carlsen-Naka, Magnus is stabilizing after the rest day and today`s victory, also he is white. I`d say a draw would be an achievement for Nakamura, as it always is with Sauron.
DJones DJones 6/22/2015 02:19
He has the black pieces. Carlsen has been dominating his white games. A draw is fine. Asking a GM to force a WIN with black is asking them to lose.
stephen brady stephen brady 6/22/2015 02:16
Carlsen Nakamura tomorrow. If Naka can't break Carlsen while he's down, he may never be able to. Come on Naka!
DBRussell DBRussell 6/22/2015 01:36
Caruana loses his second game. He only needs one more to catch Carlsen! :D

Carlsen - Nakamura now, can't wait!
Since Magnus has no chance to win this anymore he can atleast ruin it for Naka.

1