Carlsen wins Norway Chess

by André Schulz
4/29/2016 – After seven rounds Magnus Carlsen looked almost certain to win the Altibox Norway Chess tournament. But then he lost against Levon Aronian in round eight, endangering his tournament win. But things went his way in round nine. Aronian drew against Pentala Harikrishna while Carlsen defeated Pavel Eljanov to win Norway Chess for the first time.

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After Carlsen's loss against Aronian in round eight Carlsen an Aronian shared the lead, followed by three players with half a point less: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik.

Ready to start the last round

The press

In round nine Carlsen had to play with White against Pavel Eljanov while Aronian had Black against Pentala Harikrishna. Vladimir Kramnik met his old rival Veselin Topalov - since the "toiletgate" match in Elista 2006 these two prefer not talk to each other nor to shake hands before or after the game. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had Black against qualifier Nils Grandelius.

Levon Aronian tried the Nimzo-Indian against Pentala Harikrishna and with 9.a3 the Indian grandmaster steered the game into relatively unexplored territory. But Aronian continued to play quickly while Harikrishna took a bit more time for his moves. However, Aronian failed to get anything from the position and the game finally ended in a draw.


After this draw Carlsen knew that he would win the Norway Chess tournament if he managed to beat Pavel Eljanov. This crucial game began as a Catalan and later turned into a Stonewall. But first of all it was a typical Carlsen game. Though the World Champion did not get much out of the the opening he gradually increased the pressure until Eljanov finally cracked in time pressure and Carlsen won the game and the tournament.

The first move


Happy end for Magnus Carlsen

Nils Grandelius had White against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and with 6.Ne2 in the Fianchetto Variation of the Grünfeld Grandelius tried to stay clear from too deep a theoretical discussion. Black soon developed some initiative which led to a better endgame but did not sufice for a win.

Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik discussed an Anti-Berlin line, in which Topalov managed to secure a space and the initiative. Kramnik had to defend but could not free his position. But Topalov failed to make any progress and in the end found himself in an opposite-colored bishop ending in which he had to accept the draw.

The only game in which not much was at stakes was the encounter between Li Chao and Anish Giri. The Chinese Grandmaster countered Giri's Grünfeld Defense with 4.Bf4 which was the beginning of a popular long line that led to an interesting endgame. Both players seemed to enjoy this endgame and they played it for a while before agreeing to a draw.

Li Chao


Results of round 9

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Ergebnis Titel Name Coun ELO
1 GM Nils Grandelius
2646 ½ - ½ GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave
2 GM Magnus Carlsen
2851 1 - 0 GM Pavel Eljanov
3 GM Veselin Topalov
2780 ½ - ½ GM Vladimir Kramnik
4 GM Penteala Harikrishna
2758 ½ - ½ GM Levon Aronian
5 GM Chao B Li
2757 ½ - ½ GM Anish Giri




Final standings

Tournament page...


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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