Huffington Post: Topalov on Top in Norway

7/7/2015 – In the first round of the Norway Chess 2015 in Stavanger Magnus Carlsen lost on time in a winning position against Veselin Topalov. The 40-year-old Bulgarian turned this lucky break into first place with a string of victories – in the last round Topalov holding Vishy Anand, 45, to a draw. Looking back at the event Huffington columnist Lubomir Kavalek analyses games by Carlsen and Anand.

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Topalov on Top of Norway Chess 2015

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

The world chess champion Magnus Carlsen was in free fall, losing game after game at the beginning of the Norway Chess 2015 in Stavanger, one of the three tournaments of the newly founded Grand Chess Tour.

Failures of famous players attract as much attention as their successes. Misfortune was being played out on both sides of the Atlantic. By the time Tiger Woods stopped swinging his golf clubs and was eliminated from the the U.S. Open, Carlsen lost three times and drew once in the first four rounds, inhabiting last place. It was the worst start of his career.

In the first round Carlsen lost on time in a winning position against Veselin Topalov. The 40-year-old Bulgarian grandmaster turned this lucky break into first place with a string of victories reminiscent of his triumph at the world championship tournament in San Luis in 2005. In the last round Topalov held Vishy Anand, 45, to a draw.

Nobody expected the two oldest players, old enough to be fathers of a number of the young players in the tournament, to dominate the event.

The U.S. champion Hikaru Nakamura had a fabulous year and he caught Anand with a last round win over Levon Aronian.

What happened to Carlsen? After he lost on time in a winning position against Topalov, he was outplayed by Fabiano Caruana and Anand. He was trying to recover in the second half of the event, but lost in the last round to his countryman Jon Ludvig Hammer. Here is the finish of his game against Caruana.

[Event "3rd Norway Chess, "] [Site "Stavanger "] [Date "2015.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2805"] [BlackElo "2876"] [Annotator "GM Lubomir Kavalek/The Huffington Post"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2k2br1/ppp2ppb/2p4p/2n1PN2/2P2NP1/BP5P/P4P2/3R2K1 b - - 0 22"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] {Carlsen was under pressure for most of the game and now blundered:} 22... Ne6 $2 (22... Rh8 23. Bxc5 Bxc5 24. Nxg7 $14) (22... b6 23. Kh2 Rh8 (23... Bxf5 24. gxf5 g6 25. fxg6 fxg6 26. Bxc5 Bxc5 27. Kg3 $16) 24. f3 a5 25. Bxc5 bxc5 (25... Bxc5 26. Nxg7 $16) 26. Nd3 $16) 23. Nxe6 $1 Bxa3 ({After} 23... fxe6 24. Be7 $1 {the threat 25.Rd8 mate allows White not only to escape, but to achieve winning position.} b6 25. Rd8+ Kb7 26. Bxf8 exf5 27. e6 {and the advance of the e-pawn wins the bishop.}) 24. Nexg7 Bf8 {The knight on g7 can't move and Carlsen threatens 25...Rxg7.} 25. e6 $1 {Caruana sees the retort: the knights get untangled and White keeps the advantage. It is stronger than} (25. f4 Rxg7 26. Nxg7 Bxg7) 25... Bxf5 {White wins after:} (25... Rxg7 26. e7 {wins.}) ( 25... fxe6 26. Nxe6 Ba3 27. Nxh6 $18) 26. Nxf5 fxe6 {The material is equal but not the position. White has a clear pawn majority on the kingside and Black has problems with defending the split pawns.} 27. Ng3 $5 {The knight wants to go to the square h5 to support the advance of the f-pawn. It also prevents h6-h5.} Be7 28. Kg2 Rf8 29. Rd3 Rf7 30. Nh5 Bd6 31. Rf3 $1 {Pushing the rook from the f-file.} Rh7 (31... Rxf3 32. Kxf3 {is hopeless. White creates a passed pawn easily.}) 32. Re3 Re7 {The only way to protect the e-pawn, but it doesn't stop the advancing white pawns.} (32... e5 33. f4 $1 exf4 34. Re8+ Kd7 35. Nf6#) (32... Kd7 33. Nf6+ $18) 33. f4 Ba3 34. Kf3 Bb2 35. Re2 Bc3 36. g5 Kd7 37. Kg4 Re8 38. Ng3 Rh8 39. h4 b6 40. h5 c5 41. g6 Re8 42. f5 {There was no need to prepare this advance.} exf5+ 43. Kf4 Rh8 (43... Rxe2 44. Nxe2 Bg7 45. Ng3 {wins.}) 44. Nxf5 Bf6 45. Rg2 1-0

"The winner is lucky, the runner-up plays the best chess." It is an old adage, confirmed in Norway this month. Anand played very creatively. He scored a fine win against Carlsen, but his best performance was a sharp attacking game against Maxime Vachier Lagrave in the Najdorf Sicilian.

[Event "3rd Norway Chess"] [Site "Stavanger "] [Date "2015.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Anand, Vishy"] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2723"] [Annotator "GM Lubomir Kavalek/ The Huffington Post"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1rb2rk1/2q1bpp1/p2ppn1p/1p3P2/4P1P1/4B1NP/PPPQ2B1/3R1RK1 b - - 0 17"] [PlyCount "24"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] {[%csl Gd2,Ge3,Rh6] Anand was following the game Navara-Grischuk from the last year's Tromso Olympiad. "I knew the rough idea: sacrificing on h6," Vishy said after the game. Indeed, Navara's battery of the bishop on e3 and the queen on d2 looks towards the black king dangerously.} 17... Bb7 {Rather than supporting the advance of the d-pawn (because of the loose knight on g3 Black can do it anyway), the new move connects the rooks.} ({Grischuk played} 17... Re8 {leaving the square f8 for the bishop to cover the dark squares around the king.}) (17... Rd8 {is another move to consider, to place the rook on the same file as the white queen.}) 18. Kh1 {Anand could not made the sacrifice on h6 work and decided to move his king to the corner to avoid possible checks on the diagonal a7-g1.} ({Indeed,} 18. Bxh6 gxh6 19. Qxh6 d5 $1 {has been analyzed to a draw.}) 18... Rbd8 ({Yasser Seirawan was stumped after Anand quickly reeled off this variation:} 18... d5 19. e5 $1 Qxe5 20. Bf4 Qxb2 21. Bxb8 Rxb8 22. fxe6 fxe6 {and now Anand stressed an important move} 23. Qe3 $1 e5 (23... Bc8 $5 24. Nf5 exf5 {is a better defense.}) 24. Rxf6 $5 {and White wins, for example:} Bxf6 (24... d4 25. Qxe5) (24... gxf6 25. Qxh6 Qxc2 26. Rc1 Qh7 27. Qxh7+ Kxh7 28. Rc7 $18) 25. Qa7 {and White wins a piece.}) ({Anand thought Black should have tried} 18... Kh7 {to protect the pawn on h6, for example} 19. g5 hxg5 20. Bxg5 Rh8 {with a playable position.}) 19. Bxh6 $1 { Announcing a vicious attack. White is not risking anything since he has a draw at hand.} gxh6 20. Qxh6 d5 21. g5 $1 {Going for victory.} ({A draw can be achieved with} 21. e5 Qxe5 22. Qg5+ Kh8 23. Qh4+ {since} Nh7 $2 24. Qxe7 Qxg3 25. Qxb7 {is clearly bad for Black.}) 21... Qxg3 22. Rd3 $1 {Anand had to see this precise move. White should win now.} ({Not} 22. gxf6 $2 Bd6 $1 {and Black wins.}) 22... Nh5 $2 {Missing the last chance to stay in the game. Black probably underestimated White's next move.} ({After} 22... Nxe4 $1 23. f6 Qxg5 $2 (23... Bxf6 $5 {The best chance to continue.} 24. Bxe4 (24. gxf6 Qg6) 24... dxe4 25. Rxg3 Bg7 26. Qh4 e3+ 27. Kg1 e2 28. Re1 Bd4+ 29. Kh2 Be5 30. Qh5 (30. Rxe2 $2 Rd1 {and suddenly Black turns the table.}) 30... Rd5 31. h4 Rfd8 { Black can still play a little bit.}) 24. Qxg5+ Nxg5 25. fxe7 {is hopeless for Black, for example} Rde8 (25... Kh8 26. Rg3 Nh7 27. Rxf7 $1 $18) 26. Rg3 Rxe7 ( 26... f6 27. exf8=Q+ Rxf8 28. h4 $18) 27. Rxg5+ Kh8 28. Rf6 $1 Kh7 29. Rf4 { and white mates soon.}) ({Retreating with the queen} 22... Qe5 {also loses after} 23. gxf6 Bxf6 24. Rf4 $1 {, for example} Bg7 25. Rg3 exf5 26. Rh4 Qxg3 27. Qh7#) 23. g6 $1 {The combined double-threat, mating on h7 and winning the queen, allows White to pick up material without giving Black any play.} fxg6 24. fxg6 Rxf1+ 25. Bxf1 Nf6 {Everything works perfectly for White.} (25... Qf4 26. Qh7+ Kf8 27. Qh8#) (25... Qe5 26. Qh7+ Kf8 27. Qf7#) 26. Rxg3 dxe4 27. Be2 e3+ 28. Kg1 Bc5 29. Kf1 {There are no tricks and 30.g7 is coming.} 1-0

Walter Browne (1949-2015)

Walter Browne, a chess grandmaster and six-time U.S. champion, died in Las Vegas on June 24. He was 66 years old.

I watched his brilliant career first hand since 1968. We played together or against each other at U.S. championships, international tournaments and Olympiads. He was an undisputed king of the open tournaments in the United States in the 1970s and early 1980s.

I liked his devotion to chess and the will to fight. He was an intense player, calculating everything back and forth and putting a tremendous amount of energy into his games, often wrestling with lack of time.

In 2012, New In Chess published his autobiography The Stress of Chess...and its Infinite Finesse, My Life, Career and 101 Best Games.

Walter was a good friend and a memorable presence at chess tournaments all over the world. America lost one of its chess giants.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over over a quarter of a billion visits per month (according to Quantcast), making it the number 73 ranked web site in the world (Alexa, January 2014)..

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imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/9/2015 12:02
""The Kavalek guy is way better than Ramirez ... as a chess player."

Ramirez is rated 60 pts higher than Kavalek."

:) Kavalek was top 10 in the FIDE rating list at one point, and was at or near 2600 for several years, back when there was no inflation (2600 would mean 2750+ these days). I'm not 100% sure Alejandro has ever been in the top 100 (probably has, near the bottom), let alone anywhere near the top 10. I love A.R., he's easily one of my favorite commentators (and he could improve in the future, of course - I wish him only the best in his career), but, as far as chess knowledge goes, I think he'd be the first to tell you Kavalek is on a whole other level. Which is why I've always loved these articles and the way he analyzes these games. He might be my favorite contemporary annotator. Just the right amount of variations mixed with explanations, and perfect clarity. Love it!
Aighearach Aighearach 7/8/2015 03:10

Before talking about our nation, come ask us what it is called. We'll tell you, you won't tell us.

Just a comment from America.

I'll add a quote from a Bo Diddley song.
Where are you from?
South America
You don't look like no South American to me.
I'm still from south America.
What part?
South Texas

You can't just take the words, and tell other people what they mean. Instead you have to listen, and learn. Yes, The Americas refer to a pair of continents. Yes, North America and South America are continents. But America is only the United States of America. The term you confuse with "America" is "Americas." So they're actually slightly different, and only ignorance can confuse you. But even if they were the same word, you'd still be wrong; you'd have to deduce from context which meaning was meant. That is the way English is; there are lots of different words with the same spelling, and same words with different meanings.

Just like, people from Scotland get the adjective Scottish. Products from Scotland are given the adjective Scotch. You don't call a person Scotch, and you don't call Scotch Whiskey Scottish Whiskey. You can't apply general language concepts and claim they are rules, you have to understand the correct terms to use for each People. And the way to do that is by listening to those Peoples. Conveniently, no other People use the term American to describe themselves other than people from the United States of America, so any cultural conflict at issue here is just your anti-Americanism.
deadbob deadbob 7/7/2015 11:32
America is the USA - the continents are called North America and South America - there is no continent called America in itself. USA has always been known as America, and oh ya I'm Canadian so there is no bias here.
toreohm toreohm 7/7/2015 06:12
"America lost one of its chess giants."
If you want to talk about your country (USA) please don't say America because America is a continent not a country.
dhochee dhochee 7/7/2015 11:26
"The Kavalek guy is way better than Ramirez ... as a chess player."

Ramirez is rated 60 pts higher than Kavalek. I do think Ramirez often allows the computer analysis to negatively bias his comments, but it doesn't seem to me that his analysis is weak.
hserusk hserusk 7/7/2015 10:14
"In the last round Topalov held Vishy Anand, 45, to a draw." - now how's that for sugarcoating a soulless game eh?
RaoulBertorello RaoulBertorello 7/7/2015 09:40
Great article, thanks for sharing. But what happened to the promised conclusive article by Ramirez on the tournament ? Did he ask too much money or what ? Look, the Kavalek guy is way better than Ramirez both as a chess player -- and therefore analyst -- and journalist, yet Ramirez has the feature to be preconceived against players for his own reasons (e.g. Caruana), and that's exactly what makes him readable: I get angry reading him, and to be angry is exactly a right mindset one needs to feel when reading cronicle aritcles on any matter. So, please, keep Kavalek, but resume Ramirez too: I'll read words by the latter to get furious, and analysis by the former to stay rational. Thank you.