Norway 01: Spectacular Round!

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/16/2015 – One could not ask for a better start to the Grand Chess Tour! In the first round in Norway we had it all: Giri demolished Grischuk with a fantastic attack using his opponent's time pressure, MVL's precision overcame Aronian's tenacious defense, Nakamura outplayed Hammer, Caruana held Anand to a draw with great preparation... while the reigning World Chess Champion lost on time!

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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 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

Daniel King shows the highlights of round 1

What an exciting start for the tournament, it simply had it all! Solid defenses, great attacks, time pressures, blunders... and even a World Champion losing on time!

Live broadcast for Norway 2015 on www.grandchesstour.com

Giri, Anish 1-0 Grischuk, Alexander
A nice start for Giri, and a disappointing time management from Grischuk:

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.16"] [Round "1"] [White "Giri, A."] [Black "Grischuk, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2773"] [BlackElo "2781"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 $5 {Not the most common of transposition - a normal Sicilian is on the board but definitely not on the normal move order!} Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 { The Rossolimmo Sicilian is a popular way of preventing the Sveshnikov, a high chance that Grischuk would have played that against 3.d4.} 4. Bxc6 bxc6 (4... dxc6 {is the "safer" way but both captures on c6 are possible.}) 5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Rb8 {Putting the rook in the half-open file makes sense...} 7. h3 $5 Qc7 { However I am not so fond of this move. I keep wondering why the queen is on c7, and later (and more importantly) we will see how the knight actually wanted to go to this square.} 8. c3 Nf6 {A common idea in the structure, but the knight gets kicked around too much.} (8... e5 $5) 9. e5 Nd5 10. c4 Nb4 (10... Nf4 11. d4 Ne6 12. d5 {seems to leave Black completely squashed.}) 11. d4 $1 cxd4 12. a3 Na6 13. Qxd4 {At this point Giri has a very comfortable position. His extra space more than outweighs the pair of bishops, not to mention that Black is lagging on development and he has to be careful that his king does not get mated after 0-0 on the dark squares.} O-O 14. c5 $1 {Gaining more space and making it difficult to find a move for Grischuk. So difficult, in fact, that Grischuk was already in time pressure by this point! With only 14 moves played he had about 25 minutes left, not the situation anyone would like to be in.} d6 $6 {Perhaps panic, perhaps a miscalculation. In either case this move simply gives Giri a great initiative.} 15. cxd6 exd6 16. exd6 Qb6 17. Qh4 Nc5 { Perhaps Grischuk was counting on some activity to compensat efor the pawn, but in excellent fashion the Dutch player gives back the pawn an obtains a strong attack.} 18. Be3 $1 Qxb2 19. Nbd2 Nd7 20. Rab1 $1 Qxa3 21. Rxb8 Nxb8 {The poor knight has moved 7 (!) times in the opening, and although Black is now up a pawn instead of down material, his kingside is difficult to defend. The onslaught continues} 22. Bh6 Nd7 $1 {The best way of organizing a defense. The knight must hurry up and defend h7.} 23. Bxg7 $6 {A little sloppy.} (23. Ng5 Nf6 24. Nde4 Qa5 $1 25. Rd1 $1 {with a huge initiative for White.}) 23... Kxg7 24. Qd4+ Kg8 25. Ne4 Re8 26. Kh2 {A cheeky move, and for practical reasons a good one, though the objective evaluation is that this is too slow. Giri was mostly putting pressure on Grischuk's clock that was ticking down.} a5 $4 {The losing move.} (26... Qa5 $1 {Returning with the queen to the defense was paramount. Here it is impossible for Giri to organize something decisive! There are insufficient pieces to create threats once the queen returns.}) 27. Nfg5 $1 {Very strong. Now there is no way of avoiding the move Nf6+.} Rf8 ( 27... h6 28. Nf6+ Nxf6 29. Qxf6 {is decisive, with threats on e8 and f7} Rf8 30. Nxf7 $18) 28. Nf6+ Nxf6 29. Qxf6 {Re8 is now a threat.} Qa2 30. Re7 (30. Nxh7 $1 Kxh7 31. Re4 {was also lights out.}) 30... Bf5 31. Nxf7 $6 {good enough, but the easier variation was} (31. d7 Qxf2 32. d8=Q {and Black runs out of checks soon} (32. Ne6 $1 {is a fancy way of winning.})) 31... Qxf7 32. Rxf7 Rxf7 33. Qd8+ Kg7 34. Qxa5 Bd7 35. Qc5 Rf5 36. Qa7 Rf7 37. g4 { Unfortunately for Grischuk he doesn't have any real hope of setting up a fortress. His darksquare are too weak.} Kf6 38. f4 Kg7 39. Kg3 Kg8 40. Qe3 Kg7 41. h4 Kg8 42. Qe5 {White's next moves are h5-h6 and Black will be zugzwanged. A nice game from Giri, even though the finish might have not been the most precise.} 1-0

Giri crushed Grischuk, no questions asked

Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ Caruana Fabiano
A very successful opening preparation from Caruana. As he had mentioned in the confession box, it was clear that he had prepared the entire variation. Anand had a chance to go for the following perpetual:

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.16"] [Round "1"] [White "Anand, V."] [Black "Caruana, F."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2805"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2qr1k1/p1p2ppp/2p2n2/2bp4/4P1b1/3P1N2/PPPN1PPP/R1BQ1RK1 w - - 0 10"] [PlyCount "18"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 10. h3 Bh5 11. Qe2 (11. e5 $5 {seems like the test of fire, but Black has a clever resource.} Rxe5 12. g4 Nxg4 {otherwise e5 is hanging.} 13. Nxe5 Qh4 $1 { And White can do nothing to prevent the perpetual check on g3 and h3 since the f2 pawn is pinned by the c5 bishop.}) 11... dxe4 12. Nxe4 h6 13. Be3 Nxe4 14. dxe4 Rxe4 15. Qd3 Bxf3 16. Qxd8+ Rxd8 17. Bxc5 Be2 18. Rfc1 a5 {With eveerything traded off and the opposite colored bishops on the board it is clear that this will be a draw, which it was on move 37.} 1/2-1/2

A solid draw that Caruana can be happy about. He pointed out that he might be the only player with Black to hold the draw, but we can only guess he did not expect what happened in the Carlsen game!

Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 Topalov, Veselin
The news of the day! Carlsen was doing his Carlsen thing: he played a relatively solid opening, tried to put on some pressure, created an advantage out of nothing, tortured his opponent in the endgame... and Topalov cracked. The final position is lost for Black:

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.16"] [Round "1"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Topalov, V."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2876"] [BlackElo "2798"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1b6/1P4k1/8/7Q/5p2/6PK/4Bq2/8 w - - 0 60"] [PlyCount "2"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 60. Qg5+ {After a long defence, Topalov can resist no more. The combined threats of the queen and bishop are decisive.} Kf7 {And White lost! He believed to have an extra 15 minutes given to him on move 60, but they simply did not exist.} (60... Kf7 61. Bc4+ Ke8 62. Bb5+ Kf7 63. Qf5+ Ke7 64. Qd7+ Kf6 65. Qd8+ Kg7 66. Qe7+ Kh6 67. Qf6+ Kh7 68. Bd3+ Kg8 69. Bc4+ Kh7 70. Qf7+ Kh6 71. Qf8+ Kg5 72. Qg7+ Kf5 73. g4+ Ke4 74. Qg6+ Ke5 75. Qe6+ Kd4 76. Qb6+ {And Black loses. It might seem like a long sequence, but White should somehow stumble upon it when he sees that other moves are not winning.}) 0-1

However, the unthinkable happened... Carlsen flagged! Thinking that he had an extra 15 minutes on move 60 cost him the game, as there was no time addition. Instead he simply lost when he overstepped the time limit. Heartbreaking, as he is completely winning.

The arbiter informing Carlsen that the game is over!

The arbiter announced the time control just before the start of the game... but Carlsen arrived late! He did not hear the announcement, mistook the time control and simply lost.

Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 Hammer, Jan Ludvig
Nakamura played a strange opening, obtained a position that was perhaps not too comfortable, but soundly outplayed his opponent. Hammer seemed at a loss on where to put his pieces, and they kept jumping positions while his queen felt uncomfortable. Nakamura upped the pressure and waited for the Norwegian player to make a blunder, which he did. The final important stroke of the game was:

Nakamura won in Nakamura style: complications, confused opponent, and a strike when the iron is hot

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.16"] [Round "1"] [White "Nakamura, Hi"] [Black "Hammer, J."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A20"] [WhiteElo "2802"] [BlackElo "2677"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r1r1k/1p2bBpp/2p1Pn2/p2b1qN1/1P3B2/P5P1/4Q2P/2R1R1K1 w - - 0 38"] [PlyCount "31"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 38. Rf1 Ne4 $2 (38... Bb3 $1) 39. Nxe4 $1 Qxe4 40. Qxe4 Bxe4 41. Be3 $1 {This is the key move. When Nakamura saw this he felt confident in a victory. The point is that the threat of Bc5 is too strong, simply destroying the blockade of the e6 pawn.} axb4 (41... Rc8 42. Bc5 Rc7 43. Bb6 {costs Black a pawn, and it doesn't improve his position much, but it was his best bet.}) 42. Bc5 Rd2 $6 {simply hastening his defeat.} 43. Rfe1 $1 Bxc5+ 44. Rxc5 Rg2+ 45. Kf1 {Black runs out of threats and White wins easily with his powerful passed pawn.} b3 46. Rxe4 b2 47. Re1 Rxh2 48. Rce5 Rh1+ 49. Kg2 b1=Q 50. Rxb1 Rxb1 51. e7 Ra8 52. e8=R+ Rxe8 53. Rxe8# 1-0

With this win Nakamura jumps slightly over Anand and Caruana to claim the #2 spot in the live rating list!

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 1-0 Aronian, Levon
An excellent game from the French player. He went into a strategically sharp Ragozin where his structure was shattered but piece placements were active and strong. The following combination left Black with too many weaknesses:

An excellent start for the Frenchman

[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.16"] [Round "1"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Black "Aronian, L."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D38"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2780"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r3k2r/ppp1qp2/1n2b3/3pNB1p/3P4/2P1P1P1/P1Q3P1/R4RK1 b kq - 0 18"] [PlyCount "12"] [EventDate "2015.06.17"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 18... Nd7 19. e4 $1 {Excellent, opening up the position.} Nxe5 20. exd5 $1 { The point. Black has no good way of responding to this move.} O-O-O (20... Bxd5 21. Rae1 Be6 22. Rxe5 {should cost at least a pawn, but might have been the lesser evil.}) 21. dxe6 fxe6 22. Rae1 $1 exf5 23. Rxe5 Qa3 24. Rfxf5 $1 { White's rooks are dominant, and he has an extra pawn. Black was unable to create counterplay and after many moves MVL converted his two extra pawns (after taking on h5).} 1-0

With two extra pawns and excellent technique MVL won a great game. An important result as he comes as the lowest rated player of the Grand Chess Tour (remember that Hammer is only in this event as a wildcard).

Jennifer Shahade and yours truly live from www.grandchesstour.com,
the official commentary for the Grand Chess Tour events.

Standings

Round One Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Playchess commentator schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
16.06.2015
Round 1
Rustam Kasimdzhanov
17.06.2015
Round 2
Simon Williams
18.06.2015
Round 3
Erwin l'Ami
19.06.2015
Round 4
Daniel King
20.06.2015
 
 
21.06.2015
Round 5
Chris Ward
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
Aronian Levon 2780
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Topalov Veselin 2798
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Giri Anish 2773
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Round 3 - 18.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Giri Anish 2773
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Topalov Veselin 2798
Aronian Levon 2780
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Round 4 - 19.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
Topalov Veselin 2798
Aronian Levon 2780
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Giri Anish 2773
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Round 5 - 21.06.2015
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Carlsen Magnus 2876
Grischuk Alexander 2781
Nakamura Hikaru 2802
Anand Viswanathan 2804
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2723
Giri Anish 2773
Aronian Levon 2780
Caruana Fabiano 2805
Hammer Jon Ludvig 2677
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.

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