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

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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.