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.

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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 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

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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.