Norway 2016 Rd5: Harikrishna and Topalov win

by Albert Silver
4/25/2016 – After the rest day, fans were looking forward to the clash between Carlsen and Giri a player the world champion has yet to beat in classical time controls. There was no blood and a relatively uneventful draw was the result. The two players to post full points had also not won a game yet: Harikrishna who beat Li Chao, and Topalov who defeated Grandelius. Report with GM analysis.

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Round 5 - Sunday 24 April
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½ Pavel Eljanov
Veselin Topalov
1-0
Nils Grandelius
Magnus Carlsen
½-½ Anish Giri
Levon Aronian
½-½ M Vachier-Lagrave
Pentala Harikrishna
1-0
Li Chao

Round five

All photos by Altibox Norway Chess/Joachim Steinbru

The stage where the players played

All eyes were on the young guns Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri in round five, especially since many see Giri as a potential challenger to Carlsen sometime down the road. The young Dutch player has also the distinction of having emerged unscathed from nearly a dozen bouts in classical time controls, with only one decisive game having ended in his favor (albeit a non-game that ended before it started).

Playing black, Anish Giri was understandably less adventurous than his usual self, forgoing his sacrificial ways for a more sedate bout. The balance was never broken and a draw was the inevitable result.

The only two decisive games of the day were between Indian star Pentala Harikrishna and Li Chao, as well as Veselin Topalov and Nils Grandelius. Harikrishna has been rising slowly but steadily these last years, clawing away at the top Indian rank monopolized by Anand for the last decades. Although he has enjoyed the throne for a day thanks to the Live Ratings, it has never been enough to hold until the actual ratings list was published. With his win over Li Chao, he brings this dream one step closer.

Harikrishna played a superb game to defeat Li Chao

Analysis by IM Sagar Shah for ChessBase India

[Event "4th Norway Chess 2016"]
[Site "Stavanger NOR"]
[Date "2016.04.24"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "Li Chao"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E60"]
[WhiteElo "2763"]
[BlackElo "2755"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2016.04.18"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 {Hari goes for the same move that Magnus Carlsen used
to beat Li Chao at the Qatar Masters 2015.} c5 {This time instead of d5, the
Chinese player goes for c5 which in some ways transposes the game into Benoni/
King's Indian structures.} 4. d5 d6 5. e4 Bg7 6. Ne2 O-O 7. Nec3 $5 {Nec3 was
also used by Anand in his only Classical win against Boris Gelfand in the 2012
World Championship Match.This is how Igor Stohl describes this move. "Rather
unusual, but the underlying idea is sound enough. Instead of bothering to find
a good square for the Ne2, White will rather look for another post for his Nb1
- it might go to a3, or more probably to d2 after Be3(g5).} e5 {This is where
Harikrishna's opening preparation came to an end. This is a pretty rare move.}
8. g4 h5 $5 9. h3 {Looking to cause some major problems with the move Bg5 now.
Li Chao prepares for this.} Nh7 10. Be3 (10. h4 {Hari was looking in this
direction. But after} Bf6 11. gxh5 Bxh4+ 12. Kd2 g5 {He was not so sure about
his position. It looks like after} 13. Kc2 $16 {White should be better.}) (10.
gxh5 $6 Qh4+ $1 11. Kd2 Qxh5 $13) 10... h4 $5 {Black prepares a very
interesting idea of exchanging the dark squared bishops.} 11. Qd2 Bf6 12. Rg1
Bg5 13. Bxg5 Qxg5 (13... Nxg5 {would have been better than the game
continuation.}) 14. Nb5 $1 {This forces Black to retreat with the queen.} Qe7
15. g5 $1 {Blocking the g5 square so that it cannot be used by the black
pieces.} a6 16. N5c3 Nd7 17. Qg2 Kg7 (17... f6 18. gxf6 Rxf6 19. Qg4 g5 20.
Qxh4 Rxf3 21. Nd2 Rf4 22. Qg3 {is quite a messy position but no so bad for
Black.}) 18. Nd2 f6 19. gxf6+ Qxf6 (19... Rxf6 20. Qg4 $16) 20. Nd1 $1 {
A brilliant idea. Black's plan was to play Rf7, Nf8, g5 and Ng6. However, Hari
is quick to take measures against that and prepare Nd1-f2-d3 in order to break
in the centre with f4! This truly shows how strong he is.} Rf7 21. Nf2 Ndf8 22.
Nd3 b5 (22... g5 {was the critical test.} 23. f4 $1 {A similar idea like in
the game.} exf4 24. e5 dxe5 25. Ne4 $44 {With excellent compensation.} Qg6 26.
Qe2 (26. Nxe5 f3 $19) 26... Nd7 27. O-O-O) 23. O-O-O $1 g5 24. f4 $3 {This is
clearly the best move in the game! Black's position is ripped to shreds after
this.} exf4 25. e5 $1 {Pawns are not really so important at this moment!} Qf5 (
25... dxe5 26. Ne4 Qh6 27. Nxe5 Re7 28. Nc6 $16) 26. e6 f3 (26... Re7 27. Qe4
$1 $18) 27. Qh2 Bxe6 {Black sacrifices the piece for a few pawns but it is not
enough.} 28. dxe6 Qxe6 29. Nf2 Qe3 30. Ng4 Qf4 31. Qxf4 Rxf4 32. Nxf3 $1 {
Always tactically alert!} bxc4 (32... Rxf3 33. Bg2 $18) 33. Ngh2 Ne6 34. Rxd6
Nd4 35. Rd7+ Kh8 36. Ne5 Nf8 37. Rf7 Re4 38. Rxg5 Rd8 39. Rxf8+ Rxf8 40. Ng6+
Kg7 41. Nxf8+ Kxf8 42. Rxc5 {A powerpacked game by Harikrishna. Especially the
moves f4 followed by e5.} 1-0

GM Daniel King analyzes Harikrishna - Li Chao

Li Chao has been having a solid event overall, in his first elite round robin. The invitation was full deserved with his Top 20 rating achieved over a career of strong opens around the world. Still, playing top players in a reduced field is quite different, even if the vagaries of fate have allowed him to bump heads with a few in the Qatar Masters among others.

Playing a game full of complications against a player such as Topalov is asking for it

Veselin Topalov was the second player to score a win, unable to reproduce his incredible good fortune and form from last year’s Norway Chess. He took on qualifier Nils Grandelius, and the game was a hard fought Closed Ruy Lopez that led to serious complications after it opened up in the middlegame. Unsurprisingly Topalov was the more adept at handling the complexities, and it was 1-0 for the Bulgarian.

Standings after five rounds

Schedule and results of Norway Chess 2016

Round 1 Tuesday 19 April
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Nils Grandelius
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
M Vachier-Lagrave
½-½
Li Chao
Anish Giri
1-0
Pavel Eljanov
Levon Aronian
½-½
Veselin Topalov
 
Round 2 Wednesday. 20 April
Nils Grandelius
½-½
Levon Aronian
Li Chao
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Anish Giri
0-1
M Vachier-Lagrave
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Pavel Eljanov
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Round 3 Thursday 21 April
Pentala Harikrishna
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian
½-½
Li Chao
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Nils Grandelius
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Anish Giri
M Vachier-Lagrave 
½-½
Pavel Eljanov
 
Round 4 Friday 22 April
Nils Grandelius
½-½ Pentala Harikrishna
Anish Giri
½-½ Levon Aronian
Pavel Eljanov
½-½ Veselin Topalov
Li Chao
½-½ Magnus Carlsen
M Vachier-Lagrave
½-½ Vladimir Kramnik

 
Saturday 23 April – Rest day

School tournament
Science Factory, Sandnes

 
Round 5 Sunday 24 April
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½ Pavel Eljanov
Veselin Topalov
1-0
Nils Grandelius
Magnus Carlsen
½-½ Anish Giri
Levon Aronian
½-½ M Vachier-Lagrave
Pentala Harikrishna
1-0
Li Chao
Round 6 Monday 25 April
Anish Giri
  Pentala Harikrishna
Pavel Eljanov
  Nils Grandelius
M Vachier-Lagrave
  Magnus Carlsen
Li Chao
  Veselin Topalov
Vladimir Kramnik
  Levon Aronian
 

 
Tuesday 26 April – Rest day

Round 7 Wednesday 27 April
Nils Grandelius
  Li Chao
Magnus Carlsen
  Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian
  Pavel Eljanov
Pentala Harikrishna
  M Vachier-Lagrave
Veselin Topalov
  Anish Giri
 
Round 8 Thursday 28 April
Levon Aronian
  Magnus Carlsen
Pavel Eljanov
  Li Chao
M Vachier-Lagrave
  Veselin Topalov
Vladimir Kramnik
  Pentala Harikrishna
Anish Giri
  Nils Grandelius
Round 9 Friday 29 April
Nils Grandelius
-
M Vachier-Lagrave
Magnus Carlsen
-
Pavel Eljanov
Veselin Topalov
-
Vladimir Kramnik
Li Chao
-
Anish Giri
Pentala Harikrishna
-
Levon Aronian
 

 
Friday 29 April – Blitz

There will be a blitz match and rapid chess Friday April 29 after Round 9 if two players share first place. If there are more than 2 players sharing first place a new match will take place Saturday 30.

Live commentary on Playchess

Day and round English German
Round 4 Friday 22 April Daniel King Oliver Reeh
Round 5 Sunday 24 April Simon Williams Thomas Luther
Round 6 Monday 25 April Yannick Pelletier Thomas Luther
Round 7 Wednesday 27 April Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
Round 8 Thursday 28 April Yannick Pelletier Klaus Bischoff
Round 9 Friday 29 April Daniel King Klaus Bischoff

Links

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.

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