Norway Chess: Anand gets his first win

by André Schulz
6/6/2018 – Leader Magnus Carlsen was without a game Tuesday and therefore watched from the Norwegian TV2 live broadcast studio to see if Wesley So would overtake him by defeating Mamedyarov. So only managed a draw, alongside two other boards. The one decision of the day was Viswanathan Anand's win with black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave which brings Anand to join the leaders. | Photos: Lennart Ootes / Norway Chess

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Four players with 3½

After the rest day, the seventh round of the Altibox Norway Chess Tournament was played Tuesday without the World Champion. Since the field shrunk to nine players by Ding Liren's misfortune, the rounds are played with just four games, and one player gets to sit out. Carlsen took the opportunity to join the Norwegian TV commentary show, and therefore had a prominent seat from which to watch his lead on So melt to half a point. In addition, So had already played against Ding, and therefore had played one fewer game counted for score, in contrast to Levon Aronian who was playing his seventh game on the adjacent table. 

The games have shifted to the Stavanger concert hall | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norway Chess

Playing with the black pieces against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, So faced the Catalan opening — not necessarily the system against which you get a lot of chances to play for a win. Up until the 14th move, the two players followed a variation that Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Anish Giri had recently played at the Vugar Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir. With 14.e4 Mamedyarov tried something new.

 

However, Mamedyarov did not achieve much. By the 26th move, the game ended with a somewhat discretionary draw by repetition.

Caruana vs Nakamura

First move on the board of Caruana und Nakamura

At the next table, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura discussed the Mikenas variation in the English opening. Nakamura's manoeuvre 7...Bd7 and 8...Bc6 has hardly been played so far. The queens came off already on the 10th move, and White took a structural weakness in the form of doubled-isolated pawns but received the bishop pair in return.

 

White got a slight initiative but could not get Black into serious trouble. On move 20, Caruana still tried to spice things up, but to no avail.

 

In the game between Sergey Karjakin and Levon Aronian, we saw another early queen swap exchange, on move 14. In the sequence that followed, most of the pieces soon disappeared and the game ended with a with a rook and minor piece plus four pawns on the kingside, in which neither player had winning chances.

 

Viswanathan Anand defended against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's Open Spanish, which has recently undergone a minor renaissance. After the 14th move, there was a position on the board echoing 104 years ago and the game between Alexander Flamberg and Alexander Alekhine at the famous 1914 tournament in Mannheim.

 

Flamberg then played 15.Bc2, Vachier-Lagrave continued with 15.Nf3. Here and there black got a good game. Anand opened the f-file and invaded with his rook causing White considerable headache.

 

There followed 24...c5, which threatens 25...c4. Vachier-Lagrave was forced to settle into a worse endgame that Anand easily won.

 

Anand played 40...Ke6. Play it out on the live diagram to prove it to yourself if you like!


Round-up show

Standings after Round 7

 

Games of Round 7

 

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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