Norway Chess: Three-pointers for Shakh and MVL

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/8/2022 – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won their round-7 classical encounters to climb to shared third place at the Norway Chess Tournament. Magnus Carlsen lost in Armageddon against Aryan Tari, but is still leading the standings table, albeit only by a half point — second-placed Vishy Anand won the sudden-death decider against Teimour Radjabov on Tuesday. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Carlsen loses in Armageddon

Norway Chess 2022So far at the tenth edition of the Norway Chess Tournament, local hero Magnus Carlsen has played four Armageddon deciders. The world champion, a rapid-play specialist, has won two and lost two of the tiebreakers. Facing his compatriot Aryan Tari in the seventh round, he held a draw with black in classical and lost the following rapid game to collect one point in the all-Norwegian mini-match.

Carlsen nonetheless kept the lead in the standings, although he is now only a half point ahead of Vishy Anand, who found a nice tactical shot to beat Teimour Radjabov in their Armageddon game. In the final two rounds of the event, Anand will face Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with white and Aryan Tari with black as he will try to overtake Carlsen at the top of the table.

Sharing third place are Mamedyarov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who both scored three points on Tuesday. In crucial encounters, they beat Anish Giri and Wesley So respectively. Notably, MVL will face Carlsen with white in the next round.

Aryan Tari

Aryan Tari | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Vachier-Lagrave got the upper hand with the white pieces out of a Berlin Defence against So. The Frenchman precisely calculated that he could grab a pawn on b7. His opponent faltered on the very next move.

 

The one move that would have kept the fight going — albeit with White clearly in the driver’s seat — was the passive 24...Rd7. So thought for over 11 minutes before erring with the forcing 24...Rb6, which was swiftly responded by 25.Qxb6.

MVL had foreseen that after 25...cxb6 26.Rxc8+ Bxc8 27.Re8+ Kh7 he would get a clear advantage going into the endgame.

 

Black lost too many tempi untangling his pieces from this position, and the d-file passer decided the game in White’s favour. Resignation came on move 39.

 

Wesley So

Wesley So | Photo: Norway Chess

Meanwhile, Mamedyarov gained a pawn before entering an endgame with rooks and bishops against Giri. The Dutchman was defending stubbornly, but extreme precision was needed to keep the balance — the decisive mistake came on move 57.

 

The only move that does not lose here is 57...Kd6, when 58.Rd8+ can be responded by 58...Ke6, and White still needs to find a way to break through. Instead, after 57...Kb6 58.Rd8 Kc5 59.Rd7, Black had a difficult time figuring out how to proceed.

 

Shakh made considerable progress with his manoeuvre, as he is threatening to transfer his rook to the a-file and combine that move with threats of grabbing the f7-pawn. Giri found nothing better than to give up the exchange with 59...Rxb5 and went on to resign the game eight moves later.

 

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Two good-looking combinations in the tiebreakers gave wins to Anand and Wang. Facing Radjabov with white, the Indian made the most of the open g and h-files by giving up a piece in the centre.

 

22.Nxe5 dxe5 23.Bxe5 places the bishop on the long diagonal and clears the way for the rook on the third file to join the attack. Then came 23...Qh5 24.Rg3+ Bg4 25.Qd1 and resigns.

 

Viswanathan Anand

A half point behind the leader — Vishy Anand | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Wang won his first mini-match of the tournament in round 7. The Chinese finished off the tiebreaker against Veselin Topalov in style.

 

After 26...Nf3+, White could have kept the balance with 27.Kh1, while Topalov’s 27.gxf3 fails to 27...Bxe3+ 28.Kh1 Bxc1 29.Rxc1 exf3

 

White’s extra piece is meaningless in this position. There followed 30.Qa7 Qd2, and the Bulgarian legend accepted defeat soon after.


Standings after round 7

  Name Points
1 Magnus Carlsen 13½
2 Viswanathan Anand 13
3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 11½
4 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 11½
5 Wesley So 10
6 Aryan Tari
7 Anish Giri 8
8 Veselin Topalov 7
9 Wang Hao
10 Teimour Radjabov 5

All games

 

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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