Norway Chess R3: Carlsen wins in style

by André Schulz
4/21/2016 – In round three of the Altibox Chess Tournament Magnus Carlsen played against Nils Grandelius. In the opening blitz tournament Carlsen drew against the Swedish grandmaster, but in classical chess Grandelius lost clearly. In an unusual opening Carlsen sacrificed a piece for which he had tremendous pressure that Grandelius could not shake off. The four other games were drawn. Carlsen now leads with 2.5/3.

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In the third round Magnus Carlsen played with White against Nils Grandelius, who tried the Nimzowitsch-Sicilian against the World Champion. This line is a rare guest in top tournaments but probably did not Carlsen by surprise because Grandelius had played it before.

After a couple of unusual moves (6…Qb6 7.Qc1) Grandelius decided to push his pawns on the kingside to put pressure on White's pawn on e5. This early pawn push on the kingside provoked a piece sacrifice by Carlsen. White obtained tremendous pressure while Black suffered from a serious lack of development. With powerful moves Carlsen won the game in fine style.


Pentala Harikrishna had White against Veselin Topalov, who opted for a Nimzo-Indian. An early exchange on d5 led to an unusual position, in which Black was settled with an isolated pawn on d5. However, after 19 moves both players indicated peaceful tendencies by finding a repetition of moves.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Pavel Eljanov discussed the pros and cons of the Berlin Defense, which is much more popular with the players than with the public. In the main line Eljanov chose a line with an early Be7 followed by Nh4 to swap the white knight on f3. In the further course of the game more and more pieces vanished from the board until a drawn endgame with opposite-colored bishops was reached.


Playing with Black against Levon Aronian Li Chao chose the Schlechter Variation of the Slav, which is rather popular among some Chinese top players. After an exchange on d5 Aronian obtained a slight space advantage on the queenside and later managed to settle Black with a pawn weakness on c6. However, Black's pieces were active enough to compensate this weak pawn and the game soon ended in a draw.

Vladimir Kramnik and Anish Giri discussed the intricacies of the Grünfeld Fianchetto line. After 7.b3 by Kramnik Giri took on c4 and continued with ...c5, which led to a balanced position. After an early exchange of queens Kramnik tried for a long time to get an advantage but could not make any progress against Giri's precise defense.

Results of round 3

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Ergebnis Titel Name Coun ELO
1 GM Penteala Harikrishna
2753 ½ - ½ GM Veselin Topalov
2 GM Levon Aronian
2786 ½ - ½ GM Chao B Li
3 GM Magnus Carlsen
2844 1 - 0 GM Nils Grandelius
4 GM Vladimir Kramnik
2801 ½ - ½ GM Anish Giri
5 GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave
2785 ½ - ½ GM Pavel Eljanov


Games of rounds 1 to 3




Tournament page...


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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Paranga75 Paranga75 4/22/2016 08:02
i don't understand why you insist black is lost since stockfish gives 14...d6 15.0-0-0 c7 16.xg2 h3 17.gg1 Nc6 to be a playable position..
Webbimio Webbimio 4/22/2016 03:25
I often read a reasoning like: "Carlsen is not well prepared in the opening PLUS he is not an attacking player, so his opponents would do best by choosing offbeat and dubious lines". But maybe the elite players knew what they were doing.
BenRedic BenRedic 4/22/2016 03:15
Gotta love how he went into the confession box and announced his sacrifice two moves before he did it :-)
ex0 ex0 4/22/2016 02:47
RField: punctuation dude.. do you know it? lol. So hard to understand what you're actually trying to say... something about Harikrishna and him being a world championship contender?

And yeah. I'm also rooting for Li Chao. Ever since Chessbase put some other countries flag next to his name, AND misspelt his name as Li Chao2 and now as Li,C(which just looks dumb, even if nothing was misspelt/wrong and/or inconsistent about it, apart from there being no space after the comma..

Anyhow, I tend to always root for the underdog, even more so when the underdog was a last minute replacement, AND is Chinese(since the top chinese players hardly get invites to closed tourneys, especially to closed supertourneys even though they are all over 2700.. and in Li Chao's case, well over 2700, even over 2750 and being top 20. And yet AFAIK/IIRC, this is like the FIRST invite he's gotten and FIRST supertourney that he's played in?

I don't even know where he got 2750+ to begin with, must of farmed heaps of 2600's in open tournaments n shit.. but yeah. Even then i never heard of him, since when Wesley so got 2700 doing the same thing, i at least heard of him before that.. -_-

And IIRC, Li Chao is from Wang Yue's 'era'. They both around the same age/grew up together and developed strength wise at the same time/pace, with Wang Yue breaking 2750 and being the first to try his luck at competing vs established SuperGM's in a closed tourney.. It's Li Chao's turn now, but Wang Yue(and Wang Hao) seem to both be re-surging up the ratings list in recent times, with both being around 2730~ now.. hopefully they will invite both of them to play, since they both play interesting games, Wang Hao especially, since Wang Yue's style might be somewhat 'dry' to some viewers.. but you need him to balance out the Topalovs/MVL's of the world.. Giri seems to be wanting to take over Wang Yue's reputation.. of not being beaten in like 1000 games or someshit lol. Dunno if he's even beat it yet.. does anyone know?
Rfield Rfield 4/22/2016 12:05
Harikrisna's win at Aronian-Elyanov-Grandelius his total score is 4. Then, split points with Lagrave, Lichao, Kramnik and his grand total score is 6 good enough for 3rd berth notwithstanding playing in a simu-like at the opening round. Harikrisna's a candidate challenger to a world champ eventually not until invited oftenly at elite
tourneys. Claimed as next talent to Anand? We'll see in two years.
jajalamapratapri jajalamapratapri 4/22/2016 08:56
According to the official website there is no round 4 tomorrow. Is there??
jajalamapratapri jajalamapratapri 4/22/2016 06:20
If Grandelius had played 12 ... h5 he would have refuted the knight sacrifice!
Peter B Peter B 4/22/2016 05:37
Did MVL and Eljanov really keep playing to move 52?
Peter B Peter B 4/22/2016 05:34
So much for the theory of playing for a risk free win against a weaker player.
MichZa MichZa 4/22/2016 02:36
@KevinC yeah that's right, there wasn't anything there. after 18.Qd6 Qxb2 19.Rxg2 Qxc3 was winning
sicilian_D sicilian_D 4/22/2016 02:07
Carlsen is very good. Carlsen victories are a fact.
oputu oputu 4/22/2016 01:51
Li isnt doing badly for a late entrant. He has held Kramnik and MVL to draws and still hasnt played
KevinC KevinC 4/22/2016 01:18
@MichZa No, and in fact, that is a blunder that leaves white worse.

18. Qd6 Qxb2 19. Rd1 Qxc3+ 20. Ke2 Qxc2+ 21. Kf3 Qf5+ 22. Kxg2 Qxf7 23. Qxh6 Kc7 -/+

MichZa MichZa 4/22/2016 12:17
wasn't Carlsen winning immediately after 18 Qd6 (instead of Qg3) with idea Rg2, Rg8 with number of other threats ?