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Norway Chess R1: Grischuk Blunders, Loses to Caruana

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 6/3/14, 4:22 PM.

Fabiano Caruana grabbed an early lead at the Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger. The Italian GM profited from a blunder by his opponent Alexander Grischuk just before the time control. The other four games ended in draws. Tomorrow the second round will start at 15.30 local time.

At the Hotel Scandic Stavanger Forus, the venue for seven of the nine rounds, the Norway Chess tournament got off to a good start on Tuesday. Despite four draws and a fifth game that should have ended in a draw, the chess fans enjoyed five excellent games.

Alexander Grischuk is known for being a timetrouble specialist, and he usually finds the strongest moves even with seconds on the clock, but against Fabiano Caruana he blundered badly. The game started as a Benoni where White fianchettoes his bishop. “I couldn't remember everything, but I knew that 13...a5 was important,” said Caruana. “I think Fabiano played the opening exceptionally well,” said Grischuk.

However, then Caruana missed two queen moves by his opponent, and he had to give one pawn. Then Grischuk gave up an Exchange to win another pawn, and he was in full control. “I could not imagine I can lose this position,” said Grischuk.

Alexander Grischuk: “I could not imagine I can lose this position.”

But then somehow the Russian's queen had very few squares, and Black was able to force the draw, except that Grischuk queen stepped on one of the forbidden squares.

Indiana Jones fared better when he had to chose the correct tiles to go forward in the Temple of the Sun, following the name of God. He started wrong, stepping on a J because he spelled Jehova, not Iehova. Mr Jones survived, but Grischuk's queen didn't!

About making a mistake despite being a timetrouble specialist, Grischuk said: “It's a bit tough to switch from increment to no increment, but in the end it's always your own fault.”

Anish Giri started the round as the only participant who never lost a classical game to Magnus Carlsen, and he can still use this line on his cv. Thanks to some subtle opening preparation the Dutchman got a decent position out of the opening. When Carlsen went for a long and forced variation, Giri missed that White could sacrifice an Exchange and keep a strong passer on c7, but thanks to very accurate defence he held the draw.

Anish Giri: good preparation, good calculation

“I missed this idea of giving up the Exchange, and it got me sweaty. It took me a very long time to see that I'm not losing and then to make myself believe that I'm not losing,” said Giri. “It's all forced but he found the right moves and it's a draw. He played a good game,” said Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen: “He played a good game”

Simen Agdestein got off to a good start too. A draw as Black against Levon Aronian is always a good result, but especially when you're not feeling well. Before the game he had to visit a doctor due to a painful cough and hurting ribs, but he had a good motto for the day: “I felt quite horribly actually before the game. But I learnt you don't need to feel well to play well! I was telling that to myself.”

Still, it was Aronian who was dealing the cards in this game, and White had a pleasant advantage around move 25. However, with 29.Kf2 Aronian lost an important tempo, allowing the typical Exchange sacrifice 29...Rb4!. Commentator Nigel Short pointed out that a great Armenian player used to make a living out of such sacrifices, and asked, “how could you miss it?” Aronian: “The best tacticians blunder the simplest tactics. Being Armenian, I have the ability to blunder the Armenian ideas!”

Aronian vs Agdestein

Aronian shouldn't have touched that rook, but he took it and Black was better afterward. Perhaps Agdestein could have tried 33...Qf6; in the game Aronian could give back material and equalize. “Now I'm going to root for him!” said Aronian.

A good start for Simen Agdestein, who used an “Armenian idea”

Sergey Karjakin and Veselin Topalov played a rather interesting opening which is hard to name. White postpones the development of his knight, Black plays a QGD setup but then fianchettoes his king's bishop, what is this?? Laughing

White ended up with hanging pawns and the pushed on of the two to win an Exchange. Topalov is used to those situations, and Black was OK, although he made life a bit difficult for himself with the move ...b5.

Karjakin vs Topalov

Peter Svidler and Vladimir Kramnik played a rather correct draw that started as an English. Here's that game, again with annotations based on variations by the players at the press conference:

Norway Chess | Schedule & Pairings

Round 1 03.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 2 04.06.14 15:30 CET
Aronian ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian - Karjakin
Karjakin ½-½ Topalov   Kramnik - Carlsen
Grischuk 0-1 Caruana   Caruana - Svidler
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Topalov - Grischuk
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Agdestein - Giri
Round 3 05.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 4 07.06.14 15:30 CET
Karjakin - Agdestein   Aronian - Svidler
Grischuk - Aronian   Karjakin - Grischuk
Svidler - Topalov   Caruana - Giri
Carlsen - Caruana   Topalov - Carlsen
Giri - Kramnik   Agdestein - Kramnik
Round 5 08.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 6 09.06.14 15:30 CET
Grischuk - Agdestein   Aronian - Giri
Svidler - Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Carlsen - Aronian   Grischuk - Svidler
Giri - Topalov   Topalov - Kramnik
Kramnik   Caruana   Agdestein - Caruana
Round 7 10.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 8 12.06.14 15:30 CET
Svidler - Agdestein   Aronian - Caruana
Carlsen - Grischuk   Karjakin - Kramnik
Giri - Karjakin   Grischuk - Giri
Kramnik - Aronian   Svidler - Carlsen
Caruana - Topalov   Agdestein - Topalov
Round 9 13.06.14 14:30 CET        
Carlsen - Agdestein        
Giri - Svidler        
Kramnik - Grischuk        
Caruana - Karjakin        
Topalov - Aronian        

Norway Chess 2014 | Round 1 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 SB Pts
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2791 3592 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.0/1
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2752 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0.5/1 0.25
3 Aronian,Levon 2815 2628 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0.5/1 0.25
4 Kramnik,Vladimir 2783 2753 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0.5/1 0.25
5 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2771 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0.5/1 0.25
6 Karjakin,Sergey 2771 2772 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/1 0.25
7 Svidler,Peter 2753 2783 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/1 0.25
8 Giri,Anish 2752 2881 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/1 0.25
9 Agdestein,Simen 2628 2815 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/1 0.25
10 Grischuk,Alexander 2792 1991 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.0/1

The Norway Chess tournament runs 2-13 June in the Stavanger region. All photos courtesy of the official website | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png

9434 reads 20 comments
3 votes


  • 15 months ago

    NM Petrosianic

    awesome report!

  • 15 months ago


    @DanielRensch, excelent idea! Thanks a lot the analysis. I would hav difficulties to win this :) my idea was rook on e file to defend f2 and chane  the h pawn with the black pawn.

  • 15 months ago


     of note is the amount of time the players had, seconds left on the clock....

  • 15 months ago


    Including the GM postmortem comments in the move list is chess journalism at its pinnacle. Thanks.

  • 15 months ago


    Norway Chess playlist: http://goo.gl/gRYCtf

  • 15 months ago


    Interesting, sometimes engines aren't able to see things humans can see right away. I was away from the game for a long time and came back expecting Karjakin to have won, but i saw that it was a draw! (and Karjakin had been much better earlier). Then i took a look and the engine evaluation was +1.47 by stockfish and +0.80 by Houdini. I then studied the position by myself, and realized that it was in fact a draw....very interesting game. Poor Aronian, Round 1 against the lowest seed with white.....though only Caruana has a point.

  • 15 months ago


    With this standard of player competing, every day is an exciting day.

    Kramnik with white against Carlsen ' hits the spot ' today!

  • 15 months ago


    Very good report, Peter.

    And congratulations for your excellent play in Liechtenstein!

  • 15 months ago


    I was impressed by Agdestein, holding a draw against Aronian with black pieces. However, he used a lot of time, but managed to get trough the time controll with still a solid position. That's promising before the chess olympiad. I think we saw in the blitz that he's getting too slow, but seems like he's still going strong in the longer time controlls. 

  • 15 months ago


    None played 1.e4... interesting

  • 15 months ago

    IM DanielRensch

    @rodrigobc -- Unfortunately no, White cannot hold. 

    Black will bring the dark-squared bishop to the g1-a7 diagonal (maybe right away via the e3-square as the f2 pawn is pinned). Once the white rook is stuck to f1, guarding the f2-pawn, Black will pry open the kingside with the f4-pawn push.

    There White will either have to take f4 (isolating the h-pawn, and after White loses the h-pawn, Black can easily push the g-pawn forward to create more issues) or White will let Black capture on g3, with similar results: White's king is wide open, the h-pawn is weak, and White is going to lose.

    Exciting start to the tournament today!

  • 15 months ago



    if you mean his round 1 game against topalov; it's not a full rook, but an exchange, and topalov had skillfully set up a "fortress".


  • 15 months ago


    i´m not sure, but Grishuk and Caruana after QxR QxQ there are a fortress...it must be a draw

  • 15 months ago


    The play between Grishuk and Caruana went well except the only blunder by Grishuk which cost the game.

  • 15 months ago


    Still wondering why Karjakin settled for a draw when having a full rook extra...is there a series of perpetual checks that I'm not seeing?

  • 15 months ago

    NM Roofless

    Correction, Caruana played RxN, and that won the game immediately!

  • 15 months ago

    NM Roofless

    Oraoredki is right, many exchange sacs this round, and none of them won a game!

  • 15 months ago


    alot of exchange sacs

  • 15 months ago


    Am I the only person who believes Carlsen's opening repertoire is trending back to the conventional?

  • 15 months ago


    of note is the amount of time the players had, seconds left on the clock....

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