Norway Chess R5: Opening principles
If you blinked around 3pm CET yesterday, you probably missed the twenty first moves of Vachier-Lagrave - Nakamura. From pure memory and after some ten minutes, the grandmasters had shown off and played out their opening preparations, achieved a playable position, and was ready to fight on their own.
White's "element of surprise" seemed to contain a minor improvement to an already well known line, and didn't promise more than a small edge at most. In other words: The novelty itself is not why we are here. We are here because we want to examine how those top grandmasters during the first phase of the game - regardless of how long or good an opening preparation - still fulfill and follow the principles of chess openings.
A clever grandmaster once told me that up to a certain level, you've really just got to worry about three things during the opening: 1) Develop your pieces, 2) take control over the center, and 3) get your king in safety. Let's see how MVL and Aronian despite their super fancy, detailed opening preparations still played some solid, textbook chess and did not break too many of the opning principles!