Is "Norway Chess" going to be the Most Exciting Event of the Year?
The chess world can't wait for the next big event which is going to start on the 5th of June with a blitz tournament: The Altibox Norway Chess.
It may not be the strongest field ever but it surely is a strong contender alongside AVRO in 1938, Las Palmas in 1996 and Linares in 1993. At the moment it was announced, the participants were the first 10 in the world, but now things changed a little.
Top 10 Players when the tournament was announced - early February
Top 10 Players at the start of the tournament - early June
As you can see 8 players have remained in top 10 but Karjakin And Giri have fallen out due to Mamedyarov's incredible form and Ding Liren winning in Moscow.
Let's find out why I think there will be a lot of fighting chess:
- First of all, the World Champion is playing and when he is playing he is expected to win. This year though it didn't go as planned. Magnus lost Tata Steel in the favor of Wesley So and finished 1.5 points away from Aronian (the winner) in the Grenke Chess Classic. Carslen will surely want to win this one but it won't be easy;
- Players that need to prove their super GM status: Fabiano Caruana isn't having his best year, he struggled in the US Championship, Anish Giri won Rejkavik Open but he needs to do better in Elite Round-Robins and if Anand wants to remain in the top, he needs to have some great tournaments;
- No Draw Offers!!! This rule eliminates a lot of quick draws like we see in the Grand Prix series. Players will need to find repetitions in order to make draws;
- No increment before move 60! Expect many time-trouble blunders.
Now, let's look at 3 interesting pairings:
Karjakin vs Carlsen
A picture representing their head to head world championship match
We all know this one, it's epic. Carlsen won the match in New York but Karjakin took revenge by beating him and winning the world blitz championship in Doha! This year they drew an interesting game in Wijk Aan Zee:
Caruana vs Aronian
Fabiano resigns in the first round in Saint Louis
I chose this one because it's one of my personal favourites. These two always come up with a lot of opening preparation and often they finish with a decisive result. Look at this crazy game from Sinquefield Cup 2015:
Keeping hydrated while playing chess
They are the "Big Guns", having played 90 classical games so far. Are they too old for these strong tournaments? We will find out. Here is a game with some nice tactical shots at the end from the 2016 Tal Memorial: