My Answers to the 10 Questions for Norway Chess
Well, I was busy drafting this earler when I lost the draft due to my computer, so I guess I'll start over.
Anyways, I found this interesting article today: https://chess24.com/en/read/news/10-questions-before-norway-chess-2015
The article asks and answers ten questions about Norway Chess which I will repeat and give my own opinions on here.
1. Can anyone stop Magnus Carlsen?
Magnus cannot be prevented from winning this tournament, period.
But there is one person who could potentially hand him a devastating loss. No, his name is not Fabiano Caruana. For those of you who do not already know, Magnus has had a third-round losing streak for...quite awhile now. His most famous third-round loss is probably the one that helped Caruana win the Sinquefield Cup last year (but I have to say that Bxg4 against Naiditsch was more than unexpected). But anyways, if you haven't already seen the pairings, his third-round opponent will be none other than...Anish Giri.
2. Will Nakamura, Anand, and Caruana continue their great form?
For Naka, this is almost a definite yes. For the other two...they may or they may not. Naka had a great day at the blitz tournament, but Anand was awarded Blunder of the Day and Caruana was beaten by Jon Ludvig Hammer...of all people, so their morales may be slightly lower. This does, however, change when added to the fact that Naka is far more emotional than the other two (though I would say that Caruana isn't too much less emotional). Anand's recent loss of his mother may also reflect his performance. We will just have to see who does what.
3. Can Anish Giri maintain his positive score against Magnus Carlsen?
Giri's positive score against Magnus is something that has brought a bit of coldness between them recently, and because of Magnus's unlucky third-round pairing against Anish, who knows? The margin may widen...or Magnus might just have some good luck awaiting him on his new doorstep. Hopefully, it is the latter, but of course Anish has his pride. As Magnus puts it, Anish is "entitled to" his positive score.
4. Will anyone confess in a monastery?
We are all expecting plenty of confessions, but the one round to be held outside of the main venue will take place in a monastery, of all locations. This certainly won't prevent any of the players from confessing, but we just might not see as many confessions. But no one has any deep, dark secret about Norway Chess to hide, after all. The confession box is just their to relieve pressure.
5. What difference will the Grand Chess Tour make?
Certainly there's more prize money and a larger audience (especially online), but there's also the new event in Indonesia next year to consider. :) Additionally, the creation of the Grand Chess Tour brings elite chess to a new level, as many people put it.
6. What can Aronian, Grischuk, and Topalov offer?
OK...so we're being serious here, not talking about Levon's cooking.
Seeing as Grischuk did beat Magnus in their blitz game today, something exciting might happen...but chances of Magnus's defeat at the hands of Alexander Grischuk in the actual tournameny are...not very large.
But maybe something will happen. Namely, one of the three beating Giri or Caruana would be very nice (or better yet, one of them being beaten by Jon Ludvig Hammer).
7. Can Maxime Vachier-Lagrave prove he belongs?
For a Frenchman who pities those who have to write his name, twenty-seven games without a win is...more than depressing.
But with today's surprisingly terrific blitz performance, MVL is destined for a tournament in which his high morale will help him prevail, especially after his recent defeat at the hands of Wei Yi. He has already proven himself a hundred times over to a lot of people.
8. Can Jon Ludvig Hammer achieve his goal?
He technically already beat Magnus two days ago...but of course that wasn't Magnus himself. It was a distorted Magnus who was playing a double with his beach volleyball teammate (and she was the one who played the losing move). They wouldn't even let him talk!
So as far as defeating Magnus in their last-round encounter goes, the answer is, there is absolutely no way in which Hammer could possibly defeat Magnus...unless Magnus just decided...which he would, of course, never do.
9. Can the Grand Chess Tour winner rival the World Champion?
Assuming that the winner is not Magnus, and assuming that the winner is not already a rival and/or competitor to or of him/his, the answer is likely that this is not possible. All of the participants so far (except maybe Hammer) are close "rivals" of Magnus, and in order to qualify for the Candidates Tournament, a participant who is not already qualified could only qualify through the GCT by winning...a lot...of his games, more so than those at the top of the rating chart.
10. Will anyone persuade Kasparov to push a chess piece in anger?
First off, they wouldn't let him. Sure, we all wish he'd just go on and crush everyone (that is, everyone except the personal favourites, who are for me Magnus and MVL). And he may have wanted to do just that: win the blitz tournament with a perfect 9/9. But of course, that didn't happen. Maybe he should think about competitive chess again...
OK, so maybe I'm not that funny, but I hope my opinions were interesting enough. We will see...what happens...