Norway Blitz: Carlsen Shines on Home Soil
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Last year Sergey Karjakin was the star in both the blitz and the main event, but this time around Magnus Carlsen seems highly motivated to take that role. The World Champion won the Norway Chess opening blitz tournament on Monday most convincingly: 7.5/9 and a 3041 performance rating.
Like last year, the Norway Chess event started with a blitz tournament to determine the pairing numbers for the main event. And whereas last year one of the main rounds were held on Flor & Fjære, this time the organizers decided to host the blitz on the flower island. The players arrived by boat.
On the way from beautiful Flor & Fjære. It's so sunny here, never knew it gets so warm in here! @holidaysinthenorth! pic.twitter.com/Q7WmKYsAyB— Levon Aronian ( @LevAronian) June 2, 2014
Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Kramnik all three started the blitz with an excellent 2.5/3 score; Anish Giri followed with 2.0/3. Sergey Karjakin, who won the blitz last year, started with two losses but then defeated Levon Aronian in the third round.
Overall only 13 of the 45 games would end in a draw, and 5 of these were all from the 4th round. Giri continued well with a win over Kramnik:
Fabiano Caruana clearly wasn't having his day. He started with 1.0/5 and then this happened:
Giri then also defeated Grischuk in a very long game. At some point it seemed that Grischuk tried to claim a draw, but the game continued and the young Dutchman scored the full point. 4.5/6 was Giri's score, but eventually he finished with 3 losses.
Meanwhile, Carlsen was doing very well, while using some off-beat openings as Black. Against Grischuk he played 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bf4 Bb4!?, against Svidler he went 1.c4 g6 2.e4 e5 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nf3 exd4 5.e5 Ne4 and he countered Karjakin's Ruy Lopez with Alapin's crazy bishop move:
I had the impression during the blitz that @MagnusCarlsen thought he could do anything against anyone and get away with it. He was right.— Nigel Short ( @nigelshortchess) June 2, 2014
The other Norwegian, 47-year-old Simen Agdestein, expectedly was having a hard time. One example:
With one round to go Carlsen was on 6.5/8, followed by Aronian with 5.5. Both won their last round games:
Norway Chess 2014 | Blitz | Final Standings
And so Carlsen, Aronian, Grischuk, Karjakin and Svidler managed to get the desired five whites and four blacks in the main tournament.
After 0 out of 2, made a nice comeback, finishing +2 and got an extra white;-)!— Sergey Karyakin ( @SergeyKaryakin) June 2, 2014
Norway Chess | Schedule & Pairings
|Round 1||03.06.14||15:30 CET||Round 2||04.06.14||15:30 CET|
|Round 3||05.06.14||15:30 CET||Round 4||07.06.14||15:30 CET|
|Round 5||08.06.14||15:30 CET||Round 6||09.06.14||15:30 CET|
|Round 7||10.06.14||15:30 CET||Round 8||12.06.14||15:30 CET|
|Round 9||13.06.14||14:30 CET|