Norway Chess R1: Grischuk Blunders, Loses to Caruana
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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.
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.
“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.
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 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.
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??
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.
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|
|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|
Norway Chess 2014 | Round 1 Standings