Aronian, Caruana & Grischuk Winners in Round 2 Norway Chess

Aronian, Caruana & Grischuk Winners in Round 2 Norway Chess

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

Fabiano Caruana also won his second game to maintain his lead at the Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger. The Italian GM defeated Peter Svidler in a Taimanov Sicilian. Alexander Grischuk bounced back from his first-round loss and beat Veselin Topalov with Black in a Sicilian Najdorf. The third winner of the day was Levon Aronian, who won against Sergey Karjakin in a Queen's Indian.

Let's start with a tactic, for a change. What would you play, Black to move? Answer at the end of this report!

He didn't do well in the blitz, but thanks to splendid preparation and calculation Fabiano Caruana won his second game in a row at the Norway Chess tournament. In a Taimanov Sicilian, Caruana was better prepared, or rather, he remembered his preparation better than his opponent Peter Svidler did!

Like in many English Attacks, White crashed through on the kingside while Black was eating away White's center. After 17 moves, Svidler would have preferred sitting on the other side of the board: “Playing this position at the board is not a bundle of laughs.”

Caruana's knight sac on e6 ensured a long-lasting initiative, and even though Svidler's decision to part with his queen was good in a practical sense, it wasn't enough to hold the position. However, even top GMs weren't sure what was going on! Ruslan Ponomariov, who was following the game live, tweeted:

With this win Caruana passed the 2800 mark in the live ratings

Alexander Grischuk avoided more timetrouble accidents and instead profited from a number of mistakes by his opponent Veselin Topalov. The Bulgarian lamented: “Somehow every time I was thinking for more than five minutes it was a blunder from my side.”

Well, it wasn't that bad. Topalov spent 14 minutes on 23.Nd5 (not wasting time removing his queen from the e-file) where he might have underestimated 26...Qf2. But his moves 26.h5 (12 minutes) and 29.Qf3 (9 minutes) were fine; only later it really went wrong.

A 6.h3 Najdorf between Topalov and Grischuk

It was during the 2008 Sochi Grand Prix that Alexander Grischuk made his famous remark that he much preferred quickplay chess over classical chess. He hasn't changed his opinion: “Yesterday I was just absolutely sleeping even when my opponent had 30 seconds and I had 1 minute. Usually you’re supposed to be a bit excited but I was just zero… I felt much more motivated for the blitz here than the main tournament, and you don’t want to play against the best players when totally unmotivated. Even today I was completely sleeping - I wasn’t nervous about getting mated at all.”

Grischuk: “I was completely sleeping”

On paper the big game of the round was Vladimir Kramnik vs Magnus Carlsen. It started with a quiet line; a well-known hybrid of the Bogo-Indian and the Catalan. After the game Carlsen said to commentator Nigel Short: “This is the well known ‘chicken variation’, that you've played quite a bit yourself.” But he had a better reason to play it, as Kramnik himself pointed out: “I'm pretty sure why Magnus chose this line. I have 0/2 in this line with White!”

After 23 moves the position was rather dry, and ten moves later there were only two queens, two knights and four pawns each on the kingside, but still there was enough to play for. Carlsen got some initiative, and won a pawn, but with a strong temporary pawn sac Kramnik saved himself comfortably.

Kramnik-Carlsen: a deceptively simple Q&N ending

Levon Aronian won a good game against Sergey Karjakin, who thus ended a long streak of draws - 17 games in a row (6 at the Russian Team Championship, 10 at the Gashimov Memorial and the first round in Norway). Karjakin said about this: “I wanted to finish it in another way – now I don’t want to start it again!”

The game was a Queen's Indian where White kept an edge with three pawns against two on the queenside. “Maybe there's nothing for me but from a practical point of view it’s very unpleasant for Black to play. I can do anything and there’s no risk for me whatsoever,” said Aronian. Only just before the time control Karjakin lost a pawn, and Aronian had no trouble winning the rook ending:

A good win for Levon Aronian

The game between Simen Agdestein and Anish Giri was a rather quiet draw, but there was one moment where both players missed a nice tactic. You have seen that one at the top of the article - did you manage to solve it?

Norway Chess | Schedule & Pairings

Round 1 03.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 2 04.06.14 15:30 CET
Aronian ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian 1-0 Karjakin
Karjakin ½-½ Topalov   Kramnik ½-½ Carlsen
Grischuk 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Svidler
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Topalov 0-1 Grischuk
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Agdestein ½-½ Giri
Round 3 05.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 4 07.06.14 15:30 CET
Karjakin - Agdestein   Aronian - Svidler
Grischuk - Aronian   Karjakin - Grischuk
Svidler - Topalov   Caruana - Giri
Carlsen - Caruana   Topalov - Carlsen
Giri - Kramnik   Agdestein - Kramnik
Round 5 08.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 6 09.06.14 15:30 CET
Grischuk - Agdestein   Aronian - Giri
Svidler - Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Carlsen - Aronian   Grischuk - Svidler
Giri - Topalov   Topalov - Kramnik
Kramnik   Caruana   Agdestein - Caruana
Round 7 10.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 8 12.06.14 15:30 CET
Svidler - Agdestein   Aronian - Caruana
Carlsen - Grischuk   Karjakin - Kramnik
Giri - Karjakin   Grischuk - Giri
Kramnik - Aronian   Svidler - Carlsen
Caruana - Topalov   Agdestein - Topalov
Round 9 13.06.14 14:30 CET        
Carlsen - Agdestein        
Giri - Svidler        
Kramnik - Grischuk        
Caruana - Karjakin        
Topalov - Aronian        

Norway Chess 2014 | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2791 3572 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2.0/2
2 Aronian,Levon 2815 2890 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2
3 Agdestein,Simen 2628 2783 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.25
4 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2768 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.00
5 Giri,Anish 2752 2754 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/2 1.00
6 Kramnik,Vladimir 2783 2817 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 0.75
7 Grischuk,Alexander 2792 2782 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.0/2 0.50
8 Svidler,Peter 2753 2597 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.50
9 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2591 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0.5/2 0.25
10 Karjakin,Sergey 2771 2603 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.25

The Norway Chess tournament runs 2-13 June in the Stavanger region. All photos courtesy of the official website | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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