Aronian, Caruana & Grischuk Winners in Round 2 Norway Chess
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:
I am watching the game Caruana- Svidler move 26th: I can't understand why computer thinks that white is much better? Pawn f3 also dangerous.— Ruslan Ponomariov ( @Ponomariov) June 4, 2014
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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|
|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 2 Standings