Drama Continues For Carlsen; Topalov In Sole Lead

Drama Continues For Carlsen; Topalov In Sole Lead

| 125 | Chess Event Coverage

Norway is in shock as GM Magnus Carlsen lost yet another game to remain in last place at the Norway Chess tournament. GM Vishy Anand played well and won a good game in a Breyer Ruy Lopez.

GM Veselin Topalov, who beat GM Levon Aronian in round four, is the sole leader going into the rest day. It was a bad day for the home crowd as GM Jon Ludvig Hammer also lost, to GM Alexander Grischuk.

Not only Norway, but the whole chess world is in shock about Carlsen's terrible start at the Norway Chess tournament. The world champion has been so incredibly stable in recent years that his bad series of four games is...incredible.

One has to go back 10 years to find the last tournament where Carlsen had such a bad start. This was at Gausdal 2005, as Tarjei Svensen mentioned on Twitter, when Magnus was only 14 years old.

A truly bad performance so far for Carlsen.

Today the world champ went down against his opponent in both of his world title matches, GM Vishy Anand. The game was a Breyer Ruy Lopez, which came on the board after a transposition because White went 6.d3 in this Ruy Lopez!

Anand: “It took us half an hour each. If we had just played the Breyer, it would have taken us two minutes!”

Carlsen played a rare setup, allowed Ng4-h6+ and then had to trade that knight for his fianchettoed bishop — Eduard Gufeld would have considered that a major crime. It wasn't that crazy, because a few moves later Black got some counterplay on the queenside.

A Breyer Ruy Lopez — by transposition — in Anand-Carlsen.

Anand thought that 26...f6 was inaccurate, and he was very happy with his move 29.Qd1 which cleared the second rank for his other rook. He got a strong attack, and when Carlsen missed 33...Bc8 the Indian could liquidate to an ending that seemed close to winning to him. And it was.

Asked about Magnus's bad start, Anand said: “You have to see in the context of this first game. He played an excellent game and if he'd won that he'd be a different person.”

Here's our video that includes an interview with Anand:

Anand won the game despite feeling quite chilly in the abbey — because that was where the round took place, in a monastery! Located on the island of Mosterøy in Rennesøy, the Utstein Abbey was built in the 13th century and these days serves as venue for concerts, seminars and conventions.

The players came by ferry, and were than taken from a small harbor to the monastery in the many special Volkswagen Minis with tournament logos. Carlsen had come to the island in his own, brand-new Tesla — although it was his father Henrik who was driving, because the champ doesn't have a driver's license yet.

The players seemed to be enjoying the change of scenery and delivered another great round of chess. During tomorrow's rest day the tournament leader is GM Veselin Topalov, who beat GM Levon Aronian.

The Armenian really seems to be in a bit of a slump lately, and again things went wrong in a Ragozin — although this time things only got critical deep in the endgame.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov.

Topalov tops the standings after four rounds.

The round started with a draw between GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. One expert in the press room joked that, by adding half a point, Caruana significantly improved his score against the Najdorf.

And indeed, the Italian has a terrible score in classical games against that opening if we look at the years 2012-2015: only 5.0/16!

One recent loss was against the same opponent, in Wijk aan Zee this year, but Caruana wouldn't be Caruana if he'd steer away from main lines. This time around it was an interesting game where he won a pawn, but Black got enough compensation.

Caruana and MVL enjoying their post-mortem.

GM Anish Giri and GM Hikaru Nakamura played a very theoretical game; an Archangelsk Ruy Lopez that deviated from Shankland-Sevian, St. Louis 2015 only on move 22. It was Giri who was slightly better in the ending, but Nakamura is playing quite solidly so far in Norway and also in this game he did well.

A theoretical Archangelsk in Giri-Nakamura.

GM Alexander Grischuk defeated GM Jon Ludvig Hammer in an English Opening after an interesting experiment: putting the king's knight on h3. Hammer's response with ...g5 was similar to lines in the Sicilian, and then Grischuk duly moved his knight back to g1!

It was a rather provocative setup, and when Grischuk continued by trading his g2-bishop for a knight on c6, the phrase don't try this at home came to mind. Hammer decided to trade all light pieces and then the pawn structure of both players was damaged.

In the resulting double-rook ending Grischuk was a pawn up, and converted the point with good technique.

Grischuk is back to 50 percent after beating Hammer.

Norway Chess 2015 | Pairings & Results

Round 1 16.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 2 17.06.15 16:00 CET
Giri 1-0 Grischuk   Grischuk ½-½ Aronian


Caruana   Hammer ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen 0-1 Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Nakamura
Nakamura 1-0 Hammer   Caruana 1-0 Carlsen
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Aronian   Giri ½-½ Anand
Round 3 18.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 4 19.06.15 16:00 CET
Anand ½-½ Grischuk   Grischuk 1-0 Hammer
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Topalov 1-0 Aronian
Nakamura 1-0 Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Vachier-Lagrave 0-1 Topalov   Giri ½-½ Nakamura
Aronian ½-½ Hammer   Anand 1-0 Carlsen
Round 5 21.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 6 22.06.15 16:00 CET
Carlsen - Grischuk   Grischuk - Topalov
Nakamura - Anand   Caruana - Hammer
Vachier-Lagrave - Giri   Giri - Aronian
Aronian - Caruana   Anand - Vachier-Lagrave
Hammer   Topalov   Carlsen - Nakamura
Round 7 23.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 8 24.06.15 16:00 CET
Nakamura - Grischuk   Grischuk - Caruana
Vachier-Lagrave - Carlsen   Giri - Topalov
Aronian - Anand   Anand - Hammer
Hammer - Giri   Carlsen - Aronian
Topalov - Caruana   Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave
Round 9 25.06.15 15:00 CET        
Vachier-Lagrave - Grischuk        
Aronian - Nakamura        
Hammer - Carlsen        
Topalov - Anand        
Caruana - Giri        

This is what the playing hall looked like today.

2015 Norway Chess | Round 4 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Topalov,V 2798 3133 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 1 3.5/4
2 Nakamura,H 2802 2954 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 3.0/4
3 Giri,A 2773 2904 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 2.5/4 5.00
4 Anand,V 2804 2897 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 3.75
5 Caruana,F 2805 2802 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 2.0/4 2.75
6 Grischuk,A 2781 2759 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 2.0/4 2.75
7 Vachier-Lagrave,M 2723 2765 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 2.0/4 2.50
8 Aronian,L 2780 2554 0 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/4 1.50
9 Hammer,JL 2677 2581 0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/4 1.50
10 Carlsen,M 2876 2457 0 ½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/4

The Norway Chess tournament runs June 15-26 in the Stavanger region. | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png
No time to watch the games live? No problem! The Norway Chess tournament is covered on with a daily recap show that runs 1.5 hours. The games will be analyzed and there's video material by Peter Doggers, who is covering the tournament from Stavanger. The show starts each day at 11 p.m. Central European time, 5 p.m. New York, 2 p.m. Pacific.

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