"Lucky Topalov" Increases Lead; Carlsen Finally Wins | Update: VIDEO

"Lucky Topalov" Increases Lead; Carlsen Finally Wins | Update: VIDEO

| 46 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen finally won a game at the Norway Chess tournament. Helped by GM Alexander Grischuk's time trouble, the Norwegian decided the game in a bishop ending.

Carlsen is no longer in last place because his compatriot GM Jon Ludvig Hammer blundered and lost to GM Veselin Topalov, who admitted that he had been lucky again.

In the same round GM Levon Aronian won his first game; the Armenian number one grinded down GM Fabiano Caruana in a knight ending.

Before moving to the fifth round, first a small recap about the rest day. For a few hours the players attended a children's tournament in the Vitenfabrikken in Sandnes, where about 150 kids were playing — a number that's a further sign that chess is getting more and more popular in the country.

The children's tournament under way on Saturday. | Photo Ole Valaker.

The players also played a few games in a science museum. In one, they were testing their reaction speed with walls where lamps would lit up, and one had to touch the dot as quickly as possible. In another, the players would find out what else they can do with their minds.

Grischuk and Nakamura in a game, testing their “reaksjonsevnen.” | Photo Ole Valaker.
Anish Giri and his fiance Sopiko Guramishvili trying to move
the ball with their thoughts (!) | Photo Ole Valaker.

Your reporter decided to use the rest day to see some more of Norway; I went on a hike with a friend. Two years ago we had already done the famous hike to the Preikestolen, so this time we figured that the Kjeragbolten would be a good choice.

It turned out to be a fantastic choice. The 2.5-hour drive is worth it alone, and the hike itself is challenging but stunningly beautiful. At the end, one reaches a big rock wedged in the mountain's crevasse which forms a popular but rather scary spot for taking pics.

ArnieChipmunk's shadow was brave enough to step onto the boulder.

At the end of the hike, while checking my email, I saw that our cartoonist José Diaz had sent his bi-weekly cartoon. Amazingly, without knowing about my hike he had chosen the same location for his new drawing, as you can see below:

Find more José Diaz cartoons here.

On Sunday the fifth round started with a draw after only two hours of play. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and GM Anish Giri repeated their endgame which they played at the Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, and they repeated the result as well.

MVL didn't really have an improvement ready and was basically tricked into the position. “I expected 1...e5 and 2...Nf6,” he said. “I only realized this afternoon that hey might play 1...e6.”

Giri said that he had studied recent games by Anand, who apparently manages to get this Semi-Slav on the board with all kinds of move orders, as the Dutchman explained: “He inspired me to trick Maxime.” Vachier-Lagrave: “Of course it's not my plan to repeat this any time soon.”

The following remark by Giri at the press conference quickly turned into the theme of the day: “Today is international yoga day so I tried a bit of yoga this morning, but finally this energy was needed for this game.”


MVL before the game, hoping his opponent won't go for 1...e6.

About two hours later the second game ended in a draw as well. With a bishop and a knight vs two knights, GM Hikaru Nakamura got a tiny edge against GM Vishy Anand in a Nimzo-Indian. It's a pleasant position for White to play, but it's nothing massive either,” said Anand.

Nakamura praised his opponent for some strong maneuvers, such as the “knight fianchetto” 24...g6 and 26...Ng7. “You can see how my knights are defending each other nicely and are also restricting White's rook,” said Anand.

The Indian GM said he practices yoga as well. “My aunt is a yoga teacher. Recently I started to do it quite a lot again. When I'm at home, almost daily. There are a few poses an stretches that I find to be healthy.”


A solid draw between Nakamura and Anand, who remain undefeated.

And then, finally, GM Magnus Carlsen won his first game in Stavanger. The world champion played 6.g3 in a Najdorf and beat GM Alexander Grischuk, who got into timetrouble yet again and made a losing mistake on move 40.

To Norwegian TV the Russian GM said he didn't feel he was playing against a “different Carlsen” today. “Kasparov also once lost three games in a row. It happens to everyone.”

To Grischuk said that he missed one move, after which it was very difficult and his opponent played well. This move was 30.Bd5, and soon after Black lost a pawn. The ending might still have been a draw, but after Grischuk's 40...exf4? it was certainly lost.


Finally a win for Magnus Carlsen.

At the press conference Carlsen denied that his bad play in rounds 2-4 was directly connected to the incident in round 1. “All the things that happened in the next few games, those were things that could happen. It's nothing completely out of the ordinary in those games. It's just a stream of bad games.”

Here's our video with comments from Grischuk and Carlsen:

The world champ also revealed to Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam that he too practices yoga sometimes:

Not today, I did last Thursday.”
And what was the last time before that?
“Before Sochi.”
Do you think it worked?
“No, not particularly!”

A well attended post-mortem.

GM Levon Aronian scored his first win in the tournament. Right out of the opening he got a nice plus as his opponent ended up with an isolated queen's pawn. He kept the advantage until somewhere around move 30, when some mutual inaccuries occurred in time trouble.

On move 39 Caruana decided to go for a knight ending, but that wasn't a great idea, as he soon discovered. Afterward he said that wasn't sure if the endgame was completely lost, but “at least it's very difficult to defend.”

Aronian was in a cheerful mood. “I know I haven't played my best today but finally something was working for me, I got a good position out of the opening. That makes me happy. Let's just forget I spoilt it with a couple of weird looking moves!”

And then he said something the late Dutch grandmaster Hein Donner would have agreed with: “I normally only enjoy it when it's undeserved. If it's deserved, what is there to enjoy? You worked hard for it. True joy comes from undeserved wins!”


The fifth round in action, back in the Scandic Stavanger Forus hotel.

Last but not least: GM Jon Ludvig Hammer vs GM Veselin Topalov — a great fight from both players that “deserved” to end in a draw. 

“Don't blame me this time!” was the first Topalov said afterward, just after he had beaten the second Norwegian in the tournament. He called his opponent's huge blunder at the end a “fingerfehler” and admitted that it was a dead draw. 

“Tough game,” said Topalov. “There were moments I played well but there were [also] moments I was shaky.”

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov

The Bulgarian is now clear second in the live ratings and has good chances to qualify for the 2016 Candidates’ Tournament on rating. However, he doesn't seem that interested.

I had a very bad experience with the Candidates,” said Topalov. “I spent much of 2014 preparing, and then it was a distaster. Even if I qualify I will check the contract, where it will take place... The fact that I qualify is not a big goal.”

Topalov: on 2816 in the live ratings, but not much interested in the Candidates.


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 1-0 Grischuk   Grischuk - Topalov
Nakamura ½-½ Anand   Caruana - Hammer
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Giri   Giri - Aronian
Aronian 1-0 Caruana   Anand - Vachier-Lagrave
Hammer 0-1 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        


2015 Norway Chess | Round 5 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Topalov,V 2798 3153 phpfCo1l0.png ½     1     1 1 1 4.5/5  
2 Nakamura,H 2802 2918 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½   1       1 3.5/5  
3 Giri,A 2773 2867   ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½   1   ½   3.0/5 7.25
4 Anand,V 2804 2877   ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png   ½ ½   1   3.0/5 6.75
5 Vachier Lagrave,M 2723 2766 0   ½   phpfCo1l0.png ½   1   ½ 2.5/5  
6 Caruana,F 2805 2727   0   ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png   0 1   2.0/5 4.25
7 Grischuk,A 2781 2712     0 ½     phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 1 2.0/5 3.50
8 Aronian,L 2780 2687 0       0 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png   ½ 2.0/5 3.50
9 Carlsen,M 2876 2646 0   ½ 0   0 1   phpfCo1l0.png   1.5/5  
10 Hammer,J 2677 2536 0 0     ½   0 ½   phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/5  

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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