Norway Chess: Carlsen Escapes Against Caruana Who Maintains Lead

Norway Chess: Carlsen Escapes Against Caruana Who Maintains Lead

| 38 | Chess Event Coverage

Fabiano Caruana got a very big advantage against Magnus Carlsen on Thursday at the Norway Chess tournament but the game ended in a draw. Caruana still leads, with half a point more than Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Kramnik, who both won today. Grischuk defeated Levon Aronian, who blundered in the opening, while Kramnik won against Giri.

In quite a long rond, where three of the five games went beyond the time control, two Russian grandmasters won their games: Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Kramnik. The duo can now be found in shared second place behind Fabiano Caruana, who was worse out of the opening against Magnus Carlsen, then a piece up, but eventually drew with the World Champion.

Carlsen played main line theory for a change, and that worked too. A novelty on move 15 in the topical 3.f3 Grünfeld gave him a nice advantage, and on move 25 the game reached its critical moment. Commentator Nigel Short was quite surprised that Carlsen allowed the 26...c6 break, which could have been prevented by the natural 25.Qe3 attacking the rook on b6.

GM Robin van Kampen agreed with Short:

Of course Carlsen had seen that, but he relied on his 29.Qa3 move, missing 29...a5!. "This just kills my whole game." (Carlsen) In this phase Caruana played very strongly and he ended up with an extra knight for two pawns. “During the game [my chances] felt serious but probably it was always a draw,” he said.

“I am not very happy with my play. I think I made several blunders in this game, a couple of misjudgments. Then it's hard to be completely satisfied,” said Carlsen.

Carlsen: “I am not very happy with my play”

The round started with an opening disaster for Levon Aronian. In the Flohr-Mikenas System of the English, he mixed up his preparation and was basically lost after White's 14th move!

Grischuk vs Aronian: a Flohr-Mikenas System

Aronian: “I analyzed this a week ago but I only remembered the losing line apparently. It's, as they say, a memory malfunction. I didn't consider resigning but I considered hitting myself, that's for sure.” Grischuk: “I got lucky.”

An opening disaster for Levon Aronian

“I have only scored some draws with White in the Catalan recently so I thought maybe I should start winning as Black,” joked Vladimir Kramnik. The 14th World Champion wasn't impressed by Anish Giri's plan of Bd2 and Rd1 in the opening and soon got attacking chances on the kingside. White couldn't create counterplay in time, but at the same time it was difficult for Black to break through. But then, right after the time control, it was suddenly over.

Giri vs Kramnik: “It was time I started winning as Black in the Catalan”

Peter Svidler and Veselin Topalov played a Sicilian Scheveningen which quickly turned into a French Defence where White's pawn on a4 looked a bit funny. To add to the fun, Svidler, who was still disappointed about his loss the other day, decided to put his queen on g4. “I remembered this move from our analysis, but now I'm not sure it was in this position!” Black's long castling followed by ...f6 was enough to keep the balance. Topalov: “We didn't play a brilliant game but we didn't make big mistakes either.”

Svidler vs Topalov: a Scheveningen, no, a French

He started being not 100% fit, but behind the chess board Simen Agdestein is making a very good impression thus far. He prepared a topical line in the French, showed braveness with 22...f6, defended well after an interesting knight sac by Sergey Karjakin and even got a winning position when Karjakin made two mistakes on move 37 and 42. It was only because of very tenacious defense by the Muscovite, and perhaps tiredness at the end of Agdestein that he couldn't convert the full point. But having the same number of points as Carlsen after three rounds is nothing to be ashamed of.

An excellent start for Simen Agdestein

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 ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian - Svidler
Grischuk 1-0 Aronian   Karjakin - Grischuk
Svidler ½-½ Topalov   Caruana - Giri
Carlsen ½-½ Caruana   Topalov - Carlsen
Giri 0-1 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 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Caruana,F 2791 3088 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 1 2.5/3
2 Grischuk,A 2792 2913 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2.0/3 2.50
3 Kramnik,V 2783 2915 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.0/3 2.25
4 Carlsen,M 2881 2776 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/3 2.75
5 Aronian,L 2815 2731 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/3 1.75
6 Agdestein,S 2628 2779 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/3 1.75
7 Svidler,P 2753 2662 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/3 1.50
8 Giri,A 2752 2644 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.50
9 Karjakin,S 2771 2618 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/3 1.25
10 Topalov,V 2772 2652 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.00

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.

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