Norway Chess Not Yet Decided As Anand Wins, Topalov Loses | Update: VIDEO

Norway Chess Not Yet Decided As Anand Wins, Topalov Loses | Update: VIDEO

| 46 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Veselin Topalov hasn't secured victory at Norway Chess yet. Today the Bulgarian GM lost to GM Anish Giri, while his opponent in the last round, GM Vishy Anand, is trailing by half a point after beating GM Jon Ludvig Hammer.

Shortly after the beginning of the round, Carlsen pleased the fans watching TV2 with a great session in the confession box. Keeping a grin on his face, he started by revealing that he had “managed to go to bed before 12,” which was “a new year's resolution,” and he only got up at 1 pm after his father Henrik woke him up!

He didn't really say anything about his game, but instead focused on that of his compatriot Jon Ludvig Hammer. Carlsen discussed a morning conversation between the two:

Hammer: “I don't understand why people are playing English against me. It's a bad opening.”
Carlsen: “Everyone will [be] playing it against you.”
Hammer: “No, not Anand. He doesn't play bad openings.”

To Carlsen's joy, Anand did start with 1.c4. Laughing

Carlsen, at the start of the game, in the confession box.

“You have to play the English with Jon. I didn't want to be the only one not to do it,” said GM Vishy Anand. “More to the point, it is the opening where he has shown his guts.”

Here's our video interview with Anand:

His middlegame with GM Jon Ludvig Hammer was more or less a Dragon (with the extra move Rc1), with similar ideas such as 11.b4!?. Hammer initially reacted well, and was fine after 24 moves.

There, Anand could swap on f5 and take on b7, or the other way around. He “inverted the order,” as he said, “to pose him some practical problems.” And that worked.

Hammer spent 25 minutes before taking the rook on c1, which was basically the decisive mistake. White ended up with an extra pawn, a better bishop and potentially a better rook, too. In growing time trouble Hammer quickly lost.



Another smooth win by Anand, who can still win the tournament.

Yesterday GM Magnus Carlsen said that making 1.5/2 was the plan. He'll probably reach that, or more, with a last-round game against Hammer and a full point against GM Levon Aronian today.

It wasn't good, though. On the contrary:

“A pretty bad game from start to finish,” said Carlsen. “I was outplayed, I was definitely worse, then he allowed me to equalize and in time trouble all sorts of things happened.”

“I had a lot of games like this against Levon,” the world champion continued. “He has outplayed me more times than anyone in the world but I keep on escaping and this is what happened today.”


Carlsen: “A pretty bad game from start to finish.”

GM Hikaru Nakamura got quite close to beating GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave after getting an opening advantage against the Frenchman's Najdorf.

Already in the confession box, MVL said he played ...b5 too early, and after the game he was thinking the same. Grischuk, who joined him (with Caruana!) in the port-mortem, said: “You're like me against Magnus. You played ...b5 at the worst possible moment!”

MVL continued inaccurately, and by move 24 he was close to lost. However, Nakamura was getting low on time and “allowed more counterplay than his opponent deserved,” as MVL put it, which turned out to be enough for a draw.

Don't miss the line starting with 25.Bd2, which ends in an absolutely amazing perpetual check:


Nakamura was close to beating MVL.

There's little to say about the draw in GM Alexander Grischuk vs GM Fabiano Caruana. Black was always more or less OK in this Fianchetto Grünfeld, especially after he found 21...Bxc3! and 22...Be4! — missed by Grischuk.

The Russian GM said White would be clearly better if his knight were on e2: “I underestimated how bad [my] knight [on g4] is.”


Grischuk-Caruana: not the most interesting game of the tournament.

The longest game of the round turned out to be very important for the tournament. Thanks to GM Anish Giri, who won an excellent game against GM Veselin Topalov, nothing's decided yet!

Things started quietly in a Closed Catalan, and White's edge wasn't serious when the queens were traded. But somehow Topalov didn't manage to untangle, and his pawn sac on h5 didn't work out either.

“I believe it's not only about the players I play; it's about the period,” said Giri. “When I'm low on confidence I cannot beat anyone, simply, whatsoever. If I'm playing well, I can beat a player like Veselin. You just have to play good moves, as Hikaru says.”

Topalov seemed fairly relaxed about the “new” situation: “I don't think it will really affect me that much. If Vishy wants to play for tournament victory, it doesn't matter if I'm a half or a point up.”

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov


A very good win for Giri.

Tomorrow the key game is obviously Topalov vs Anand, where the Indian GM needs a win for tournament victory. Meanwhile, Giri and Nakamura will do their best to stay undefeated, playing Black against Caruana and Aronian respectively.

Round 9 Pairings

Round 9 25.06.15 16:00 CET
Vachier-Lagrave - Grischuk
Aronian - Nakamura
Hammer - Carlsen
Topalov - Anand
Caruana - Giri

2015 Norway Chess | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Topalov,V 2798 2967 phpfCo1l0.png   0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 6.0/8  
2 Anand,V 2804 2914   phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 5.5/8  
3 Giri,A 2773 2868 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½   ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 5.0/8 20.25
4 Nakamura,H 2802 2868 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½   ½ 1 5.0/8 18.75
5 Caruana,F 2805 2737 ½ ½   0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 3.5/8 13.50
6 Carlsen,M 2876 2740 0 0 ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1   3.5/8 12.75
7 Vachier Lagrave,M 2723 2745 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1   ½ 3.5/8 12.50
8 Aronian,L 2780 2691 0 ½ ½   1 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 3.0/8 11.25
9 Grischuk,A 2781 2701 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0   ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 3.0/8 10.50
10 Hammer,J 2677 2593 0 0 ½ 0 ½   ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/8  


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.


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.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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