Norway Chess 2: Caruana blunders on day of draws
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Fabiano Caruanaâs rocky start to Altibox Norway Chess 2018 continued in Round 2 as he again made a âkind of ridiculousâ blunder, this time against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. He gave up a pawn for no reason, but luckily by that point he was a pawn up and the game simply fizzled out into a draw. Karjakin-Carlsen and the other games also ended peacefully within three hours, though Peter Svidler summed up, âthis was not a boring round, it just ended in five draws fast.â
Caruana's struggles contined, this time against Mamedyarov | photo: Lennart Ootes, Altibox Norway Chess
Replay all the Altibox Norway Chess 2018 games using the selector below:
Letâs take one position from each of the games, starting with the most dramatic, not to say bizarre, moment of the round:
Caruanaâ"Mamedyarov | Position after 20â¦Rxg4
In this game Mamedyarov played Caruanaâs big weapon of 2018, the Petrov, against him, and although White got a visually aggressive looking position it seems objectively Black was doing just fine. It didnât seem that way to Shak, though, and he admitted, âI thought itâs just a bad position, and for that I gave you a pawn, but it was not rightâ.
That brings us to the diagram position, where White is a pawn up and, despite technical problems ahead, can certainly fight for a win. Fabiano revealed 21.h5 was a move that crossed his mind, and he saw that 21â¦Rg2 could be met by 22.Rh2. Then he decided to be âmore cleverâ, and play 21.Ra5?, only to realise after he left the board that 21â¦Rg2! was now simply picking up the f2-pawn (if 22.Rh2 the h4-pawn falls: 22...Rxh2 23.Nx h2 Bxh4). After 22.a4 Rxf2 23.h5 Mamedyarov was now considering whether to play for a win himself or to force a draw. His reflections werenât entirely about chess:
Caruana had just 40 minutes for 20 moves, but then I realised I have to go to the dentist tomorrow, and a draw is goodâ¦ My doctor has promised me tomorrow will be much better!
If his tournaments goes well Shak has also promised to name his dentist. For the moment, though, nothing is going well for Fabiano, who summed up:
Itâs unpleasant to lose in the first round [to Carlsen], but I just played one really awful move. Overall I didnât play well in that game, but one move was kind of ridiculous. Today I did pretty much the same.
Karjakin-Carlsen | Position after 14.Rd1
After playing 40 classical games against each other, including a World Championship match, t he players have developed a healthy mutual respect. Sergey:
I started to feel that Iâm a bit tired because I have studied so many games of his and I realised once again how great he is. We are both probably a bit tired of each other.
I would have wished for something more interesting, but itâs ok. Itâs not like I have a habit of beating him with Blackâ¦ or White, either! â¦ Obviously I have a great amount of respect for him. Iâm not trying to bamboozle him with anything too ridiculous.
Tired of each other? | photo: Lennart Ootes, Altibox Norway Chess
Carlsen did manage to surprise his opponent with 5â¦Bc5 in the Ruy Lopez, though, and Karjakin decided to head for a line in which he expected White to have a small but safe advantag e. In fact heâd already had the diagram position with White against Alexander Onischuk in Poikovsky in 2010, when after 14â¦Bf5 heâd achieved a comfortable advantage. Magnus was ready, though, with 14â¦Bg4!, temporarily giving up a pawn. Sergey played along with 15.Rxd6 only to be hit by the paradoxical 15â¦Bf5! only now:
Again Sergey didnât immediately spot the point, but then he realised it was 16.Na3 Ne4! Magnus confirmed Svidlerâs suspicion after the game, âItâs a computer idea, obviouslyâ, and he credited his team with finding it. He didnât want too much praise, though, since ultimately it was an opening idea that did no more than secure a draw.
Two-time Norway Chess winner Sergey Karjakin | photo: Lennart Ootes, Altibox Norway Chess
Ding Liren-MVL | Position after 30.Rxd1
Svidler described the opening of this game as, âa sideline of the GrÃ¼nfeld aimed specifically at fighting and getting a non-standard position where you can express yourselfâ. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was under some pressure but found a nice regrouping of his pieces and finally sealed a draw with a flourish: 30â¦e4! Svidler again:
He could have started with 30â¦Rxd1, but I think the artiste in him felt like starting with 30â¦e4, even though it shouldnât make any difference. Itâs a nice touch.
Maxime later talked about how heâs calculating well and added, âI liked this 30â¦e4â. Two draws was a decent start for Maxime, given the uphill struggle his failure in the blitz tournament had given him:
Of course it wasnât ideal to pick up five Blacks, and to have two Blacks in the first two rounds. I could only blame myself for that.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is happy with how he's playing | photo: Lennart Ootes, Altibox Norway Chess
Ding Liren, meanwhile, notched up his 74th unbeaten classical game in a row.
Aronian-So | Position after 17â¦Nd7
This was a Catalan battle fought over nuances, with Levon commenting afterwards, âIt all depends on the position after 17â¦Nd7, if thereâs something for White or not.â It seems the answer is ânotâ, and after 18.Ne4 c5 19.Rb1 Qxd1 20.Rfxd1 Wesley played energetically to seal a draw.
Defending champion Levon Aronian | photo: Lennart Ootes, Alt ibox Norway Chess
Nakamura-Anand | Position after 19.Nd2
Anand admitted he was âconfused a lotâ by Nakamuraâs 6.h3!?, which had never been tried by a strong player before. Vishy was able to base his play on analogous Queenâs Gambit Declined positions, but Hikaru was optimistic when he played 19.Nd2 â" âIt felt like I got more than I could hope forâ. He called 19â¦Na4, hitting c3, a good move, though, and the last game of the day to finish did so with a draw by repetition in 39 moves, after barely 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Vishy Anand now has White against Ding Liren and Wesley So, before he faces Black against Magnus Carlsen in Round 5 | photo: Lennart Ootes, Altibox Norway Chess
Perhaps the best of the live sho w was still to come, though. Weâd had priceless information on who the Petrov Defence was based onâ¦
â¦and seen how Peterâs earlier attempts to grow facial hair had goneâ¦
â¦before at the end of the show Jan Gustafsson helpfully lip-read the post-game conversation between Vishy and Hikaru (of course you can rewind to see the whole dayâs show):
Round 3 on Wednesday is the last before the first rest day, and again thereâs a lot to look forward to â" the classic Carlsen-Aronian (can Magnus get revenge for his loss last year?), the likely tactical slugfest MVL-Caruana, the all-American battle So-Nakamura and also Anand-Ding Liren and Mamedyarov-Karjakin (for this one it mig ht be worth betting on a draw!).
Donât miss our live coverage with Peter Svidler and Jan Gustafsson!
- Official website
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- Wesley So wins Norway Chess blitz
- Norway Chess 1: Carlsen shows Caruana who's boss
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Source: Google News Norway | Netizen 24 Norway