Karjakin, Nakamura, Svidler winners in Norway Chess round 1
The first round of the Norway Chess tournament, held in Sandnes, saw three decisive games. Sergey Karjakin surprised Teimour Radjabov with an off-beat Sicilian and won with a nice little combination at move 26. Hikaru Nakamura defeated Wang Hao in a Petroff where the Chinese GM didn't seem to have his day. In a Grünfeld, Peter Svidler was playing for a draw for most of the game, until Jon Ludvig Hammer started to make mistakes in the ending. Anand-Aronian and Carlsen-Topalov ended in draws.
The Anand-Aronian press conference | All photos courtesy of Norway Chess
Norway's first super tournament, to some extent the culmination of Magnus Carlsen's success and fame in his own country, took off with a wonderful start. After an exciting blitz event on Tuesday that determined the pairing numbers (an idea borrowed from the Tal Memorial) the first round was not bad at all either.
Carlsen: playing the world's best players on home soil for a change
Three out of five games ended decisively, and throughout the day people from all over the world could enjoy excellent online coverage on the tournament website with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam (editor of New in Chess magazine) and GM Simen Agdestein, who is famous for having played in the national football team, having taken part in Dancing with the Stars in Norway and for having been Magnus Carlsen's trainer!
So how much of a chess country is Norway by now? Well, the blitz tournament was attended by about 150 spectators in the playing hall, but during the first round there were only about 50. Organizer Jøran Aulin-Jansson, who is also the President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, said about this:
I think its people like to watch this on their PC, laptops and phones. There they can follow the games, and enjoy the computer analysis. I am sure there will be more tomorrow, because of the game Carlsen-Anand.
That will be something indeed. Agdestein (pronounced Ah-geh-deh-stein) went as far as saying "the World Championship match starts here!"
But let's first look at today's round. The first game to end was Anand-Aronian, and we'd like to mention one remark by the World Champion. Referring to his loss against Jon Ludvig Hammer (picked up by local media!), he said:
Yesterday I received a Hammer blow, so I was determined not to let a rook to e3. I didn't succeed.
Please note that for technical reasons today we used Playchess's version of the games to enter the annotations. The games seem to have included the number of seconds the players used for their moves!?
A comfortable draw for Levon Aronian with Black against the World Champ
The first to score a full point was Sergey Karjakin, the winner of yesterday's blitz. The Russian GM managed to surprise his opponent in the opening and then played a very good game in general, where the theme prophylaxis came along several times.
Karjakin was modest afterwards. It looked like a good game, but he said he wasn't sure "until he checked it with the computer", a line he might have borrowed from Vladimir Kramnik! He added:
I was in a good mood after yesterday's victory. But still it's just the beginning of a very tough tournament. All decisive games will be played later.
Karjakin seems in good shape, winning the blitz and his first round game
Hikaru Nakamura also started with a win, or perhaps we should say that it was rather a loss for Wang Hao. The Chinese might have been suffering from a jet lag, because his play was below his usual standard.
Wang Hao: jetlag?
At the press conference Nakamura said:
I guess all of us are learning that endings are somewhat important because of Magnus!
And indeed, Carlsen started the tournament in his home country by doing what he does very often: playing something unambitious with white, get a position and then try to outplay the opponent. After the game, Topalov said to his opponent:
This is the typical kind of game you win finally. Nothing happens and then suddenly...
Carlsen summarized it as follows:
I was pressing a little bit but then I almost went too far but fortunately I could calm down after the time control.
I made many blunders in previous games against Magnus, even with lots of time. Today I just tried to avoid that.
Topalov: "I was just trying not to blunder again."
Jon Ludvig Hammer was "brave enough" (Ten Geuzendam) to try out the Grünfeld against Peter Svidler, who has played the opening for decades. However, Svidler himself noted that
everyone is playing it against me these days!
Hammer went for an ending that is considered to be slightly better for White – at least that's what Svidler thought. In the game he got nothing, and was mostly trying to equalize. This prompted him to remark:
There was only one Grünfeld expert here today and it wasn't me!
Hammer: excellent in the opening, but not in the ending
That last press conference was extremely interesting to watch. For instance, Svidler also admitted that he was "kind of ashamed" that he repeated (to be sure he reached the time control) on move 41 "with two score sheets and a big screen" that could have informed him it wasn't necessary!
That was not the most professional behaviour of my life.
Svidler also revealed that both he and his oppent are not feeling great, and both visited the doctor before the game.
I will definitely visit mine again. In fact I can warn my next opponents: I have made a few appointments already!
Norway Chess 2013 | Pairings & results
|Round 1||08.05.13||15:00 CET||Round 2||09.05.13||15:00 CET|
|Nakamura||1-0||Wang Hao||Wang Hao||-||Svidler|
|Round 3||10.05.13||15:00 CET||Round 4||12.05.13||15:00 CET|
|Round 5||13.05.13||15:00 CET||Round 6||14.05.13||15:00 CET|
|Round 7||15.05.13||15:00 CET||Round 8||17.05.13||15:00 CET|
|Round 9||18.05.13||12:00 CET|
Norway Chess 2013 | Round 1 standings
|07.05.2013||Blitz||University of Stavanger||17:00 – 19:00|
|08.05.2013||Round 1||Hotel Residence, Sandnes||15:00 – 23:00|
|09.05.2013||Round 2||Hotel Residence, Sandnes||15:00 – 23:00|
|10.05.2013||Round 3||Hotel Residence, Sandnes||15:00 – 23:00|
|11.05.2013||School tournament||Kongeparken, Ålgård|
|12.05.2013||Round 4||Aarbakke AS, Bryne||15:00 – 23:00|
|13.05.2013||Round 5||Hotel Residence, Sandnes||15:00 – 23:00|
|14.05.2013||Round 6||Hotel Residence, Sandnes||15:00 – 23:00|
|15.05.2013||Round 7||Flor & Fjære, Sør Hidle||15:00 – 23:00|
|17.05.2013||Round 8||Hotel Residence, Sandnes||15:00 – 23:00|
|18.05.2013||Round 9||Stavanger Konserthus, Stavanger||12:00 – 19:00|
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