Norway Chess 2015 – Round 4

Well, who would have thought…? Not me guessing 1 e4 in Anand-Carlsen, but the course of the game and the final result! The game reminded me of Anand’s very smooth win against Carlsen in Linares in 2007, probably because of the similarities of the attack with f4-f5. I include this game in the comments so you can judge for yourselves.

It is quite obvious that no matter how strong Carlsen may be psychologically, he couldn’t really get over the unfortunate first round. In his own words, he is misjudging positions and blundering, and we know that Carlsen is a very precise player with impeccable positional understanding – the only explanation is nerves, loss of inner peace and self-confidence. The free day tomorrow is salt on his gaping wounds, so he has more to endure. Tough times for the World Champion.

Some people have a delicate sense of justice. When they feel that they have received something undeservedly, they subconsciously try to give it back, as if trying to excuse themselves. Topalov is not one of those people. In Elista in 2006 when he got that win by forfeit against Kramnik in game 5, he smiled and went on to win games 8 and 9, almost winning the match. In Stavanger he beat Carlsen, his bete noire, it doesn’t matter how, and now he’s flying high – today he beat Aronian in a good positional style. Aronian has only himself to blame for playing passively and listlessly and not putting up the stiffest resistance – he blundered on move 37. The Ragozin is a fine opening, but like with Fischer before him, it has mainly brought him trouble.

Grischuk beat Hammer by playing the English. The popularity of the opening is ever increasing! Grischuk even managed to spice things up by putting a knight on the rim as early as move 7. In the notes I give my thoughts on the effects the computers have on the ways of thinking of the modern GMs.

Giri and Nakamura drew a game where Giri tried to improve on the recent Shankland-Sevian game from Wijk, undoubtedly knowing that the improvement is only theoretical – with normal play black didn’t have problems achieving the draw.

Nowadays the elite players almost exclusively play the 6 h3 line against the Najdorf. Black has many good systems against it and the main reason for its popularity is that it is still less explored than the other sixth moves. It won’t be long before fashion changes again and another move 6 comes to the fore (but that probably won’t be 6 Rg1). Caruana tried 6 h3 against Vachier, but black got a good position and was never really in trouble, easily drawing the endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.

Tomorrow is a rest day and the second half promises to be even more exciting than the first!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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