Norway Chess 2015 – Round 7

It had to happen, at least once, that all the games from the round are drawn. This of course favours the players leading the tournament.

Carlsen tried to shock Vachier by playing a very rare and very risky line. He probably succeeded, but the Frenchman kept his cool and found a repetition on move 14. A game notable only for Carlsen’s audacity in the opening.

Topalov decided to play it as dry as possible against Caruana and the latter didn’t seem to mind, chosing the most solid line against Topalov’s fianchetto in the Grunfeld. The game ended in the expected draw, even though there were a few moments of slight excitement. This draw only helps Topalov as it brings him closer to the finish line.

Aronian is traditionally an unpleasant opponent for Anand, but this time Anand got it spot on with the opening. In the English Opening they followed game 4 of the match in Seville between Kasparov and Karpov. The line was considered bad for black, based on that game (plus the later one Kasparov-Ivanchuk, 1988) but nowadays computers show no fear. White got nothing and the repetition followed shortly.

Another English Opening was seen in Nakamura-Grischuk. Ever since his match with Aronian in 2011, Grischuk has been very solid in the English, always choosing the Symmetrical line with either the Botvinnik setup with e5 or the Fischer line with e6, depending on the move orders. Nakamura forced him into the Botvinnik setup, but that was all he could boast. Black was comfortable throughout and the draw was the natural outcome.

Some days ago Hammer said he felt he could beat Giri. Giri undoubtedly saw Hammer as an easy point. Thus the game started 1 Nf3 g6, Giri allowing a transposition to the Pirc, something that he rarely plays. Hammer obliged and by move 14 he had a plesant edge in an endgame, as Giri must have cursed his choice. But Giri is no slouch, as I have said on several occasions, and confidently held the draw. This result probably made them very happy, as Hammer proudly said he was “creating chances” and Giri because he’s generally a happy guy.

Two more rounds to go and tomorrow’s derby is between the players on a minus score – Carlsen and Aronian.

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