Norway Chess 2015 – Round 6

I really like the French expression laissez-faire. The first time I read it was in Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, a wonderful book with an atmosphere that captured my imagination during my studies.

But the characters in Scott Fitzgerald’s novel didn’t play chess and laissez-faire is not a suitable philosophy for it. We know that Vachier is French; however, not all that is French is good for chess. Today Anand showed that when left to do what he likes, he’s lethal. An easy game for the former World Champion and an excellent tournament so far for him – one more thing for him is to navigate his bete noire Aronian tomorrow with black.

Topalov won again and he probably thinks he’s in San Luis. Today he dispatched Grischuk, who even though probably surprised him with the 4 f3 in the Nimzo, still didn’t manage to get something out of the opening. He did manage to spend a lot of time though. The game was decided early on, when the white knights found themselves very confused.

A horrible game for Grischuk, who cannot seem to find his stride after confidently crossing 2800 some months ago.

Giri and Aronian drew a theoretical game in the Vienna, deeply analysed and well-rehearsed before the game by both (obviously not between themselves!). Take a look:

Caruana finds it difficult sometimes to beat the outsiders. In Shamkir he couldn’t beat Mamedov, in Baden-Baden he couldn’t beat Baramidze, in Wijk he couldn’t beat Hou Yifan and even lost to Wojtaszek. Today he couldn’t beat Hammer with white, even though he had his chances. It is difficult to know the reason for this, but he is lucky that he’s not playing in many tournaments where there are clear outsiders.

Carlsen tried his best for 95 moves but couldn’t beat Nakamura. The reason was the opening – the Lasker Variation in the QGD where even his legendary problem-causing style couldn’t do much against the confident Nakamura. Carlsen is shaken in this tournament, playing without his usual infinite self-confidence, while Nakamura has shown progress when it comes to his psychology. He is more composed and the qualification to the Candidates gave him the much-needed confirmation that he really is a World Championship candidate. Today, with such psychological distribution of the forces, Carlsen never stood a chance to achieve more than a draw.

The intrigue in the tournament in the remaning 3 rounds is not about the winner anymore. It is whether Carlsen will get to 50%. I cannot recall a World Champion finishing on a minus score during his reign, but it may be that I am forgetting something, in which case please use the comments to let me know.

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