Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013Hi everyone, Round 7 of Norway Chess was another spectacular round, but this time even the venue itself was part of the spectacle. The players were transporte...
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013Hi everyone, Round 7 of Norway Chess was another spectacular round, but this time even the venue itself was part of the spectacle. The players were transported by boat to Flor & Fjære, an incredible park at a small island just north of Stavanger, where the audience, press and the players themselves were offered the grand tour and a lovely meal in the restaurant. In the playing hall Svidler and Topalov tried for a world record in exchanging off all the pieces quickly, only to arrive in a pawn ending where the Russian soon squandered his small advantage and a draw was agreed. Wang Hao vs Aronian also drew, without too much ado. Meanwhile, Radjabov butchered his Catalan in surprisingly few moves, and Anand safely converted his advantage. Among the two guys in front, Carlsen seemed to struggle, only to see Hammer fall apart when his opponent got short on time. Hence, Carlsen extended his win streak to 3 games. The tournament leader Karjakin was back on track, deconstructing Nakamura’s Sicilian Najdorf rather convincingly, showing some good technique to clinch the full point in the end. Here is the full report by Hans Arild Runde via the official website. The view for the playersThe first game to finish was Svidler vs Topalov, another Sicilian Moscow variation with 3… Nd7. By move 17 all the pieces except a rook, a knight and a bishop for each side were gone, and by move 23 the players already were in a pawn ending! On the queenside Svidler’s a, b and c-pawns faced two split pawns on a6 and c6, while Topalov had a 4 vs 3 majority on the kingside, with all pawns in their starting positions, except the black pawn on e6. If Svidler would’ve played the very natural 24. b4 immediately, Topalov seemingly would’ve had to tread a bit carefully not to become worse, although the pawn ending looks drawn with accurate play. However, after 24. f4?! c5 25. b4 a5 26. b5 f5! black could easily close the kingside, leaving the white king no possible entry into the black position. This rendered the white protected passer in the b-file quite irrelevant, and a draw was soon agreed.Radjabov seemingly wanted to get out of the most popular lines in his open Catalan against Anand, playing an early 6. Qa4+ and 7. Qxc4 instead of castling. I’m not certain regarding the relative merits of 8. 0-0 and 8. cxd5, but in my database white does better with the latter and Radjabov went with the former. Both are probably playable. However, after 9. Nc3 Rc8 10. Be3?! white’s position already looks unpleasant after the response 10… b5! played by Anand. After 15 moves the world champion was clearly better, and when he landed his knight on a4 on move 20, white looked locked up and pretty much unable to carry out any active plans. Anand simply increased the pressure, bearing down on white’s cramped pieces, causing immediate crisis when the d-file was forced open on move 25. Black finished things off with some nice tactics when the game was long since lost for Radjabov.Wang Hao vs Aronian was a rather slow, maneuvering Reti, with only a pair of pawns coming off in the first 17 moves. Aronian’s 17… Qc7?! possibly was a minor inaccuracy, after which a more or less forced series of exchanges left the Chinese with a pleasant position with more space and the bishop pair after 22 moves. The line 23. Rac1 e5 24. Rfd1 Ne6 25. Bb6! would’ve resulted in a slightly cramped position and some problems to solve for Aronian. Instead white’s continuation 23. f4!? e5 24. fxe5 fxe5 25. b3 Ne6 seemingly allowed black to break free. After this lost opportunity for Wang Hao, the game quickly fizzled and a repetition was initiated on move 34.In the all Norwegian battle of the day, Carlsen chose a careful setup against Hammer’s open Catalan. The players completed their development and reached a fairly balanced middle game. Here Carlsen started to spend a lot of time, apparently struggling to find a good way to play for
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