June 12, 2014 23:10

Karjakin in Sole Lead in Norway After Beating Kramnik

With one round to go, the winner of the 2013 Norway Chess tournament has excellent chances to repeat his success. Sergey Karjakin defeated co-leader Vladimir Kramnik on Thursday while Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen both dropped half a point. The latter spoilt a winning position against Peter Svidler. Simen Agdestein lost his first game, to Veselin Topalov. If more than one player finishes in first place tomorrow, there will be a playoff.

The 8th round in action | Photo © Chess.com

After three rounds, not many people were expecting that Sergey Karjakin would win two Norway Chess tournaments in a row. With one round to go, that's quite a realistic scenario.

“I think I played very badly in the first three games. Somehow I recovered, maybe with a little bit of help from my opponents but I was fighting,” the 24-year-old Muscovite said to the commentators after he had just beaten his compatriot Vladimir Kramnik. That game took energy. “I am very tired, but actually when you win you have energy, if you lose you have not!”

Karjakin didn't play the opening too ambitiously, and in fact around move twenty he was trying to steer the game to a draw. “If there wouldn't be Sofia Rule, I would have offered a draw, he said. But Kramnik avoided a move repetition, so the game went on.

And then, as the game got closer to the time control, Kramnik played a few inaccurate moves and was worse. Just after the time control he had to give an Exchange, but he couldn't hold it.

PGN string

Magnus Carlsen could, and should have been in shared first place with Karjakin. With Black he got a big advantage out of the opening because of some very bad moves by Peter Svidler in an English. “I am extremely embarrassed about the way I played the first half of the game. Abysmal,” is how Svidler described his play in the first half of the game. “I completely forgot 10…b6 is a legal move.”

Grischuk said about Svidler: “During dinner he reads comic books, but if he plays 1.c4 he should at least once read Marin's books!”

Svidler's position got worse and worse, and on move 24 it was completely over. “It's really the sort of position you don't analyze,” said Carlsen, who spent 15 minutes on the clock, only to play one of the few moves that didn't win. “I had seen Kf7 but I didn't see Rg3 for whatever reason. I even took fifteen minutes but I couldn't find something that simple.”

PGN string

Carlsen misses a relatively easy win

Fabiano Caruana couldn't maintain his shared first place either - he drew his game with Levon Aronian, but he should have lost. Thanks to a strong novelty invented by his second Ashot Nadanian, Aronian got a promising position and on move 19 he won a pawn. However, the Armenian grandmaster didn't find the best moves and allowed his opponent, who was also in time trouble, to escape. Not a great performance from either player.

PGN string

After seven excellent draws, the fun was over for Simen Agdestein. The oldest participant and former top 20 player lost to Veselin Topalov. “I was just so tired today. I slept fantastically, I slept and slept and slept, even just before the game. I just felt like sleeping. Playing chess when you're tired is not good, and losing when you're tired makes it even worse,” he said.

For Topalov it was quite a good game. The Bulgarian equalized quickly in another English opening (four out of five games saw this today!) and easily refuted his opponent's Exchange sac. “I'm the champion of the second half,” Topalov said.

PGN string

Agdestein & Topalov chatting after the game | Photo © Chess.com

Alexander Grischuk had good chances against Anish Giri, but failed to win. He was clearly disappointed during the press conference as he realized that he didn't have a chance anymore to finish in first place. “I'd rather have a winning position in the last round, and if I win I win the tournament, and then to blunder. That is better than this.”  “You're a maximalist!” said Nigel Short.

PGN string

And so it's Karjakin who has the best chances for tournament victory. If he wins he's there, but if he draws, Carlsen and Caruana can still catch him. In that case a blitz playoff will decide matters.

“I'm just going to play chess. I think it's better to forget about the tournament situation,” said Karjakin, whose lucky win against Giri is suddenly very important. “After that game I was kind of inspired!”

“I don't think if you screw up like this you're entitled to think about first place,” said Carlsen. Tomorrow everything will be decided.

Norway Chess 2014 | Pairings & Results

Round 1 03.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 2 04.06.14 15:30 CET
Aronian ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian 1-0 Karjakin
Karjakin ½-½ Topalov   Kramnik ½-½ Carlsen
Grischuk 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Svidler
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Topalov 0-1 Grischuk
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Agdestein ½-½ Giri
Round 3 05.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 4 07.06.14 15:30 CET
Karjakin ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian ½-½ Svidler
Grischuk 1-0 Aronian   Karjakin 1-0 Grischuk
Svidler ½-½ Topalov   Caruana ½-½ Giri
Carlsen ½-½ Caruana   Topalov ½-½ Carlsen
Giri 0-1 Kramnik   Agdestein ½-½ Kramnik
Round 5 08.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 6 09.06.14 15:30 CET
Grischuk ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian ½-½ Giri
Svidler ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen
Carlsen 1-0 Aronian   Grischuk ½-½ Svidler
Giri 1-0 Topalov   Topalov 1-0 Kramnik
Kramnik 1-0  Caruana   Agdestein ½-½ Caruana
Round 7 10.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 8 12.06.14 15:30 CET
Svidler ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian ½-½ Caruana
Carlsen ½-½ Grischuk   Karjakin 1-0 Kramnik
Giri 0-1 Karjakin   Grischuk ½-½ Giri
Kramnik ½-½ Aronian   Svidler ½-½ Carlsen
Caruana ½-½ Topalov   Agdestein 0-1 Topalov
Round 9 13.06.14 14:30 CET        
Carlsen - Agdestein        
Giri - Svidler        
Kramnik - Grischuk        
Caruana - Karjakin        
Topalov - Aronian        

Norway Chess 2014 | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Karjakin,Sergey 2771 2860 phpfCo1l0.png ½   ½ 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/8  
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2823 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½   4.5/8 17.75
3 Caruana,Fabiano 2791 2815   ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 4.5/8 17.00
4 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2769 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 0   ½ 0 1 4.0/8 16.25
5 Kramnik,Vladimir 2783 2771 0 ½ 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png   ½ ½ 1 ½ 4.0/8 15.50
6 Grischuk,Alexander 2792 2771 0 ½ 0 1   phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ ½ 4.0/8 15.00
7 Aronian,Levon 2815 2726 1 0 ½   ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 3.5/8 14.50
8 Svidler,Peter 2753 2736 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png   ½ 3.5/8 14.25
9 Giri,Anish 2752 2736 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½   phpfCo1l0.png ½ 3.5/8 14.00
10 Agdestein,Simen 2628 2734 ½   ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 3.5/8 14.00

The Norway Chess tournament runs 2-13 June in the Stavanger region. All photos courtesy of the official website | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

OR it is something completely else.
Must be something of this or that, not of all the other.
Or was it the other way round?
Anyway, it's very deep or even deeper.

Leo's picture

Wow. Unless you are in fact Carlsen's coach or psychiatrist, that was a big load of pompous nonsense.

The Grammar Nazi's picture

"An in form Carlsen would of won several of his games in this tournament easily".

It's "would have", not "would of".

MMB's picture

@ jimknopf

It is a good thing the world isn't managed according to your ideals. Get of your high horse and don't issue commandments.

jimknopf's picture

MBB, did you want to say anything concerning the matter in question?
And do you think Kramnik should be encouraged to go on like that?

Anonymous's picture

+1 MMB
Well said.

a's picture

the great Topalov break the series of draws of Agdestein

Anonymous's picture

Topalov is a disgrace to chess. He and Danilov should have been banned from chess since Elista. Any other player could easily fill his place. I hope the organizers will take this into account for future tournaments.

Anonymous's picture

Kramnik is disgrace not Topalov.

Zeveraar's picture

Lol I love this Agdestein guy... every press conference starts with his statement: I felt so tired!
Also love how he wants to try every possible line during analysis (did you see Topa's face?). Agdestein is so refreshing in that sense.

Septimus's picture

Isn't he pushing 70? Old people do get tired.

Anonymous's picture

So...Carlsen - Agdestein. About that game, do you think Carlsen will say something like "your powers are weak, old man. You should not have come", and "now I am the master!"? I hope so.

Anonymous's picture

No one will suspect anything is amiss if Agdestein blunders against his countryman in the last round. Agdestein has nothing to lose but Carlsen has
much to gain from a last round win. Chess or country; which is more important to Agdestein?

Anonymous's picture

Funny how easily some people dismiss Kramnik for a game. Kramnik is just half a point behind Carlsen. Of course, Adgestein is going to throw the game to his boss.

Anonymous's picture

To be fair Agdestein has a high chance to lose anyway. ;)

jimknopf's picture

... besides Agdesetin having enough character not to throw a game for anyone. It is insulting to insinuate the opposite.

Anonymous's picture

Only a clueless hypocrite who supports Kasparov could believe that rubbish.

Anon's picture

To assume a Norwegian collusion is of course as silly as to assume a Russian collution.

Anonymous's picture


Roberto's picture

I think Carlsen will make a rapid draw, pack up his stuff and go home. =)

He must be so angry after his terrible game. I mean he was just crushing Svlider and just when he was getting there... do I need to say that something is going wrong with him? I hope it's just a bad phase.

Bronkenstein's picture

I agree with Peter D. that Magnus dropped half a point, but talking about Caru ˝dropping˝ it - maybe we should ask Levon for an opinion...
On a serious note, both Grischuk & Vlad disappointed me, while Karjakin and especially Peter (well, certainly NOT in the opening...) did the opposite. I expected Svidler to resign, GM Delchev has already left his commenting seat on ChessBomb with ˝It´s time to call it a day˝, but Peter just kept on playing... As a result, he still leads 2:1 vs Magnus =)

the weakest grandmaster's picture

me thinks delchev was overhyping his commentary somewhat.

Bronkenstein's picture

I normally don´t follow CB commentators that much, but after checking it again, indeed - he spiced it up with ˝No!!˝ and few ˝Wow!˝s, true Polgar style =)

Kasperian's picture

Looks like a playoff is almost certain, between Magnus and Sergey.

Grandaunt's picture

Well, let's see if Carlsen can crack Agdestein's 'French Berlin'. None of the others have done it. May be he'll side step...

And don't count Caruana out, it might be a play-off between him and Carlsen too.

the weakest grandmaster's picture

or may not be a playoff at all, when karjakin wins.

pioneer's picture

Karjakin about to defend his title in Norway. Nothing to see here...

Grandaunt's picture

I hope there will be lots to see, I'm looking forward to it.

Septimus's picture

Forget this, the football world cup has started! I think Brasil were lucky not to lose 2-1. The penalty was bogus and so was the foul on Olic which negated Croatia's goal. Brasil look weak and will be torn apart by better teams if they play like this.

Not a football fan's picture

Not all of us are football fans.
Can we keep the discussion about chess, please.

Zeveraar's picture

Dude those white lines on the field are not there for sniffing them up. they are there to designate certain areas and Olic should have realized he was in the goaly's area, where you may not attack a keeper who is going for the ball. It was a 100% foul in respect of rules applying to that.
Do agree on the "penalty", although there was contact and the Croat took a calculated risk. In this case, it backfired due to a trigger happy ref.

Anonymous's picture

Last time Carlsen played this bad was probably the 2010 Olympiad.

Anonymous's picture

(same poster as above)

That was greatly exaggerated. I take it back.

S3's picture

Maybe Drawlsen should stick to his boring draws?

Anonymous's picture

I think he should stick with what he does best: winning World Chess Championship matches.

Tano-Urayoan's picture

@ Peter
"but if he draws, Carlsen and Caruana can still catch him. In that case a blitz playoff will decide matters."

If Karjakin draws, how could Caruana catch him?

Greco's picture

Mental note: Make fun of S3 when tourney ends!

Anonymous's picture

Big Vlad is gentleman; the opposite to brat

Anonymous's picture

sarcasm? vlad is coward

observer's picture

Games start one hour earlier today! Wooooooohooooooooo!!!

Thomas Richter's picture

As Tano-Urayoan already pointed out, the concluding remarks of the report are slightly inaccurate: Caruana-Karjakin will be a showdown, and this time the actual score rather than (Gashimov Memorial) some random tiebreaker forces Caruana to play for a win. Carlsen can also still share first place, so it will be between the three youngest players (but Giri who may become a top10 player or more in due course, but not yet).

In situations where there is, unlike the candidates event, no real need for a clear winner, I always prefer if first place is officially shared. In other situations, people complain if blitz skills decide the issue in a classical event - here they already mattered once (giving Caruana the handicap of an extra game with black) and might matter again. It would be ironic if there was a most wins tiebreaker - favoring Karjakin, criticized for his recent series of draws by many, including Carlsen. Only those who do not follow top-level chess for more than two months would consider this a surprise or aberration!!?

"Karjakin, whose lucky win against Giri is suddenly very important" - I can understand if the author Peter Doggers sympathizes with Giri (note the "if", I don't imply that he is biased), but IMO it would be wrong to reduce the tournament to a single game, and to use the term 'luck' only for one-move blunders. Carlsen was lucky that Aronian spoilt a much better to winning position and even lost; he was again lucky (but didn't cash in on his luck) that Svidler played the opening against him at sub-2700 level to put it mildly.

In a way, Aronian - not in contention for first place himself - may 'decide' the tournament: initially only slight advantage against Karjakin - win, clear advantage against Carlsen - loss, clear advantage against Caruana - draw.

Anonymous's picture

"Carlsen was lucky that Aronian spoilt a much better to winning position and even lost; he was again lucky (but didn't cash in on his luck) that Svidler played the opening against him at sub-2700 level to put it mildly"

And that's the 1000th "Carlsen was lucky" post from Thomas :)

Anonymous's picture

And 1000 is also the number of very long and whining posts that would have been the result had Carlsen beaten Giri the same way Karjakin did :)

Andreas's picture

does anyone read TO post from beginning to the end (besides TO himself)? can't imagine

jmason's picture

who cares about the final standings ? just enjoy the games , we had plenty of drama so far .

Anonymous's picture

Speaking of Kramnik and his press conferences etc I find it interesting that he maybe of all top players seem to have the biggest problem accepting his own playing level. Every interview he points out that Carlsen is not better than him (or Aronian, as he adds not to seem immodest :)), or that Carlsen is #1 only because of non chess factors, etc etc and in press conferences he repeats "you have draw in that line by miracle!" etc as if the opponent hadn't actually analysed the same line and found the actual "miracle". Then when he loses he can't accept loss and refuses to attend press conferences. When he wins he loves to lecture for the losing opponent, but he never accepts the opposite role.

Even Kasparov was able to accept dropping in playing strength. Kramnik just can't accept that he no longer is anywhere close to #1 spot that he briefly shared on a couple of rating lists once upon a time. In his own mind he still seems to be "approximately" #1. He needs to keep convincing himself in interviews and by ducking press conferences where he might have to face discussing losses.

RG13's picture

He may not be close to #1 in rating, but neither is Anand who is playing again for the title. Kramnik can judge himself by winning elite tournaments from time to time and he clearly is still a threat to do that.

Anonymous's picture

Wouldn't matter who is playing Carlsen for the title - he wouldn't be close to #1 in rating.
Kramnik has never been able to qualify for playing for the title either.

Kramnik has created this big myth about his playing strength, he is not as good as he thinks he is.

Anonymous's picture


jimknopf's picture

Kramnik has played quite remarkable games, and I still like and admire some of them a lot!

He could play a very poisitive creative 'senior' role like others do and have done, just surprising us with more great games and winning a tournament now and then.

But while he claims missing a typical chess player eagerness, he more and more raises the opposite impression: as if he constantly feels underrated by others. From my view this is a wrong perception. He IS respected, but not necessarily to a degree of player status he seems to claim for himself.

Perhaps he just should let go about all this public role stuff and just be himself and enoy playing. He would probably feel much better.

If someone has a reason to feel bad for playing or being judged below his real potential, in my view that would rather be Aronian. And I admire how Aronian deals with his own disappointment about himself, suffering with attitude and without hiding or seeking questionable explanations.

Even Nakamura has taken his own weak moments with remarkable standing, despite being a big mouth at other times.


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