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Norway Chess 2014 (8)

Carlsen's "scandalously bad" wasted chance against Svidler leaves Karjakin in sole Norway lead

A happy but very tired Sergey Karjakin leads going into the final round. Photo ©

A happy but very tired Sergey Karjakin leads going into the final round. Photo © |

The penultimate round of the No Logo Norway Chess Masters saw big fights but some huge blunders also. All the games started as English Openings but quickly diverged after that. Sergey Karjakin won the final game of the day against Vladimir Kramnik to take the lead in defence of his title. He should have been level with Magnus Carlsen who managed to blow a position so winning that Svidler had pretty much resigned in his own mind. In the final round Karjakin has black against Fabiano Caruana (also half a point behind and needs a win himself) and Carlsen white against Simen Agdestein. In the event of a tie there will be a blitz playoff.

Round 8 Standings: Karjakin 5pts, Carlsen, Caruana 4.5pts, Topalov, Kramnik, Grischuk 4pts, Aronian, Svidler, Giri, Agdestein 3.5pts/

Final Round 9 pairings Fri 13th June 1 hour earlier than the other rounds 13:30 BST 14:30 local time: Carlsen – Agdestein, Giri – Svidler, Kramnik – Grischuk, Caruana – Karjakin and Topalov – Aronian.

Karjakin vs Kramnik

Karjakin vs Kramnik. Photo ©

Sergey Karjakin took the lead even after completely misplaying the opening and at one point "basically decided to play for a draw." expecting a repetition.

"If there wouldn't be Sofia rules I would offer a draw." Karjakin.

Kramnik decided he wanted to play for a win but already 29...Kh7? he started to go wrong. Karjakin increased his advantage and was close to winning until 49.Kc3?! (49.a5)

"Terribly blundered 49...Nf2". "I was lucky to have 52.Re5+" said Karjakin

Even if the task was harder the endgame was still winning for him Karjakin brought home the full point with a very nice technical finish.

Svidler vs Carlsen

Svidler vs Carlsen. Photo ©

Peter Svidler said "Goodness, gracious, me." on sitting down at the press conference.

"I extremely embarrassed at the first half of the game, it was abysmal." said Svidler

Svidler drifted into trouble with the careless 10.Qb3 after which 10...b6 left his position going nowhere. It wasn't necessary for Svidler's position to go downhill quite so fast, 12.Qa3 left the Queen misplaced but Carlsen just used the plan known in the UK of the Grand Prix Attack of which this was now a reversed version to obtain a completely winning position. Svidler was about to resign after 24.Qb5 expecting 24.Nxf2 but other moves win. Instead 24...Rfxf4? fails to an important miscalculation.

"I had actually seen 27.Kf1 I just didn't see [27...Qxf3] 28.Rg3 for some reason. It's just I even took 15 minutes to think about it but still couldn't find something that simple."

After this if white is winning at all he has to work hard, after 28...Kf8 (Kxg7) things might have even turned round completely but the players repeated shortly after rather than play for a risky win.

Magnus Carlsen


Peter Svidler

Position after 24.Qb5


Almost everything wins but this. Now the position becomes out of control.

[24...Nxf2+ 25.Bxf2 Rxe2 26.Rg2 (26.Rg3 Rxf2 27.Rbg1 g6 28.Qd7 Rf7 29.Qc8+ Kg7 30.Qh3 Qxh3 31.Rxh3 Re7 black is just two pawns up.) 26...Qxf3; 24...Ncxe3; 24...c5]

25.Bxf4 Nxf2+ 26.Kg2 Rxe2 27.Kf1

and now Carlsen's intended winning idea doesn't work.


[27...Qxf3 28.Rg3=]

28.Rxg7+ Kf8?!

Now the position is equal.

[28...Kxg7 29.Qd7+ Qf7 30.Qg4+ Qg6 31.Qd7+ and black is still better but it's in the air now.]

29.Kxe2 Nxc3+ 30.Kf2 Nxb5 31.Rbg1 Nc3 32.Rxc7 Ne4+ 33.Ke1 Nc5 34.Rc8+

and Carlsen decided that discretion was the better part of valour.

34...Kf7 35.Rc7+ Kf8 36.Rc8+ Kf7 37.Rc7+ Kf8 1/2-1/2

"I don't think if you screw up like this you're entitled to think of first place." Magnus Carlsen who later said his failure to win was "scandalously bad" and didn't spare himself at all from what was obviously an extremely surprising failure.

Agdestein vs Topalov

Agdestein vs Topalov. Photo ©

Veselin Topalov beat Simen Agdestein who finally lost a game after seven draws. Topalov seemed to have a far better understanding of the position and Agdestein's attacking ideas came to nothing and he subsided to a loss.

"I was so tired. But never was I so tired. I just felt like sleeping today." Agdestein

Grischuk vs Giri

Grischuk vs Giri. Photo ©

Alexander Grischuk had much the better of the game against Anish Giri in a Benoni a tempo down (the tempo never became a factor but his pawn stayed on e3 rather than move to e4). Grischuk was very disappointed not to win and stay in contention for first place.

Aronian vs Caruana

Aronian vs Caruana. Photo ©

Levon Aronian too was extremely disappointed not to beat Fabiano Caruana who must have been lost coming up to first time control where Caruana was also in desperate time pressure. 29.Qb5+ seems to have been better than played. Aronian bemoaned his play in the event and no doubt can't wait for the end.

2nd Norway Chess 2014 Stavanger NOR (NOR), 3-14 vi 2014 cat. XXI (2774)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2771 * ½ . ½ 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 5 2867
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2881 ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ . 2821
3. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2791 . ½ * ½ 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 2815
4. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2772 ½ ½ ½ * 1 0 . ½ 0 1 4 2768
5. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2783 0 ½ 1 0 * . ½ ½ 1 ½ 4 2770
6. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2792 0 ½ 0 1 . * 1 ½ ½ ½ 4 2770
7. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2815 1 0 ½ . ½ 0 * ½ ½ ½ 2725
8. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2753 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ * . ½ 2736
9. Giri, Anish g NED 2752 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ . * ½ 2736
10. Agdestein, Simen g NOR 2628 ½ . ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * 2735
Round 8 (June 12, 2014)
Karjakin, Sergey - Kramnik, Vladimir 1-0 72 D35 QGD Exchange
Grischuk, Alexander - Giri, Anish ½-½ 66 A34 English Symmetrical
Aronian, Levon - Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ 38 A04 Dutch System
Svidler, Peter - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 37 A27 English Dutch System
Agdestein, Simen - Topalov, Veselin 0-1 45 A29 English Four Knights

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