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Norway Chess 2013 (9)

Karjakin deserved winner of first Norway Chess Tournament

Sergey Karjakin had to work for his draw against Veselin Topalov which gave him victory in the tournament. Phoyo © Norway Chess.

Sergey Karjakin had to work for his draw against Veselin Topalov which gave him victory in the tournament. Phoyo © Norway Chess. |

Sergey Karjakin won his first tournament alone for two years in one of the best results of his career so far. Describing it as one of the best days of his life he had to work hard to gain the draw he needed against Veselin Topalov after making an inaccuracy after being surprised by the choice of variation of his opponent. Whilst Karjakin admitted "I think I played a bad move 14..f5?" and was worse the players didn't find any clear possiblities for Topalov and after 35...Nxc4 Karjakin was equal and later even better but by this point he knew a draw was good enough and he took it.

The other major story of the final round was Wang Hao's second major win in a row, he defeated Magnus Carlsen in round 8 and World Champion Viswanathan Anand in Round 9. Wang played a variation of the English he described as "psyschological" in nature, he had struggled finding the right plan as black in an earlier game. Anand too went astray with 13...Nb4 being ambitious, 14...Bxa2 just bad and 16...Rfd8? the losing move. This was a deeply unimpressive sequence from Anand. Wang emerged with Queen for two minor pieces and a couple of pawns and never had any difficulty winning.

Hikaru Nakamura was in aggressive mood with black against tail-ender Jon Ludvig Hammer in a Noteboom variation but on move 19 he had a long think realising he was in danger of being just pushed off the board. His 19...Qd6 with the idea of Nc5 seemed excellent and Hammer then used much of his time over the next couple of moves failing to find the right way to meet it (20.Bc3 may be the only move not to leave him seriously worse). 25.Qg5? was bad mistake (25.Rd3 was the only try) and Nakamura blitzed his way to a win. Hammer said that the invitation really inspired him to get better as he had decent positions but failed in the key moments.

Magnus Carlsen respects Levon Aronian a great deal and clearly didn't entertain many hopes of beating him in the final round. Carlsen did however equalise very quickly and a draw was agreed at the earliest opportunity on move 30. Carlsen was disappointed with his own play saying that he had opportunities in many of his games. He thought Karjakin would be a worthy winner and he would be extremely lucky to get a chance of a playoff which of course he didn't.

Teimour Radjabov is going to rest and repair his game after his terrible run and Peter Svidler wanted an easy day after the excitement of the day before. There was a theoretical Gruenfeld where Svidler equalised but probably not a great deal more and the game was drawn.

The organisers seem happy with the exposure the tournament (especially in Norway) got and the initial reactions of their sponsors. There is some hope the event will become a tradition. There was some comment by the players that whilst they understood the reason to move venues the traveling did disrupt their routines. I think this is one of the very few events where I saw a real impact on me on the sponsorship by the Stavanger region with the spectacular venues especially Flor-Fjaere and so the moves were worth it. Perhaps an extra rest day might be needed but otherwise I completely get it. Also this year the tournament occurred at the end of an unbelievably frenetic calendar for most of the players, I find it hard to believe it will be the same next year and expect that the quality of the play would be higher (there were a lot of tired errors towards the end of the tournament)

Many players move on to the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki 2013 starting on May 22nd (Nakamura, Svidler and Topalov), the Tal Memorial in 3 weeks (12th June) with Carlsen, Karjakin, Anand, Nakamura. There was talk of a Ukrainian rapid event I don't have in my calendar too. Norwegian chess will hope to build on the success in their media with the very important FIDE World Cup 10th August to 4 September 2013 in Tromso, Norway. This event has Candidates places and whilst I haven't seen who has signed up Aronian confirmed he would be playing.

Final Standings: Karjakin 6/9, Carlsen, Nakamura 5.5pts, Svidler, Aornian, Anand 5pts, Wang 4.5pts, Topalov 4pts, Rajdabov 3pts, Hammer 1.5pts.

Supreme Masters 2013 Sandnes NOR (NOR), 8-18 v 2013 cat. XXI (2766)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2767 * 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 6 2891
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2868 1 * ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 2835
3. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2775 0 ½ * ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 2845
4. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2769 1 ½ ½ * ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 5 2809
5. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2813 0 ½ 1 ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5 2804
6. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2783 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ * 0 1 1 1 5 2807
7. Wang, Hao g CHN 2743 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 * ½ ½ 0 2769
8. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2793 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * ½ ½ 4 2720
9. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2745 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ * 1 3 2643
10. Hammer, Jon Ludvig g NOR 2608 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 * 2511
Round 9 (May 18, 2013)
Karjakin, Sergey - Topalov, Veselin ½-½ 50 B96 Sicilian Najdorf
Aronian, Levon - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 30 D63 Queens Gambit Main Line with 7.Rc1
Wang, Hao - Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 38 A34 English Symmetrical
Radjabov, Teimour - Svidler, Peter ½-½ 31 D85 Gruenfeld Defence
Hammer, Jon Ludvig - Nakamura, Hikaru 0-1 33 D31 Semi-Slav Defence

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