Norway Chess 2015 continued today by delivering more roundhouse kicks to the face to World Champion Magnus Carlsen while it also gave us our first sense of who is in contention for the top spot in the tournament. Of course, with is devastating 0-2 start in the tournament, all eyes were on Carlsen’s game against GM Anish Giri. I have family visiting this week from out of town, so I did not get the opportunity to sit down and follow much of the tournament throughout the day. When I checked in on the Carlsen-Giri game, this was the position:
It was hard to discern Giri’s exact strategy against Carlsen from this move, and it was about that time when my family’s plane landed and I had to shut the tournament off. Carlsen and Giri went on to play a grueling 76 move battle in which Carlsen squandered a clearly winning position to end up with a hard-fought draw from Giri. On the positive side for the champion, this ends his losing streak in the tournament, but the .5 points he received for the draw may not do much for his confidence. Here’s the full game:
I was very excited to look back on the game between Caruana and Nakamura since both of them have demonstrated their potential to rise the the pinnacle of professional chess in the last few years. This was one of those matches where I felt that it was hard to really pick a side. Nakamura is a blitz expert who plays regularly on Chess.com while Caruana is an exceptional player with a powerful presence in prestigious tournaments around the world. Either way, a loss for one of them in this match is a loss for all of us. Yet, Nakamura claimed victory in a beautiful and decisive 56 move game with the white pieces. Some of Nakamura’s moves just out of the opening lines were reminiscent of blitz and speed chess, which are designed to put pressure on one’s opponent early in the game, but Caruana equalized the position nicely. In the end, it was Nakamura’s deadly passed pawn and Rook combination that sealed the deal for the American Chess Champion.
The remaining games were drawn.
Earlier today, Norway Chess director Jøran Aulin-Jansson issued an official apology to Magnus Carlsen and the other players on behalf of the Grand Chess Tour and the Norway Chess Chief arbiter. The apology focused on the problems with sharing critical information about the revised time controls that cost Magnus Carlsen his loss in the first round. Here is a complete transcript of the notice:
On behalf of the Grand Chess Tour and the Chief arbiter, as well as personally, I would like to apologize to the players for the insufficient information with regards to the time control. Allthough [sic] the information was on the www.grandchesstour.com and was also announced prior to the first round, we learned that several players, during the first round, were not aware of the new and unconventional time control. This fact tells us that our work providing the information leaves room for improvement. For this, we are truly sorry, and especially towards Magnus Carlsen who lost his first game due to not being aware of the time control.
Round 4 begins tomorrow at 1600 local time in an ancient medieval monastery! In the meantime, play through all of the games from Round 3 below: