Norway Chess 2019 Round 2: Caruana's Norwegian Immortal and Mamedyarov's Tai-Chi Reversal!
'Fab' Caruana displayed fabulous chess to dismantle Maxime Vachier Lagrave's Najdorf with an energetic bishop sacrifice. Viswanathan Anand seemed to lose his concentration for two moves, which was enough for Shakriyar Mamedyarov to complete a memorable reversal after suffering in passivity. Levon Aronian's heartbreak against Magnus Carlsen graduated to another level after the former missed the chance of the round. Carlsen then managed to beat Aronian in the armageddon. Yu Yangyi continues his charmed life in top level chess by beating Ding Liren in the tiebreaker, while Grischuk's hasty draw offer in the classical game came back to bite him against So. A detailed round two report from Norway Chess 2019 by Tanmay Srinath.
The 2nd Round of the Altibox Norway Chess 2019 produced two decisive results - Caruana played a model game in the Open Sicilian to beat MVL, while Anand completely lost the thread of the game against Shakriyar Mamedyarov. Elsewhere, Aronian missed chance after chance against Carlsen, drew the Classical game, and unceremoniously lost the armageddon. Yu Yangyi sprung a surprise on his more esteemed countryman Ding Liren, by beating him in a wonderful opposite coloured bishop endgame in the tiebreaker. Grischuk drew rather controversially in both the classical and blitz portions, the former in a mere 16 moves as White against Wesley So and the latter in a completely lost position, thus giving up the tie to the American. Let's dig in:
Classical Section: 'Fab' Caruana, alert Mamedyarov
We'll start with what was possibly the game of the tournament (until now!) Caruana's Norwegian immortal will be remembered as one of the great Sicilian scalps, showing us why the open Sicilian is the most critical test of 1.e4 c5.
Viswanathan Anand has had a terrible start to his Norweigan sojourn. After being blown over by Carlsen in the Armageddon yesterday, the Indian superstar threw away the game in literally one move today:
After a good result in Round 1, Aronian blew a chance to beat the World Champion in what turned out to be a costly mistake:
Levon played the natural looking h5?, losing much of his winning advantage. Although the position remained better for White, Magnus was out of the woods. Instead, g5! kills off any further resistance. If Carlsen played the relatively better fxg5 hxg5 b4, then White still has Rf4! Rxc3+ Kd2 Ke5 Rf1! winning the game rather easily. A huge chance for Levon.. that he regrettably couldn't capitalise on. I guess Aronian missed the fact that after b4 he has Rg4!, which wins after Rxc3+ Kd2!
The other two games were relative no shows, with Grischuk's game the most surprising. It seemed as if the Russian GM was wanting an armageddon game to decide things! Sasha's love for speed chess is well documented, but has he uncovered a potential flaw in this format? Perhaps the Sofia rules can be imposed here as well.
Armageddon: Yu and Carlsen win easily, but Grischuk's gamble doesn't pay off
It was a second straight win in the Armageddon for both Yu Yangyi and Magnus Carlsen, who beat two solid GMs Ding Liren and Levon Aronian respectively. Let us first look at Carlsen's game. The players repeated the Rossolimo from the classical game, but Carlsen deviated early, and forced Levon to think for himself in an unfamiliar position. The Norweigian finally turned the game on its head after Aronian underestimated a powerful exchange sacrifice:
R2 in #NorwayChess is underway! Carlsen goes for the unusual 6...Qc7 in the Sicilian, a move that his team likely have prepared (has been played by his buddy Dubov.) #2sjakk pic.twitter.com/KHboezYl8k— Tarjei J. Svensen (@TarjeiJS) June 5, 2019
Yu Yangyi has impressed one and all with his enterprising chess in this tournament, clearly feeling at home in pressure cooker situations. His speed chess acumen was useful in trouncing the once unbeatable Ding Liren:
Yu Yangyi-Ding Liren
Alexander Grischuk is a two-time World Blitz Champion, and it is those skills that surprisingly let him down in the crucial stages against Wesley So:
After two rounds, we have a clear leader in Shakriyar Mamedyarov with 3.5/4. Carlsen and Yu Yangyi trail by a half point with 3.0/4, with Fabi a further half point behind.
Standings after round 2
About the Author:
Tanmay Srinath is an 18-year-old chess player from Bangalore, Karnataka, currently pursuing both chess and engineering at BMSCE Bangalore. Tanmay is also a Taekwondo Black Belt, who has represented the country in an International Tournament in Thailand. He is a big fan of Mikhail Tal and Vishy Anand, and sincerely believes in doing his bit to Power Chess in India.