Stavanger Round 5: Rest Day Benefits!

The last Sunday in April brought two decisive games - definite progress!

«Giri still stands firm» – with some sadness, this is what the official website says. The feelings of Norwegian chess lovers are easy to understand: for the past year, Anish has been a rock in the path of their favourite, and a potential danger, from whom unpleasantnesses can be expected in the near future, perhaps? And although Alexei Korotylev said that "Sooner or later, Magnus will find the key to unlock the door to Anish's kingdom", maybe another scenario is possible? 

The whole game with notes can be found here, but Magnus' supporters only wanted to complain about their hero's missed chance on the final move of the time control: 

Carlsen - Giri

40.Nb5?! To the great disappointment of the fans, one can only guess what happened here; instead, after the strongest line  40.Nc2 Rb3 41.Kd4 there was a chance to equalise their personal score. To be fair, one should note that there was no need last move for Anish, in a completely equal position, to have committed a clear lapse (39...Nd7?!). The continuation chosen by Carlsen led to a draw eight moves later. «Carlsen was upset by his bad decisions. During the post-game analysis, Giri commented that 'We both played poorly'".  Draw ( ½ : ½ ).

The Indian GM scored his first victory and in a creative and non-standard manner. On Saturday, when the players had a rest day, they enjoyed a wide-ranging cultural and relaxation programme, where as well as the obligatory football match there was also archery. Whether this helped, or he just enjoyed the rest day, either way, the arrows fired by Pentala today found their target. 

Harikrishna-Li Chao

After White's 16th move

Events initially developed in slow motion, and were more reminiscent of shatranj. An unhurried layout of pawns, with the pieces only preparing to find favourable positions. 

Only on move 23 did the white king castle to c1 and now Li Chao committed a serious mistake. 23…g5 24.f4!! exf4 25.e5 Qf5 26.e6 f3 27.Qh2

How the picture has changed! The e-pawn has penetrated deep into the enemy camp and the white queen, with only her second move, creates serious threats. 27…Bxe6 28.dxe6 Qxe6 29.Nf2 Qe3 30.Ng4 Qf4 31.Qxf4 – Their Majesties quit the stage with a feeling of duty done. 31…Rxf4 32.Nxf3

This blow ends Black's illusions. The final stage of realising the advantage is also not without interest: 32…bxc4 33.Ngh2 Ne6 34.Rxd6 Nd4 35.Rd7 Kh8 36.Ne5 Nf8 37.Rf7 Re4 38.Rxg5 Rd8 39.Rxf8 Rxf8 40.Ng6 Kg7 41.Nxf8 Kxf8 42.Rxc5 – Black resigned (1:0). An excellent demonstration of Eastern martial arts!

The ex-world champion appeared to win easily, but in this, he did have some help from his opponent. Nils played as if hypnotised, himself opening the a-file for his opponent's pieces and then moving away his superbly centralised knight on e5, plus some strange-looking queen moves…  

Topalov - Grandelius

32.Nh5 – The execution has become inevitable. 32…f6 33.Rg3 Neg6 34.Qa6 Qd7 35.f4 – How to defend the square g7? 35…c4 36.bxc4 bxc4 37.Nxc4 f5 38.Nxd6 Rc1 39.Kh2 fxe4 40.f5 e3 41.fxg6 hxg6 42.Nf4 – Black resigns (1:0).

Jan Gustafsson watches the game Kramnik-Eljanov

After Kramnik played Rauzer's move е2-е4, Pavel Eljanov had to think for 6 minutes. He chose the right line of defence: 1... е7-е5 just like Kramnik! After the Russian avoided the ubiquitous Berlin and chose the Giuoco Piano, White achieved some advantage, but was unable to transform it into anything more significant that R+P v R, and his opponent played accurately. Draw ( ½ : ½ ).

Nothing particular has occurred to cheer up Levon Aronian after his Moscow disappointment. The same was true today of Maxim (the opening was more of a diet recipe than a spicy dish) and, to be frank, the game was quite boring. Draw ( ½ : ½ ).


Photos by Jose Huwaidi

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