News & Reports Aug 8, 2014 | 9:08 PMby Tromso Olympiad 2014

That Carlsen black magic

Norway 1 entertained the home fans with a clean 3-1 over Italy, with Magnus Carlsen performing some of his patented minimalist magic to defeat a major rival. GM Kjetil Lie put the Norwegians ahead with the kind of robust aggression typical of his best form on board four, and the teams traded wins on boards two and three. All eyes were fixed on the Caruana-Carlsen clash, where Magnus presumably pulled off an opening surprise by adopting the offbeat variation that he himself had faced as White against Nikola Djukic of Montenegro in round three.

by GMs Jonathan Tisdall (text) and Einar Gausel (chess analysis)

Magnus might have been under pressure early on, but the game ended the way it usually does when he's involved | photo: Georgios Souleidis, chess24

Caruana appeared to gain a small but comfortable advantage in a queenless middlegame, but as Carlsen has shown so many times before, the quieter the position, the deadlier he is. In typically hypnotic fashion, the position steadily swung Carlsen's way, and suddenly all of White's pawns were falling like overripe fruit.

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 ♕xd5 3. ♘c3 ♕d8 Carlsen faced this slightly unusual move in round 3 against Montenergo's GM Nikola Djukic. I expect 3...Qd8 will be getting some serious attention after the present game.

4. d4 ♘f6 5. ♘f3 ♗g4 6. h3 ♗xf3 7. ♕xf3 c6 8. ♘e2 e6 9. g4 ♕d5 10. ♗g2 ♘bd7 11. ♕g3 ♕c4 12. ♕b3 ♕xb3 13. axb3 ♗d6 14. c4 a6 15. ♗e3 0-0-0 16. 0-0-0 White's bishops must give him a slight plus here.

16... ♖he8 17. ♘g3 ♘f8 18. ♗f3 Grabbing more space with

18. g5 ♘g8 19. h4 also looked tempting.

18... ♘g6 19. h4 ♗f4 20. h5 ♗xe3+ 21. fxe3 ♘e7 22. e4 White can probably still claim a small edge after either

22. h6 or

22. g5 ♘d7 23. ♗g4

22... h6 Securing a future outpost on g5 for one of Black's knights.

23. e5 ♘h7 24. ♘e4 ♖f8 25. ♘d6+ This knight might look impressive, but it's actually not doing a whole lot once Black manages to break with f7-f6.

25... ♔c7 26. ♗g2 ♘g5 27. ♖hf1 In retrospect

27. ♘e4 looked like a better idea. Black now slowly but surely takes control over the proceedings.

27... f6 28. ♔c2 fxe5 29. dxe5 ♘c8 30. c5 ♘e7 31. b4?

31. ♔d3 ♘d5 32. ♗h1 looked like a better try for White.

31... ♘d5 32. ♗xd5

32. ♔b3 ♘e3 33. ♖xf8 ♖xf8 34. ♖d2 ♘xg4 and White has no compensation for the missing pawn.

32... cxd5 Now Black's simple idea is Nf3 followed by Nxe5.

33. b5 axb5 34. ♘xb5+ ♔c6 35. ♘d6 ♘f3 Carlsen converts his advantage to a full point with trademark precision.

36. b4 ♖a8 37. ♖a1 ♖xa1 38. ♖xa1 ♘xe5 39. ♖a7 ♖b8 40. ♖a3 b6 41. ♖a7 bxc5 42. ♖a6+ ♔c7 43. bxc5 ♘d7 44. ♖a7+ ♔c6 45. g5 ♘xc5 46. ♘f7 d4 47. ♘e5+ ♔d5 48. ♘d7 d3+ 49. ♔c1 ♘xd7 50. ♖xd7+ ♔e4


Carlsen's pleasure with today's work was obvious, as he stopped to high-five colleague Jon Ludvig Hammer on his way into the NRK TV studio. Norwegian TV host Ole Rolfsrud asked Carlsen how it felt to beat young Caruana, and got a detailed answer.

Well, he's not that young anymore either. He's been around for a few years. But when Wei Yi from China comes up, he will be fun to beat! But Caruana is number 3 in the world and someone I've lost against a few times, so it feels incredibly good to beat him.

On top board Azerbaijan continues to set the pace, clinching another match victory thanks to two wins with the white pieces – GM Rauf Mamedov nailing GM Gaioz Nigalidze with a steady technical performance and Mamedyarov beating Jobava in a bare-knuckle brawl.

22. b4 Both players are flinging pawns forward to open up lines against the enemy king.

22... h4 Black may have been able to put up more of a fight with

22... e6 , but he was already in serious trouble.

23. ♖ac1! Now White simply threatens Nc7 followed by b5, trapping the black queen.

23... cxb4 24. ♗xg4 ♖xg4 25. ♗e3 b6

25... hxg3 26. ♗xa7+ ♔c8 (26... ♔a8 27. ♘c7+ ) 27. c5 and White's forces come crashing through.

26. ♕d1 A tempting alternative was the brutal

26. ♘c7 ♕b7 27. axb6 axb6 28. ♘a6+ ♔c8 29. c5 bxc5 30. ♗xc5+−

26... ♕c8 27. axb6 hxg3 28. h3 Keeping the kingside closed just long enough for White to finish the job on the other side of the board.

28... ♖h4 29. ♕a4 ♕d7 30. c5 ♖xh3

30... dxc5 31. bxa7+ ♔a8 32. ♖xc5 ♖c8 33. ♖xc8+ ♕xc8 34. ♘c7+ ♕xc7 35. ♕e8+ ♔b7 36. a8Q#

31. f5 ♗xf5 32. c6 a5 33. ♕xa5


Despite the tragic absence of Vugar Gashimov, three wins in a row for Shakhriyar Mamedyarov have helped take Azerbaijan to the very top of the table | photo: Georgios Souleidis, chess24 

Radjabov's draw with black on board two provided the Azeris guaranteed match points, and on board four Eltaj Safarli finished the rout with his queen finally overcoming Konstantine Shanava’s rook and bishop in 101 moves.

Serbia-Bulgaria ended 2-2, with former World Champion Veselin Topalov tying things up for Bulgaria on board one in the final game to finish. Afterwards he paid a visit to the official internet broadcast studio:

The match also marked the end of Valentin Iotov's perfect run, after he drew as Black against GM Robert Markus.

The Uzbekistan-Russia match did indeed turn into a win with White contest. Kasimdzhanov beat Kramnik:

26. ♗d7! ♕f8

26... ♕xe3+ 27. ♕xe3 ♘xe3 28. ♘d4 a5 (28... ♘c4 29. ♘c6 ♗xc6 30. ♗xc6 ) 29. b3 h5 30. h3 and the trapped knight on e3 will perish in enemy territory.

27. b3 ♘b6 28. ♗f5 d4 29. ♖xf7! ♔xf7 30. ♗xh7+ Vladimir Kramnik resigned, due to:

30... ♔e8

30... ♔e7 31. ♕e5+

31. ♗g6+ ♔d7 32. ♕c7+ ♔e6 33. ♕xb6+ ♕d6

33... ♔e5 34. exd4+ ♔d5 35. ♘c3#

34. ♘f4+ ♔e7 35. ♖c7+ ♕xc7 36. ♕xc7+ ♔f6 37. ♕d6+ ♔g5 38. ♕e5+ ♔h6 39. ♕h5#


But that was answered by Grischuk's demolition of Filippov:

20. ♘g5! White unleashes the dogs of war.

20... hxg5 21. ♕h5 ♔e8 22. e6! Renewing the threat of mate on h8. Black has no choice but to take on e6.

22... ♗xe6 23. ♖xe6 gxf4

23... g6 24. ♖xg6 fxg6 25. ♗xg6+ ♔d7 26. ♕g4#

24. ♗f5! This seemingly quiet move seals the deal. White now threatens Qh8+ followed by Rexc6 mate.

24... g6 25. ♖xg6! ♕c7

25... fxg6 26. ♕xg6+ ♔f8 27. ♗e6 and White delivers mate on f7.

26. ♖e1! White brings his last piece into the attack.

26... fxg6 27. ♕h8+ ♔f7 28. ♗e6#


The favorites nevertheless completed their pair of white wins when Ian Nepomniachtchi beat IM Jahongir Vakhidov on board four. 

The match would be decided by whether GM Marat Dzhumaev could complete the set by converting his advantage against the formidable Peter Svidler. In the end the Russian escaped, and his team took the hard-earned match points. 

On the live broadcast Rustam commented on Uzbekistan's ambitions:

I don't think the Uzbek team has any targets. We just show up and we fight.

His whirlwind media tour also involved attending the evening press conference along with Alexei Shirov and Jon Ludvig Hammer:

There were a number of lopsided results, and several favored teams soared up the points table. Cuba nearly blanked Kazakhstan 3.5-0.5, China did the same to Egypt, as did India to Moldova. Croatia, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Latvia all won 3-1 today.

Highly seeded teams that got back to business were #2 Ukraine 3.5-0.5 over Switzerland, #4 Armenia 2.5-1.5-1 vs. 10th seed England, and #6 USA 3-1 against Paraguay. Third seeds France had to settle for four draws against 42nd ranked Bosnia & Herzegovina, and ninth ranked Israel split 2-2 with a tough Canadian team. One of the positive surprises of the event so far, Qatar, ranked only 57th, won again, this time 2.5-1.5 over Greece.

After passing the half-way mark only two teams have 11 points, with a 10-team chasing pack:

Rk.SNo TeamTeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
716Czech RepublicCZE650110107.517.541.00

Full standings here.

Tomorrow's highlights: The leaders face off on the top table - Cuba will play white on the odd-numbered boards against Azerbaijan. The teams on 10 points include second seeded Russia, who meet the Czech Republic, and defending Olympiad champions Armenia, who meet the fifth seeds, Hungary.

Sanitation update: The Tromsø organizers have again responded to criticism of the toilet facilities at the Olympiad.

Press Chief Morgan Lillegård said:

The 56 portable toilets are of the highest standards in porcelain, and have been shipped from Malmö in Sweden. Based on the feedback, we realized we had to do something more. We have now doubled the number of cleaning staff - for the second time - and have also made sure that all toilets are much better marked and easier to find.

If today’s reports (see our interim report here if you missed it) have perhaps included more information on the toilet arrangements than you strictly wanted to know, here’s a new video of the public face of the Olympiad venue!

Women’s event

The first news bulletin is that corrected results revealed that Iran did not in fact lose in this round - though a 2-2 result against lower ranked Greece was probably a disappointment for the over-performing Iranians.

The rest day seemed to have rejuvenated the top teams, and they won in style. China was all business, 3-1 and two white wins against Hungary, Russia deflated Serbia 3.5-0.5, third seed France downed Slovakia 3-1, 8th ranked Poland defeated Netherlands 3-1, 6th seed Romania bounced back with 4-0 over Switzerland, and number 7 USA beat Estonia 3-1 by winning both games with the black pieces.

Although Sabrina Vega ultimately lost to Harika Dronavalli Spain managed a 2:2 draw against the 5th seeds | photo: David Llada

The only 'perfect perfect' score in the Women's event also ended today, as Peruvian WGM Deysi Cori dropped her first half point in six rounds, to English IM Jovanka Houska.

Bulgaria fell to a 3-1 loss to Ukraine, though GM Antoaneta Stefanova managed to hold GM Anna Muzychuk to a draw on top board.

There are also two clear leaders in the women's event, though in this case only Poland are keeping pace a point behind them:

Rk.SNo TeamTeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
87United States of AmericaUSA650110101.017.541.00

Tomorrow's pairings feature the showpiece of the event - Russia and China clash at last, and the second seeded Russians will have white on the odd numbered boards, possibly a crucial factor when thinking about how to handle the Chinese number one, Yifan Hou, who is in range of catching the formerly untouchable Judit Polgar on the women's rating list.

Round 6 bulletin

For still more, including GM Einar Gausel's "Blunders, upsets and knockouts" section, please download and enjoy our free PDF bulletin:

Useful links:

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