The fourth round of the Norway Chess Tournament saw yet another victory by Russian star Sergey Karjakin. His perfect run so far leaves him at a point and a half distance from his closest follower, Hikaru Nakamura. The American defeated world champion Viswanathan Anand with the black pieces today.
The battle between Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin was highly expected, as the Armenian seemed to be a perfect candidate to put the leader down and create a more balanced fight for first place in the tournament. However, Karjakin proved that he is really in good shape and that it will be very hard to catch up with him in the event.
The game started with another Queen’s Indian Defense by Karjakin. This opening served him well in his game against Hammer a couple of rounds ago. Both players developed their pieces logically, but it looked like the opening struggle was successful for the Russian, since the position looked pretty equal at around move 20. When the breaks in the center started to create complications in the position, Karjakin’s accurate play gave him an advantage. He used his d-pawn effectively to gain a piece, and Aronian’s counterplay fell short against black’s defenses. Aronian’s resignation came on move 38, in a totally hopeless position.
The other shocking result of the round was Hikaru Nakamura’s victory over world champion Viswanathan Anand. The Indian was showing good chess and sharing second place before this round, but after this loss, he is two points behind the leader and will have to fight hard to comeback and fight for first place. On the other hand, Nakamura is now in sole second place and only 3 rating points shy from catching Anand in the live rating lists.
The game was a Ruy Lopez that followed the usual path where black developed his play on the queenside and white looked for his chances in the center and kingside. The tables turned when Anand committed some inaccuracies and Nakamura responded with a great knight maneuvering sequence. This series of moves left the white queen off play in the kingside and the American used this weakness to get a winning advantage. The world champion resigned on move 39.
Local favorite Magnus Carlsen has not been able to get a full point yet, as he drew his fourth straight game against Peter Svidler. The Russian used a not very fashionable line in the Sicilian. Carlsen tried to take advantage of his rival’s dubious opening choice but was not able to grab an advantage. The position petered into a draw and the players signed their score-sheets on move 43.
The other two games of the round also finished in draws. Wang Hao split the point with Teimour Radjabov after 32 moves, while Veselin Topalov signed the peace treaty with Jon Ludvig Hammer in the longest game of the round.
Standings after 4 rounds:
|10||Hammer, Jon Ludvig||NOR||2608||½|