GM Joel Benjamin
There’s a lot of action in the chess world this week. I’ll visit the French League Top 12, and the prestigious Karpov Poikovsky Cup. But I’ll start with the feature event, Altibox Norway Chess.
Norway started with Magnus Carlsen getting the better of one American rival, Fabiano Caruana, and has just seen a stars and stripes revenge with Wesley So taking down Carlsen to grab a share of the lead.
The players have played uneven numbers of games, and some of them won’t count for the standings. That’s because they are a man down now, with Ding Liren having to withdraw from the event. It seemed innocent enough when he fell off his bicycle - Ding even continued on to the grandmaster cooking exhibition, chopping up vegetables while Vishy Anand cooked fish and sauce.
Ding and Anand dressed up for the cooking contest in Norway
But it turned out Ding needed surgery for a broken hip.
So they now have four games a day, with someone sitting out.
In our first game, Carlsen manages something you don’t see very often. He gets comfortable winning chances against Aronian’s Berlin and takes him down without a fight.
Mamedyarov-Karjakin, also from round 3, was only a draw but produced the most fascinating flurry of tactics thus far, and I’d like to focus on those key moments which led to the forced draw.
Finally, Fabiano got himself back into the hunt with a surprisingly easy win over Karjakin, who has been something of a bete noir for Fabi, at least where the Candidates is concerned.
With Carlsen suffering his first defeat,literally almost every player in the tournament has a shot at first place as they play the final rounds.
Let’s take a quick trip to France, where a number of strong grandmasters, are participating in the French League Top 12. The often fascinating Baduur Jobava is playing for Tremblay, and in round seven he sidestepped some tricky tactics from Deimante Cornette to reel in the point
WGM/IM Deimante Cornette
Finally, we are off to Russia where the Poikovsky tournament is producing a number of interesting games. We will start with a seesaw battle between Fedoseev and Nepomniachtchi.
Nepom got a point back in the next round against the struggling Bologan, who overplayed a fairly promising position and felt big time blowback on his own king:
Dmitry Jakovenko leads after seven rounds with 5.5. All three of these events will be concluding in the next few days, so I will have final results in the next show. Meanwhile, Sam Shankland and a number of strong Americans are looking to take the Continental Championship of the Americas in Montevideo Uruguay. There’s plenty of good stuff out there for chess fans.