Norway Chess 08: Aronian beats Carlsen, joins him in lead

The 8th and penultimate round of the Norway Chess Tournament 2016 led to a major change at the top of the rankings table. World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who was a whole point ahead of his nearest rivals, crucially went down against Levon Aronian. Courtesy of this result, Aronian and Carlsen go into the final round of the tournament as joint leaders.

Aronian’s victory over Carlsen was nothing but emphatic. Almost immediately after the opening, Carlsen went astray with a string of small inaccuracies. While Aronian was already firmly in the driver’s seat, Carlsen made a huge mistake on move 26, helping Aronian round off the matters pretty quickly.

Indian ace Pentala Harikrishna also had a tough day at the office. Hari, playing black, was unable to pose any problems for Kramnik, with the latter going on to win the game in his trademark positional style.

Meanwhile, Li Chao beat Pavel Eljanov en route to his first victory of the tournament.


Aronian 1-0 Carlsen
Kramnik 1-0 Harikrishna
Eljanov 0-1 Li Chao
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Topalov
Giri ½-½ Grandelius

Norway Chess 07: Carlsen takes a commanding lead

World Champion Magnus Carlsen scored an emphatic victory over World No.2 Vladimir Kramnik in the 7th round of the Norway Chess Tournament 2016. With this crucial win, Carlsen has taken a commanding one point lead over his nearest rivals.

The Carlsen-Kramnik battle took off with the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Although the queens were swapped off pretty early, the game followed an interesting course, eventually leading to a complicated queenless middlegame. Around the 20 moves mark, Kramnik lost his way and made a couple of grave errors. Carlsen duly capitalized on these errors and went on to win a very convincing game.

In the only other decisive game of the day, Levon Aronian overcame Pavel Eljanov. This was Aronian’s first win of the tournament after having drawn his first six games.


Carlsen 1-0 Kramnik
Aronian 1-0 Eljanov
Harikrishna ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Topalov ½-½ Giri
Grandelius ½-½ Li Chao

U.S. Championship Final: Caruana crowned the new champion

World No.3 GM Fabiano Caruana was crowned the new champion of the United States of America at the recently concluded U.S. Championship 2016. In the 11th and final round of the event, Caruana convincingly overcame IM Akshat Chandra with the black pieces.

Caruana scored a total of 8.5 points out of a possible 11 and remained unbeaten en route to his first U.S. title.

Caruana’s closest competitors – GMs Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura – scored 7.5 points each. However, Wesley So’s superior tie-break score helped him finish second while Nakamura had to settle for the third spot.

Final Standings

Rank Name Rating Score
1 Caruana 2795 8.5
2 Wesley So 2773 7.5
3 Nakamura 2787 7.5
4 Robson 2663 7
5 Onischuk 2664 6
6 Xiong 2618 5.5
7 Kamsky 2678 5
8 Shankland 2656 4.5
9 Lenderman 2618 4.5
10 Akobian 2615 4.5
11 Shabalov 2528 4
12 Chandra 2477 1.5

Norway Chess 06: Hari beats Giri!

Pentala Harikrishna of India raced to his second consecutive win at the Norway Chess Tournament 2016 by outplaying the super-solid Anish Giri. Hari’s decision to opt for the French Defence in reply to Giri’s 1.e4 worked wonders as the Indian Grandmaster emerged with the more comfortable position out of the opening. The matters further worsened for Giri courtesy of his 26th move, which helped Hari secure the superior endgame. Sidestepping any possible tricks, Hari went on to convert his endgame advantage into a full point.

The other decisive game of the day was played between Pavel Eljanov and Nils Grandelius. The former scored his first victory of the tournament after Grandelius committed a huge blunder on move 35.

Meanwhile, World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s tough defence helped him escape with a draw against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. While Carlsen is currently in sole lead with 4/6, as many as 4 players – Vachier-Lagrave, Topalov, Harikrishna and Kramnik – are only half a point behind him.


Giri 0-1 Harikrishna
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Carlsen
Eljanov 1-0 Grandelius
Kramnik ½-½ Aronian
Li Chao ½-½ Topalov

Norway Chess 05: Harikrishna, Topalov get off the mark

Pentala Harikrishna and Veselin Topalov, who were having a quiet Norway Chess 2016 so far, scored their first wins by overcoming Li Chao and Nils Grandelius respectively. While Harikrishna’s win helped him get back to 50%, Topalov galloped to the joint-second spot on the leaderboard.

Harikrishna’s victory was an enterprising one. Just when it seemed Li Chao’s position was getting comfortable, Hari unleashed a couple of deadly blows on moves 24 and 25. After this, Li Chao found the going tough, with the game ending in a resounding victory for Hari on move 42.

Meanwhile, the central game of the day between Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri ended in a draw. As such, Carlsen is still in sole lead with 3.5/5, half a point ahead of Vachier-Lagrave, Topalov and Kramnik.

Harikrishna 1-0 Li Chao
Topalov 1-0 Grandelius
Carlsen ½-½ Giri
Kramnik ½-½ Eljanov
Aronian ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave

U.S. Championship 07 & 08: Caruana, Wesley So in joint lead

Round 7

The seventh round of the U.S. Championship 2016 proved to be one of the most exciting ones so far. As many as 4 games finished decisively and only 2 games resulted in draws. As regards the standings, the most important result was GM Wesley So’s emphatic victory over GM Alexander Shabalov. On the other hand, GM Fabiano Caruana was held to a draw by 15 year old GM Xiong Jeffery.

As such, after 7 rounds of play, Caruana and Wesley So were tied for the top spot with 5.5/7.

Round 8

While Caruana and Wesley So were held to draws, Nakamura registered his second consecutive win to move on to 5.5/8. This puts Nakamura on the joint-second spot along with GM Ray Robson, only half a point behind leaders Caruana and Wesley So.

Norway Chess 01-03: Carlsen takes early lead

The 4th edition of Altibox Norway Chess Tournament commenced on the 19th of April, 2016. A total of 10 players form the field of this elite event, which boasts of an average rating of 2770. Local star and World Champion Magnus Carlsen is the top seed.

Round 1

The tournament took off on an exciting note with 3 of the 5 encounters ending decisively. Magnus Carlsen registered a thumping win over Pentala Harikrishna while Kramnik and Giri also made a fine start to the event with victories over Grandelius and Eljanov respectively.

Round 2

The second round was a relatively subdued affair. The only decisive game of the day was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s victory over Anish Giri with the black pieces. MVL, playing his favourite Najdorf Sicilian, overcame Giri convincingly in a mere 28 moves. Meanwhile,the Topalov-Carlsen battle resulted in a draw.

Round 3

The third round once again saw four draws and a solitary victory. Grandelius’s bold opening play against the World Champion backfired as Magnus Carlsen went on to win the game with relative ease.

As such, Magnus Carlsen is currently in lead with 2.5/3, half a point ahead of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Vladimir Kramnik. Indian hope Harikrishna has had a quiet tournament so far with a total score of 1/3.

U.S. Championship 06: Caruana beats Onischuk, jumps into sole lead

GM Fabiano Caruana scored an important victory over GM Alexander Onischuk in the 6th round of the U.S. Championship 2016, thus jumping into sole lead with 5/6. Caruana, playing the White side of a Ruy Lopez, dominated the proceedings right from the start and went on to win an impeccable game.

Meanwhile, the high-voltage encounter between GM Wesley So and GM Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw. A popular line of the French Defence gave rise to an interesting battle. However, the queens were exchanged soon and on the 28th move, Wesley So decided to play it safe by opting for a perpetual.


Wesley So ½-½ Nakamura
Caruana 1-0 Onischuk
Kamsky ½-½ Robson
Shankland 0-1 Shabalov
Akobian ½-½ Lenderman
Chandra ½-½ Xiong


Dubai Open Final: Gawain Jones steals the show

GM Gawain Jones’s convincing victory in the final round of the Dubai Open 2016 saw him clinch the title in what turned out to be an exciting finish. Jones, playing White, overcame the then sole leader GM Boris Savchenko in the finale of this extremely strong open.

In an event boasting of 46 GMs and a total of 195 players, the English GM scored a total of 7.5 points and remained unbeaten throughout the course of the event.

GM Vladimir Akopian was another player who finished with 7.5 points. However, Jones’s superior tie-break score meant that Akopian had to content himself with the runners-up spot.

The event witnessed as many as 60 Indians participating, with GM Vidit Gujrathi performing the best of the lot. The youngster notched up a total of 7 points and finished 5th in the final rankings.

Final Standings

Bangkok Open Final: Surya Ganguly clinches the title

A final round victory over GM Loek Van Wely helped GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly triumph at the Bangkok Open 2016. Ganguly scored a total of 7.5 points and remained unbeaten throughout the course of the event.

The Ganguly-Van Wely battle took off with the ever-popular Sicilian Najdorf. While the Indian GM did obtain a fairly favourable position out of the opening, he was unable to capitalize on it. As such, an equal position arose around the 30-move mark. However, with Van Wely erring on moves 34 and 36, the game swung back in Ganguly’s favour. This time, Ganguly duly grabbed his chance and went on to score the full point.

On the other hand, the Bok-Khairullin encounter ended peacefully whilst GM Vallejo Pons Francisco overcame GM Nigel Short with the black pieces. As such, both – Ganguly and Vallejo – ended up with 7.5 points each. It was Ganguly’s superior tie-break score that helped him finish first, with Vallejo finishing as the runner-up.

Amongst other Indians in the fray, GM Sunilduth had a good tournament, finishing 5th in the final rankings.

Final Standings