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Norway Chess: 2 rounds later

prune2000 Chess

The first 2 rounds of Norway Chess have been full of interesting games and exciting moments.

It has been a very exciting beginning of this historical tournament. Most of the draws have been full of action, and we've had one decisive game per round so far, placing Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik at shared first place. Let's have a look at the action in round 1 and 2!

First of all, I want to point how great the atmosphere is in the playing hall. It is my first Super-GM tournament and I am amazed by the sacred feeling in the room where the games happen. It is all chaotic during the day with full lights on and a lot of technicians, volunteers and journalists running around until the last minute, but then when the rounds start ... the silence is only broken by the sound of the players hitting the clock, the lights are very low giving each board a mystic look and the players themselves walking slowly in front of the boards complete this beautiful scene. It gives you a real feeling that something special is happening and witnessing it is a privilege.

Round 1:

Magnus had chosen the 3rd spot in the roster after winning the blitz tournament giving him Wesley So as his first opponent. Everyone expected a lot from this game but it ended up being a calm battle with a perfect defense in the endgame by Wesley. The only decisive game was the continuation of Giri's nightmare. After a disastrous blitz tournament, he lost his first game against Hikaru Nakamura. Did Magnus' tweet affect him a little? Here is the game reviewed by IM lovlas:

https://lichess.org/study/embed/HwXovdRZ/EetiNj6C

Round 2:

Caruana - Carlsen was the matchup of the round as many consider Fabiano to be a strong contender to the World Championship crown. Don't forget that he was one game away to take Sergey Karjakin's spot at the end of the Candidates tournament last year. But here, it was a disappointing game as the American player shut down all possibilities for a complex game against Magnus. The Norwegian champion expressed his slight annoyance about that during his interview with Nigel Short, but he decided to let the steam off on a basketball court where he played in the evening against Peter Heine Nielsen.

The second decisive game of the tournament was between Anand and Kramnik. The first game they played against each other was in 1989, before some of the Norway Chess participants were even born! The game they played here was very interesting with Anand sacrificing a pawn in the opening but Kramnik found the win in the endgame. The Russian ex-World champion went straight for a cigarette after his win while Vishy politely answered Nigel Short's questions before ripping slowly his scoresheet as he left the studio.

All in all, the two first days were very fun and everyone is hoping for some more action today! You can find all the games with delayed analysis in the study we've created here.

Stay tuned for the next report!