Fabiano Caruana’s rocky start to Altibox Norway Chess 2018 continued in Round 2 as he again made a “kind of ridiculous” blunder, this time against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. He gave up a pawn for no reason, but luckily by that point he was a pawn up and the game simply fizzled out into a draw. Karjakin-Carlsen and the other games also ended peacefully within three hours, though Peter Svidler summed up, “this was not a boring round, it just ended in five draws fast.”
In this game Mamedyarov played Caruana’s big weapon of 2018, the Petrov, against him, and although White got a visually aggressive looking position it seems objectively Black was doing just fine. It didn’t seem that way to Shak, though, and he admitted, “I thought it’s just a bad position, and for that I gave you a pawn, but it was not right”.
That brings us to the diagram position, where White is a pawn up and, despite technical problems ahead, can certainly fight for a win. Fabiano revealed 21.h5 was a move that crossed his mind, and he saw that 21…Rg2 could be met by 22.Rh2. Then he decided to be “more clever”, and play 21.Ra5?, only to realise after he left the board that 21…Rg2! was now simply picking up the f2-pawn. After 22.a4 Rxf2 23.h5 Mamedyarov was now considering whether to play for a win himself or to force a draw.
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- Wesley So wins Norway Chess blitz
- Norway Chess 1: Carlsen shows Caruana who’s boss