FOLLOWING widespread criticism over the FIDE farrago of allowing Chennai to host the 2013 World Championship match amidst claims that there was no fair and open bidding process, the game’s governing body went into damage limitation mode by saying that they tried to convince the All-Indian Chess Federation to share the match with Norway, but they refused such a request.
But with such a high-profile match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, who could blame Chennai for wanting to cash in on all the potential sponsorship and media-rights spoils?
But that’s a pity because chess has hit the big time in Norway by attracting major sponsorship and media interest.
Ten years ago, Norway was a chess backwater, but on the back of ‘Magnus mania’, his home is buzzing with chess activity. Next year, Tromsø will host the Chess Olympiad - and underway right now in Stavanger is the first super-tournament ever to be held on Norwegian soil that sees Carlsen and Anand heading the star-studded ten-player field that also includes Levon Aronian, Veselin Topalov, Hikaru Nakamura, Peter Svidler, Sergey Karjakin, Teimour Radjabov, Wang Hao and Jon Ludvig Hammer. The opening ceremony Blitz tournament was won by Karjakin on 6.5/9, with Carlsen - who had the conciliation of the best game - sharing 2nd-4th place with Anand and Nakamura, on 6.
J Hammer - M Carlsen
Norway Supreme Masters Blitz, (4)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 g6 6 0–0 Bg7 7 Nc3 Ne4 8 Nxe4 Bxe4 9 Bg5 Qc8 10 Qd2 h6 11 Bf4 d6 12 Rac1 Nd7 13 Rfe1 Qb7 14 b3 g5 15 Be3 f5 16 Red1 0–0 17 Bf1 Rae8 18 Ne1 e5 19 dxe5 Nxe5 20 f3 Bc6 21 Bd4 f4 22 gxf4 Rxf4 23 Be3 Rf7 24 Bf2 Qc8 25 Bg3 Qf5 26 Nc2 Qxf3 27 exf3 Nxf3+ 28 Kh1 Nxd2+ 29 Bg2 Bxg2+ 30 Kxg2 Re2+ 31 Kh1 Nf3 32 Nb4 a5 33 Rc2 Rfe7 34 Nd5 Rxc2 35 Nxe7+ Kf7 36 Nd5 h5 37 Rf1 g4
38 Nxc7 Be5 39 Rf2 Rc1+ 40 Kg2 Rg1 checkmate.