Not surprisingly this category 21 tournament is the strongest ever taking place in Norway, and it marks the start of an amazing year and a half with the World Cup in Tromsoe in August and the Olympiad in Tromsoe next summer.

The tournament is taking place in the Stavanger region, in Sandnes at the player.s hotel and R4, R7 and R9 in interesting locations regionally. R4 was in the Aarbakke factory.

I wasn.t particularly happy with my own play in the early rounds. In all three white games I.ve had a pleasant advantage at some point. Too many inaccuracies on my part combined with some good defence by my opponents (Topalov, Anand and Svidler) resulted in three draws. I really liked the R3 game against Nakamura. We went outside theory immediately. An early pawn sacrifice gave me enough counterplay and the ensuing battle was hard-fought and enjoyable. Draw.

Karjakin, who won the blitz event on the opening day, has been on a rampage with an incredible 4/4 start.

Today I was in a must-win situation with black against the leader, but my position was really questionable in the middle game. Fortunately Karjakin got ambitious, and when he won my pawn on e5 I got sufficient counterplay. We both had plenty of time on the clock, but he anyhow made a few mistakes before the first time control. I.m not really sure what he had missed. His king was extremely vulnerable and with a few precise moves after the time control I secured an important victory.
Karjakin is still sole leader with 4 points while I.m shared second with Nakamura at 3 points and there are four players at 50%.
Congrats to my countryman J.L.Hammer with his victory against Wang Hao today!

Tomorrow I.m white against Teimur Radjabov.

So far the organizers have done a terrific job and I look forward to the continuation!

Magnus Carlsen, Sandnes, May 13th, 2013