The way I spent May, with two busy weeks with events in Norway, Nederlands and New York followed by two relatively quiet weeks at home, felt like a reasonable preparation for the Norway Chess 2014. And I did feel great both during the initial blitz tournament that I won with a somewhat flattering 7.5/9 out at the magnificent Flo & Fjaere island and in the first few main rounds. After the first rest day I have not been in my best shape although I don.t really know why. My play has been somewhat questionable while the results are just fine fortunately.
In round 4 against Topalov I snatched a pawn on a2 but underestimated his counterplay. He had more than adequate compensation for the pawn. It was not obvious how he should continue, and running low on time he chose to force a repetition of moves. The alternative for me of giving up an exchange to play on would leave me fighting for a draw and nothing more.
Against Aronian I was outplayed in the middle game despite the white pieces, but the position was complicated, and in time trouble he went astray. He thought the ending after exchanging queens would be better for him, but it was white that could play for two results. I found a reasonable plan and managed to gradually improve my position. With a few inaccuracies from my opponent I managed to bring home the full point on a long and difficult day.
Today.s draw with black against Karjakin finished quickly and was uneventful. That was somewhat of a pity as I really like the playing facilities out at the Aarbakke factory!
Thanks to losses by the leaders in both round 5 (Caruana lost to Kramnik) and today when Kramnik lost to Topalov, I.m suddenly in shared lead with Caruana and Kramnik at +1, and all players are within 1 point before the last three rounds.
After the short game today there was time for some football with friends in the nice summer evening. I look forward to playing white against world no 3 Alexander Grischuk Tuesday at 3:30 pm back at Scandic at Forus.
Magnus Carlsen, Stavanger, June 9th 2014