Altibox Norway Chess, Round 9

by ChessBase
6/14/2019 – The 2019 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament is a ten-player single round robin taking place on June 3rd-15th in Stavanger. Every single match will have a winner: if the classical game ends in a draw Armageddon will follow, White has ten minutes, Black seven, but White needs to win. Magnus Carlsen won the tournament with one round to spare but there is still money and prestige stake. In the ninth and final round Carlsen will play against Caruana. The last round starts Friday at 17:00 CEST (15:00 UTC, 11:00 EDT). Follow the games live, with commentary by Judit Polgar and Anna Rudolf. | Photo: Lennart Ootes /

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Round 9: Carlsen vs Caruana

The 2019 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament is a ten-player single round robin taking place on June 3rd-15th in Stavanger. If a game is drawn, a sudden death encounter with 10 minutes for White and 7 minutes for Black follows, with Black having draw odds. If a match-up is decided on Armageddon, the winner gets 1½ points and the loser ½ point. A win in the classical yields 2 points. [More details about the format at the end of this article].

Standings after Round 8
# Name Country Rating Points
1 Magnus Carlsen Norway 2875 13
2 Levon Aronian Armenia 2752 9
3 Yu Yangyi China 2738
4 Wesley So USA 2754
5 Fabiano Caruana USA 2819
6 Ding Liren China 2754 8
7 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 2779
8 Viswanathan Anand India 2767
9 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan 2774
10 Alexander Grischuk Russia 2775 4

Classical games
Armageddon games

Live commentary with Judit Polgar and Anna Rudolf

Pairings and results

Results of Round 1 - Classical
Results of Round 1 - Armageddon

Report on Round 1 

Results of Round 2 - Classical
Results of Round 2 - Armageddon

Report on Round 2

Results of Round 3 - Classical
Results of Round 3 - Armageddon

Report on Round 3

Results of Round 4 - Classical
Results of Round 4 - Armageddon

Report on Round 4

Results of Round 5 - Classical
Results of Round 5 - Armageddon

Report on Round 5

Results of Round 6 - Classical
Results of Round 6 - Armageddon

Report on Round 6

Results of Round 7 - Classical
Results of Round 7 - Armageddon

Report on Round 7

Results of Round 8 - Classical
Results of Round 8 - Armageddon

Report on Round 8

An experiment

The organizers of the Altibox Norway Chess Tournament decided to deal with the problem of excessive draws in the elite (there is some disagreement in the chess world regarding this topic) by proposing a radical solution: every single game will have a winner. If a game is drawn, a sudden-death encounter will follow immediately (they will not wait for all the classical games to finish). Also, a faster time control will be used in the classical games, with each player getting two hours for the whole game — without increment! 

From the Norway Chess press release:

Each player will have 2 hours on the clock per game, without any increments.

2 points will be given for victory, ½ point for draw and 0 points for loss.

The players that have games that end with a draw will continue in an Armageddon play-off only a few minutes after their game. The player with the white pieces will continue with white in the Armageddon game. With this, there will be a winner in each game due to the fact that black pieces will win if the game ends in a draw. The winner in the Armageddon play-off gets 1 point.

The Armageddon games will not add to the rating of the players, only contributing to the results list in the tournament, which is FIDE rated.

Players will get following points per round:

  • Victory main game: 2 points
  • Loss main game: 0 points
  • Draw main game & loss Armageddon: ½ point
  • Draw main game & victory Armageddon: 1½ points


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ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 6/9/2019 03:41
come on vishy!
Leavenfish Leavenfish 6/9/2019 03:07
Perfectly okay with the format.

However... perhaps this 'experiment' can be filled under 'unintended consequences' as it arguably favors those who are good a quick chess and could lead to LESS pressing by them in the standard game.

Anyone remember all those draws in the LAST TWO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS because Magnus knew he had an edge in the blitz???
Talhaunted Talhaunted 6/8/2019 10:31
Reply to the asonine comment (a bad pun): with the present rules players try not to lose instead of taking risks trying to win. Draws are a drag on the general interest of the public. I would prefer a more radical solution: a draw is the same as a loss. Then we may see the players be more like their prestigious predecessors like Capablanca, Lasker, Morphy, Alekhine, Tahl or Fischer. Those were the days... Today chess is chasing viewers. They do not enjoy watching the grass growing. Offer them soemthing more exciting...
allytton allytton 6/8/2019 09:34
Classical Chess and Armageddon in my judgement are not the same game. Why not just let them flip a coin.
emerlion emerlion 6/7/2019 02:55
Armageddon is fun to watch, but it should be used as a tiebreaker and not as points.
asoni asoni 6/7/2019 12:36
why are u all bitching about format.
1. they are all paid for appearance, its not some quailification tournament for wc match or whatever, so they dont need to overpress they can play classic game regularly.
2. armageddon is fun for spectators and even more i prefer games to finish with draw so it can be blitz afterwards, and this comes from someone who play otb tournament regularly and love classic chess.
3. maybe some fine tuning is required for point system but its just first iteration

one guy in comments says i refuse to watch any chess event that makes an Armageddon encounter very likely, complete bullshit, great format.
Kpawn Kpawn 6/7/2019 09:43
I don't see how Armageddon solves anything. White has a slight theoretical advantage in regular chess. Lets fix it by giving Black an advantage. Wow, brilliant. You might as well just give Black the first move. Clearly nothing has been solved here. Giving White's advantage to Black just reverses the problem and leaves you with the same problem. I get that Armageddon is trying to create some kind of equality in a one game sudden death match but does anybody really believe that that equality is being accomplished?
chipstaylor chipstaylor 6/7/2019 02:50
The FORMAT IS GOOD. It is just that draw should score 1 pt or as it is; 1/2 of the score of a win which is 2 pts. An added .5 as an incentive for Armageddon win. But overall, organizers should be applauded for their creativity and there is always room for improvement.
david7365 david7365 6/6/2019 10:41
don't like this format.

armageddon outa here!
fckeres fckeres 6/6/2019 10:56
@resquivias3: as for me, of course, I like chess and also watching the games going on. Btw., perfect live commentary - Judit still has it! I also respect the right of oranizers to choose whatever format they want - as you rightly said: it´s their money. Nevertheles, I would like to express my subjective opinion on the scoring system used and its preferences. I already wrote some posts regarding this issue earlier, but would like to repeat one example (that I already posted elsewhere), which according to me shows, why exactly this scoring system is rather inapropriate to evaluate the play in a "classical" tournament (my assumption is, that the organizers consider it to be a classical tournament):
Imagine that you make a result +6 =2 -1 in classical games (losing 2 armageddons). You get 6x2 + 0,5x2 = 13pts. You can still end up behind a guy who makes +0 =9 -0 in classical games (winning 9 armageddons), which totals 9x0,5 + 9x1 = 13,5pts. As for me, this is pretty bizzare looking at both players classical games´ results. I would be very amused if this scenario actually transpired into 1st and 2nd place finish...
resquivias3 resquivias3 6/6/2019 05:55
Just like what Grischuk said, if it's Garros it is clay. If it's Wimbledon, it's grass. I believe the orgainzers have thought about a zillion formats. To make the tournament interesting. If the format they have used does not work out well, at least they tried. We can only have thoughts after the format has begun to be used. It's their ground, it's their rules then, and their money. I will still watch their games. Who knows, the next tournamet will have these topnotch chessplayers wear scuba suits playing underwater. Or play while skydiving. It is for the love of the game and the rewards, money or the thrill. I love chess, and I will still watch their games.
Peter B Peter B 6/6/2019 02:08
I hope this tournament has something like a 6 way tie for first, so that the organisers realise that eliminating draws helps nothing.
dumkof dumkof 6/5/2019 06:45
In my opinion,

1. Armageddon should be abandoned forever, from and official tournament. Time odds, draw odds are unacceptable. Players should play under completely equal conditions. Everyone in this forum, like most of the others, are against Armageddon, so why do organizers still insist on it?
2. Increment/ delay should be a standard. Adding unnecessary time pressure in the endphase kills the endgame and chess quality.
3. The scoring system should be the classical one: The values of loss, draw, win should be 0, ½, 1 points respectively.
fckeres fckeres 6/5/2019 06:26
The problem here is that the armageddon game result has too big weight(!!) After all, I suppose this should have been "a classical" tournament in a sense that the classic chess games do have more importance than the armageddon playoff games. The idea that every game (mini-match) has to be decided via armageddon is not wrong. The wrong idea is that the bonus points for an armageddon win are too big... In this case the organizators (for whatever reason) chose the 4-3-1-0 (=2-1,5-0,5-0) points distribution - strongly favouring good blitz players... Why not distribute the pionts like this: 5-3-2-0 ? These are much more sensible weights - deciding every mini-match and still giving the classical game result enough importance...
mc1483 mc1483 6/5/2019 06:10
Armageddon (but also rapid/blitz) AFTER classical is nonsense. If you dislike draws so much, Armageddon is OK, but do it properly: for example, with a classical game in which White gest 3 hours, Black 1 + draw odds. Much more reliable. Otherwise players will rest, draw soon and always go to Armageddon. Grischuk and So have just done that.
Not a great idea, better to organize a one day blitz tournament ! :-)
Anthe Anthe 6/5/2019 10:20
10s increment after move 40... the weight in points for the armageddon games is imho too high/much ... the system itself worth a try
Jacob woge Jacob woge 6/5/2019 09:13
This is reminiscent of the Monte Carlo tournaments around 1900. Draws were worth 1/2p in total, scoring 1/4-1/4, and a second game was played out, same conditions, colours reversed, for the other half-a-point. So you had scores of 3/4-1/4.

The approach was abandoned after a few years, and tried in no other major event (to my knowledge). Probably because length of schedule may be doubled.

This Altibox version, forcing a decisive result in a speed/blitz hybrid game, is more radical in its dislike of draws. A similar idea dubbed Gladiator Chess was tried in the Danish Championship ten odd years ago. Cancelled after a single outing, unless my memory fails me.

I hope this will be, too. While I find the Monte Carlo system interesting, and might try it out in a short time control setting, Armageddon is, to me, rubbish. If for no other reason, then because you may win an event without winning any games.
Claudioarrau Claudioarrau 6/5/2019 08:24
It's about time chess sponsors and spectators got real. Ronaldo doestn't try to play like Pele all the time, and football fans don't expect him to. They're happy if he just plays his natural game. So it should be in chess. It's absurd to expect all the top players to play like Tal every game. Every player has his own style and that should be respected.
Lilloso Lilloso 6/5/2019 07:15
An experiment to forgive ! The organizers should instead organize a lottery.
hansj hansj 6/5/2019 06:48
Apparently the organizers changed their mind about increment:
4. Time control
Each player will have 120 minutes on the clock with an increment of 10 seconds after move 40.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 6/5/2019 04:09
I wonder how the organizers came up with "ten minutes for White, seven minutes for Black, and draw odds for the latter". There could not be much data on this specific time control. Also it seems that the regular games should not be rated, as 2 points for the win will incentivize more aggressive play. Better to win and lose a game and have 2 points, than to draw two and have 1 point.
Kpawn Kpawn 6/5/2019 02:22
I refuse to watch any chess event that makes an Armageddon encounter very likely. Even worse than too many draws are the counter efforts which threaten the very existence of the thinking game. Chess clocks were invented to eliminate unreasonable delay tactics not to make thought in chess a luxury.
GrayRazorback GrayRazorback 6/5/2019 02:14
RichardEaston RichardEaston 6/5/2019 01:40
The classical games should have time control G 1:50 with ten seconds added per move. That way, a reasonable endgame can be played.
dumkof dumkof 6/4/2019 10:48
In this tournament, two things are extremely annoying:

1. There is no increment. This kills especially the endgame, which is the most determining phase, that shows the better player.
2. Armageddon. This is a joke. Especially after a game with classical time control.

I wonder what organizers have in mind, to humiliate the best chess players like that, and ruin the quality of chess in general.
Zdrak Zdrak 6/4/2019 09:04
It's a mistake to have multiple Armageddons at the same time. For better presentation, they need to be queued one after the other.
shahrad shahrad 6/4/2019 08:23
My dream team would be: Judit Polgar and Anatoly Karpov.
jakaiden jakaiden 6/4/2019 06:46
Judit Polgar has the agadmator syndrome. She says Arian instead of Ar"O"nian. LOL