Altibox Norway Chess 2018: So wins blitz tournament

by Johannes Fischer
5/28/2018 – The Altibox Norway Chess Tournament started with a blitz tournament, and with 10 of the world’s best players competing it was probably one of the best blitz tournaments in the history of chess. It determined which five players will have one more game with White in the classic tournament which starts today on Monday, April 28, but was of course also about prestige and invites predictions of form. Magnus Carlsen was favourite but Wesley So won. | Photo: Alina l'Ami

My Secret Weapon: 1.b3 My Secret Weapon: 1.b3

Meanwhile, 1.b3 has also found its way into the practice of today's world elite, and now finally a modern top ten player has taken on the subject for ChessBase: none other than Grandmaster Wesley So!


So wins with strong finish

With 2½ / 5 So started slowly but then suddenly everything went for him and he scored 3½ / 4 in the second half of the tournament to become sole first with 6.0/9 (+4, =4, -1). His good run began with the following win against Karjakin.


With solid performances Hikaru Nakamura (+2, =7, -0) and Vishy Anand (+3, =6, -1) shared second and third place, half a point ahead of Carlsen who finished fourth with 5,0/9 (+2, =6, -1).

Though Carlsen won only two games he was the only one to defeat the eventual tournament winner So and he also won against Fabiano Caruana, his challenger in the upcoming World Championship match in November.

In both of these games Carlsen won in the endgame. Against So he showed what you can do with a bishop, against Caruana he showed what you can do with a knight.


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Final standings

Rg. Name Country ELO 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts.
1 Wesley So
2778   ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 6.0
2 Hikaru Nakamura
2769 ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5.5
3 Viswanathan Anand
2760 ½ ½   ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.5
4 Magnus Carlsen
2843 1 ½ ½   1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 5.0
5 Fabiano Caruana
2822 0 ½ 1 0   0 0 1 1 1 4.5
6 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
2808 0 ½ ½ ½ 1   1 0 1 0 4.5
7 Maxime Vachier Lagrave
2789 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0   ½ ½ 1 4.5
8 Sergey Karjakin
2782 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½   0 1 3.5
9 Liren Ding
2791 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1   ½ 3.0
10 Levon Aronian
2764 ½ 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 ½   3.0



Norwegian Grandmaster Simen Agdestein commented the blitz tournament live.

Carlsen’s performance cost him 25.8 points on the live-rating list for blitz, but despite this heavy loss he is still the clear number one in blitz.


The main tournament starts on Monday. All games begin rather late in the day at 16:30 CEST (10:30 EDT). There are two rest days on May 31st and June 4th. The regular final round will be held on June 7th, with a potential playoff (if necessary) on either the 7th or 8th (depending on the number of tied players). The first six rounds will take place at the Clarion Hotel Energy, and then the tournament moves and plays the rest of the tournament in the Stavanger Concert Hall.

The concert hall of  Stavanger | Image: Google

As luck – or the blitz results – would have it, Carlsen will play Caruana in the first round.

Pairings of round 1

SNo.   Name Rtg Res.   Name Rtg SNo.
1 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2769 GM Ding Liren 2791 10
2 GM Anand Viswanathan 2760 GM Aronian Levon 2764 9
3 GM So Wesley 2778 GM Karjakin Sergey 2782 8
4 GM Carlsen Magnus 2843 GM Caruana Fabiano 2822 7
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2808 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2789 6

For all chess fans outside Norway, the organizers are offering a live webcast in English with commentary by Simen Agdestein, Knut Skeie Solberg and Anna Rudolf. Norwegians can also follow the tournament on Norway's TV 2 Sport television channel.

The organizers Kjell Madland, Frode Sømme and Benedicte Westre Skog have all focussed on promoting scholastic chess, as they agree with many others that chess is an excellent tool for the development of the intellectual ability of young people. So, after the Altibox Norway Chess tournament, just outside Stavanger, in Bryne, a three-day school and children's chess festival takes place.

On the edge of the Altibox Norway Chess Tournament, the Norway Summit will also be held, a series of events on artificial intelligence.





Side event

27. May Blitz tournament Clarion Hotel Energy  
28. May 1st Round Clarion Hotel Energy  
29. May 2nd Round Clarion Hotel Energy  
30. May 3rd Round    
31. May Rest day Clarion Hotel Energy  
1. June 4th Round Clarion Hotel Energy  
2. June 5th Round Clarion Hotel Energy  
3. June 6th Round Clarion Hotel Energy  
4. June Rest day    
5. June 7th Round Stavanger Concert Hall Norway Summit (Clarion Hotel Energy)
6. June 8th Round Stavanger Concert Hall  
7. June 9th Round Stavanger Concert Hall  
8. June Playoff (if needed)   School tournament (Bryne)
9. June     Team tournament (Bryne)
10. June     Children's Grand Prix (Bryne)


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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