Norway Chess, Round 5: Carlsen still on top, Yu Yangyi in second place

by Klaus Besenthal
6/10/2019 – In the fifth round of the Altibox Norway Chess Tournament in Stavanger, Magnus Carlsen has secured another 1½ points thanks to a couple of safe draws with Black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Given the fact that Wesley So only drew with White in his Armageddon match-up against Viswanathan Anand, Carlsen now has a 1½-point lead in the standings table. In second place is Yu Yangyi, who benefited from a mistake by Fabiano Caruana in a pawn endgame. Round-up show by YANNICK PELLETIER. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Altibox Norway Chess, Round 5

All five classical games on Sunday finished drawn, which meant they all went down to Armageddon. Four out of five sudden death games favoured the player who had the black pieces.

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

Mamedyarov ½:1½ Grischuk

In the classical game, Grischuk quickly gave up a pawn. A little later, Mamedyarov had to go for a repetition in order to prevent Grishuk's heavy pieces to infiltrate on the d-file. In the subsequent Armageddon match-up, we saw once again how the need to win led the white player to make decisions he otherwise might not have made:


Alexander Grischuk

Will this game serve as a turning point for Alexander Grischuk? | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Ding Liren ½:1½ Aronian

In the classical game, Aronian launched a sacrificial kingside attack, which only gave him a draw by perpetual check. The Armageddon game lasted 97 moves. In the final position, Ding Liren had a queen against Aronian's rook and two pawns. The Armenian finally managed to secure the draw and thus was awarded the full point despite having a material disadvantage.

Ding Liren

Ding Liren is now three points behind the leader | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Vachier-Lagrave ½:1½ Carlsen

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave opened with 1.e4 in the classical game, whereupon Carlsen predictably chose the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian Defence. The Frenchman never got even a slight chance to fight for the win:


In Armageddon, Vachier-Lagrave opted for 1.c4 and the World Champion responded with 1...e5, a move that is currently hugely popular in the elite. Also in this game, Carlsen was completely in control at all times:


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Magnus Carlsen

Two draws with Black added 1½ points to the world champion's tally | Photo: Lennart Ootes

So ½:1½ Anand

In the classical game, none of the players found a way to get winning chances, so they simply exchanged their pieces. Finally, not much happened and a draw was agreed.

The Armageddon game followed the same storyline. Making use of a strategy similar to the one employed by Magnus Carlsen, Anand secured the full point by drawing with the black pieces:


Wesley So

Wesley So had to relinquish second place to Yu Yangyi | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Yu Yangyi 1½:½ Caruana

The Catalan was played in the classical game. With two well-placed knights against Caruana's rook, the Chinese player obtained an advantage early in the game. However, he could not make much of it and repeated the position before move thirty. Perhaps Yu Yangyi felt he had a better chance against Caruana in the blitz encounter  — after all, the American has a reputation of not being so strong in this discipline. And, indeed, Yu Yangyi got the point in the Armageddon match-up, but only after a tough struggle...and quite a bit of luck:


Yu Yangyi, Fabiano Caruana

Yu Yangyi needed some luck to defeat Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Round 5 round-up show

Part 1 of 2

GM Yannick Pelletier recaps the action from round five

Standings after Round 5

# Name Country Rating Points
1 Magnus Carlsen Norway 2875 8
2 Yu Yangyi China 2738
3 Levon Aronian Armenia 2752 6
4 Wesley So USA 2754 6
5 Ding Liren China 2805 5
6 Viswanathan Anand India 2767 5
7 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan 2774
8 Fabiano Caruana USA 2819
9 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 2779 3
10 Alexander Grischuk Russia 2775

All games - Classical


All games - Armageddon



Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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