Anand, Topalov and semi-retired Wang to play at Norway Chess

by André Schulz
4/9/2022 – From 31 May to 10 June, the Norway Chess Tournament will be held for the tenth time in Stavanger. The lineup is headed by Magnus Carlsen, who will be joined by a number of very active players and a few surprising inclusions. Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov do not play often lately, but will make their way to Stavanger, much like Richard Rapport and Teimour Radjabov, who will participate despite having to play the Candidates shortly after the event comes to an end. Perhaps the most surprising participant, though, is Wang Hao, who had announced his retirement from professional competitions about a year ago.

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Carlsen heads the field

From 31 May to 10 June, the Norway Chess Tournament will be held for the tenth time in Stavanger. The tournament, created by Kjell Madland, was first held in 2013. Magnus Carlsen was already world number one, and soon after won the world title. The idea was to hold the strongest chess tournament in the home country of the world’s best player, and thus help chess become more popular in Norway. This was achieved thanks to Carlsen’s successes. Nowadays, chess tournaments including Carlsen are broadcast for hours on state television.

Norway Chess is the world champion’s ‘home event’. Quite often, however, the tournament did not go according to the expectations of the world’s best player. Sometimes the hustle and bustle and the surrounding attention were just too much to handle.

Norway Chess Tournament

The playing hall at the 2021 edition | Photo: Lennart Ootes

In 2013, 2014 and 2015 the winner was not Magnus Carlsen. Instead, Sergey Karjakin won the first two editions and Veselin Topalov won in 2015. In 2016, the Norwegian was able to enter his name in the winners’ list for the first time. Levon Aronian won in 2017, and Fabiano Caruana in 2018. In 2019 and 2020, however, the winner was once again Magnus Carlsen.

In 2019, the organizers changed the scoring format. A player received two points for a win. For a draw, half a point was awarded. After that, in case of a draw, the contenders played an Armageddon game and the winner got an additional half point.

At the top of the field for the tenth edition of the tournament is, of course, Carlsen. The world champion is joined by very active professionals such as Richard Rapport, Wesley So, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri.

Teimour Radjabov, who is now 35 years old, has not been so active recently. That also applies to Veselin Topalov and Vishy Anand. The participation of Wang Hao is perhaps the most surprising, though. The Chinese player had actually announced his retirement from tournament chess after the 2019-21 Candidates Tournament due to health reasons.

It is also interesting to see who is missing. No players from Russia were invited, given the current situation. But Alireza Firouzja is also missing. The absence of the world’s best young player in Wijk aan Zee failed due to the demands of the young star. Maybe here too? But it is more likely that Firouzja wants to concentrate on the Candidates Tournament, which starts in Madrid shortly after the Norway Chess Tournament. Nonetheless, Rapport and Radjabov have taken a different approach, as they will take part in both events.

The organizers have not yet announced whether the same format as in 2021 will be in place.


  • Magnus Carlsen (Norway)
  • Richard Rapport (Hungary)
  • Wesley So (USA)
  • Shakhriyar Mamedyravov (Azerbaijan)
  • Anish Giri (The Netherlands)
  • Teymur Rajabov (Azerbaijan)
  • Viswanathan Anand (India)
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)
  • Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria)
  • Wang Hao (China)

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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