Norway Chess kicks off Monday, Rapport withdraws

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/29/2022 – The tenth edition of the Norway Chess Tournament is set to kick off on Monday, with a blitz tournament which will decide who gets more whites in the main event. An impressive lineup, including Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov, will fight in a 9-round all-play-all with a unique format — in case of a draw, an Armageddon follows. Richad Rapport, who will play the Candidates in a few weeks, withdrew from the tournament; Aryan Tari stepped in (pictured). | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Tari replaces Rapport

Norway Chess 2022Richard Rapport has been playing almost non-stop during the first half of 2022. The 26-year-old participated both at the Tata Steel Masters and at the FIDE Grand Prix. More recently, he played at two Grand Chess Tour events in Romania and Poland. With the first round of the Candidates set to take place on June 17, it is not surprising that the Hungarian has decided to withdraw from the Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger.

Of course, Rapport did not know he would qualify to the Candidates when he committed to play in these tournaments. As he told Cristian Chirilla in Bucharest:

At the end of the day, my preparation will be to just play. [I’ve been playing] more chess than I have played in years. [...] I hope that when I get to the Candidates I’m not a full-time zombie, so I can still calculate two moves straight. It’s far from my ideal, but it is what it is.

The man from Szombathely understandably will focus on getting some rest and preparing for the all-important tournament in Madrid. Luckily for the organizers, Aryan Tari happily agreed to replace his colleague. Tari has already taken part in previous editions, but he has not faced all the players from this lineup, as he stated:

It feels extra special that it’s the 10-year anniversary this year! A very interesting field, where there are several players I haven’t played against before, which makes it very fun.

More shockingly, the Romanian Chess Federation announced two days ago that transfer procedures have started for Rapport and his wife Jovana, who will apparently represent Romania in the near future:

Carlsen’s home event

The Norway Chess 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’. At times, 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.

In this edition, the world champion is joined by very active professionals such as Wesley So, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri.

Teimour Radjabov, on the other had, 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.

Lineup

  • Magnus Carlsen (Norway)
  • 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)
  • Aryan Tari (Norway)

Norway Chess Tournament

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

The format

A blitz tournament, which starts at 18.00 local time (CEST) on Monday, will decide who gets five whites (out of nine games) in the main event. It will be a single round-robin with a time control of 3 minutes for the game plus 2-second increments per move.

In the Classical-Armageddon tournament, in case of a draw in the slow game, a sudden-death decider will follow, according to the following rules:

  • Time control - classical: Each player will have 120 minutes on the clock with an increment of 10 seconds after move 40.
  • If there is a draw in the classical game, then the players will move on to Armageddon within 20 minutes after the draw.
  • White pieces will continue with white in Armageddon.
  • With this, there will be a winner in each game because black pieces will win if the game ends in a draw.
  • Time control - Armageddon: White has 10 minutes and Black has 7 minutes, with an increment of 1 second per move starting from move 41.
  • Players are not allowed to agree to a draw until after move 30.

The pointing system:

  • Victory main game: 3 points
  • Loss main game: 0 points
  • Draw main game & victory Armageddon: 1½ points
  • Draw main game & loss Armageddon: 1 point

Read the regulations in full...


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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.