Norway Chess: Three draws, three Armageddon deciders

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/28/2024 – All three classical games ended drawn in round 1 of the Norway Chess super-tournament. In the subsequent Armageddon tiebreakers, Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and R Praggnanandhaa (pictured) prevailed to become the early co-leaders. The much anticipated clash between Carlsen and world champion Ding Liren saw the contenders agreeing to a 14-move draw in the slow game and Carlsen comfortably holding a draw with black in Armageddon. | Photo: Abhyudaya Ram

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“Noodles, salad and a big peperoni pizza”

Besides an innovative scoring format, the Norway Chess super-tournament gives players the possibility to share their thoughts in a ‘confessional booth’. In the first round of this year’s edition, defending champion Hikaru Nakamura quickly made use of the booth to let the spectators know that Magnus Carlsen was having (a hefty) dinner in the back room:

It’s pretty funny to see Magnus — in the back room, eating. He spent like 13 minutes eating noodles, salad and a big peperoni pizza.

Carlsen was eating after the round had started, and he had the black pieces against world champion Ding Liren. Once he had finished dinner, the local hero went on to quickly get a draw with black, in a game lasting only 14 moves.

In the remaining two games, R Praggnanandhaa had the white pieces against Alireza Firouzja and Fabiano Caruana was playing white against Nakamura. Both encounters ended drawn, with Caruana finding a nice tactical idea but then failing to play the perplexing follow-up.

As per the rules of the event, all three games were followed by Armageddon deciders. While wins in classical chess are worth 3 points, prevailing in Armageddon grants players 1½ points (the players who lose in the tiebreaker get 1 point).

In round 1, Carlsen, Nakamura and Pragg got the extra half points in the tiebreakers. Carlsen was never in trouble playing black against Ding and held the draw he needed; Nakamura put pressure on Caruana until provoking a losing blunder; and Pragg was quicker than Firouzja in a frantic time scramble.

Carlsen v. Nakamura, Firouzja v. Caruana and Pragg v. Ding are the pairings for round 2.

Caruana 0 - 1 Nakamura

Standings after round 1

Rk Name FED Rtg Pts
1 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2830 1.5
Praggnanandhaa R IND 2747 1.5
Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2794 1.5
4 Ding, Liren CHN 2762 1
Firouzja, Alireza FRA 2737 1
Caruana, Fabiano USA 2805 1

All games - Classical

All games - Armageddon

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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.
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