Norway Chess: Pragg obtains first-ever classical win over Carlsen

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/30/2024 – R Praggnanandhaa defeated Magnus Carlsen in a classical game for the first time in his career in round 3 of the Norway Chess super-tournament. The victory allowed Pragg to become the sole leader in Stavanger. Standing in second place is Fabiano Caruana, who beat Ding Liren in their classical encounter. Hikaru Nakamura stands in third place after getting the better of Alireza Firouzja in Armageddon. | Photo: Stev Bonhage / Norway Chess

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One to remember

May 29 is a landmark date for R Praggnanandhaa. Besides it being the birthday of his friend and fellow prodigy D Gukesh — and, coincidentally, that of Tan Zhongyi — it marks the date in which the youngster obtained his International Master title (2016) and the date in which he collected his first-ever classical win over Magnus Carlsen (2024).

Pragg defeated Carlsen with white in round 3 of the Norway Chess tournament to collect 3 points and grab the sole lead in the standings. The Indian GM saw his famed opponent playing a risky Sicilian and losing the thread in the early middlegame. Precise play by the youngster in the ensuing struggle allowed him to emerge victorious in the 37-move encounter.

Hikaru Nakamura, who grabbed 1½ points on Wednesday after beating Alireza Firouzja in Armageddon, reflected on the fact that Carlsen apparently plays more riskily when facing younger opponents. The 5-time US champion had this to say in the confessional booth:

When Magnus is playing the younger kids specifically, he wants to sort of prove a point — he wants to go after them and try to beat them, and he takes far more risks than he does against us old folks.

Carlsen, who came from winning two Armageddon tiebreakers in the first two rounds, fell from the sole lead to fifth place. On the other hand, Fabiano Caruana, who suffered a painful loss on Tuesday, bounced back with a classical win over Ding Liren, which allowed him to climb to sole second place in the standings. Caruana surprised the world champion in the opening, got a major time advantage and swiftly converted his edge into a 31-move victory.

Thursday’s fourth round, the last one before the first rest day, will see the following clashes: Caruana v. Carlsen, Nakamura v. Pragg and Firouzja v. Ding.

Fabiano Caruana, Ding Liren

Fabiano Caruana climbed to second place after beating Ding Liren in their classical encounter | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Praggnanandhaa 1 - 0 Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen

It was a tough day at the office for Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Expert analysis by GM Daniel King

Expert analysis by IM Robert Ris

Standings after round 3

Rk Name FED Rtg Pts
1 R Praggnanandhaa IND 2747 5.5
2 Fabiano Caruana USA 2805 5
3 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2794 4
4 Alireza Firouzja FRA 2737 3.5
5 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2830 3
6 Ding Liren CHN 2762 2.5

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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