Norway Chess: Carlsen takes the lead as Ding blunders

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/3/2024 – Magnus Carlsen climbed to sole first place in the standings of the Norway Chess super-tournament after inflicting what was Ding Liren’s fourth consecutive classical loss in Stavanger. The world champion blundered a mate-in-two in a balanced position to lose the game. Meanwhile, Fabiano Caruana and Alireza Firouzja prevailed in Armageddon tiebreakers against Hikaru Nakamura and R Praggnanandhaa, respectively. | Photo: Stev Bonhage / Norway Chess

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In a recent interview given to The Indian Express, Ding Liren reflected on his latest, subpar performances, noting that he hoped “not to finish in last place” at the Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger. After suffering four consecutive classical losses in the event, the world champion stands in clear last place with 2½ points to his name, a whopping 4 points behind fifth-placed Fabiano Caruana.

In round 6, it was Magnus Carlsen who got the better of Ding, as the Chinese GM incredibly blundered a mate-in-two in a position that engines evaluated as balanced. Carlsen had referred to Ding’s form in a recent podcast, mentioning that he hoped for his colleague not to be “permanently broken”.

Ding has already talked about the mental health issues he had to deal with after beating Ian Nepomniachtchi in the 2023 match for the World Championship. As shared by Tarjei J. Svensen on X, Ding provided more details about his struggles in a recent interview given to Die Tageszeitung:

I was exhausted, but still couldn’t sleep very well. That led to depression. I was treated in a clinic twice. Fortunately, things are slowly getting better. Chess is mentally exhausting.

A few of Ding’s colleagues in Norway, including Hikaru Nakamura, have shared their concern about Ding’s form and their desire for him to recover from this low point in his career.

Ding Liren

Ding Liren | Photo: Stev Bonhage

As per the race for first place in Stavanger, Carlsen’s classical win allowed him to take the sole lead in the standings. The local hero has a 1-point lead over Nakamura, who was defeated by Caruana in Armageddon on Sunday. Standing in third place is R Praggnanandhaa, who also lost in round-6’s rapid tiebreaker, against Alireza Firouzja.

Monday’s seventh round will see the clash between Nakamura and Carlsen, while Ding will try to stop the bleeding in his game with black against Pragg.

Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana

On Sunday, Fabiano Caruana defeated Hikaru Nakamura with the black pieces in Armageddon | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Carlsen 1 - 0 Ding

Analysis by André Schulz

Expert analyisis by IM Robert Ris

Standings after round 6

Rk Name FED Rtg Pts
1 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2830 12
2 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2794 11
3 R Praggnanandhaa IND 2747 9.5
4 Alireza Firouzja FRA 2737 8
5 Fabiano Caruana USA 2805 6.5
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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