Norway Chess: Ding misses chances, Carlsen leads

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/5/2024 – Round 8 of the Norway Chess tournament saw Magnus Carlsen extending his lead over Hikaru Nakamura to a full point, as he got the better of R Praggnanandhaa in Armageddon, while Nakamura was defeated by Alireza Firouzja in the rapid tiebreaker. In the remaining encounter of the day, Ding Liren missed winning chances both in the classical game (which ended drawn) and the ensuing tiebreaker against Fabiano Caruana — a second draw with black in Armageddon granted Caruana 1½ points. | Photo: Stev Bonhage / Norway Chess

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Armageddon victories

Magnus Carlsen drew 4 out of the 8 classical games he has played so far at the Norway Chess super-tournament. Out of the 4 Armageddon deciders he played, he prevailed in three of them — the one player who beat him in this stage of the mini-matches was Hikaru Nakamura in round 7. In Tuesday’s eighth round, Carlsen drew R Praggnanandhaa in their classical encounter and then beat him in Armageddon.

The strong performance of Carlsen in the rapid tiebreakers in this edition mimics his previous showings in the rapid stages of the event, as noted by Tarjei J. Svensen, who shared the following stats on X:

Carlsen only has six Armageddon losses out of 32 games in #NorwayChess history:

❎Nakamura (with black) in 2024
❎Abdusattorov (with white) in 2023 (draw)
❎So (with black) in 2022
❎Anand (with black) in 2022
❎Tari (with black) in 2022
❎Caruana (with black) in 2019

Tuesday’s Armageddon victory allowed Carlsen to get a full-point lead over Nakamura in the standings. With two rounds to go and with classical wins granting 3 points, it is still all to play for in Stavanger.

The two remaining mini-matches in round 8 were also decided in the rapid tiebreakers, though there was no lack of excitement in the drawn classical encounters. In the end, it was Fabiano Caruana and Alireza Firouzja who prevailed in the deciders, over Ding Liren and Nakamura respectively.

While Firouzja outplayed Nakamura in a tactical struggle in Armageddon, Ding missed chances in both games against Caruana and ended up drawing with white in the tiebreaker — this is the second consecutive round that sees the world champion getting promising positions and failing to convert them into victories.

Following the rest day, Carlsen will play black against a resurgent Firouzja, while Nakamura will get the white pieces against Ding.

Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Carlsen 1 - 0 Praggnanandhaa (Armageddon)

Analysis by André Schulz

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Ding ½ - ½ Caruana (Armageddon)

Analysis by André Schulz

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Firouzja 1 - 0 Nakamura (Armageddon)

Analysis by GM Daniel King

Standings after round 8

Rk Name FED Rtg Pts
1 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2830 14.5
2 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2794 13.5
3 R Praggnanandhaa IND 2747 12
4 Alireza Firouzja FRA 2737 11
5 Fabiano Caruana USA 2805 9
6 Ding Liren CHN 2762 4.5

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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