Norway Chess: Ding beats Nakamura, helps Carlsen extend his lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/7/2024 – Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Fabiano Caruana all won their round-9 encounters in Armageddon at the Norway Chess super-tournament in Stavanger. Carlsen, who defeated Alireza Firouzja, now leads Hikaru Nakamura (who lost to Ding) by 1½ points. In Friday’s final round, Carlsen will face Caruana with white, while Nakamura will play black against R Praggnanandhaa, who still has an outside chance of winning the event. | Photo: Stev Bonhage / Norway Chess

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Ding bounces back

After beating R Praggnanandhaa in round 2 of the Norway Chess tournament, Ding Liren suffered four losses in a row, making uncharacteristic blunders while looking visibly uncomfortable during the games. His colleagues expressed concern about the world champion’s well-being, mentioning that going through tough times is something professional chess players have to deal with from time to time — as Anna Muzychuk did during round 7.

Fortunately, the Chinese star has recovered from the losing streak, as he got good positions almost in all his games in rounds 7-9. Moreover, after losing in Armageddon twice, the world champion managed to beat an in-form Hikaru Nakamura in their tiebreaker on Thursday.

Nakamura, the only player who remains undefeated in classical chess in Stavanger, now stands 1½ points behind sole leader Magnus Carlsen, who got the better of Alireza Firouzja with the black pieces in their round-9 rapid chess confrontation.

Going into the final round, three players still have chances of winning the tournament. Carlsen is clearly the favourite, but Nakamura and even Pragg might still catch up with him. In the deciding round, Carlsen will play white against Fabiano Caruana — who beat Pragg in Armageddon on Thursday — while Pragg will play white against Nakamura.

At the Norway Chess super-tournament, a win in classical chess is worth 3 points, a win in Armageddon is worth 1½ points, while a loss in Armageddon grants 1 point.

Standings after round 9

Rk Name FED Rtg Pts
1 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2830 16
2 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2794 14.5
3 R Praggnanandhaa IND 2747 13
4 Alireza Firouzja FRA 2737 12
5 Fabiano Caruana USA 2805 10.5
6 Ding Liren CHN 2762 6

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

Still with an outside chance of winning the super-tournament in Norway — Praggnanandhaa | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Nakamura 0 - 1 Ding (Armageddon)

Ding Liren

Ding Liren making the last moves of the Armageddon encounter | Photo: Stev Bonhage

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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