Norway Chess Women: Vaishali widens the gap

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/31/2024 – R Vaishali grabbed her second classical win at the Norway Chess Women event on Thursday. The Indian star now has a 2½-point lead over women’s world champion Ju Wenjun and Anna Muzychuk, who got the better of Humpy Koneru (also in classical chess) in round 4. Curiously, Ju has prevailed in Armageddon deciders in all four rounds played so far in Stavanger. | Photo: Stev Bonhage / Norway Chess

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A Carlsenesque approach?

Curiously, Magnus Carlsen finished the 2023 edition of the Norway Chess super-tournament without a single win in classical chess. However, the local hero won 7 out of the 8 Armageddon deciders he played in Stavanger. This year, in the inaugural edition of the parallel women’s event, Ju Wenjun has followed in the footsteps of Carlsen in the first four rounds, drawing all her classical games and prevailing in every single tiebreaker.

Given the tournament’s scoring system, this approach is not enough to top the standings — Carlsen finished the 2023 event in sixth place (out of 10). Now, Ju’s victories in the rapid tiebreakers left her in shared second place at a 2½-point distance from sole leader R Vaishali. The Indian rising star obtained classical wins in rounds 2 and 4.

In Thursday’s fourth round, Vaishali got the better of Pia Cramling with the black pieces. Cramling faltered decisively amid a balanced-yet-tricky rook endgame.

48.fxe6, as played in the game, loses to 48...Rxe6 49.Rg5 Re5 50.Rg6+ Kc5, and the king crucially approaches the a-file passer. Cramling resigned four moves later.

In the first diagrammed position, Cramling needed to play 48.Rg8 or 48.Rg7, and after 48...exf5 49.Kf4 White can keep the battle going.

Vaishali was not the only player to grab a classical win in round 4, as Anna Muzychuk defeated Humpy Koneru, also with the black pieces. Muzychuk is now tied for second place with Ju, who beat Lei Tingjie with black in the Armageddon tiebreaker.

Pia Cramling, Vaishali

R Vaishali playing black against living legend Pia Cramling | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Humpy 0 - 1 Muzychuk

Analysis by André Schulz

Anna Muzychuk

Anna Muzychuk | Photo: Stev Bonhage

Standings after round 4

Rk Name FED Rtg Pts
1 R Vaishali IND 2489 8.5
2 Ju Wenjun CHN 2559 6
Anna Muzychuk UKR 2505 6
4 Lei Tingjie CHN 2548 5
5 Humpy Koneru IND 2545 3
Pia Cramling SWE 2449 3

All games - Classical

All games - Armageddon

Attacking with the Jobava London System

The Jobava London System is a minor form of the London System. White tries to play Lf4 quickly followed by Nc3.


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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