Norway Chess Blitz: Abdusattorov wins, Carlsen finishes seventh

by André Schulz
5/30/2023 – Traditionally, the Norway Chess Tournament begins with a blitz tournament to determine the pairings for the classical tournament. The big favourite to win Norway Chess is of course Magnus Carlsen, former World Champion and the clear number one in the world. Carlsen was also the favourite in the Blitz tournament, but things did not go his way. It was Nodirbek Abdusattorov who blitzed the best. He finished first with 6.0/9, half a point ahead of Alireza Firouzja and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Carlsen finished seventh with 4.5/9 and will now play five games with Black in the classical tournament, where he, however, is still favourite. | Photo: Norway Chess

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Magnus Carlsen came to the Norway Chess Tournament from the Superbet Rapid and Blitz in Warsaw. Traditionally, in Stavanger a blitz tournament is played before the classical tournament, and the result of this is used to determine the pairings.

In Warsaw Carlsen had played the world's elite to the ground in the blitz tournament. In Stavanger, however, the "local hero" had a real false start. A draw was followed by losses to D. Gukesh, who celebrated his 17th birthday that day, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Against Gukesh Carlsen continued a theoretical debate in the Larsen Opening 1.b3, which he had started last year. However, after the opening Carlsen was worse and a little bit later, he was lost. But in the endgame things got exciting again.

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Carlsen then went on a nice run with wins over Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, but then lost again, this time to Aryan Tari. The Norwegian finished the day with two draws against Wesley So and Alireza Firouzja.

Carlsen's 4.5 points meant seventh place. That's not usually where Carlsen feels comfortable in a table.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov had the best tournament, despite losing to Carlsen in the fourth round. The Uzbek had already lost to Hikaru Nakamura in round two after his opening draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. But in the end Abdusattorov also had five wins to his name, including wins against Wesley So, Fabiano Caruana and D. Gukesh. Alireza Firouzja and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov fared only slightly worse. Both won four games and lost two to finish second and third with 5.5 points.

Though they both won against Carlsen, Gukesh and Aryan Tari both did not have a good tournament. They both suffered a total of six defeats and ended up sharing the last two places with 2.5 points each.

The result of the Blitz tournament has no influence on the overall result. Carlsen's seventh place means that he is seeded seventh and will have five games with Black and four games with White in the tournament. In the first round of the classical tournament he will play Fabiano Caruana, seeded fourth, with Black. The two know each other well. After all, they played each other in a World Championship match in 2018. Another top match in the first round will be the encounter between Alireza Firouzja and Gukesh - a meeting of two possible World Championship contenders.

Final standings


Video of the live transmission - with commentary by Judit Polgar, David Howell and Jovanka Houska

Tournament page... 

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.