Norway Chess R4: Rapport increases his lead, Carlsen “tortures” Nepomniachtchi


GM Richard Rapport is the only player to have won a classic game so far at the Norwegian chess tournament, and on Friday he won his second (called “pure luck”). By beating GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Hungary has gained three points and is now two and a half ahead of GM Magnus Carlsen.

The world champion beat his challenger at the next world championship, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, in armageddon. GM Sergey Karjakin now shares fourth place with his compatriot after beating GM Aryan Tari also in armageddon.

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Ranking round 4

# fed name Evaluation C1 A1 C2 A2 C3 A3 C4 A4 C5 AT 5 C6 A6 Total
1 Richard Report 2760 3 1.5 1 3 8.5
2 Magnus carlsen 2855 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 6
3-4 Ian nepomniachtchi 2792 1.5 1.5 1 4
3-4 Sergei Karzakin 2758 1 1.5 1.5 4
5-6 Alireza Firouzja 2754 1 1 1 0 3
5-6 Aryan Tari 2642 0 1 1 1 3

The game drew a little less attention due to the first clash between world championship participants Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi, but Rapport’s sluggishness against Firouzja was a good match.

The 25-year-old Hungarian grandmaster had a slight edge over the opening in a Grunfeld, and he noted that it was already something: “We’re talking about this modern chess game. I think it already is. an achievement once you play against someone playing the Grunfeld that you haven’t forced to draw after 20 moves! “

He had a slightly more pleasant end of the game thanks to the pair of bishops, but Firouzja continues to play very concrete moves and thus poses problems.

The break … c5 had been prevented earlier and when Firouzja missed his chance to play the other break … e5, he allowed a pawn storm on the king’s side and really turned to the defensive side. Still, the game wasn’t decided until the now struggling Black blundered.

Rapport joked the other day that getting into the world‘s top 10 didn’t mean much because he was going to face Firouzja. After this second classic victory, he overtook GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and now finds himself in ninth place.

Here’s the game, based on Rapport’s remarks in her post-match interview:

A hitherto unlucky Firouzja lost to Rapport. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

Most of the attention has obviously gone to Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi. While the Russian GM has said that Norway Chess will likely be his last classic event before the big game, Carlsen has revealed that he will also play in the European Club Cup, right after Norway Chess: September 17-25 in Struga, Ohrid Lake, North Macedonia.

Today Carlsen and Nepo started with a draw in a Berlin Endgame. For armageddon, Carlsen went to 1.Nf3 and then entered a Fianchetto Grunfeld.

Carlsen Nepomniachtchi Norway Chess 2021
Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi drawing their classic game. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

Although Carlsen had the same line the other week against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the Champions Chess Tour, Nepomniachtchi was not very well prepared for it and missed the equalizer on stroke 15. After that, Carlsen was cruising and basically left his opponent. without luck.

“I’m not very excited about the classic game because I felt at one point I was putting some pressure on,” Carlsen said. “At least I played a decent armageddon match today. Anything I can win before the world championship is of course enjoyable.”

Anything I can win before the world championship is of course enjoyable.
—Magnus Carlsen

Asked about his rather long thinking at shot 25, he explained that on the one hand, he wanted to make sure that he won 100%, and: “Besides, I thought it would be good to torture him a little.”

Game of the day Dejan Bojkov

Focus on Magnus Carlsen
Carlsen: “Anything I can win before the world championship is of course enjoyable.” Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

Tari and Karjakin went more or less straight to armageddon as their 5.Re1 Berlin was tied from start to finish. Having to win in this other game, Tari played 4.d3 instead. Karjakin continued to play a very solid opening, equalized, then got a big advantage after Tari miscalculated early in the middle of the game.

Tari Karjakin
Strong but powerful failures of Karjakin. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

All games day 4

Saturday is a day of rest, but Nepomniachtchi and Karjakin will play their game from the first round. The fifth round will take place on Sunday with the matches Karjakin-Carlsen, Nepomniachtchi-Rapport and Firouzja-Tari.

Norway Chess will take place September 7-18, 2021 in Stavanger, Norway. The format is a double round robin between six players. Time control is 120 minutes for the entire game, with an increment of 10 seconds from move 41. In the event of a tie, players play an armageddon game with the same colors. White has 10 minutes and Black has seven minutes with a one-second increment from move 41. A win in the main game gives three points, a loss in the main game gives zero points, a draw in the main game and a 1.5 point armageddon victory, a one point loss in armageddon.

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