Ranking and ranking | World champion Carlsen wins Norwegian chess tournament

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Magnus Carlsen’s second over-the-board tournament in 2021 was much more successful than the first. While Carlsen was upset in early August in the World Cup semi-finals, in early September he finished first at Norway Chess, ahead of several top-level grandmasters.

The most anticipated match at Norway Chess was between Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi, who will face Carlsen in the World Chess Championship match which kicks off in November. Nepomniachtchi drew Carlsen into the matches they played using a two hour time control per player, which is similar to the time they will have in the world championship game. However, Carlsen came out on top in the much shorter tie-breakers that followed those two draws. These tie-breaking games used the “Armageddon” rules; White started the game with more time than Black (10 v 7 minutes), but had to win, as a draw would be scored as a win for Black.

In Armageddon Game 1, Carlsen played a conservative opening system, postponing tactical play until later in the game, when both players would have less thinking time. Carlsen generally excels in situations where he and his opponent are short on time.

1Nf3 Nf6 2g3 d5 3Bg2 g6 40-0 Bg7 5c4 c6 6b3 Ne4 7d4 0-0 8Bb2 per playera5 9Nc3 Bf5 10e3 Nxc3 11Bxc3 Be4 12Qe2 a4 13Rfc1 axb3 14axb3 Rxa1 15Rxa1 Qb6 16b4 Nd7t but simplified the position Up to now, Nepomacht and simplified 16… Nd7 allows Carlsen to take control of the queen wing. A better plan for black was 16… dxc4 17Qxc4 Na6, followed by Nc7 to defend squares d5 and b5.

White to move

(Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi Armageddon 1, move 17)

17c5 Qc7 18Ra7 Qb8 19Qa2 Bxf3 20Bxf3 e5 21b5. White has an advantage, and Black should continue to trade coins by playing 21… exd4 22Bxd4 Bxd4 23exd4 Nf6. Instead, black played:

Black to move

(Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi Armageddon 1, move 21)

21… e4? 22Be2 Black’s decision to lock the center allows White to keep increasing the pressure on the queen wing, while Black does not have a good plan of attack on the other side of the board.

22… Nxc5 (tries unsuccessfully to complicate the situation) 23Bb4 (Win either knight or black’s tower in f8. Step 23dxc5? Bxc3 and black wins a pawn)

23… Na6 24Bxf8 Bxf8 25Rxb7 Qxb7 26Qxa6 Qb8 27Qxc6 Qd6 28Qxd6 Bxd6 29Bd1 Fc7 30Bb3 Rg7 31Bxd5 f5 32g4 Kf6 33h4 h6 34Kg2 Fd8 35h5 fxg4 36hxg6 K5g fxb6 Kg4 36hxg6 K5hxb6 Kg4 36hxg6 K5hxb6 Kg4 36hxg6 K5hxb6 Kg4 36hxg4 36K5h6 Kg6 Kg4 36hxg6 K5xh6 Kg4 36hxg6 K5xh6 Kg6 36hxg6

Black to move

(Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi Armageddon 1, final position)

Black resigns. White will win the pawns on the king side of black and have a winning advantage with his central pawns connected. To see this game on a virtual board, go to https: //www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame? gid = 2077817

In the second Armageddon match, Nepomniachtchi played white. Carlsen missed a few opportunities to gain a winning advantage, but was never in danger of losing – and a draw would be enough for an Armageddon “win” for him playing Black. The game was pretty much even when Nepomniachtchi blundered late in the game, when he was running out of time:

White to move

(Nepomniachtchi-Carlsen Armageddon 2, move 52)

52Bg7? (better was 52Ke2, giving the white tower more options to move around)

52… Rh1! (Black threatens Rh2 +, wins White’s tower) 53Rc3 Rh2 + 54Kf1? (54Kg1 is better, but black’s pieces still dominate the game after 54… Rh7 55Ff6 Kf7 56Bd8 Bb3 +) 54… Bb3 55Rc4 + Kf3

White to move

(Nepomniachtchi-Carlsen Armageddon 2, final position)

Black has a forced checkmate, so White resigns. To see this game on a virtual board, go to https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=2079956


Keith Holzmueller has been the head coach of the Evanston Township High School Chess Club and Team since 2017. He became a serious chess player during his high school years. As an adult player, he obtained an expert rating from the American Chess Federation for the game over the board and received the title of Senior International Master from the International Correspondence Chess Federation. Keith now devotes most of his chess energy to helping young Evanston chess players learn to appreciate chess and improve their game. Please email Keith at [email protected] if you have any questions about chess.


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