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Norway Chess R1: Carlsen survives a scare, beats Firouzja in Armageddon

by Shahid Ahmed - 08/09/2021

Magnus Carlsen started his Norway Chess 2021 campaign in the exact same way as last year, by making a draw in the Classical game and then winning the Armageddon. Although it was Firouzja who was completely winning the endgame in Armageddon, but he missed in a time scramble and allowed the world champion to escape with a draw. Rapport beat Tari in the Classical game to score 3.0 points and enter the World top 10. As announced earlier, Nepomniachtchi will play against Karjakin on the rest day, Saturday 11th September. Catch all the action of Round 2 tonight from 8:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess

Rapport scores a Classical victory, enters World top 10

Richard Rapport's peak ranking was World no.11 in August 2021. That changed yesterday when he beat Norway no.2 Aryan Tari clean in their Classical encounter to enter into the World top 10 in the live ratings. He is now World no.9 as per the live ratings in 2700chess.

World Champion starts with a shaky win in Armageddon | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess

Firouzja - Carlsen 1-1.5

The first Classical over-the-board game between Firouzja and Carlsen ended in a draw. Carlsen made an interesting sacrifice in Armageddon.


Position after 15...Rxf2

16.Bxd8 Rf3+ 17.Kh1 Rxg3 and 18.Bxb6 could have landed White in more trouble than he could ask for. Instead, White could have gone for the relatively quieter 18.hxg3 Rxd8. 18...Bxb6 19.hxg3 and now 19...Rf8 could have made things difficult for White.

Position after 33...dxe4

33...dxe4 completely started turning things in White's favor. 34.Rxe4 Ra3 35.Rc4 Rxc3 36.Rxc3 Bxc3 37.Rc1 and White is now well-placed to push for a win.

Position after 51.Ke3

Firouzja blundered in time scramble 51.Ke3 and allowed the world champion to escape with a draw. Find out what White should have done instead.

Handshake is in every chess player's muscle memory | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess

Tari - Rapport: 0-3

Once the queen's got exchanged, white's bishop lacked a proper square to go to, which made white virtually down by a piece.

Position after 28...dxe4

The c1-bishop is gridlocked completely. 29.Nc5 Nxh4. Now, both 30.Nxb7 or Nxe4 will eventually cost the game for White because white is playing with only one minor piece and it is just a matter of time before black knights overpower White which is what happened in the game and Rapport scored a victory.

Rapport enters into World Top 10 | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess

Due to visa problems, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi was prevented from boarding his plane and had to be issued a new visa to get to Norway. The Norwegian Embassy in Moscow and the Directorate of Immigration have been very helpful in resolving this issue quickly, so that Nepomniachtchi arrives in Stavanger on 7 September. However, Nepomniachtchi will be too late to start the first round at 17.00, and will therefore play round 1 on the day off on Saturday 11 September, where he will play against GM Sergey Karjakin. Source

Nepomniachtchi - Karjakin: 3-0

Nepomniachtchi beat Karjakin in Ruy Lopez Berlin.

Position after 17.Nf6

17.Nf6 is a beautiful move. Black's best chance is 17...gxf6 18.Nxe6+ fxe6 19.Bxh6 Nxh6 20.exf6 Bxf6 21.Rxe6. 17...Bc4 is another option. Karjakin opted for 17...Bxa2 which is lost after 18.b3

Carlsen has already made a subtle reference to his opponents, especially Nepomniachtchi as this event will be the last time they will face each other in-person at a tournament before the world championship in November.

Photo Gallery

Robert Haugland, Sales Manager of MINI makes the first move 1.d4 | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich/Norway Chess

Tor Henrik Knutsen, Managing Director of House of Yarn making the first move 1.d4 | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich/Norway Chess

No rest for Tari as he will face the world champion in Round 2 | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich/Norway Chess

What a joy to play over-the-board chess again | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess

Nepomniachtchi is undoubtedly in good shape | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess

Replay Round 1 games


Pairings for all rounds | Photo: chess24


Firouzja drew with Carlsen in Armageddon but lost the match | Photo: Norway Chess

Tari lost to Rapport in the Classical encounter | Photo: Norway Chess

Nepomniachtchi scored his first Classical victory of the event | Photo: Norway Chess


Rapport scores the sole victory of the day | Photo: Norway Chess


Players will get the following points per round:

Victory in main game: 3 points

Loss in main game: 0 points

Draw in main game & victory Armageddon: 1.5 points

Draw in main game & loss Armageddon: 1 point

Armageddon Rules

• If there is a draw in the classical game, then the players will move on to Armageddon.

• White pieces will continue with white in Armageddon. With this, there will be a winner in each game due to the fact that black pieces will win if the game ends in a draw.

Replay the Live Stream

Greatest female chess player of all time GM Judit Polgar and IM Jovanka Houska are the Official Commentators | Video: chess24


Norway Chess official site

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