Carlsen Wins Norway Chess

Magnus Carlsen has won the 2019 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament with one round and three tournament points to spare. Yu Yangyi and Levon Aronian shared equal second/third place, while Americans Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So finished in shared fourth/fifth.

Norway Chess Final Standings, courtesy Mark Crowther / TWIC

Carlsen had wrapped up his tournament victory on Thursday, taking an insurmountable lead after beating Yu Yangyi in their classical game. This left Friday’s pairing with Caruana as something of a “dead rubber” match, although Caruana could have leapfrogged Carlsen in the classical standings with a win. He almost pulled it off.

Caruana-Carlsen (photo Lennart Ootes)

This left the Armageddon round, which had been Carlsen’s key hunting ground in this tournament. But Caruana rose to the occasion and defeated the World Champion, inflicting his first Armageddon loss of the event.

This loss not withstanding, Carlsen’s victory in Stavanger had everything to do with his prowess in the Armageddon format. If we compare the Classical time control crosstable with the complete table above, we see how prominently the Armageddon games influenced the final standings.

Ding Liren tied for first in the Classical format, for example, but finished in sixth place overall due to his Armageddon losses. The reverse was true for his countryman Yu Yangyi, who tied for second overall, but was only mid-table in the Classical standings.

A ceremonial move before the So-MVL matchup (photo Lennart Ootes)

Wesley So wrapped up his time in Norway with an Armageddon win over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. After a sixty move Classical draw, he fought back from a worse position to win with White in the Armageddon tie-breaker.

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