Norway Chess Kicks Off in Stavanger

After Monday’s blitz event, used to determine pairing numbers and won by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the 2019 Altibox Norway Chess tournament kicked off with today’s first round action.
Standings after Round 1, courtesy Mark Crowther / TWIC
This year’s incarnation of Norway Chess, the seventh in its short but impressive history, features two main innovations that differentiate it from its super-tournament peers.  Both require a bit of explanation. While most FIDE rated events feature uniform increments throughout the game, the 2019 Norway Chess time control is “game in two hours” (G/120) with a ten second increment starting only after move 40. Americans are accustomed to sudden death controls, but this hybrid system has not been used in a major event before, and its effects on game play will bear watching. Perhaps more interesting is the way that points will be totaled. If a draw occurs at the classical time control, the players advance to an Armageddon (i.e., White must win; draws count as wins for Black) game 15 to 20 minutes after the draw is signed and recorded. Both sides keep their colors in the Armageddon game, but White begins with 10 minutes on the clock, while Black starts with 7. Both sides earn an increment of 3 seconds per move after move 61. Who has the advantage in such a game? Only time will tell, although University of Missouri chess coach and known Caruana “associate” Cristian Chirila is putting his money on White. https://twitter.com/CristianChirila/status/1135969433351069697 Players will earn points towards tournament standings according to the following schema: Victory in the classical game: 2 points Loss in the classical game: 0 points Draw in classical game; victory in Armageddon: 1.5 points Draw in classical game; loss in Armageddon: 0.5 points Today’s first round was a good initial test of these two innovations. All five classical games were drawn, meaning that chess fans were treated to five Armageddon showdowns. Here’s how the results broke down. Round 1 Magnus Carlsen                            1.5 – 0.5          Viswanathan Anand Shakhriyar Mamedyarov           1.5 – 0.5          Fabiano Caruana Liren Ding                                        1.5 – 0.5          Wesley So Maxime Vachier-Lagrave         0.5 – 1.5          Yangyi Yu Levon Aronian                              1.5 – 0.5          Alexander Grischuk The marquee matchup, this being Norway Chess, was the encounter between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand. Carlsen decided to test Anand’s memory, countering his QGD Vienna with a fairly obscure sideline.
Carlsen-Anand (photo Ootes / Altibox)
[pgn]

[Event "7th Norway Chess 2019"]
[Site "Stavanger NOR"]
[Date "2019.06.04"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2875"]
[BlackElo "2767"]
[PlyCount "116"]
[EventDate "2019.06.04"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. Bxc4 cxd4 8.
Nxd4 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Qa5 10. Nb5 Nxe4 11. Qd4 O-O 12. Qxe4 a6 13. O-O axb5 14.
Bd3 f5 15. Qe2 Nc6 16. Bd2 Qc7 17. Bxb5 f4 18. f3 e5 19. Rfe1 Bd7 20. a4 Kh8
21. Rad1 Rae8 22. Bc1 e4 23. fxe4 Ne5 24. Bxd7 Nxd7 25. Rf1 Nc5 26. Ba3 Rxe4
27. Qb5 Re5 28. Rde1 Rc8 29. Rxe5 Qxe5 30. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 31. Qxc5 Rxc5 32. Rxf4 h6
33. Rf3 Kg8 34. Rd3 Ra5 35. Rd7 Rxa4 36. Rxb7 Ra2 37. h4 Kh7 38. Kh2 Rd2 39.
Rc7 Kg6 40. Kg3 Kh5 41. Rc5+ g5 42. Kh3 Rd3+ 43. g3 Re3 44. Kg2 Rd3 45. Rc4 Re3
46. hxg5 hxg5 47. Kh3 Rd3 48. Rc8 g4+ 49. Kg2 Rd2+ 50. Kf1 Rc2 51. c4 Kg5 52.
c5 Kf6 53. c6 Ke7 54. c7 Kd6 55. Rd8+ Kxc7 56. Rd4 Kc6 57. Kg1 Kc5 58. Rxg4 Kd5
1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
“The databases” say that Carlsen’s 13.0-0 was a novelty, but the good folks at lichess.org knew better, citing the famous game between Rashad_Revolver and schakeling from 2007. https://twitter.com/lichess/status/1135928315179601922 Down a pawn, Anand carefully defended a drawish rook endgame, sending both players to the Armageddon round where, despite missing a mate in two, Carlsen prevailed.
[pgn]

[Event "7th Norway Armageddon"]
[Site "Stavanger NOR"]
[Date "2019.06.04"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A21"]
[WhiteElo "2875"]
[BlackElo "2767"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1Q6/3q1r2/2pP3R/4kp1p/4p1pP/4P3/5PP1/6K1 w - - 0 43"]
[PlyCount "1"]
[EventDate "2019.06.04"]

43. Qh8+ ({Carlsen missed} 43. Qb2+ Kd5 44. Qd4# {but of course the text
wins as well.}) 1-0

[/pgn]
With all the classical games drawn, much of the day’s excitement was found in the Armageddon games. Preeminent among them was Ding Liren’s beautiful attacking win over Wesley So.
[pgn]

[Event "7th Norway Armageddon"]
[Site "Stavanger NOR"]
[Date "2019.06.04"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2805"]
[BlackElo "2754"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2019.06.04"]

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5 7. Rb1 Be7 8.
Nf3 O-O 9. Bc4 a6 10. a4 Qc7 11. Be2 b6 12. O-O cxd4 13. cxd4 Bb7 14. Bd3 Nc6
15. Rb3 Na5 16. Rb2 Nc6 17. Rd2 Rfd8 18. Bb2 Rac8 19. d5 $1 Nb4 20. Bb1 exd5
21. e5 $1 g6 22. Re1 (22. e6 $1) 22... d4 23. e6 f6 (23... fxe6 24. Rxe6 Bd5
$13) 24. Nxd4 Nc6 25. Nf5 $1 Rxd2 (25... gxf5 $2 26. Qh5) 26. Nxe7+ Qxe7 27.
Qxd2 Kg7 28. Qf4 Rf8 29. h4 Bc8 30. h5 Ne5 31. Rxe5 fxe5 32. Qxe5+ Kh6 33. hxg6
hxg6 34. Qh2+ Kg5 35. Qg3+ 1-0

[/pgn]
The 2019 Norway Chess Tournament runs from June 3rd through June 14th, with June 7th and 11th being rest days. Live coverage is available each day at the Norway Chess website, and their livestream with GM Judit Polgar and IM Anna Rudolf is available free of charge. Newly crowned U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura is also covering some rounds on his Twitch channel. https://twitter.com/GMHikaru/status/1135554555020791808

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[…] discussed in our Round 1 report, the 2019 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament features an innovative format. If players draw in their […]

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