Rough Stretch for Caruana Includes Consecutive Losses in Norway

Image
GM Fabiano Caruana at the 2020 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament. // (photo Lennart Ootes / Altibox Norway Chess)
Image Caption
GM Fabiano Caruana at the 2020 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament. // (photo Lennart Ootes / Altibox Norway Chess)

GM Fabiano Caruana sits in fourth place at Altibox Norway Chess, as the OTB super-tournament takes its final rest day with the top American standing outside a two-horse race.   

Despite a promising two wins to open the event, Caruana has struggled over the past week, finding victory just twice during a nine-game stretch that includes a back-to-back pair of classical losses. The Norway Chess event is a double-round robin tournament featuring Caruana and five other world-elite players, and features one classical game per round worth three points in the standings. Players earn one point for a classical draw, and a follow-up Armageddon game to play for an additional half-point.  

Image
2020 Altibox Norway Chess standings after eight rounds

 

But the American has mustered just one classical win in six games, and even that bright spot came up feeling short: the round-six victory against GM Levon Aronian came only after Caruana had already lost to the Armenian as well as the World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen in rounds four and five.   

[pgn][Event "8th Norway Chess 2020"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2020.10.08"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E32"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2828"] [PlyCount "101"] [EventDate "2020.10.05"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 d5 7. Bg5 dxc4 8. Qxc4 b6 9. Rd1 Ba6 10. Qa4 h6 11. Bh4 Qd7 12. Qc2 Qc6 13. Qxc6 Nxc6 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. e3 Bxf1 16. Kxf1 Na5 17. Nf3 Nc4 18. Rb1 c5 19. Ke2 Rfc8 20. Rhc1 Nd6 21. dxc5 bxc5 22. Rc2 Kf8 23. Nd2 c4 24. Rbc1 Rab8 25. Kf3 c3 26. bxc3 Rc5 27. c4 f5 28. Ke2 Ke7 29. Kd3 Kd7 30. Rc3 Rc6 31. c5 Ne8 32. Nf3 Ra6 33. Ne5+ Ke7 34. Ke2 Nf6 35. R1c2 Nd5 36. Rd3 Rc8 37. Rb3 Rc7 38. Rc4 Ra5 39. Nd3 e5 40. Nxe5 Raxc5 41. Rxc5 Rxc5 42. Rb7+ Ke6 43. Nxf7 Ra5 44. Nd8+ Kd6 45. Rb3 Ra6 46. Nf7+ Kc5 47. Ne5 h5 48. Kd2 h4 49. Nd3+ Kc4 50. Kc2 Rd6 51. Nf4 1-0 [/pgn]
  

Image
GMs Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana face off during the fourth round of the 2020 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament. (photo Lennart Ootes / Altibox Norway Chess)
Image Caption
GMs Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana face off during the fourth round of the 2020 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament. (photo Lennart Ootes / Altibox Norway Chess)

[pgn][Event "8th Norway Chess 2020"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2020.10.10"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2828"] [BlackElo "2767"] [ECO "E20"] [Opening "Nimzo-Indian"] [Variation "Kmoch variation"] [WhiteFideId "2020009"] [BlackFideId "13300474"] [EventDate "2020.10.05"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 b5 6. e4 d6 7. Bd2 Bxc3 8. Bxc3 b4 9. Bd2 O-O 10. Ne2 Nh5 11. Be3 f5 12. dxe6 Bxe6 13. exf5 Rxf5 14. Qd2 Nd7 15. O-O-O Qa5 16. Kb1 Bxc4 17. Nc1 Bf7 18. Qxd6 Nhf6 19. Qc6 Re8 20. Bf2 Nb8 21. Qb5 c4 22. Qxa5 Rxa5 23. Rd4 Rc8 24. b3 Nc6 25. Rxc4 Bxc4 26. Bxc4+ Kh8 27. Rd1 Re5 28. Rd6 Ne8 29. Rd2 Nc7 30. Ne2 Nb5 31. Kb2 Na3 32. Ba6 Rd8 33. Rxd8+ Nxd8 34. Kc1 Ne6 35. Bd3 Nc5 36. Kd2 Nxd3 37. Kxd3 Rd5+ 38. Nd4 Rd7 39. g4 a5 40. Bg3 Kg8 41. Be5 g5 42. Ke4 Nb1 43. Kf5 Nc3 44. Nc6 Rd3 45. Ke6 Nxa2 46. Nxa5 Rxf3 47. Bd6 Rd3 48. Nc6 Re3+ 49. Kf6 Rxb3 50. Nd4 Rh3 51. Nf5 b3 52. Ba3 Rxh2 0-1 [/pgn]
  

Overtime has not fared much better for Caruana, with only one Armageddon win in three chances. He lost his first two after draws with GM Alireza Firouzja in round three and Carlsen in round seven. But perhaps in an end to the skid, Caruana’s most recent result is a victory, beating Firouzja in this Armageddon match on Tuesday.  

[pgn][Event "8th Norway Armageddon"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2020.10.13"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2828"] [BlackElo "2728"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2020.10.05"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e5 c5 6. f4 cxd4 7. Qxd4 Be6 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. Bb5 Nh6 10. Bxc6+ bxc6 11. Qc5 Bd7 12. Be3 e6 13. Na4 Nf5 14. Bf2 h5 15. Qc3 c5 16. Nxc5 O-O 17. O-O Bb5 18. Rfe1 Qe7 19. a4 Bc6 20. b4 Rfc8 21. Qd2 Be8 22. c3 a5 23. h3 Bf8 24. Kh2 Qc7 25. g4 Ng7 26. Rg1 axb4 27. cxb4 d4 28. Bxd4 Rd8 29. Ne4 Bc6 30. Rac1 Qb7 31. Nf6+ Kh8 32. f5 Ne8 33. fxg6 Bxf3 34. gxh5 fxg6 35. hxg6 Bg7 36. Qf4 Rxd4 37. Qxd4 Bh6 38. Qh4 Qg7 39. Rcf1 Be2 40. Rf2 Bd3 41. Ng4 Bxg6 42. Nxh6 Qxe5+ 43. Rg3 Qh5 44. Qxh5 Bxh5 45. Rf8+ Kh7 46. Nf7 Bxf7 47. Rxf7+ Kh6 48. Rf8 Kh7 49. Rgg8 1-0 [/pgn]
 

Image
GMs Fabiano Caruana and Alireza Firouzja during the eighth round of the 2020 Altibox Norway Chess tournament. (photo Lennart Ootes / Altibox Norway Chess)
Image Caption
GMs Fabiano Caruana and Alireza Firouzja during the eighth round of the 2020 Altibox Norway Chess tournament. (photo Lennart Ootes / Altibox Norway Chess)

For his part, Caruana’s latest Armageddon win on Tuesday came as a bit of a spoiler to Firouzja, who is desperate for points after once leading the pack but now trailing hometown hero Carlsen with two rounds left. After the rest day, Caruana has games remaining with Duda on Thursday and Norway GM Aryan Tari on Friday, both players visibly struggling in the event and already defeated by the American in their first matchup. Even with a victorious finale, however, Caruana is unlikely to shake the standings.  

To the credit of Norway Chess, Caruana’s rough patch comes amidst an action event that has not been short on decisive carnage. In fact: rare, consecutive losses by the World No. 2 could only be overshadowed by a loss for the World No. 1 on the same day: Carlsen’s two-year-long, 125-game undefeated streak in classical chess was snapped by GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda in round five.   

[pgn][Event "8th Norway Chess 2020"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2020.10.10"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2757"] [BlackElo "2863"] [ECO "B15"] [Opening "Caro-Kann"] [Variation "Tartakower (Nimzovich) variation"] [WhiteFideId "1170546"] [BlackFideId "1503014"] [EventDate "2020.10.05"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. Qc2 Re8+ 9. Ne2 h5 10. Be3 Nd7 11. O-O-O b5 12. d5 c5 13. Bxb5 Rb8 14. c4 a6 15. Ba4 Re7 16. Ng3 Ne5 17. Ne4 Reb7 18. b3 Rb4 19. Bd2 Rxa4 20. bxa4 Bf5 21. Rde1 h4 22. h3 Ng6 23. Re3 Nf4 24. g4 Bg6 25. Kd1 f5 26. Nxd6 Qxd6 27. gxf5 Bh5+ 28. f3 Qf6 29. Bc3 Qg5 30. Qe4 Qg2 31. Rhe1 Qxa2 32. Qc2 Qxc4 33. Re8+ Kh7 34. Rxb8 Qxd5+ 35. Qd2 Bxf3+ 36. Kc1 Qxf5 37. Re3 Ne2+ 38. Kb2 Nxc3 39. Qxc3 Qf4 40. Qd3+ f5 41. Rf8 Qb4+ 42. Kc1 Be4 43. Qb3 Qd4 44. Qc3 Qd6 45. Rf7 Qg6 46. Rd7 Qg1+ 47. Kb2 c4 48. Rxe4 fxe4 49. Rd4 Qf2+ 50. Qd2 c3+ 51. Kxc3 Qg3+ 52. Kb2 Qxh3 53. Rxe4 Qg3 54. Qd4 Qg2+ 55. Kc3 Qf3+ 56. Kb4 Qf8+ 57. Ka5 Qf5+ 58. Kxa6 g5 59. a5 h3 60. Re7+ Kg6 61. Qg7+ Kh5 62. Qh7+ Kg4 63. Re4+ 1-0 [/pgn]
 

After Norway Chess concludes, Caruana will be noticeably absent from the 2020 US Chess Championship, planned online by the Saint Louis Chess Club over Oct. 26-29. The World No. 2 will instead prepare for the conclusion of the 2020 FIDE Candidates Tournament, scheduled for restart Nov. 1 after its mid-event postponement during the global pandemic last March. 

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.