Norway Chess Round 10: Firouzja Fires Back, Carlsen Finishes With A Loss
Carlsen made his final move but then stopped the clock vs. Aronian. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Norway Chess Round 10: Firouzja Fires Back, Carlsen Finishes With A Loss

| 53 | Chess Event Coverage

Having already secured victory, GM Magnus Carlsen ended his Altibox Norway Chess tournament with a loss to GM Levon Aronian, who came third in the tournament.

GM Alireza Firouzja finished in an excellent second place as he defeated GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the standard game. GM Fabiano Caruana finished his event with an armageddon win vs. GM Aryan Tari.

You can find all games of the tournament here as part of our live platform.

2020 Norway Chess | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts Prize (NOK) Prize ($) Prize (€)
1 Carlsen 2863 1.5 3 1.5 0 3 1.5 0 3 3 3 19.5 700K 74,625 63,700
2 Firouzja 2728 1 0 1.5 1.5 1.5 1 3 3 3 3 18.5 370K 39,444 33,670
3 Aronian 2767 1 3 1 1 3 0 3 1 3 1.5 17.5 230K 24,520 20,930
4 Caruana 2828 0 1 1 1.5 0 3 3 1.5 3 1.5 15.5 180K 19,189 16,380
5 Duda 2757 3 0 0 0 0 1.5 0 1 1 3 9.5 170K 18,123 15,470
6 Tari 2633 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1.5 0 3.5 160K 17,057 14,560

Before moving on to the final round recap, it's interesting to check the standings table that includes only the standard games. As it turns out, Aronian was only "beaten" by Firouzja and Carlsen in the armageddon games. Without those and with a normal scoring system, he would have tied for first with the best Sonneborn-Berger score:

2020 Norway Chess | Standard Games Only

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1-3 Aronian, Levon 2767 2869 ½1 ½½ 10 6.5/10 29.25
1-3 Carlsen, Magnus 2863 2851 ½0 ½1 1 11 6.5/10 27.75
1-3 Firouzja, Alireza 2728 2877 ½½ ½0 ½½ 11 11 6.5/10 25.25
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2828 2785 01 ½½ 5.5/10
5 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2757 2657 10 00 ½1 3.5/10
6 Tari, Aryan 2633 2488 00 00 ½0 1.5/10

After his win against Firouzja in the penultimate round, one of the things Carlsen said was: "Certainly I had many experiences like this. I lost two rook endings against Levon for absolutely no reason. It's part of the growing process."

As if he had jinxed his game in the final round, Carlsen ended his tournament with a loss, in a rook ending, against Aronian. Adding "for absolutely no reason" to that would be too much, but he did have a draw shortly before the end.

Position after 49...b4.

Here, Carlsen surprisingly took the pawn on f6, thereby losing a crucial tempo. Analysis shows that 50.h5 (Aronian), 50.Rg7+ (Kramnik/Polgar) and even 50.g5 (engine) would have drawn here.

Carlsen rook endgame Aronian Norway
Carlsen, about to play his ill-fated 50.Rxf6+. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

GM Vladimir Kramnik was very surprised about Carlsen's mistake. It should be noted that the world champion was down to four minutes and five seconds vs. 21 minutes for Aronian in a phase where there was a 10-second increment.

Kramnik suggested that the world champion needs a "mathematical motivation" to play well in the last round (when here Carlsen had already won the tournament). "Today his play was really bad for his level."

Carlsen hadn't lost with the white pieces in a classical game in almost three years. The last time was on December 10, 2017, against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi in the London Chess Classic.

Levon Aronian Norway Chess
Aronian: "I think I played as good as I did before against him on previous occasions, but he was not that resilient." Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Carlsen Aronian Norway Chess 2020
Carlsen is about to resign vs. Aronian. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Firouzja bounced back wonderfully from his unfortunate loss to Carlsen the other day. The Iranian teenager beat Duda in a good game, took the three points for a classical win, and finished in second place. In his comments after the game, he showed the ambition of a champion:

"Today I feel happy, but in general I'm a bit disappointed because I was very close to win the whole thing! I guess it happens. I think I played a decent tournament. I got a good result. Except for yesterday's game, I think all the games were of good quality."

Asked what happened against Carlsen, he said: "Yesterday, I lost to myself, I think."

Alireza Firouzja
Firouzja: "Today I feel happy, but in general I'm a bit disappointed because I was very close to win the whole thing!" Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Caruana finished for him a topsy-turvy tournament with an armageddon win vs. Tari. Their standard game saw an interesting exchange sacrifice that Caruana had misjudged.

"I'm a bit surprised," he said. "During the game, I thought this must be a really good position for White after 20.Rxe6. Then it suddenly dawned on me that after 21.Bxh6 Rf7, I'm probably not better at all, not even the slightest bit."

Caruana Tari stalemate Norway Chess
Caruana and Tari ended their first game with a stalemate. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Caruana called his armageddon win "smooth." He was happy to see 17...Nd4 being played as the game became more complicated there, "exactly what I needed to play for a win."

Caruana noted that there was some distraction for him during the tournament. He had been in regular contact with FIDE, which postponed the Candidates yesterday.

"During the tournament we were constantly kind of dealing with the Candidates, wondering if it would happen or not," said Caruana. "The general feeling was that it wouldn't happen, even before it became clear that there was just no way it could happen on November 1."

The American GM considers it a good decision. "I don't think we should be compromising the safety of people to play chess."

Caruana-Tari armageddon Norway Chess
Caruana expects his next over-the-board tournament to be the Tata Steel Chess tournament in January. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

The next big event with top grandmasters is the Speed Chess Invitational on Sunday, October 25, when 16 players will compete for two spots in the $100,000 Speed Chess Championship Main Event, which will be held from October 26 to December 13. As one top grandmaster remarked, sabotaged the Candidates to stage their Speed Chess Championship in more comfort.

Speed Chess Championship Invitational

The Norway Chess tournament was a double round-robin with six players taking place October 5-16, 2020, in the Clarion Hotel in Stavanger, Norway. The time control was two hours for all moves with a 10-second increment per move after move 40.

In the case of a draw, the players played an armageddon game about 20 minutes after drawing their standard game. The colors remained the same, and the time control was 10 minutes for White vs. seven minutes for Black (who had draw odds) with an increment of one second per move starting on move 41.

The points system was as follows:

  • Victory main game: 3 points
  • Loss main game: 0 points
  • Draw main game & victory armageddon: 1.5 points
  • Draw main game & loss armageddon: 1 point

See also:

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