Norway Chess Round 4: Carlsen Finally Overcomes Caruana Again
For the first time in two years Carlsen beat Caruana in a classical game. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Norway Chess Round 4: Carlsen Finally Overcomes Caruana Again

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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29 | Chess Event Coverage

After they had drawn their previous 19 classical games, GM Magnus Carlsen defeated GM Fabiano Caruana in round four of the Altibox Norway Chess tournament. The world champion leads the tournament going into the first rest day.

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GM Levon Aronian is trailing Carlsen by a point after losing the armageddon game to GM Alireza Firouzja, who shares third place with Caruana. GM Aryan Tari defeated GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the armageddon, so both players got rid of their zero on the scoreboard.

2020 Norway Chess | Round 4 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1 Carlsen, Magnus 2863 1.5 3 1.5 3 . 9
2 Aronian, Levon 2767 1 . 1 3 3 8
3-4 Caruana, Fabiano 2828 0 . 1 3 3 7
3-4 Firouzja, Alireza 2728 1 1.5 1.5 . 3 7
5 Tari, Aryan 2633 0 0 0 . 1.5 1.5
6 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2757 . 0 0 0 1 1

Everyone still remembers the 12 draws in the 2018 world championship match between the two Cs. The last game before that match was a draw as well in the 2018 Sinquefield Cup. After the match, they split the point in 2019 at Grenke, Norway Chess, the Croatia Grand Chess Tour, the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, and the Sinquefield Cup and in early 2020 at the Tata Steel Chess tournament.

The last time a game between the world numbers one and two had ended decisively was at the 2018 Norway Chess tournament when Carlsen beat Caruana with the white pieces after 77 moves.

Back then he started with 1.e4, but this time it was 1.d4, and a 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian came on the board. Straight from the opening, the players went for an endgame with rooks and one knight each, where the only difference was three pawn islands for Caruana and two for Carlsen.

Carlsen Caruana 2020 Norway Chess
Carlsen and Caruana had drawn their 19 previous standard games. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Commentator GM Vladimir Kramnik correctly predicted that it was not going to be easy for the American player.

Carlsen: "Frankly speaking, I was thinking during the game that this is probably the best position I've had against him since the first game of the match! So it was very sweet to get that win."

The position after 20.Rhc1.

It seems where Caruana first went wrong was move 20, when he voluntarily allowed an isolated c-pawn. Sacrificing it soon after was good, but he should then have traded the knights and tried his chances in the double rook ending.

"It's huge," said Carlsen. "It's almost unbelievable after yesterday. I was struggling and now... it can change very quickly. But I think after the rest day, Fabiano will be back, and he will continue to play well."

Magnus Carlsen 2020 NorwayChess
Carlsen in good spirits in the TV2 studio. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

The other two standard games ended in draws and can be found in the game viewer below. 

For the armageddon game, Firouzja has a miscommunication with the arbiter.  As a result, he arrived late at the board and started with five minutes and 22 seconds (instead of seven) vs. Aronian's 10 minutes but won anyway. 

Firouzja arbiter Norway Chess
Firouzja thought the arbiter had said the game would start at 8:45 p.m., but the arbiter claimed he had said 8:40 and decided to start the clock at 8:43. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Aronian was totally winning in this game and missed both simple and also some harder (but beautiful!) ways to win and then couldn't hold an equal but unpleasant endgame. It should be noted that on move 40, both players had only 16 seconds left when their one-second increment started. This whole game was more about nerves than anything.

Aronian Firouzja armageddon 2020 Norway Chess
The Aronian vs. Firouzja armageddon. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

"I just decided to go all-in today, to just play something fun," said Tari about the mini-match he won against Duda. The fun part started with playing the Grand Prix in the classical game and ended with a win in the armageddon.

The young Norwegian seemed in control for most of the game but as the computer showed, Duda had a winning position before he lost the thread:

Aryan Tari Duda armageddon Norway Chess
Tari vs. Duda. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Round 4 | All games

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

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

The points system is 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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