Norway Chess Round 6: Revenge For Carlsen, Firouzja Grabs Lead
Firouzja tops the standings. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Norway Chess Round 6: Revenge For Carlsen, Firouzja Grabs Lead

| 44 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Alireza Firouzja is the new leader of the Altibox Norway Chess tournament with four rounds to go after beating GM Aryan Tari in round six. GM Magnus Carlsen took revenge for his loss to GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda and beat the Polish GM swiftly.

GM Levon Aronian was close to beating GM Fabiano Caruana for the second day in a row but ended up losing what was the most spectacular game of the round.

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2020 Norway Chess | Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1 Firouzja, Alireza 2728 1 1.5 1.5 3 3 3 13
2 Carlsen, Magnus 2863 1.5 1.5 3 0 3 3 12
3 Aronian, Levon 2767 1 1 3 0 3 3 11
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2828 1 0 0 3 3 3 10
5 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2757 0 3 0 0 0 1 4
6 Tari, Aryan 2633 0 0 0 0 0 1.5 1.5

The 17-year-old Firouzja has been playing an impressive tournament so far. In the nine games he has played in total, he has lost only once. That was against Carlsen in the armageddon—and he could have won that game as well.

In round six, which was a "mirror" of round five (in this tournament the pairings of the first half are established in reverse order in the second half), Firouzja defeated Tari for the second day in a row.

The Norwegian chose the solid Exchange variation against the Caro-Kann but couldn't avoid being attacked. The Iranian teenager once again demonstrated that he is extremely dangerous in attacking positions.

Alireza Firouzja Norway Chess
Alireza Firouzja. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Firouzja took over the lead from Aronian, who got a winning position against Caruana but needed too much time on the clock. The time control, which gives the players a 10-second increment only after move 40 but no extra hour, must be hard to adjust to.

The American grandmaster went into the game after two consecutive losses, against Carlsen and Aronian. He said:

"Yesterday I was about as demoralized as I could get. I really didn't feel like playing. But at least I thought I should try playing a normal game because the last two games were really, really bad, not just the result but the quality was also. Especially against Magnus, I was really disgusted with my play. So I thought: at least let's play a normal game."

Aronian-Caruana Norway Chess 2020
Carlsen checking on Aronian-Caruana. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

Caruana was happy to get a fighting position out of the opening and proud of his ...Bf8 and ...Ne7 maneuver, but the engines show that Aronian could have gotten a winning advantage there.

White is winning after 23.Ng5 Be8 and now the hard-to-find 24.Qe2!, and Black has no good defense against a white knight taking on e6 the next move.

Aronian decided to continue the attack with the pawns instead of the pieces, which led to a wild position in which his king was dragged into the center. The game was mostly decided by the fact that the Armenian GM was down to his last seconds there, while Caruana still had more than six minutes.

Fabiano Caruana Norway Chess
Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

The world champion got his revenge against Duda less than 24 hours after seeing his 125-game unbeaten streak come to an end. A pawn sacrifice in the opening worked even better than he expected.

Carlsen: "I knew this position after 10.Ng3, but I was looking at it from afar, and I couldn't believe that.... How are you supposed to play like this? Can Black just go 10...c5 and then be completely fine or even more? Eventually, I found this idea with the pawn sac, and I sort of felt that it was a bit stupid, but I couldn't see what else to do, and I was sort of just hoping that it would give me decent compensation. Fortunately, it did."

Magnus Carlsen 2020 Norway Chess
Carlsen is trailing Firouzja by one point and plays Caruana in the next round. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Norway Chess.

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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