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Praggnanandhaa Scores 1st Classical Win Vs. Carlsen, Leads In Norway
The youngest player in the field defeats the world number-one for the first time in classical chess. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Praggnanandhaa Scores 1st Classical Win Vs. Carlsen, Leads In Norway

PeterDoggers
| 53 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu is the new leader at Norway Chess 2024 after beating world number-one GM Magnus Carlsen for the first time in classical chess in Wednesday's third round. Fabiano Caruana was the other player to earn the full three points for a classical win against GM Ding Liren while GM Hikaru Nakamura beat GM Alireza Firouzja in armageddon.

All three clashes of Women’s Norway Chess were decided in the armageddons today. First it was GM Humpy Koneru who defeated GM Lei Tingjie on demand. Later in the day, GM Pia Cramling drew her game as White, giving the 1.5 points to GM Ju Wenjun, after which GM Vaishali Rameshbabu held GM Anna Muzychuk to a draw as Black to maintain her one-point lead in the standings.

Round four starts Thursday, May 30, at 11 a.m. ET / 17:00 CEST / 8:30 p.m. IST.

Norway Chess Round 3 Results

Norway Chess 2024 round 3 results

Open: Carlsen's Risky Play Backfires

The standings changed dramatically as Praggnanandhaa, with his win, took over the lead from Carlsen and Caruana is now in second place after bouncing back in the best way possible from that disastrous armageddon game the other day.

Standings After Round 3 | Open

Norway Chess 2024 round 3 standings

Praggnanandhaa-Carlsen 3-0

He felt like he had played the worst game in about a year’s time yesterday, but that didn't stop Praggnanandhaa from playing an excellent game today and beat the best player on the planet. After three draws (two of which in the 2023 World Cup final) and losing one game before, the 18-year-old Indian GM punished risky play from Carlsen, who never castled and eventually went down as his king couldn't find a safe haven.

Carlsen girlfriend
Carlsen on his way to the playing hall with his father, girlfriend, and second GM Peter Heine Nielsen – and in the mood for taking some risks. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen played the Paulsen/Kan variation of the Sicilian and in a way that was rather double-edged. On move 13 he made a serious inaccuracy, when Nakamura must have been jealous of Pragg's position, as he noted in the confession booth:

"I wish Magnus would take these chances against me or against Fabi. I have this theory that when Magnus is playing the younger kids specifically he wants to sort of prove a point, he wants to go after them and try to beat them and he takes far more risks than he does against us old folks!"

He takes far more risks than he does against us old folks!
—Hikaru Nakamura

Praggnanandhaa's 20.Kh1 was perhaps not the most critical, which gave Carlsen some hope to get back into the game, but that actually never happened. Especially 25.Qh5+ and 26.Rf3 were impressive moves by Pragg, who continued to demonstrate machine-like accuracy, including the lovely quiet but decisive move 35.Kh2!.

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu
Praggnanandhaa had every reason to be happy with his game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Scoring this great win on the 18th birthday of that other Indian prodigy, world championship contender GM Gukesh Dommaraju, showed that the successful new Indian generation is maturing. Praggnanandhaa: "I kind of feel that I have enough experience at this level and I can beat these players, but I have to play my best for that and that’s what I’m trying to do. That’s kind of the mindset.

Here's GM Rafael Leitao's take on the game:

Magnus Carlsen Norway 2024
Carlsen struggled last year in Norway Chess and now doesn't have a good start in this year's event either. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Caruana-Ding 3-0

It's pretty rare these to see a player bringing a strong new idea to the board, cooked up with the computer, that surprised the opponent. The reason is that all top players are using the same strong engines such as Stockfish and Leela, and therefore they are all equals in terms of access to information.

Today, Caruana did manage to bring an idea like that to the table, and even though objectively speaking it wasn't groundbreaking, it definitely had an effect on Ding. The ideas came on move 12 and was especially based on White's move 15.d4!.

Caruana Ding Norway 2024
Caruana and Ding discussing the game afterward. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Caruana was clearly happy with it as he paid a visit to the confession booth to talk about it, in his own words for the first time in about eight years. "I'm pretty happy that I got this over the board although it’s not like White’s better or anything, but getting the first surprise in can’t be too bad."

The world champion was soon more than 45 minutes down on the clock and clearly under pressure, but initially played pretty good moves—but then the collapse came after all, and it was over quickly.

Ding Liren
It's rare to see both the world champion and the world number-one losing their games on the same day. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nakamura-Firouzja 1.5-1

Firouzja surprised Nakamura with the Tarrasch, something the American GM said he had forgotten to look at before the game. We know this thanks to another visit from Nakamura to the confession booth, the streamer's natural habitat where he starts each confession with his typical "Welcome back everyone!"

Related to this, he shared some interesting thoughts about modern chess: "In some level I would say this symbolizes kind of the issue in a way with chess these days, which is that you’re playing with the white pieces and you can’t surprise your opponent, I think in many aspects it’s better to be playing with the black pieces because then you get to surprise your opponent. They have to spend a lot of time and the onus is always on White to win the game."

Firouzja failed to capitalize on his edge out of the opening and the game soon fizzled out to a draw. Nakamura was once again very confident in the armageddon game, this time with the white pieces. He noted that the position was much easier for White to play, adding: "He just couldn’t find the right attacking moves."

Nakamura Firouzja Norway 2024
Firouzja resigns the armageddon game with a smile. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nakamura once again recapped his game afterward for his fans (welcome back everyone!) which you can check out below.

Nakamura gets to play with the white pieces again tomorrow against tournament leader Praggnanandhaa. Caruana also has White against a wounded Carlsen, like last year, when Caruana won. Ding is Black against Firouzja.

Women: Vaishali Maintains Lead

As soon as all three classical games were over, it was clear that Vaishali was going to maintain her lead in the tournament. She ended up winning her armageddon, like runner-up Ju.

Standings After Round 3 | Women

Norway Chess Women 2024 round 3 standings

Muzychuk-Vaishali 1-1.5

Vaishali drew both of her games with Muzychuk while managing to pay a little, but not too much, attention to how her brother was doing today. Afterward, she she said she isn't thinking about the result (yet): "I just want to enjoy this tournament. To be able to play such strong woman players, I just want to make use of this opportunity."

The classical game was more interesting than the armageddon, and Vaishali's prep was quite impressive:

Vaishali Praggnanandhaa Norway 2024
Siblings Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa both in the lead! Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Humpy-Lei 1.5-1

Like Firouzja and Nakamura, Humpy and Lei got a Tarrasch on the board that quickly led to an equal endgame, and without much spectacle this game was drawn on move 36. Humpy then managed to outplay her opponent in the armageddon, who misplayed the endgame with just seconds on the clock:

Lei Koneru Norway 2024
Lei resigns the armageddon vs Humpy. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Cramling-Ju 1-1.5

After letting Humpy slip away in the first round, Cramling again missed a great chance to gain three points for a classical win today. For an instance, she was completely winning against the women's world champion, but she only noticed it after she traded rooks.

Cramling Ju Norway 2024
What a chance for Cramling vs. Ju. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The armageddon was a big fight that lasted 63 moves, when Cramling had to "resign to a draw." She is facing tournament leader Vaishali next, while tomorrow's round will also see the all-Chinese clash between Lei and Ju, as well as Humpy vs Muzychuk.

Round 4 Pairings

Norway Chess 2024 round 4 pairings

How to watch? You can watch Norway Chess 2024 on the Chess24 YouTube and Twitch channels. It will also be streamed on Nakamura's Kick channel. The games can also be followed from our events page: Open | Women.

The live broadcast was hosted by GM David Howell and IMs Anna Rudolf and Danny Rensch.

Norway Chess 2024 features Open and Women's six-player tournaments for equal prize funds of 1,690,000 NOK (~$160,000). It runs May 27 to June 7 in Stavanger, with players facing their opponents twice at classical chess (120 minutes/40 moves, with a 10-second increment from move 41). The winner of a classical game gets three points, the loser, zero; after a draw, the players get one point and fight for another half-point in armageddon (10 minutes for White, seven for Black, who has draw odds). 


Previous coverage:

PeterDoggers
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by Chess.com in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!


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