Carlsen Also Loses To Caruana At Norway Chess | Update: VIDEO

Carlsen Also Loses To Caruana At Norway Chess | Update: VIDEO

| 67 | Chess Event Coverage

For the third year in a row, the Norway Chess tournament might not be won by GM Magnus Carlsen. The world champion started with 0/2 as he lost to GM Fabiano Caruana on Wednesday.

During the 2014 Gashimov Memorial journalists were wondering when was the last time a world champion lost two tournament games in a row. Then Carlsen lost in rounds four and five, so now the question is: when was the last time he started with zero out of two?

Well, that was in Bilbao, more than four years ago, when Carlsen lost to Vladimir Kramnik in round one, and to Vishy Anand in round two. After that he would score three draws and a win, to finish in third place, ahead of Alexei Shirov.

It's definitely very rare for a world champ to be at the bottom of the leaderboard after two rounds. So how did this happen? Well, we know what happened yesterday, which was still the talk of the town the next morning.

Most of the experts present in Stavanger feel that, while the organizers could perhaps have done a better job communicating the new time control, Carlsen should and could have known it. At move 40 the clock added a full hour right when he pressed the clock, so when nothing was added on move 60, that could have been his signal.

In an interview with, Fabiano Caruana admitted that he didn't know the time control either during his first-round game. “The arbiter said it before the game but I didn't hear it clearly. But to be honest, at some point if I have a feeling that if I will be in time trouble I just go and ask the arbiter to make sure!”

Watch the full interview in the video below:

It was Caruana who delivered the second loss to Carlsen, by being better prepared, and playing powerful chess. In what was a Berlin ending, Carlsen might have thought he would surprise his opponent with 12...Bf5, but in fact Caruana had looked at it thoroughly about two weeks ago.

The world #2 and #1 shaking hands before the game.

He didn't like 17...Rg8, the first move he hadn't looked at and in fact the theoretical novelty. “I think [this] was a mistake,” said Caruana, who could still use some ideas from his preparation. With tactical means the Italian got a dominating position, and he finished it off just as smoothly.

In the aforementioned 2014 Shamkir tournament Caruana also beat Carlsen in a Berlin, but this year so far the score was 2.5-0.5 in favor of the world champ. Caruana didn't think that his opponent's experience yesterday had anything to do with it, and Carlsen said the same on Norwegian TV.

Two losses in a row for Magnus Carlsen. Wow.

The other four games ended in draws, but one by one they were very interesting. Even GM Alexander Grischuk and GM Levon Aronian, who started repeating on move 26, went through some adventures before doing so!

Grischuk, who thought for 3.5 minutes on his first move and four minutes on his second, played the English but called it his “second Rossolimo in the tournament.” He tried to be very accurate on move 15, but right after he regretted this:

“[15...Ng4 was] the first active move from Black and I'm on the verge of collapsing. If I had more time I wanted to go to this confession room and confess that I'm a complete idiot!”

The position became very sharp when Aronian went for a desperado on move 17. White's king position was destroyed, but unfortunately the game was quickly drawn afterwards.

Should we call it bad form, Grischuk was asked. He replied: “Of course it's bad form. Or maybe just a bad player!”

Aronian: “I guess my openings are in a bad form!”

Grischuk already started thinking on move one!

Helped by the computer, GM Veselin Topalov came to the board well prepared against GM Hikaru Nakamura. The homework done by the Bulgarian went beyond move 20.

It was around that moment that Nakamura went to the confession box for the first time. He said he wasn't sure whether his opponent was bluffing or well prepared. Now we know it was the latter!

“The problem is it's much easier for White to play than for Black,” Nakamura said. He was relieved with the draw, and happy that he found the best moves under pressure.

Strong preparation by Veselin Topalov, who said he “could push much harder.”

GM Jon Ludvig Hammer boosted his confidence a bit with a game where he was at the better side of the draw. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave seemed OK out of the opening but misplayed it in the middlegame. The Frenchman ended up in a very passive position with opposite-colored bishops and rooks, but it's not clear whether White was ever winning.

Jon Ludvig Hammer

From the following tweet one might conclude that GM Laurent Fressinet is working for Hammer during this event:

After winning a good game in the first round, GM Anish Giri didn't do so well the next day. His opening could be called ambitious — a double fianchetto the way Vladimir Kramnik likes to play it. But soon it became clear that he didn't have much in a queenless middlegame when GM Vishy Anand sacrificed an exchange for a pawn.

Anand soon had two passers on the queenside, and Giri felt he was forced to give back the exchange. The resulting rook ending was slightly better for Anand, and that advantage grew as Giri didn't play accurately. “Today I played a horrible game,” said Giri. “I did everything to lose, but maybe just not enough.”

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov:

Tomorrow will see the interesting game Carlsen vs Giri. Will the Norwegian finally manage to beat the Dutchman? There's surely enough reason to be motivated. Asked if he felt sorry for Carlsen losing on time, Giri replied: “I never feel sorry for Magnus. He's too good for that!”

Norway Chess 2015 | Pairings & Results

Round 1 16.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 2 17.06.15 16:00 CET
Giri 1-0 Grischuk   Grischuk ½-½ Aronian


Caruana   Hammer ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen 0-1 Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Nakamura
Nakamura 1-0 Hammer   Caruana 1-0 Carlsen
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Aronian   Giri ½-½ Anand
Round 3 18.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 4 19.06.15 16:00 CET
Anand - Grischuk   Grischuk - Hammer
Carlsen - Giri   Topalov - Aronian
Nakamura - Caruana   Caruana - Vachier-Lagrave
Vachier-Lagrave - Topalov   Giri - Nakamura
Aronian - Hammer   Anand - Carlsen
Round 5 21.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 6 22.06.15 16:00 CET
Carlsen - Grischuk   Grischuk - Topalov
Nakamura - Anand   Caruana - Hammer
Vachier-Lagrave - Giri   Giri - Aronian
Aronian - Caruana   Anand - Vachier-Lagrave
Hammer   Topalov   Carlsen - Nakamura
Round 7 23.06.15 16:00 CET   Round 8 24.06.15 16:00 CET
Nakamura - Grischuk   Grischuk - Caruana
Vachier-Lagrave - Carlsen   Giri - Topalov
Aronian - Anand   Anand - Hammer
Hammer - Giri   Carlsen - Aronian
Topalov - Caruana   Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave
Round 9 25.06.15 15:00 CET        
Vachier-Lagrave - Grischuk        
Aronian - Nakamura        
Hammer - Carlsen        
Topalov - Anand        
Caruana - Giri        

2015 Norway Chess | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Nakamura 2802 2928 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2 1.25
2 Giri 2773 2983 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2 1.00
3 Topalov 2798 3029 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.5/2 0.75
4 Vachier-Lagrave 2723 2919 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2 0.75
5 Caruana 2805 3030 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2 0.50
6 Anand 2804 2789 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/2
7 Hammer 2677 2572 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.75
8 Grischuk 2781 2586 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0.5/2 0.25
9 Aronian 2780 2562 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.25
10 Carlsen 2876 2002 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.0/2

The Norway Chess tournament runs June 15-26 in the Stavanger region. | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png
No time to watch the games live? No problem! The Norway Chess tournament is covered on with a daily recap show that runs 1.5 hours. The games will be analyzed and there's video material by Peter Doggers, who is covering the tournament from Stavanger. The show starts each day at 11 p.m. Central European time, 5 p.m. New York, 2 p.m. Pacific.

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 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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