For the second day in a row, all classical games at the Norway Chess tournament ended in draws and therefore three more armageddon games were played. GM Richard Rapport lost to GM Magnus Carlsen but is still a point ahead in the standings.
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi beat GM Aryan Tari to catch GM Alireza Firouzja in third place as the French GM lost his third armageddon, to GM Sergey Karjakin.
The games of Norway Chess can be found here as part of our live events platform. Games start daily at 8:00 a.m. Pacific / 17:00 Central Europe.
Round 3 Standings
Rapport vs. Carlsen, the tournament leader vs. the world champion, was the top clash of the round. With only 18 moves and an hour of play, their classical game was an advertisement for the system of armageddons used in Stavanger. Surprised by Carlsen’s choice of the King’s Indian, Rapport allowed a (theoretical) perpetual check straight out of the opening but at least the spectators got to see more action soon after.
“I wanted to try armageddon as White because after yesterday I felt like White has more chances,” said Rapport.
In the armageddon, it was Rapport’s turn to play a King’s Indian albeit with reversed colors.
“I’m cheating a bit; I’m a tempo up so I’m not as brave as he is,” quipped Rapport.
Castling on opposite flanks lead to a sharp middlegame position where Carlsen underestimated White’s option to trade his rooks for the queen. Rapport, however, didn’t grab his chance to win a full piece and let Carlsen once again survive a lost position.
“I wanted to go 25.Bf3 instantly and I feel like I’m much better there, maybe I’m even winning. Then I figured, probably I’m missing something, as usual,” said Rapport, who was most disappointed about the fact that he spent only 17 seconds on 25.Bxg5, despite having six minutes on the clock.
Most of us writers were kind of done with using Karjakin’s nickname Minister of Defence, which he earned during his world championship match with Carlsen in 2016, but after today it seems like we might have to keep it for a bit longer. After surviving a worse endgame in the classical game, Karjakin maneuvered along the edge of the abyss in the armageddon.
Afterward, the Russian GM remarked that he’s completely sure White has the advantage in these armageddons. “I think statistically it should be a big advantage for White, but in this tournament at least it’s two wins as Black for me!”
World championship challenger Nepomniachtchi said he played “poorly” in the classical game with Tari as he felt he didn’t make the most of his slight edge out to the opening. The armageddon, however, went even worse as he blundered an important pawn in the opening and was clearly worse.
Engines still prefer White after move 20, but Nepomniachtchi said that during the game he felt he was better there. When commentator GM Judit Polgar asked him if he wasn’t afraid of White’s pawn storm, Nepo replied: “Of course I was afraid, but it didn’t prevent me from my delusions!”
All games day 3
The fourth round is on Friday with the games Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi, Rapport-Firouzja, and Tari-Karjakin.
Norway Chess takes place September 7-18, 2021 in Stavanger, Norway. The format is a double round-robin among six players. The time control is 120 minutes for the whole game, with a 10-second increment starting from move 41. In case of a draw, the players play an armageddon game with the same colors. White has 10 minutes and Black has seven minutes with a one-second increment starting from move 41. A victory in the main game gives three points, a loss in the main game zero points, a draw in the main game & victory armageddon 1.5 points, a loss in the armageddon one point.