– Met a young boy who was terribly nervous – VG


VANT NORWAY CHESS: Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Carina Johansen

It seemed to go against a draw, but Magnus Carlsen defeated Alireza Firouzja and with Thursday’s victory is the winner of Norway Chess 2020 before the last round.

The party ended in a farmers’ final game where Carlsen had two farmers against Firouzja’s one. Even though the Iranian had only a few seconds left on the clock, he seemed to stay away, but a huge mistake gave way to Carlsen’s party.

– I am very happy to win the tournament. The game has been a bit up and down. Today it should have been a draw, but it was a victory because I met a young boy who was terribly nervous, Carlsen told TV 2.

With a draw, Firouzja would join the victory battle, and then Carlsen might have to beat Levon Aronian on Friday to stay away.

– The only thing that gave me optimism was his nervousness and time. Had I seen something else in his body language, I would probably have given up trying to win, Carlsen said.

– He was clearly uncomfortable. He sat shivering, and I think it was a bit of a coincidence where the king ended up.

After winning many of this summer’s online tournaments, the world champion triumphed again in the first tournament during the pandemic where the players sit face to face at the chessboard, even though Jan-Krzysztof Duda broke his 125 game long series of long chess games without a loss.

WON AGAIN: This is the third time Magnus Carlsen has won the Norway Chess tournament, which was held for the first time in 2013. Photo: Carina Johansen


Firouzja went on the offensive with white pieces and put pressure on the Norwegian world champion, but Carlsen seemed well prepared for the 17-year-old Iranian’s strategy and delivered quick counterattacks. He got a pretty clear advantage on the clock. Still, he was not happy.

– I very much regret my opening choice. This looks very distracting. I hoped he would not go for what he did. Now it will not be very exciting, and there is little chance of playing for victory, Carlsen said in the “confession box” after 50 minutes at the board.

Half an hour later he looked brighter on it, among other things after Firouzja in the 15th move made a running move the chess computers did not like.

– I am far happier now that he has given away his running pair. That he switched runners to my runner was a bit strange, said Carlsen, who told what attacking strategy he envisioned.

– If it goes like this, I might have such a big (pointed with thumb and forefinger just apart) advantage, but most likely this ebs out in a draw.

Shock pull

Carlsen carried out his plan and played to a small advantage. He had a much better time than Firouzja, who in the 33rd move the farmer moved where Carlsen wanted and suddenly seemed to be losing the game. The chess computers gave Carlsen a significant advantage, but he gave it up when he became a little too eager.

– I had overlooked a simple detail. I saw almost immediately that I had fooled myself, Carlsen told TV 2 about it.

In the peasant final game, Firouzja seemed to have saved a draw, forced Armageddon and kept the tension alive, but then came the shocking loss move that decided the game after 69 moves and just over three and a half hours.

With a four-point lead on Firouzja, no one can catch up with Magnus Carlsen, who for the third time has won the long chess tournament in Norway Chess.

– I am super happy to have won three of four games since I lost to Duda. Then I get to take with me that I can play even better, Carlsen said.

– Not least, I will try to play well on Friday, even though I have won the tournament.

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