Norway Chess: Praggnanandhaa loses to Carlsen; Vaishali beats Muzychuk

With the win, Carlsen stretched his lead to a full point over Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who lost to Alireza Firouzja of France.

Published : Jun 05, 2024 10:00 IST , Stavanger - 3 MINS READ

File - Magnus Carlsen in action.
File - Magnus Carlsen in action. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

File - Magnus Carlsen in action. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa went down fighting against top seed Magnus Carlsen of Norway while his elder sister defeated overnight sole leader Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine in the eighth round of the Norway chess tournament here.

With the win, Carlsen stretched his lead to a full point over Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who lost to Alireza Firouzja of France.

Meanwhile, World champion Ding Liren of China’s dismal run continued as he lost to Fabiano Caruana of the United States.

With just two rounds left in the six-player double round-robin tournament, Carlsen has 14.5 points ahead of Nakamura at 13.5. Praggnanandhaa on 12 is in third spot, one point clear of Alireza.

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Caruana is on nine, occupying the fifth spot, while Liren seemed to have resigned to his fate in this event being distant last on 4.5 points.

In the women’s section, world champion Wenjun Ju of China scored over Pia Cramling of Sweden to surge ahead of the field on 14.5 points benefitting from Muzychuk’s loss against Vaishali.

The Ukrainian remained in the second spot on 13 points, 1.5 points ahead of Vaishali and Tingjie Lei of China who accounted for Koneru Humpy in the other game of the day.

Humpy on eight points remained fifth in the standings, 3.5 points more than Cramling in the USD 161000 prize money tournament in both sections.

All three games in the men’s category ended in draws in the Classical leading to the Armageddon game as per tournament rules.

Carlsen could not really dent Praggnanandhaa’s solid play in the Classical and with a laboured effort the world number one won a pawn but only ended up reaching a theoretically drawn rooks and pawns endgame.

However, in the return game, Praggnanandhaa could not match the guile of Carlsen and lost a handful of pawns while reaching the endgame wherein the Indian had two minor pieces against a rook. Eventually, white’s extra material had the final say.

In Armageddon, the white player has ten minutes compared to black’s seven but white needs to win the game.

For each win under Classical time control, the players are awarded three points while in the Armageddon the winner gets 1.5 points compared to losers’ one.

Nakamura remained within striking distance of Carlsen despite losing to Firouzja Alireza in an exciting contest.

For Alireza, it was a good comeback and the Frenchman might fancy his chances in the last two rounds now.

Vaishali defeated Muzychuk for the second time in the event in the Armageddon. It was a finely played Classical game wherein neither player could reach an advantage but in the Armageddon, Vaishali took advantage of her better-placed rooks to call the shots.

Both players ran very short of time and Muzychuk was the one to falter.

Humpy’s aspirations to make a comeback suffered a setback as she lost to Tingjie Lei. Humpy, known for bouncing back from difficult situations, now needs two wins to have a good finish in the event.

Round 8 Results
Men: Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 14.5) beat R Praggnanandhaa (Ind, 12) 1.5-1; Firouzja Alireza (Fra, 11) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 13.5) 1.5-1; Ding Liren (Chn, 4.5) lost to Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 9) 1-1.5.
Women: R Vaishali (Ind, 11.5) beat Anna Muzychuk (Ukr, 13) 1.5-1; Wenjun Ju (Chn, 14.5) beat Pia Cramling (Swe, 5.5); Tingjie Lei (Chn, 11.5) beat Koneru Humpy (Ind, 8).
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