Norway Chess R7: Rapport jumps to world number 6

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For the first time, the Norwegian chess tournament saw three classic playoffs and therefore no armageddon. GM Richard Rapport beat GM Sergey Karjakin to move up to sixth in the world in live ratings.

He is now 3.5 points ahead of the tournament’s new runner-up, GM Magnus Carlsen, who beat compatriot GM Aryan Tari. General manager Ian Nepomniachtchi fell to third place after losing to general manager Alireza Firouzja.

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7th round classification

# fed name Evaluation Classic Armageddon Total
1 Richard Report 2760 12 3.5 15.5
2 Magnus carlsen 2855 6 6 12
3 Ian nepomniachtchi 2792 3 6.5 9.5
5 Alireza Firouzja 2754 6 3 9
4 Sergei Karzakin 2758 3 5.5 8.5
6 Aryan Tari 2642 0 3 3

“The rapport is playing so well in this tournament, it’s very difficult to catch up with it, I think,” Firouzja said during his interview today. “He played really well,” said Carlsen. These simple statements are difficult to dispute.

There are three laps left to go, but so far it looks like the 25-year-old Hungarian grandmaster is making his ultimate breakthrough into the absolute world elite as he now sits sixth in the live rankings. A gain of 18.4 Elo is huge at this level.

Rapport is now number six in the world. Picture: 2700chess.com.

“It was completely unexpected, of course, that I converted this game,” Rapport said modestly, noting that the game was very concrete almost from the start. But of course he was always the one in the rush as he managed to keep his c-pawn very advanced on the board throughout the game – almost a miracle in itself – until that pawn decides the game.

It was already Rapport’s fourth classic victory; Carlsen and Firouzja have two, after today’s round. Here are our annotations combined with Rapport’s remarks in her interview:

Game of the day Dejan Bojkov

Sergey Karjakin Norway Chess 2021
Karjakin beat Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi, but Rapport was too strong today. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

“I feel like I can’t beat my opponents so it’s the only way for me to win, working really hard,” Carlsen said after securing his second straight recurve victory after none in the first half of the event. . “I wouldn’t say it sounds like a big accomplishment, but it’s the thing you need to do sometimes to turn a bad tournament around.”

Tari Carlsen Norway Chess 2021
Nepomniachtchi watches a hard-working Carlsen. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

There was a strange moment at the start of Carlsen’s match with Tari. Barely out of the opening, the world champion spent an astounding 46 minutes on his 14th shot. When asked if it paid off, he replied, “I wouldn’t say that because I played the same shot I was going to play after a minute!”

We’ve all been there.

“It’s a little strange that this is a theoretical position with Whites to move, but I realized that even an increase in the tempo of my position is probably not great,” explained Carlsen. After missing a chance to take the lead, Tari then slowly got dominated:

Magnus Carlsen 2021 Norway Chess
Hard work paid off for Carlsen. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

In his post-match interview, Carlsen also revealed something interesting about his crazy final with Firouzja the other day:

“The thing is, I have to be honest, I didn’t see that he couldn’t wait. So all this talk about the sparkle, it’s like … He’s been thinking for a really long time, I didn’t understand why because I didn’t see the end of the pawn winning. That was the goal. He obviously saw it because he was spending so much time. So in retrospect, I feel like a complete fool . “

Looking back, I feel like a complete fool.
—Magnus Carlsen

While the world champion won his match today, his challenger in the world championship match lost. According to his opponent, Firouzja, this was at least in part due to the Russian general manager avoiding his main repertoire.

“Ian plays normally at Najdorf but it’s clear he wants to keep him for this game. OK, I don’t know what his plan was!” Firouzja said, adding: “It was clear that maybe there was a lack of experience there, in the middle of the game. The engine probably shows 0.00 but experience is also important.”

More concretely, Firouzja felt that Nepomniachtchi’s decision to maneuver his c6-knight in g6 was, in this particular line, not good:

“I’m learning,” Firouzja reflected on his tournament so far. “Yesterday, the final tournament was just a big lesson for me. I’m happy to have at least returned today.”

Focus on Alireza Firouzja
Alireza Firouzja, learner and winner. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norwegian Chess.

Norway Chess will take place September 7-18, 2021 in Stavanger, Norway. The format is a double round robin between six players. Time control is 120 minutes for the entire game with an increment of 10 seconds from move 41. In the event of a tie, players play an armageddon game with the same colors. White has 10 minutes and Black has seven minutes with a one-second increment from move 41. A win in the main game gives three points; one loss in the main game, zero points; a draw in the main game followed by a victory in armageddon, 1.5 points; and defeat in armageddon, one point.


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