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12th Norway Chess R7: Hikaru Nakamura wins an absolute thrilling Armageddon against Magnus Carlsen

by Shahid Ahmed - 04/06/2024

Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Magnus Carlsen (NOR) had quite possibly the most exciting Armageddon of 12th Norway Chess 2024. After a 20-move draw in the Classical, they had an absolute thriller of Armageddon. Nakamura mentioned playing the Sämisch variation in the Nimzo-Indian over a decade ago (exactly on the same day). He lost that game from a winning position. The world no.1 predicted it on the previous night while discussing with his second, GM Peter Heine Nielsen (DEN). Nakamura got himself a winning position in Armageddon by spotting a beautiful tactic. However, towards the end he fumbled and the game headed towards a draw. He managed to win the game on time. R Praggnanandhaa and Alireza Firouzja defeated Ding Liren (CHN) and Fabiano Caruana (USA) respectively in Armageddon. Magnus is still leading 13/21, followed by Nakamura 12.5/21 and Praggnanandhaa 11/21. Round 8 starts today from 5 p.m. CET, 8:30 p.m. IST.

Praggnanandhaa avenges his Armageddon loss against Ding Liren

Apart from Armageddon, one of the unique feature of this tournament is - Confession booth. Players can go there during their game and speak whatever they have in their mind. Only the viewers who are watching the live stream can hear their voice and see them. The confession is quite contrasting between the Open and Women events. Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana generally spoke about their position, tournament situation etc. Whereas, the women, it is completely different. Pia Cramling mentioned that she played 1.d4 because her daughter WFM Anna Cramling who is also a popular streamer chose it as she made the first move. Anna Muzychuk thanked the organizers for organizing the Women's top level Classical event with equal prize fund, simultaneously at the same place at the same hall, for the first time in history. She also showed her support towards Ding Liren. She mentioned she did not know him personally or spoke with him but she could fathom what he is going through as she had once gone through a difficult time. It was the support shown to her at that time, mattered a lot.

The moment when Magnus Carlsen (NOR) realizes that he has run out of time

Nakamura - Carlsen: 1.5-1

Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2794) played 4.f3 in the Nimzo-Indian, the Sämisch variation. Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2830) predicted that his opponent might play it as he discussed it with his second and the most successful chess coach of all time - GM Peter Heine Nielsen (DEN). Nakamura revealed in the Confession booth that he played this line a decade ago (exactly on the same day) at Zurich Chess Challenge 2014. He got a winning position, but unfortunately he could not convert it and ended up losing the game. Anyway, fast-forward to Armageddon, we see a Queen's Gambit Declined Exchange variation.

Position after 16...Nxd4

16...Nxd4 Hikaru almost immediately played 17.Bg6 Rf8 18.Bf2 Nc6 19.Rxe6 that's how he regained the pawn but wait for the next interesting sequence. 19...d4 20.Ne2 Bc5 21.Nf4 Nd5 22.Qb3!

Position after 22.Qb3!

22.Qb3! is an outstanding move. White completely ignores the double on his knight after 21...Nd5. 22...Ncb4 runs into 23.Rae1. Thus, Carlsen decided to play actively 22...Nxf4 23.Rd6+ Kh8 24.Rxd8 Rcxd8 White got a queen for a rook and knight, but it is still not easy, most importantly one should remember that this is Armageddon, not a Classical game which means White must win as a draw would mean Black wins the game.

Position after 36.Qb4??

36.Qb4?? even I was thinking this to be the best defense out of Kf1, Kf2 and Qb4 while watching it live but turns out we both missed something which the World no.1 didn't Rd4! in just one move Black is back in the game. 37.Qxd2 Rxd2 38.Rxd2 Nakamura knew that he can no longer win this on the board. However, he kept playing as it is Armageddon and he needed a win to stay in contention of winning the tournament. Eventually Magnus ran out of time and lost the game.

The most thrilling Nakamura vs Carlsen encounter, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Flagged | Video: GMHikaru

Magnus Carlsen is angry at himself for not being fast enough

Hikaru Nakamura apologizes but Magnus Carlsen motions that he is not mad at his opponent, he is upset with himself

No matter what happens, Magnus Carlsen always sets up the pieces

Caruana - Firouzja: 1-1.5

Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2805) mentioned in the Confession booth that Alireza Firouzja (FRA, 2737) tempted him to play aggressively 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bh4 in the Italian/Giuco Piano.

Position after 12...g5

The sacrifice here to gain an initiative by exposing the black king 13.Nxg5 hxg5 14.Bxg5 Rh8 actually does not work against strong players. However, the World no.2 felt otherwise and the game petered out to a draw. Firouzja got himself a winning endgame in Armageddon, however, it ended in a draw. It was enough for him to win the match.

Alireza Firouzja (FRA) defeated Fabiano Caruana (USA) for the second time in Armageddon at this event | Photo: Norway Chess/Stev Bonhage

Praggnanandaa - Ding: 1.5-1

Just when it seemed like Ding Liren (CHN, 2762) might score his first Classical win, he made a couple of anti-positional moves and the game ended in a draw. It must have surprised his opponent, R Praggnanandhaa (2747) too.

Position after 29.Qh3

29...Bh5 is the best continuation 30.g4 does not work as Bxg4 31.Qxg4 Rg6 gives Black a decisive advantage. Instead, 29...Bf7 30.Be2 Be6 and the game ended in a draw. The world champion had a commanding position, yet the game ended prematurely, leaving everyone confuddled.


Position after 21.Qh4

21...Bb4 22.Rc2 e5 is an instant win for Black as he gains material. Instead, 21...Rdg8?? 22.Nf3 h6 23.Rxd6 dropped the very piece which could have been instrumental in gaining material.

Shocking turnaround in one move - Praggnanandhaa vs Ding Liren, Armageddon, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

R Praggnanandhaa avenged his earlier Armageddon loss against Ding Liren at this event | Photo: Norway Chess/Stev Bonhage

Round 7 in progress | Photo: Norway Chess/Stev Bonhage

Replay live stream

Replay Norway Chess 2024 Round 7 Live Commentary by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 7 games

Round 7 results

Hikaru Nakamura - Magnus Carlsen: 1.5-1

Fabiano Caruana - Alireza Firouzja: 1-1.5

Praggnanandhaa - Ding Liren: 1.5-1

Standings after Round 7

Magnus Carlsen - 13/21

Hikaru Nakamura - 12.5/21

Praggnanandhaa - 11/21

Alireza Firouzja - 9.5/21

Fabiano Caruana - 7.5/21

Ding Liren - 3.5/21

Round 8 pairings

Round 8 pairings | Photo: Norway Chess


6 players will take part in the Tournament.

The Tournament is a double-round event with Armageddon.

The Tournament consists of 10 rounds.

Time Control

Each player will have 120 minutes on the clock with an increment of 10 seconds starting from move 41. The time control for the Armageddon game: white has 10 minutes and black has 7 minutes with an increment for both players of 1 second per move, starting from move 41.

Draw by Mutual Agreement

Players are not allowed to agree to a draw until at least 30 moves have been made by each player. This rule does not apply to Armageddon games.


If the classical game is drawn, an Armageddon game will be played. It shall start within 20 minutes of the conclusion of the classical game. The player with White pieces will continue with White in Armageddon. If the Armageddon game is drawn, black will win.


Players will get the following points per round:

Win in the classical game: 3 points

Loss in the classical game: 0 points

Draw in the classical game & win Armageddon: 1½ points

Draw in the classical game & loss Armageddon: 1 point


From 27th May to 7th June, every day game starts at 5 p.m. local time and 8:30 p.m. IST. Rest days are on Friday 31st May and Wednesday 5th June.

Prize money

Prize Money The total prize fund of the Tournament is 1690000 NOK. Distribution of Prize money occurs as followed:

1st - NOK 700000

2nd - NOK 350000

3rd - NOK 200000

4th - NOK 170000

5th - NOK 150000

6th - NOK 120000

Watch the tournaments live at the venue:

SR-Bank in Stavanger City.

Address: Christen Tranes Gate 35, 4007 Stavanger

All tickets are purchased directly at the venue. No pre-sale.

It is possible to reserve tickets, however, this is normally not necessary due to good capacity at the venue. Reserve your ticket by e-mailing the desired dates and names to:


Ticket prices per day:

Adults: 200 NOK

Children: 100 NOK

Family: 400 NOK


Tournament Regulations

Norway Chess: Official site, facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, linkedin

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