World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has won four Norway Chess titles, including the past three in a row. He’s the favorite to win the tournament again in 2022, despite failing to get a classical win in the first round on Tuesday.
Carlsen rates as the -155 favorite to win Norway Chess at online sportsbook bwin, but he’ll have to make up ground on the leaders after the first round.
Carlsen beats Wang in Armageddon
Wang Hao held Carlsen to a draw in the classical portion of their Monday matchup, stymying the champion with the black pieces. However, at Norway Chess, that’s only the start of the story.
A classical win counts as three points in this tournament, while a loss earns a player zero for that round. A draw is worth a point and requires the players then face off in an Armageddon game, with the victor walking away with a bonus half-point.
Carlsen scored a win with White in the tie-break game, meaning he finished Tuesday with 1.5 points. That puts him behind Wesley So and former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, both of whom scored classical wins with the white pieces.
|Norway Chess Odds (via Bwin)|
|Magnus Carlsen: -155||Wesley So: +200|
|Viswanathan Anand: +1000||Anish Giri: +1200|
|Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: +2500||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave: +4000|
|Teimour Radjabov: +10000||Veselin Topalov: +10000|
|Wang Hao: +10000||Aryan Tari: +25000|
That puts So and Anand in the lead at Norway Chess after one round with three points each. So is the +200 second choice to win the tournament, with Anand third on the board at +1000.
So already has a win in Norway this week. On Monday, So won the blitz tournament, which the Norway Chess organizers have traditionally used in lieu of a drawing of lots to determine pairings ahead of the event. So went 5-3-1 (6.5 points) to beat Carlsen by a full point, and also won their individual matchup.
Norway Chess organizers scramble to fill field
While So will be pleased to win the blitz tournament, he says the real test is matching up with Carlsen in the main event.
“Magnus has been the best player for 10 years now, there is nobody close,” So told reporters. “It’s a bit embarrassing for the rest of us that his rating is so much higher than the rest.”
The Norway Chess field features some veteran players who haven’t been active as of late. That includes both Anand and former World Champion Veselin Topalov, who hasn’t played a classical tournament since 2020. Organizers sought to celebrate the 10th edition of the event by inviting back previous winners, including Topalov.
The tournament also banned Russian players from participating, which eliminated potential players like Sergey Karjakin and Alexander Grischuk. Richard Rapport dropped out of the tournament at the last minute before switching his allegiance from Hungary to the Romanian Chess Federation after citing a lack of financial support in his home country.
On short notice, organizers invited Norway’s second-ranked grandmaster, Aryan Tari, to play in the tournament.
“It’s extremely difficult when we receive such a message at this point, so late before the tournament starts. It could lead to a buy for all the players and we have events and commitments for the sponsors, and it would be difficult to be one round without Magnus,” Norway Chess organizer Kjell Madland told chess24.com. “It’s always a pity when these things happen, but when it does, we have to solve it in the best way possible. We are very happy to have Aryan in.”