Carlsen, Ju Wenjun Win Norway Chess Titles

Carlsen, Ju Wenjun Win Norway Chess Titles

| 62 | Chess Event Coverage

World number-one Magnus Carlsen has won his sixth Norway Chess title after beating GM Fabiano Caruana in armageddon while GM Hikaru Nakamura was held to an incredibly tense classical draw by GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu. The young Indian won the armageddon but still takes third place behind Nakamura.   

Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun took the Women’s Norway Chess title and a prize of around $65,000 after scoring a smooth classical win against her great rival GM Lei Tingjie. That allowed GM Anna Muzychuk to climb into second place with an armageddon win over GM Koneru Humpy

Norway Chess Round 10 Results

Open: Carlsen Wins 6th Norway Chess Title

Carlsen came into the final round of Norway Chess with a 1.5-point lead and went on to clinch the title by two points after defeating Caruana in armageddon while Nakamura lost to Praggnanandhaa.

Final Standings | Open

There was just one matchup in the final round that didn't matter for first place—World Champion Ding Liren vs. GM Alireza Firouzja—and as so often in such cases, the players were only too keen to get off the stage. Ding had suffered a shocking four-game losing streak in classical chess earlier in the tournament, but he ended with a fourth classical draw in a row, with one hour and 37 minutes still left on his clock. 

That still left armageddon, but Ding also wasn't waiting around there—he still had more time on his clock when he resigned than Firouzja had when the game started, since the last move 29...e4! meant that c6 next would trap the white bishop on d5. 

That match did nothing to help or harm either player's standing, however, with the real action elsewhere.

Carlsen 1.5-1 Caruana

Nakamura watches Carlsen-Caruana. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

When his win was confirmed, Carlsen summed things up: "Good performance, not a sparkling performance by any means, but I feel like I was quite professional in the way that I handled the last seven games or so." He explained what had changed between his one classical loss, to Praggnanandhaa, and the win over Caruana in the next round that set the tone for the rest of his tournament:

"I guess my mindset just changed in that against Fabiano I just wanted to be super, super, solid, and I was really focused in that game. And it went from trying to play fun chess, which wasn’t fun at all, to more of a slow, grinding style, where I was just trying to see if I could pick up some scraps here and there, trying to win the boring way. I think that’s what’s changed!"

[My mindset] went from trying to play fun chess, which wasn't fun at all, to more of a slow, grinding style.

—Magnus Carlsen

It was safety-first in the final round, with Carlsen springing a minor surprise in the Archangel Ruy Lopez on which Caruana had filmed a 44-hour video series for Chessable.

Caruana wasn't worried, however, and Carlsen didn't think he had anything special, since he noted that all the opening lines tend to end up in the same place. Queens came off on move 19, and a draw by repetition was reached on move 25.

That still left Carlsen with work to do, since if he lost the armageddon that would give Nakamura a chance to defeat Praggnanandhaa in classical chess and take the tournament victory outright in the final round, just as he'd done in 2023. Carlsen had White and had to win on demand... which he did, for the 15th time in 16 Norway Chess armageddon games with the white pieces!  

That's our Game of the Day, which GM Rafael Leitao has analyzed below.

Carlsen admitted the game had not been smooth sailing, commenting on his armageddon results in general:

"It feels like very few of the games are convincing; I just out-hustle my opponents. It feels like the stats are a bit inflated, but it’s very important. It doesn’t feel that important there and then, because it’s only half a point, it’s one-sixth of the classical game, but when you count them up, it’s so crucial at the end of the tournament." 

I just out-hustle my opponents.

—Magnus Carlsen on his armageddon wins 

The tournament victory wasn't yet decided, however, since Nakamura still had a chance to force a playoff with a classical win.

Praggnanandhaa 1.5-1 Nakamura

Carlsen felt very good after his win in armageddon, since Praggnanandhaa looked to be keeping Nakamura's chances to a minimum. The Indian star even made the first confessional appearance of the day. 

It looked just a question of when a draw would be agreed in the classical game, but instead as it went on the tension built until a worried Carlsen noted, "I don't love it!" in the live commentary. He called Praggnanandhaa's attempt to play for a win "insane," and although it seems the youngster was never objectively in trouble, the game was balanced on a knife-edge. 

Carlsen explained it had become "pure calculation," but luckily for him that's an area where Praggnanandhaa has few equals. He pulled the brake at the right moment, though the former world champion was still a bit surprised that Nakamura took a draw when he did.

It was a fascinating clash.

That draw made Carlsen the champion...

...but it also guaranteed second place and an extra $14,000 in prize money for Nakamura, who had gone through the whole event unbeaten in classical chess. 

That left an armageddon game where nothing was at stake but some pride, and this time Praggnanandhaa got to unleash his attacking instincts in a kingside attack that crashed through in some style.

Nakamura went through both games in his final recap. 

Praggnanandhaa took third place, ahead of Firouzja (fourth), Caruana (fifth), and Ding (sixth).

Women: Ju Wenjun Wins Inaugural Norway Chess Women's Title

The same prize money was on offer in the Women's Norway Chess, but the world champion wasn't in the mood to allow any drama. Ju, who led by 1.5 points going into the day, cruised to victory with a smooth classical win over Lei to end three points ahead of Muzychuk. 

Final Standings | Women

Ju 3-0 Lei

Lei's two classical wins in a row had left her fate in her own hands going into the final round, but to complete the late dash to the finish line she had to beat Ju with the black pieces. It was a mountain to climb, especially after the opening—the infamously drawish Exchange Slav. It was understandable that Ju was so calm when she entered the confessional.

For most of the game, Ju had a accuracy score of an unassailable 100, but she was modesty personified when asked about it afterward. She commented: "It’s very easy for White to play, and also I think this should be a drawish line, but she was not playing well in this game."

Ju Wenjun noted that armageddon seems to suit her. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

It was a richly-deserved win for Ju but painful for Lei, who found herself overtaken in the battle for second place by Muzychuk, who got nothing against Humpy in the classical game but was then winning in 10 moves in armageddon. What followed was brutal! 

Muzychuk took second and is now the only player from Norway to head straight to the other Women's super-tournament, the Cairns Cup in St. Louis. Humpy finished fifth, sandwiched between the youngest and oldest female players in Stavanger, 22-year-old GM Vaishali Rameshbabu and 61-year-old GM Pia Cramling

Drawn in 144 moves! Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Their final-round matchup was the longest of the day, and full of emotion and wild swings in evaluation. Cramling looked sure to pick up her first classical win of the tournament, but she lost her way and ultimately found herself playing the theoretically drawn but tricky rook + bishop vs. rook endgame, in vain, until move 144.

Cramling's husband, GM Juan Manuel Bellon Lopez, was there to offer support. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Vaishali had run out of steam after her heroics in the final rounds of the Candidates and the first half of Norway Chess, but for much of the armageddon game, she was on the verge of a win. Cramling deserved something from the day's action, however, and in the end she got it, forcing a draw from a position of strength to win the final mini-match.

Vaishali took fourth and Cramling sixth, and Norway Chess 2024 was over. We hope you enjoyed the show!  

How to review? You can review Norway Chess 2024 on the Chess24 YouTube and Twitch channels. It was also be streamed on Nakamura's Kick channel. The games can also be reviewed from our events page: Open | Women.

The live broadcast was hosted by GM David Howell and IMs Anna Rudolf and Danny Rensch.

Norway Chess 2024 featured Open and Women's six-player tournaments for equal prize funds of 1,690,000 NOK (~$160,000). It ran May 27 to June 7 in Stavanger, with players facing their opponents twice at classical chess (120 minutes/40 moves, with a 10-second increment from move 41). The winner of a classical game got three points, the loser, zero; after a draw, the players got one point and fought for another half-point in armageddon (10 minutes for White, seven for Black, who had draw odds). 

Previous coverage:

    Colin McGourty

    Colin McGourty led news at Chess24 from its launch until it merged with a decade later. An amateur player, he got into chess writing when he set up the website Chess in Translation after previously studying Slavic languages and literature in St. Andrews, Odesa, Oxford, and Krakow.

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