June 13, 2014 20:09

Sergey Karjakin Repeats as Norway Chess Winner

When he was playing against Anish Giri he didn't expect to finish with 3.0/3, but he did. Sergey Karjakin defeated Fabiano Caruana in the final round in Stavanger to clinch victory yet again at the Norway Chess tournament. Like Karjakin, Magnus Carlsen finished on the same number of points as last year after beating his compatriot Simen Agdestein while Vladimir Kramnik finished on 9th place as he lost to Alexander Grischuk.

Oops, he did it again! Sergey Karjakin won the Norway Chess tournament for the second year in a row, somewhat unexpectedly because of a slow start but deservedly as his main rivals made too many “unforced errors”, as Peter Svidler described it. Karjakin finished on the same number of points as last year, 6.0/9, and so did runner-up Magnus Carlsen: 5.5/9. Alexander Grischuk cemented his world #3 position with an excellent third place in a tournament which he described as “clearly the strongest 10-player tournament ever held.” For Vladimir Kramnik, who finished in 9th place, the tournament was one to quickly forget.

Simen Agdestein and his second Evgeny Romanov arriving for the final round

The first game to end in the final round was Giri vs Svidler, and it was not much of a game: right out of the opening the players repeated the moves. “When you have a nice position without counterplay it's not always that you don't lose!” said Giri, referring to his unfortunate loss against Karjakin. “I don't have any excuses, I am just making up one. I didn't know I wasn't in the mood to fight but somehow I wasn't,” added the Dutch number one.

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Topalov and Aronian also split the point, but there things could have gone differently. The Bulgarian finished on a decent 4.5/9 after a bad start (“It looked totally terrible. Not only the way I was losing my games but I was also blundering.”), but that could have been plus one if he had been a bit more alert. Both players missed an idea for White on move 24 that was connected to a knight going from e3 to c2. Backward knight moves can easily be missed!

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Aronian explained that he hadn't been in great shape during the tournament. “Generally I was playing badly. I was not feeling 100%. I just had a nose operation and I'm still recovering. The Olympiad is a place where I'm going to have my revenge!”

Then Kramnik went down against his compatriot Grischuk, who seemed under pressure in a Grünfeld and got into time trouble. “Maybe that was what made him go astray,” said Grischuk because as so often, his level didn't really go down with just a few minutes on the clock. Instead, it was Kramnik who started making mistakes. Grischuk: “Better lucky than good!”

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And so the tournament got to see an exciting finish with Karjakin defending his half-point lead over Carlsen. The Russian GM was expected to draw his game with Caruana, while Carlsen was building up a nice advantage against Agdestein.

However, the 47-year-old was by no means going to help his compatriot; in fact he was putting up a good defense. Only just before the time control Agdestein started to make a few small errors.

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“I don't think I played particularly well, not too disastrous either but I never got going and obviously I missed my chance yesterday,” said Carlsen.

If Karjakin would draw his game, the tournament would be decided in a blitz playoff. The organizers had already put up a chess set in a separate room, but it wasn't necessary. Caruana made a big mistake on move 32 and got into a lost position. It took a while, but eventually Karjakin converted the full point to clinch his second victory in Norway.

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“Especially when I was playing Anish I didn't think I would finish with plus three!” said Karjakin, who didn't bring a second to the tournament. His regular second, GM Alexander Motylev, was playing a tournament himself.

“I was doing it alone, which is quite unusual for me. My wife was helping me and my manager was supporting me. That was my team basically. Last year I also came only with her. She is my best second!

During one of the interviews, Karjakin was asked the typical question what he would do with his 100,000 Euro first prize. He said “I don't know,” but his wife Galiya, who was standing closeby, said “I know!” 

The players at the closing ceremony | Photo © Chess.com

Norway Chess 2014 | Pairings & Results

Round 1 03.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 2 04.06.14 15:30 CET
Aronian ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian 1-0 Karjakin
Karjakin ½-½ Topalov   Kramnik ½-½ Carlsen
Grischuk 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Svidler
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Topalov 0-1 Grischuk
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Agdestein ½-½ Giri
Round 3 05.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 4 07.06.14 15:30 CET
Karjakin ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian ½-½ Svidler
Grischuk 1-0 Aronian   Karjakin 1-0 Grischuk
Svidler ½-½ Topalov   Caruana ½-½ Giri
Carlsen ½-½ Caruana   Topalov ½-½ Carlsen
Giri 0-1 Kramnik   Agdestein ½-½ Kramnik
Round 5 08.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 6 09.06.14 15:30 CET
Grischuk ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian ½-½ Giri
Svidler ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin ½-½ Carlsen
Carlsen 1-0 Aronian   Grischuk ½-½ Svidler
Giri 1-0 Topalov   Topalov 1-0 Kramnik
Kramnik 1-0  Caruana   Agdestein ½-½ Caruana
Round 7 10.06.14 15:30 CET   Round 8 12.06.14 15:30 CET
Svidler ½-½ Agdestein   Aronian ½-½ Caruana
Carlsen ½-½ Grischuk   Karjakin 1-0 Kramnik
Giri 0-1 Karjakin   Grischuk ½-½ Giri
Kramnik ½-½ Aronian   Svidler ½-½ Carlsen
Caruana ½-½ Topalov   Agdestein 0-1 Topalov
Round 9 13.06.14 14:30 CET        
Carlsen 1-0 Agdestein        
Giri ½-½ Svidler        
Kramnik 0-1 Grischuk        
Caruana 0-1 Karjakin        
Topalov ½-½ Aronian        

Norway Chess 2014 | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Karjakin,Sergey 2771 2894 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 6.0/9  
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2881 2841 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 5.5/9  
3 Grischuk,Alexander 2792 2810 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 5.0/9  
4 Caruana,Fabiano 2791 2772 0 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 4.5/9 19.75
5 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2774 ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 0 1 1 4.5/9 19.50
6 Aronian,Levon 2815 2731 1 0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9 18.25
7 Svidler,Peter 2753 2738 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9 18.25
8 Giri,Anish 2752 2738 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 4.0/9 17.75
9 Kramnik,Vladimir 2783 2735 0 ½ 0 1 0 ½ ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 4.0/9 17.00
10 Agdestein,Simen 2628 2711 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 3.5/9  

The Norway Chess tournament runs 2-13 June in the Stavanger region. All photos courtesy of the official website | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Mother Russia's picture

Once again, we have seen which nation produces the best chess players. Overrated Westerners like Carlsen and Caruana stand no chance when faced with the mental toughness and discipline of a player like Sergey. With NATO "sanctions" coming soon and Norway accordingly boycotting all things Russian, it is almost certain that Overrated Magnus will refuse to defend "his" title, thus giving Sergey the right to face Anand. The Russian ex-Wunderkind would be the favorite in such a match, and would therefore probably bring back to Russia the title that Kramnik irresponsibly lent almost seven years ago.

Anonymous's picture


Furthermore, s3 should be banned.

ff2017's picture

"Once again, we have seen which nation produces the best chess players. "


Chris's picture

Ukraine and Norge

Robbert Lubbers's picture

You forgot to mention Latvia of course.

NN's picture

Which Ukraine are you talking about? You don't seem to know much about Karjakin, so let me tell you that he is from Simferopol and is 100% Russian as he has repeated many times recently.

Anonymous's picture

s3, don't you think people already dislike Russians enough these days? Why do you have to make it worse?

Marcos's picture

You sir are a very interesting research subject for the behavioural sciences. More context data would be neccessary however to address your case.

Anonymous's picture

Are you talking about the Crimean, Ukrainian Norway Chess winner Sergey Karjakin who was basically forced to swap federations because he received way more professional training conditions in return? Not only that but you dare to continue to present us with your imbecile Russian omnipotence delirium revisited in chess? Dude all I can recommend to you is rather slowly but surely trying to take some steps towards accepting reality. The strongest world champion for ages outclasses just about any Russian player on a regular basis Having said that I'm very pleased to see Sergey winning Norway Chess in style, even more convincingly as he repeats the triumph from last year! If he continues to play so well in other events as well, there might be hope for a new lively rivalrly between Magnus and Sergey in the future. Would be great, but still depends on the consistence of Sergey's performance. Let's hope for the best!

Father Norway's picture

Kramnik was born in Tuapse, which is quite close to Sochi.
Mother Russia's cunning plan to use Kramnik's physical presence at the Sochi World Championship match to distract Carlsen has just fallen apart. Now Kramnik's presence would energise Carlsen.

Casey Abell's picture

"With NATO sanctions coming soon and Norway accordingly boycotting all things Russian, it is almost certain that Overrated Magnus will refuse to defend his title."

Never knew Anand was Russian. He doesn't look Russian to me (wink).

NN's picture

Since you obviously cannot take a hint, let me tell you that the 2014 world championship match will take place in Russia.

RG13's picture

Kudos to Karjakin - a truly great GM. However Carlsen's undefeated 2841 performance is something that any Russian grandmaster would not mind being able to do regularly. And if one did then what would his rating be?

Brecht's picture

Wasn't Karjakin Ukraïnian?

RG13's picture

It won't matter if Russia decides annex the rest of Ukraine.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture

Karjakin is Russian. As is the Krim.
Ukriainian can not be proud to support the Third Reich anyway. But ok the Russians liberated Sebastripal from the Nazis.

Anonymous's picture

After the Holodomor and mass murder orchestrated by the Russians against Ukrainians for many years it's no surprise if people would consider also the Devil himself a liberator.

Harry_Flashman's picture

S3... Karajakin is one of Carlsen's " clients " .. Like Nakamura.. Have a look at his score against the WC ..

s3's picture

It's pretty equal. And Karja won Norway chess 2/2 over Carlsen. But why are you telling me?

Harry_Flashman's picture

It's 3-1 for Carlsen in classical games , 14 draws.. Not really equal. Including rapid and exhibition is 17-7 for Carlsen..

s3's picture

3-1and 14 draws is closer to equal than to being a client. Still not sure what you are trying to prove..

Harry_Flashman's picture

Well ,.. Guess it proves that , currently, Carlsen is a better player than Karjakin..

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture

Magnus only has himself to blame, of course. One cannot put one's trust in anything Italian.

My name?'s picture

"Magnus only has himself to blame, of course."

Why "of course"? How do you know?

Anonymous's picture

For blundering away his win against Svidler, having to rely on Caruana?

Anonymous's picture

Karjakin played the worst chess in the first 4 rounds, but emerged as a winner at the end.. lol. Congrats to him, seems like Carlsen couldn´t handle the pressure of home soil after all.

Anonymous's picture

Kramnik played the best chess but was unlucky

Anonymous's picture

And Carlsen played the worst chess but was lucky.

Anonymous's picture

The top 8 finished ahead of Kramnik for non chess related reasons!

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

Delusional and obsessive comment will likely follow

Thomas Richter's picture

It was a chess related reason: Kramnik tried too hard to beat Grischuk - he avoided a move repetition on move 28 (nearly forced for black?) and then things went downhill for him. That was the difference between shared third and shared sixth place.

Yes, shared sixth place - even if Kramnik haters are happy that Vlad happens to have the worst Sonneborn-Berger. Most wins would put him on top of that group. Any tiebreaker is random, but if one believes that "most wins" rewards the most enterprising chess, it would be justified vs. Aronian-Svidler-Giri.

Chris's picture

that place displays real chess strength of Kramnik.
nth more nth less. Lesson for big mouth.

Anonymous's picture

Some people are delusional and some are obsessive, but it is rare to find someone who is obsessive about his delusions.

Anonymous's picture

Kramnik may still have a chance to finish 2nd in events like Dortmund, but will he still be able to win any elite tournament? I doubt it. He used to be a great player, gifted with huge talent and understanding. I didn't like the way he presented himself in press conferences and interviews though, where he attempted to appear as a different, more refined, relaxed, perhaps the artist type of guy who doesn't care so much about winning or losing. Sportsmanship and the picture he drew of himself should have allowed him to attend the post game interviews in Norway. And, as you've said before, age seems to be taking its toll even for him.

s3's picture

It's prolly because of his age that he doesn't visit press conferences after long exhausting games. And remember he pays good money to not attend them. So no prob, and at least he's not impolite like Carlsen when he attends one. Also he (like Aronian f.e.) is more refined and relaxed than most players. Of course he cares about first place, as any observer could have seen. But 3rd or 5th is all the same to him, like he said in the past. And that's only logical for the guy who prolly understands chess best.

Anonymous's picture

any more excuses?

s3's picture

He doesn't need excuses. I'm sure Kramnik doesn't give a crap about the opinion of chess plebs, and rightly so. His bussiness model doesnt revolve around their opinion anyway.
Kramnik still going strong, judging by his play.

Anonymous's picture

Please ban s3, in the name of chess plebs.

Anonymous's picture


Harry_Flashman's picture

Ok Thomas.. He chose to try..Lost and got the 9th place. It's how sports things go.. What his absolutely deluding is his very bad attitude to defeats. Sore loser he is.

Merlinovich's picture

@Thomas Richter

"Any tiebreaker is random". I presume you mean any tiebreak has equal chance make a fair tiebreak in any given tournament.

Actually I made a program to test this hypothesis, and it is trying to predict last round results based on the point score and tiebreak score before the last round. If we toss a coin about who has best tiebreak, the predictiveness should end up close to 50%. However, many tiebreaks actually have a higher predictiveness exceeding 60% meaning on average in 6 games out of 10 it can predict the winners. With Sonneborn-Berger as first tiebreak criteria, the percentage for around 2000+ tournaments is 60.52%. With the criteria 1. Most Wins 2. Sonneborn-Berger the predictiveness is 56.18% which means that it is just a little more than half as good as Sonneborn-Berger to predict last round results.

Thomas Richter's picture

I would rather say that all tiebreakers are unfair, and no big conclusions ("eight players were better than Kramnik") or privileges (major difference in prize money, right to play a WCh match) should be based on tiebreaks. The outcome of a tiebreak can be _perceived_ to be fair, but this will always be a matter of opinion. At the limit, Sonneborn-Berger may be meaningful at the top of the standings - I consider it more meaningful how a player performed against his direct competitors, than how efficient he was against tailenders.

If one forgets about personal opinions about players, or 'forgets' the names of the players and just looks at their games, does anyone really think that Kramnik is deservedly behind Aronian, Giri and Svidler - all of them (or at least the last two) had a relatively 'unremarkable' tournament? I actually like all three (four) of them.

As far as your program is concerned, I don't think 60.5% is 'significantly' better than 56.2% - let alone that the difference between these two results is significant. Not too surprising that "most wins and losses" has less predictive power - such players are inherently less to unpredictable for single games.

Thomas Richter's picture

Edit: I don't think 60.5% is significantly better than 50% ...

Merlinovich's picture

@Thomas Richter

I would rather say that all tiebreakers are unfair" - we agree about that. But some tiebreakers are more fair than others. I hope you agree that the more predictive a tiebreak is, the more fair it must be. Also the less difference there is between 2 tiebreakers predictiveness, the less important it is which one to choose.

"no big conclusions or privileges should be based on tiebreaks" - of course the organizers were completely free to decide that apart from first place, all other prizes would be shared equally between players on equal points. Apparently they did not like that, and had big differences in prize based on (here) tiny differences in tiebreak. One way to handle these two extremes (all shared, or all divided) is the Hort prizegiving system, which relegates 50% of the prizes to the shared pool, and 50% based on the individual prize from the place determined by the tiebreak. For instance if two players share prizes of 5000 and 2000, the best tiebreak will get 2500 + 1750 = 4250 and the lowest tiebreak will get 1000 + 1750 = 2750. I like this principle of sharing prizes.

Of course between Kramnik (17), Giri (17.75), Svidler (the draw master 18.25) and Aronian (18.25) there really wasn't much difference in SB score. I have seen 10 player Round Robins where there were 3 points difference in SB score between 2 players with equal points, and here there were only 1.25 between lowest and highest of 4 players on 4 points.

Note that a 60.5% predictiveness is better than American Roulette which with a "0" and a "00" (house winning) still has no more than a 5.26% house advantage, and in the european version with only a "0" the house advantage is 1/37 = 2.7%. Then I think a 10.5% is quite a good advantage (60.5-50) for the Sonneborn-Berger. I don't know for sure that these two calculations can sensibly be compared, but I expect they can. Would the Casino like to reduce their advantage from 10.5% (Sonneborn-Berger) to 6.18% (Most Wins), or would they rather increase it to 12.4% (Progressive in Swiss tournaments)? Those are real questions, especially since the average player has less chance to get the right prize when these percentages are lower.

Sorry getting all mathematical on you :)

Thomas Richter's picture

"of course the organizers were completely free to decide that apart from first place, all other prizes would be shared equally between players on equal points." - this is what they decided, see the regulations: "Money prizes will be shared among the players with the same sum of points.
This does not apply for the first prize."

Tal Memorial 2013 didn't share prizes at all, but went strictly by tiebreak ranking (credit to Colin McGourty who at the time translated the Russian regulations on my request). Tiebreaks were, in this order, more games with black (generally corresponding to worse result in the preliminary blitz!), most wins, direct result and Sonneborn-Berger - the peculiarity of the regulations may have driven Kramnik to accept an extra black despite finishing in the upper half of the blitz event."Most wins" encourages or rewards players for taking more risks - this pleases organizers and spectators, but the more 'digital' player isn't necessarily the better player. (IMHO the 'wrong' player benefitted at the London candidates, i.e. the one playing less dynamic chess). So I understand the idea behind a most wins tiebreaker (it's not about fairness), but wouldn't use it in FIDE events - in fact, at the GP Series places, GP points and prize money were always shared

Hort system and tiebreak rules in general are fine for Swiss events where players face different opposition, and there are many ways to score 6/9 - the extreme cases 3/3+3/6 and 0/3+6/6 played quite different tournaments.

The idea of casino odds is to ensure that the house makes profit _in the long term_, while customers have enough encouragement to keep playing (neglecting the fact that many customers don't really care about odds). For chess tournaments, I would want better odds than 6/10 - no such system exists, hence IMO it's better to admit that it's too close to call and to share prize money, but also official ranking. If a system is (arguably) fair in six out of ten cases and unfair in four cases, I am unconvinced.

P.S.: Mathematics is fine with me - I also have some background and this is simple enough ....

Merlinovich's picture

"Money prizes will be shared among the players with the same sum of points. This does not apply for the first prize."

So it says - I had overlooked that. The reason for making a long and explicit tiebreak for the classic escapes me though, or was it just a gimmick? Perhaps just to get reporters to agree on the final standing. I think it is highly appropriate (as you indicate in contrast to Swiss) to just share prizes here. The thing I had seen was that the last tiebreak criteria was explicitly "D. Shared place and prizes". That sounds like they would not be shared unless A-C criteria was equal. Strange.

I'm glad you say the principal idea about Most Wins is not fairness - it's an agenda, to make the players more combative. I agree, but see how little effect that had on Svidler, arguably even Agdestein (although he really did try to punish his opponents but precision escaped him, for instance Rxg2+ against Grischuk). Aronian certainly had a good complacent sleepover during a series of games, although he started out ambitiously, winning against Karjakin.

You would like better odds for the casino than 6/10 but take note that 4/10 does not necessarily represent unfairness but rather the randomness of results you will also find at the horse races. The prediction of A having 35.75 in tiebreak and B having 34.50 might have been a completely accurate calculation of their respective performances in the previous rounds - but that will not guarantee that A will automatically win if playing against B in the last round, because it is an independent game, and A and B has no obligation to comply with the prediction, or indeed play with the same strength as in previous rounds.

You may be unconvinced that the casino is right, but I don't agree it is better to pretend that all players that end the tournament on the same number of points, performed identical. There are special cases, for instance the European Ch. where 26(?) players are picked out to qualify to the World Cup, there is an argument for letting that be selected by the best tiebreak criteria we can come up with. One year they used a totally bogus tiebreak criteria where you would only qualify if you lost the last round, but not if you won the last round, but this was just one year's folley, we can improve that. I'm quite sure the predictiveness would have been below 50% that year for that bogus tiebreak. Another year they partly used tiebreak and partly used playoff, which is also worth consideration.


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