Viswanathan Anand put up a good show in the classical game but lost to world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the Armageddon game to score half a point out of a possible two in the first game of Altibox Norway chess tournament here. It turned out to be a difficult day at the office as Anand survived an inferior middle game and then a subsequent endgame against Carlsen for a long time in what was the most exciting classical game of the day but then fell prey to some finely disguised maneuvers in the Armageddon game where the Indian played another black.
As a result of the Armageddon rule invented for a super tournament for the first time, the event had five decisive results coming in the shorter format of the game. Interestingly, the elite chess players were probably drawn to the idea of fighting it out in the shorter format as the Classical games saw only brief spells of fighting chess and Carlsen was the only one seriously pushing for a win against Anand.
Chinese Ding Liren was the first to score a brilliant victory over Wesley So of United States and his compatriot Yu Yangyi followed suit when Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France failed to spot an intermittent check with the queen and instead landed in complications. Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov accounted for American Fabiano Caruana whose reputation in the faster version of the game suffered another setback. In a wild chase on the clock, Levon Aronian won on time in a hopeless situation against Alexander Grischuk of Russia where pieces flew all over the board as the players tried to match each other with only seconds remaining on the clock.
Carlsen, Aronian, Mamedyarov, Liren, and Yangyi have 1.5 points apiece and enjoy a full point lead over the other five contestants who all have a half point in their kitty.
Anand could have done better but Carlsen pressed harder in the Armageddon game. The middle game was fierce when Carlsen launched an attack but the world champion missed a checkmate on his way to victory.
Results round 1: Magnus Carlsen (Nor) beat V Anand (Ind) 1.5-0.5; Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) beat Fabiano Caruana (USA) 1.5-0.5; Levon Aronian (Arm) beat Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 1.5-0.5; Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) lost to Yu Yangyi (Chn) 0.5-1.5; Ding Liren (Chn) beat Wesley So (USA) 1.5-0.5.