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Caruana keeps pace; So falters anew

Fabiano Caruana continued to remain unbeaten after three rounds and kept the solo lead in the 2023 Norway Chess championship Thursday in Stavenger, Norway.

The 30-year-old Caruana, an American born in Miami to Italian parents, defeated local bet Aryan Tari in the classical game and gained three points for the win in only 34 moves of an Indian defense game.

Caruana spiked his lead to 1.5 points ahead of Alireza Firouzja of France, who emerged victorious against fellow teenager Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan in a masterful classical format Slav game.

Caruana has amassed 7.5 points in the novel points system used in this single round robin tournament which awards three points in the classical game and gives 1.5 points with a win in the Armageddon, a sudden-death tiebreaker.

A loss in the classical game nets no point while a draw in the main game  and a loss in the Armageddon awards one point.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the former world champion who chose not to defend his crown this year, defeated Japan-born Hikaru Nakamura of the United States in the Armageddon tiebreaker and gained only 1.5 points for the effort.

His similar win over Wesley So Wednesday likewise awarded him only 1.5 points coupled by an opening round loss put him in eighth place with only three points.

The 35-year-old Nakamura, who has won one classical game and two losses in the Amageddons, ironically has five points, good for third.

Dommaraju Gukesh of India, the youngest participant at 17, drew his classical game with the oldest combatant Shakriyar Mamedyarov, the 38-year-old Azeri, and won in the Armageddon. He has 4.5 points and is at solo fourth place.

Anish Giri of the Netherlands drew with the 29-year-old So in the classical and in the Armageddon, to put himself in a share of fifth and sixth places with Abdusattorv with four points, half a point ahead of the the full-blooded Filipino So, now playing for the US flag.

So, who has won one Armageddon and drew two, has 3.5 points.

Mamedyarov has 2.5 points while Tari, still winless, has 1 point.

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