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Internet Chess Club

The Norwegian Rat - World Champion Magnus Carlsen's Secret Weapon

The Norwegian Rat - World Champion Magnus Carlsen's Secret Weapon

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An Opening System for Black versus 1.e4 or 1.d4

Magnus has played the Norwegian Rat since 2010, but in recent years has scored 4 wins and 1loss in World Championship Blitz Events, including wins versus Anand and Caruana! 

In the last two years, he began employing the Norwegian Rat in his online Banter Blitz while taunting his opponents “Can anyone equalize against the Rat?” While crushing GMs rated from 2500 to 3200 as well as non-masters, Magnus racked up a stunning 19 wins and 1 loss!  

Volume 1 (3 Hours 49 mins)

The h5 Rat Gambit Accepted

3.e5 Nh5 4.Be2 d6! 5.Bxh5 gxh5 6.Qxg5

White wins a pawn, but brings the Queen out early and falls behind in development.

Black gains a half-open g file and the Bishop Pair!

The h5 Rat Gambit Declined

3.e5 Nh5 4.Be2 d6! 5.Nf3

White chases the black Knight to h5, but does not capture it.

Black completes his development and chips away at the white pawn center.

The h5 Rat Gambit Declined 

3.e5 Nh5 4.Be2 d6! 5.exd6 Qxd6

A Scandinavian with the Knight on h5.

The Knight Exchange Variation

3.e5 Nh5 4.Be2 d6! 5.Nxe4dxe4

Volume 2 (2 Hours 38 Minutes)

The White Knight Retreat

3.Nc3 d5 4.e5 Ne4! 5.Nce2!? f6!

White retreats his Knight from c3 and looks to trap the intruder on e4.

Black rescues his Knight and then counter-attacks the white center.  

3.Nc3 d5 4.e5 Ne4! 5.Bd3

3.Nc3 d5 4.e5 Ne4! 5.Be3

3.Nc3 d5 4.e5 Ne4! 5.Nge2

Volume 3 (2 Hours 30 minutes)

White 5th Move Alternatives

3.Nc3 d5 4.e5 Ne4! 5.f3, 5.Nf3, 5.h3, and 5.Qf3

White avoids capturing the black Knight on e4.

These rarely played options offer Black excellent counter-play!

White Exchanges on d5

3.Nc3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nxd5

White captures twice on d5, but Black has an improved version

of the Scandinavian Defense which Magnus quite likes.

White Captures Once on d5

3.Nc3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3

3.Nc3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Bc4

Black has rapid development and active piece play.

White’s e4 Gambit

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.???

White sacrifices the e4 pawn, but does gain some time.

Bd3 v Pirc Defense

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Bd3

A solid approach that gives Black a comfortable game

Total Runtime: 9 hours 47 minutes

BONUS: Annotated Chessbase and PGN games with commentary by Magnus and Ron.


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