Magnus Carlsen has had a near unprecedented poor start to the 2015 edition of Norway Chess, with only 0.5 points after the first three games and 2 points behind joint leaders Topalov and Nakamura. However, that does not mean that he is without chances of winning. At TATA-Steel he won 6 games in a row, and pulling that off again should certainly put him back in contention.
In order to quantify his chances of pulling off another win, we made a very simple model to simulate the win chances. Compared to Grenke Chess, instead of building a complicated model, I simply added white’s advantage (37 rating points) to the white player current live rating and used chess-db.com to find the probability of each game. Subsequently, I simulated each game 10 000 times to see what the final outcome would be.
Carlsen’s chance of pulling of 6 wins in a row: 0.42%
That doesn’t necessarily mean that he will win the tournament though, nor does it mean that he has to win all 6 games in order to win. Below is a summary of the likely outcomes based on this simple model:
Topalov is the front runner here, even though he and Nakamura are even at this point. Nakamura plays Carlsen with black in round 6 though, while Topalov has already beaten Carlsen. Magnus Carlsen’s chance of winning it outright is less than 1 %, yet there is more than 1/4 chance that the tournament will be decided in a tie-break, and here lies an additional chance for Carlsen. 2.6% of the time he ends up in a tie-break for first place, which puts him at a total of 3.4% chance of finishing at least tied for most points.
How about his super-tournament streak of finishing first or second? It’s certainly in danger, but based on these calculations he still has roughly 11% chance of finishing in the top 2. Difficult, but not impossible.