World Chess Championship 2018: Fabiano Caruana vs Magnus Carlsen – Game 9

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[pgn]

[Event “World Chess Championship 2018”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Black “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Site “London”]
[Round “9”]
[Result “*”]
[Date “2018.11.21”]

1. c4 e5 {A suitable English opening.} 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Bc5 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 Re8

{Up to this point, the moves are the same as in Game 4.}

9. Bg5 Nxc3 10. bxc3 f6 11. Bc1 Be6 12. Bb2

{[#] [%cal Rb2a3,Gf3d2] Carlsen retreats the bishop presumably to keep the d2 square open for a knight maneuver and to move it to a3.}

Bb6 13. d4 Bd5

{Carlsen seems to avoid Caruana’s preparation, forcing him to spend a lot of time on each move.}

14. Qc2 exd4 15. cxd4 Be4 16. Qb3+ Bd5

{Caruana spends over 20 minutes on each move, while Carlsen responds almost instantly. It’s like he’s deliberately making Caruana question himself, to wear him down.}

17. Qd1 Bxf3

{[#]looks like an inaccuracy at least}

18. Qb3+ Kh8 19. Bxf3 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 Qxd4 21. e3 Qe5 22. Bxb7 Rad8

{Carlsen is maintaining his slight advantage while Caruana is almost one hour behind on the clock.}

23. Rad1 Qe7 24. h4 {Carlsen is looking to weaken Caruana’s kingside.} g6 25. h5 {Carlsen keeps the pressure.} gxh5 26. Qc4 f5

{Carlsen presses on multiple areas, hoping to crack Caruana’s defense.}

27. Bf3 h4 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. gxh4 Rg8+ 30. Kh1 Qf6 31. Qf4 Bc5 32. Rg1 Rxg1+ 33. Kxg1 Bd6 34. Qa4 {Carlsen is changing the dynamics of the game.} f4 35. Qxa7 fxe3 36. Qxe3 Qxh4 37. a4 Qf6 38. Bd1 Qe5 39. Qxe5+ Bxe5 40. a5 Kg7 41. a6 Bd4 42. Kg2 Kf6 43. f4 Bb6 44. Kf3 h6 45. Ke4 Ba7 46. Bg4 Bg1 47. Kd5 Bb6 48. Kc6 Be3 49. Kb7 Bb6 50. Bh3 Be3 51. Kc6 Bb6 52. Kd5 Ba7 53. Ke4 Bb6 54. Bf1 Ke6 55. Bc4+ Kf6 56. Bd3 Ke6

{[#]}

1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

After the game, Magnus Carlsen declared that “I was very happy with the opening, obviously. You cannot expect more than what I had for sure.

With few rounds remaining, a tie-break becomes a distinct possibility, where Carslen is considered the favorite.

Despite the anticlimactic draw, a new record was set: the longest streak of games ending in draw in a chess championship match!

Armand Niculescu

Armand Niculescu is a full-stack developer and creator of SparkChess. He has two BDs in engineering and marketing and a MSc in Management. He's been programming since the age of 12 and he also loves design, photography, and - obviously - chess.