World Chess Championship 2018: Fabiano Caruana vs Magnus Carlsen – Game 5


This was a more interesting game, where both players pushed more aggressively. Both Carlsen and Caruana made a few small inaccuracies, but for the most part, the game was even, leading to an inevitable draw.


[Event “World Chess Championship 2018”]
[White “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Black “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Site “London”]
[Round “5”]
[Result “*”]
[Date “2018.11.15”]

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 {Another day, another Sicilian} 4. O-O Bg7 5. Re1 e5 6. b4 {Very aggressive! Carlsen encountered this gambit back in 2005.} Nxb4 {Carlsen thought for five minutes on this move.}

7. Bb2

{Caruana responded instantly. He sacrificed the pawn with to put more pressure on Carlsen.}

a6 8. a3 axb5

{Caruana plays instantly, meaning he prepared for these lines; Carlsen is taking his time.}

9. axb4 Rxa1 10. Bxa1 d6 11. bxc5 Ne7 12. Qe2 (12. cxd6 Qxd6 13. d4 exd4 14. Bxd4 O-O {Polschikov vs Anoshkin, 2007}) b4

13. Qc4

{Caruana still playing fast enough to wreck Carlsen’s nerves.}

Qa5 {With this, Magnus has equalized the position.} 14. cxd6 Be6 15. Qc7 Qxc7 16. dxc7 Nc6 17. c3 {The computers think this was inaccurate} Kd7 18. cxb4 Ra8

{[#] According to Susan Polgar, the tide has shifted in Carlsen’s favor. Caruana thought for over 30 minutes on his next move, trying to find a way to preserve what’s left of his momentum.}

19. Bc3 {Best move, but now the b1 knight is trapped behind.} Kxc7 20. d3 {Caruana probably wanted to make some room for the knight, but Carlsen has a small advantage now.} Kb6

(20… b5 21. Kf1 Ra4 22. Bd2 Kd7 23. Rc1 h6 24. h4 Nd4 25. Nxd4 exd4)

{[#] After thinking for over 20 minutes, Carlsen missed the opportunity for either b5 or Ra4. “I cannot believe that was what Carlsen played after spending so much time for this move. This is the key difference between Carlsen at his peak and the Carlsen now. He was so much more lethal then with this type of position” – Susan Polgar}

21. Bd2 Rd8 {Both players have lost momentum.}

22. Be3+ Kb5 23. Nc3+ Kxb4 24. Nd5+ Bxd5 25. exd5 Rxd5 26. Rb1+ Kc3 27. Rxb7 Nd8

{Caruana is very active now, possibly endangering Carlsen’s king, although the computers still evaluate them as equal.}

28. Rc7+ Kxd3 29. Kf1 h5 30. h3 Ke4 31. Ng5+ Kf5 32. Nxf7 Nxf7 33. Rxf7+ Bf6 34. g4+ {[#]} 1/2-1/2


“I felt that I had a fine position after the opening. I hoped to press him. I don’t think I played particularly well today.” – Magnus Carlsen

“A well-played game with some fireworks” – Fabiano Caruana.

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.