World Chess Championship 2018: Fabiano Caruana vs Magnus Carlsen – Tiebreaks

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After 12 consecutive draws between the current champion, Magnus Carlsen and the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, the winner will be determined by a series of tie-break games of increasing speed.

First, they will play a match of four rapid games (25 minutes per player with a 10 seconds increment after each move).

If they are still tied, they will play up to 5 matches of two blitz games (5 minutes per player with 3 seconds increment after each move).

If these games are drawn as well, Carlsen and Caruana will play an “Armageddon” game: White starts with 5 minutes and Black with 4, with 3 seconds bonus after the 60th move.  In case of draw, Black will be declared the winner.

Magnus Carlsen is considered the favorite of these tiebreak games, as he holds considerable Elo advantage over Caruana. However, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov (and also Carlsen’s mentor) said after the 12th game that “In light of this shocking draw offer from Magnus in a superior position with more time, I reconsider my evaluation of him being the favorite in rapids. Tiebreaks require tremendous nerves and he seems to be losing his.

Other chess grandmasters expressed disappointment over Carlsen’s performance over this match. GM Hikaru Nakamura thinks Caruana should win the match: “Considering that Caruana has exhibited generally superior skills in all facets of the match (opening prep, middle game transition, endgames) it would seem a bit odd if he loses this match.

Finally, chess legend Susan Polgar petitions for change in rules: “This has to change! FIDE needs to change this rule! No draw offer should be allowed! There is no draw offer in ping pong, boxing, MMA & other sports. Fighting draw is no problem. But not because one’s nerves is shot!” and noted that “Based on statistics, Carlsen is the favorite in faster time control. But after his mindset & clearly fragile nerves, Caruana may surprise him, especially now that he’s just given a new chance.

Rapid Game 1 – Carlsen Wins

[pgn]

[Event “World Chess Championship 2018”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Black “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Site “London”]
[Round “13.1”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Date “2018.11.28”]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 4. e4 O-O 5. Nge2 c6 6. Bg2 a6 7. O-O b5 8. d4 d6 9. a3 Bxc3 10. Nxc3 bxc4 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Na4 {Caruana has very weak c4 and c6 pawns.}
Be6 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Be3 Nbd7 15. f3 Rab8 16. Rac1 Rb3 17. Rfe1 Ne8 18. Bf1 Nd6 19. Rcd1 Nb5 {Looks like a mistake.} 20. Nc5 Rxb2 21. Nxe6 fxe6 22. Bxc4 Nd4 23. Bxd4 exd4 24. Bxe6+ (24. Rxd4 Kf7 25. Kh1) Kf8 25. Rxd4 Ke7 26. Rxd7+ Rxd7 27. Bxd7 Kxd7 {Carlsen is playing over-cautiously.} 28. Rd1+ Ke6 29. f4 c5 30. Rd5 Rc2 31. h4 {The position looks equal now.} c4 32. f5+ Kf6 33. Rc5 h5 34. Kf1 Rc3 35. Kg2 Rxa3 36. Rxc4 Ke5 37. Rc7 Kxe4 {A blunder on Caruana’s part?} 38. Re7+ Kxf5 39. Rxg7 Kf6 40. Rg5 a5 41. Rxh5 a4 42. Ra5 Ra1 43. Kf3 a3 44. Ra6+ Kg7 45. Kg2 Ra2+ 46. Kh3 Ra1 47. h5 Kh7 48. g4 Kg7 49. Kh4 a2 50. Kg5 Kf7 51. h6 Rb1 52. Ra7+ Kg8 53. Rxa2 Rb5+ 54. Kg6 Rb6+ 55. Kh5

{[#]}

1-0

[/pgn]

Rapid Game 2 – Carlsen Wins

[pgn]

[Event “World Chess Championship 2018”]
[White “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Black “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Site “London”]
[Round “13.2”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Date “2018.11.28”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 {Open Sicilian.} cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Ne7 9. c4 Ng6 10. Qa4 Bd7 11. Qb4 Qb8 12. h4 h5 13. Be3 a6 14. Nc3 a5 15. Qb3 a4 16. Qd1 Be7 17. g3 Qc8 18. Be2 Bg4 19. Rc1 Bxe2 20. Qxe2 Qf5 {Caruana has a better position.} 21. c5 {Not a good idea.} O-O 22. c6 bxc6 23. dxc6 Rfc8 24. Qc4 Bd8 25. Nd5 e4 26. c7 Bxc7 27. Nxc7 Ne5 28. Nd5 Kh7

{[#]}

0-1

[/pgn]

Rapid Game 3 – Carlsen Wins

[pgn]

[Event “World Chess Championship 2018”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Black “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Site “London”]
[Round “13.3”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Date “2018.11.28”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Nc6 {Caruana is playing Sicilian, he can’t afford a draw.} 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bc5 6. Nc2 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be3 b6 9. Be2 Bb7 10. O-O Qe7 11. Qd2 Rfd8 {Carlsen is playing to draw.} 12. Rfd1 Ne5 13. Bxc5 bxc5 14. f4 Ng6 15. Qe3 d6 16. Rd2 a6 17. Rad1 Qc7 18. b3 h6 19. g3 Rd7 20. Bf3 Re8 21. Qf2 Ne7 22. h3 Red8 23. Bg2 Nc6 24. g4 Qa5 25. Na4 Qc7 26. e5 dxe5 {Carlsen is playing to draw.} 27. Nxc5 Rxd2 28. Rxd2 Rxd2 29. Qxd2 Ba8 30. fxe5 Qxe5 31. Nd7 Qb2 32. Qd6 Nxd7 33. Qxd7 Qxc2 34. Qe8+ Kh7 35. Qxa8 Qd1+ 36. Kh2 Qd6+ 37. Kh1 Nd4 38. Qe4+ f5 39. gxf5 exf5 40. Qe3 Ne6 41. b4 Ng5 42. c5 Qf6 43. c6 Ne6 {A mistake. Looks like Carlsen will win this one, too.} 44. a4 Nc7 45. Qf4 Ne6 46. Qd6 Qa1+ 47. Kh2 Nd4 48. c7 Qc3 49. Qc5 Qe3 50. c8=Q f4 51. Qg4
{[#]}

1-0

[/pgn]

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.

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