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.”