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FIDE Executive Director visits the Arab Chess Championships in Dubai

FIDE - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 11:36



FIDE Executive Director Viktor Bologan and FIDE President’s Advisor Berik Balgabaev paid a visit to Dubai to attend the Arab Chess Championships and have conducted meetings with Arab Chess Federation and its President Sheikh Saud Al Mualla to discuss the further collaboration between FIDE and Arab Chess Federation.

Arab Chess Championships 2018 which unite best chess players from Arabic countries to define the champions in classical, blitz and rapid competitions amongst Arabic national chess federations, started on 26 November in JW Marriott Dubai. The competition is held under the generous patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. HH has already sent his best wishes to all participants of the event. The main sponsor of the event is one of the biggest airlines in the world – Emirates Airlines. Emirates Airlines often supports many sports in the UAE including chess.

The Arab Chess Championships are under way. The Arab Blitz and Rapid Champions 2018 are defined: GM Salem AR Saleh of UAE became the Arab Blitz Champion 2018, with WIM Latreche Sabrina of Algeria who finished first to become the Arab Women Blitz Chess Champion 2018. GM Hicham Hamdouchi of Morocco became the Arab Rapid Champion 2018 and WGM Wafa Shrook has managed to grab the victory and become the Arab Women Rapid Champion 2018.

Viktor Bologan and Berik Balgabaev also attended the FIDE Arbiters’ Seminar organized by the UAE Chess Federation with Mahdi Abdulrahim, assistant to the Secretary General as a lecturer. FIDE Executive Director greeted the participants of the seminar, wishing them a good luck in the seminar.





FIDE guests have also attended the Arab Chess Championships both rapid and 5th round of classical events.





FIDE Executive Director Viktor Bologan and FIDE President’s Assistant during the meetings with Arab Chess Federation and its President Sheikh Saud Al Mualla to discuss the further collaboration between FIDE and Arab Chess Federation. Many important subjects were discussed including the future organization of Arabic chess competitions.



Another meeting with the Asian Chess Federation with ACF General Secretary Hisham AL Taher and ACF Executive Director Casto Abundo was held. The development of cooperation between two organizations was the main topic of the meeting.



The overall impression of the organization of the Arab Chess Championships 2018 which are organized under the generous auspices of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and with the main sponsorship of the Emirates Airlines was expressed as excellent.

The 6th Round of the Arab Chess Championships 2018 was held on the National Day of the UAE which was celebrated with the National Anthem before the start of the round. Dr. Sarhan Al Muaini congratulated the participants and wished them luck.

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FIDE sends condolences to Ruth Haring family

FIDE - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 16:26



Moscow, 30 November

Ruth Haring family
United States of America


Dear Haring Family,

It is with deepest sadness that we learnt of the passing away of our friend and colleague Mrs. Ruth Haring.

Mrs. Haring was a Woman International Master who has represented USA in five Chess Olympiads. She was also FIDE Zonal President, member of the FIDE Executive Board for seven years, member of the FIDE Ethics Commission and President of the US Chess Federation for five years.

Mrs. Haring loved the game passionately and she was a guiding light in the effort to propagate the game of chess not only in the American Continent but in all of FIDE.

She gave us her best in the services of FIDE and we shall miss her dearly.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.


Yours sincerely,

Arkady Dvorkovich
FIDE President

FIDE sends condolences to Ruth Haring family (pdf)  


























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December 2018 FIDE Rating List

FIDE - Fri, 11/30/2018 - 15:43



FIDE publishes December 2018 FIDE Rating List. The list of top players is published at Top lists page of FIDE ratings website. All players can check new ratings at the main page of FIDE ratings website. Check updated Rating Charts and Games Statistics - Personal and vs Opponent.

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Magnus Carlsen wins the tiebreak and holds the title of the World Champion.

FIDE - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 09:15


Magnus Carlsen wins the tiebreak and holds the title of the World Champion.

Magnus Carlsen retained the title of the World Chess Champion by beating Fabiano Caruana in a series of tiebreak games on November 28. All 12 games with the classical time control finished in a draw. The players had to play tiebreak games, which began with a series of four rapid games and ended with Magnus Carlsen winning the tiebreak with a score of 3:0 and the Match with a final score of 9:6. Magnus Carlsen won his forth FIDE World Championship Match and will hold the title of World Champion for next two years.




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FIDE WCCM: Tie-break

FIDE - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 02:00



World Chess Championship - tie-break

Magnus Carlsen retained his title of world chess champion after defeating the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, in a tie-break. The twelve classical games of the match were all drawn, but the Norwegian made no mistake in the 4-game rapid-play match, emphatically winning the first three games so that further play was unnecessary.



Afterwards, Carlsen exclaimed, 'I am very happy, I felt like I had a really good day at work today. Everything went perfectly.'

Caruana was fulsome in his praise for his opponent:  'It wasn't a good day for me and Magnus played very well, so all credit to him for that. I had a very bad start unfortunately.'

Carlsen played White in the first game and through a tricky opening move order quickly achieved a good position. Though Caruana fought back, he was always on the brink of defeat and here, when both players were down to their final couple of minutes, he made the fatal error.


Carlsen-Caruana, tie-break game 1, position after 37 Rc7
Caruana played 37...Kxe4 and it appeared that he was heading towards a draw. But Carlsen responded with the subtle 38 Re7+!! (38 Rxg7 would only draw) 38...Kxf5 39 Rxg7, followed by Rg5 and capturing the h-pawn gave him two connected passed pawns and a winning position.


Only 10 minutes were allotted between games, a very short time in which to recover, and Caruana failed to find his feet again in game 2.

Looking to hit back straight away, he took on Carlsen's Sicilian Sveshnikov again and as in their previous encounters a tense position arose.

Caruana-Carlsen, tie-break game 2, position after 25...e4
Carlsen threatens to bring the knight into e5, and Caruana should have prevented this with 26 Bd4. Instead he pushed on with 26 c7 and was surprised by the piece sacrifice 26...Bxc7 27 Nxc7 Ne5. The combination of loose pieces and the precarious position of the king was too much and Caruana resigned a couple of moves later.

Coming back from 2-0 would be a momentous task, particularly when Carlsen, with White, chose to play like a rock, claiming the centre and developing harmoniously. Caruana finally wriggled free, but by that stage Carlsen had succeeded in exchanging pieces. In attempting to avoid the draw the challenger's position went downhill and Carlsen did not put a foot wrong, gaining a second queen and effectively ending the game.


Carlsen-Caruana, tie-break game 3, final position after 51 Qg4
This was an impressive tie-break performance from Carlsen who played practically and without committing any major tactical errors.

There had been some criticism of Magnus Carlsen after he had agreed a draw in a superior position in game 12 to force a tie-break, but this convincing victory justified his match strategy.

In his victory speech at the awards ceremony, the world champion spoke strongly:

'One of the things that I have never done very well is listen to other people's advice, I have always gone my own way, and that's what I did this time as well. I did what I thought was the best, both practical and sporting decisions, and it's brought me this trophy today' – Magnus Carlsen




(Daniel King)


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Relief and Pragmatism


After 31 moves of game 12, Magnus Carlsen offered a draw which was accepted by Fabiano Caruana. All 12 classical games have now been drawn - a result unprecedented in world championship history - and the players head for a tie-break on Wednesday.

The game started promisingly with a repeat of the Sveshnikov Sicilian. Instead of 8...Nb8 that was seen in previous games here in London, Carlsen had done his homework and quickly went for 8...Ne7, a line that has always had a tricky, if less reliable, reputation than the other knight move.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 8...Ne7
The challenger had obviously anticipated the move and, at least initially, continued playing quickly.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 12...h5
This move might have thrown Caruana to some extent. In a recent game at the Batumi Olympiad, Kramnik-Roganovic had continued instead 12...a6. The world champion had researched well.


At this point the challenger showed his mettle by spurning a draw by repetition, an indication that he wanted to have the match settled today. But he consumed more and more time in trying to figure out a middlegame strategy, while the world champion continued moving quickly. At one point Carlsen had a time advantage of around 50 minutes.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 22...Bg6
The stakes were raised when Caruana decided to castle queenside. With kings on opposite sides of the board there were greater chances for both sides to attack.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 25 f4
Here Carlsen had a tremendous opportunity to open up the queenside with 25...b5. Instead he went for 25...a5, but that gave the challenger time to find his feet and after a few moves the position stabilised.

 

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 31...Ra8
With the well-placed knight on c5 and protected passed pawn on e4, Black still had the better chances, so it came as a surprise when Carlsen offered a draw which Caruana, quite understandably, accepted.

Carlsen revealed afterwards that his intention before the game started was to hold the draw and head for the tie-breaks, and therefore he was not in the right mind-set to take any risks and play for the win.

'Everybody could see that I wasn't necessarily going for the maximum, I just wanted a position that was completely safe where I could put some pressure. If a draw hadn't been a satisfactory result, obviously I would have approached it differently.'

Speaking about the final position, Caruana declared,'I was a bit surprised by the draw offer...I can never be better here and I don't really have any active ideas. If anything Black is better but I thought I was over the worst of it. It was much more dangerous a few moves ago.'

Later on he admitted, 'I'm mainly relieved because I thought it was quite close today, I was very worried during the game.'


After the press conference the players drew lots to determine the colours for the tie-break on Wednesday. Magnus Carlsen will have White in the first game. Four games with the time limit 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move will be played. If the match is still tied, then a pair of blitz games will be played with the time control 5 minutes + 2 seconds increment. If scores are still even then another two blitz games will be played up to a maximum of 5 x2. If the players are still deadlocked then an Armageddon blitz game will be played to finally determine the winner.

(Daniel King)

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FIDE WCCM Game 12 review:Just a prelude

World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Challenger Fabiano Caruana have been hitting hard in the first ten games of the match, but game 11 proved to be something of a disappointment for spectators. After a steady opening, the world champion chose to simplify into an endgame where he held a symbolic advantage, but the challenger was able to draw with ease. We can see this game as just a prelude to the real battle to come in game 12.


Carlsen opened with his e-pawn and Caruana went for his favourite Petroff Defence. The World Champion went for the topical 5 Nc3 variation which the players had contested in Saint Louis in the summer.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 5 Nc3

The challenger has played this variation on several occasions this year and clearly felt very comfortable, playing his moves with speed. The question was, what new idea did the world champion have in mind?


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 11...Be6
All this had been seen before, for instance in the game Karjakin-Harikrishna (and others) which had continued 12 Bg5. Instead Carlsen deviated with 12 Kb1.

There is no doubt that White has the more comfortable position as he has better development and better scope for his pieces. Nevertheless, Caruana was obviously well prepared and he continued playing quickly, responding with 12...Qa5 which practically forces White to go into an endgame.


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...h6
White could consider 15 h3 or 15 Bc3 here which both keep the tension. Instead, Carlsen went for 15 Nh4, a tricky move, but Caruana met it with precise calculation, and the result was more simplification.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 24...b6
Black has to take care because all his queenside pawns are on the same colour as White's bishop. Caruana solved the problem by giving up one of his pawns, gaining time for his king to enter into the centre.


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 33 g3

In such opposite-coloured bishop endgames with regular pawn structures, the extra pawn should not be enough to force a win. Carlsen tried of course, but accurate defence from Caruana brought about a draw.


Carlsen-Caruana, final position after 55...Bc2

Here a draw was agreed. If 56 Kxf7 Bxf5 holds the kingside; likewise 56 fxg6 fxg6.

Afterwards Carlsen admitted, 'I was hoping to press a little bit but I don't think there was anything real...obviously the drawing margin is very high.'

In game 12, the final classical game, the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, has the advantage of the white pieces. When asked about his prospects, the challenger declared, 'It's going to be a tough game. At this point the tension is at its peak.'

(Daniel King)
 
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FIDE WCCM Game 10 review: Wild

Game 10 of the World Chess Championship was a wild struggle with both players going for the win. But in spite of their best efforts, neither player could land a clean punch and the game ended in a draw after five and a half hours play.

Fabiano Caruana was once again ready to take on Carlsen's Sicilian Sveshnikov and introduced an aggressive new idea on move 12.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 12 b4


Carlsen had to fight fire with fire. To counter White's queenside action, he advanced his kingside pawns to attack Caruana's king.

The position exploded on all sides of the board. The world champion produced a remarkable idea on move 21.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21...b5


Carlsen: 'I thought for so long and I wasn't sure about it, but I thought just go for it and up the stakes even more. Either you win the game or you get mated.'

If the pawn is taken en passant, White's pieces would be dragged offside giving Black the chance to attack on the kingside. Prudently, Caruana declined with 22 Nb6 and stabilised his kingside.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 29 Rxb4


Carlsen's kingside attack has been stopped and the play has switched to the centre and the queenside. Caruana's passed pawn was matched by Carlsen's central pawn majority.




Caruana-Carlsen, position after 35...Qe2
With this last move, Carlsen set a clever trap. If 36 Qb3+ Kh8 37 c4 appears to trap Black's queen, but 37...Rxb6! turns the tables.

Caruana was surprised by the queen move, but regained his equanimity and went into an equal endgame.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 47...Ke6
The position is balanced. Neither side can make significant progress and after simplifications a theoretically drawn endgame was reached.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 54 Kg3


Although Caruana has an extra pawn, he decided not to test the world champion's defensive technique, and a draw was agreed.

This was a tremendous fight which could have gone either way, but the players matched each other's skill, and a draw was a fair result.



Caruana: 'It's the type of game I expected from this line, very very double-edged....Black takes very clear risks because he is going for an attack and he is sort of going all in; and of course I am getting attacked so I could potentially get mated.'

Carlsen: 'I think it was just a case of too complicated and too much at stake, that was the main thing here. I think I could have played better many times. I think both of us made many mistakes.'

The world champion was being too harsh on himself. Although there were a few inaccuracies - that's inevitable in a game of this complexity - in fact there were no blunders and the standard of play was very high.

With two games to go, the situation is still even and still tense, but the possibility of a rapid-play tie-break after 12 classical games looms larger.


(Daniel King)


 
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FIDE WCCM Game 9 review: Compromise, Defence and Frustration

The deadlock continues at the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana as the ninth game was drawn after 56 moves.


The world champion found a new idea in the opening which unsettled Caruana. After consuming much time, the challenger made a practical decision to simplify the position, even if he stood slightly worse. Carlsen attempted a kingside assault, but with accurate defence Caruana blocked it out and a draw was inevitable.

The first surprise came as the players reached the board: Magnus Carlsen had a plaster above a swollen right eye, the result of a collision on the football pitch. It did not seem to affect his play.


The world champion played the English opening, repeating the variation from game 4. Carlsen was the first to deviate with 9 Bg5, a line not favoured by the computers, but a very human-looking move as it slightly weakened Caruana's kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 9 Bg5

If the idea was partly to bring the challenger out of his opening preparation, then it succeeded.

Caruana felt uncomfortable, and he took the fundamental decision to exchange off his centrally placed bishop for a knight, clarifying the position, but accepting a permanent, if slight, disadvantage.

Carlsen-Caruana, position just before 17...Bxf3

This was criticised by many commentators, but Caruana understood that it gave him a well-defined defensive task instead of facing the uncertainty of an unclear middlegame which Carlsen would have rehearsed.

Carlsen admitted after the game that he had 'mixed feelings' when this exchange was made. On the one hand he was the only one with any serious winning chances; on the other, the drawing margin increased with the presence of opposite-coloured bishops.

Normally, this is exactly the kind of position that Carlsen excels in, squeezing the life out of his opponents in marathon games. But he rushed his kingside assault.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 25 h5

Advancing the h-pawn brings about a crisis: if White is able to play Kg2 and Rh1 then Black's position would be unpleasant, but Caruana defended excellently, making the bold decision to take the pawn, even if it damaged his kingside pawn structure.

Carlsen-Caruana, after 27...h4

A few moves later Caruana was able to return the pawn, opening up Carlsen's king. At that point the world champion could no longer entertain thoughts of attack and had to exchange pieces. The inevitable result was a draw in an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.

Carlsen-Caruana, final position

Nine games played, nine games drawn. After the game Caruana was content: his defensive decision-making had proved successful. Carlsen was clearly dissatisfied. Having achieved a decent position he rushed his kingside assault and, frustratingly for him, the game burned out to a draw.


There are three games still to play in this 12-game match, but unless one of the players comes up with something special, we are heading for a rapid-play tie-break.

(Daniel King)
 
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FIDE WCCM Game 8 review: Fire and Fizzle

The eighth game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana caught fire but then burned out quickly, ending in a draw after 38 moves.


The challenger had the better of the opening, sacrificed a pawn and appeared to be ready for an assault on the champion's king, but then at a crucial moment hesitated, giving his opponent time to defend. The attack faded, and the opportunity had gone. Carlsen declared that he was 'relieved', while Caruana was 'a little bit disappointed'.


The game started promisingly with Caruana going for an open Sicilian rather than 3 Bb5. Carlsen played the notorious Sveshnikov Variation, named after the Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov which has a reputation for leading to unbalanced and dynamic positions. The game did not disappoint.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 7 Nd5
Instead of playing into the main lines of 7 Bg5, the challenger opted for a more strategic approach that nevertheless kept the tension in the position. 7 Nd5 is an old move, but has not been researched in as much detail as other options. It turned out to be a shrewd choice.

A position arose where Caruana had clamped Carlsen's queenside, and to gain counterplay the champion had to attack on the kingside by advancing the pawns in front of his king. An extremely double-edged situation.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21 c5
The position reached a climax when the challenger broke through the middle of the board with a pawn sacrifice.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 23...Bd6
The bishop on c3 rakes across the board in front of Black's king, and here 24 Qh5 or 24 Nc4 are both promising. Instead the challenger hesitated with 24 h3, preventing the advance of the g-pawn, but giving the champion the time to defend with 24...Qe8-g6 – a manoeuvre that Caruana admitted he had underestimated.

The moment had passed. After a few more moves the challenger could find nothing better than to exchange down into an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 38 Rg5

Here the players agreed to a draw as more pawns were about to be exchanged.


'At some point I thought I had a very promising position, but I didn't quite see exactly which moment I had something very good.' Caruana

'This was a tough game. He was the one who had all the chances, so I am happy to have survived it.' Carlsen

The match remains deadlocked with eight draws in eight games. The players have a rest day before going into game 9 on Wednesday.
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Game 7: Preparation and Frustration

The seventh game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 40 moves.


Carlsen had the white pieces and repeated the Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined from game 2, but was surprised by an unusual early retreat of the queen by Caruana. Fearing preparation, the world champion did not want to risk too much, played solidly, and the challenger had little difficulty in equalising the position.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 10...Qa5-d8

A few moves before, Caruana had played the queen out to a5, which is the standard theoretical continuation. But returning to the starting square after a couple of moves is unexpected and unusual. The justification is that White's knight move to d2 is also a retreat, and must also redeploy.


If White is to exploit this unusual idea then Rd1 or even castling queenside should be tried. The way that Carlsen played, he felt he had only one real opportunity to unbalance the position and play for a win.



Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...Ne5

Here the world champion castled, collected the pawn on c4 – and the position drifted towards equality.

'Castling is essentially an admission that the position is equal', the world champion admitted.


Instead, after the game, both players mentioned that they had been considering 15 Nce4 Bd7 16 Qc3 Nxe4 17 Nxe4 f6 18 Qxe5 fxg5 with a very unbalanced position. Carlsen felt that the two bishops should give Black adequate play, and his judgement was probably correct. There is also the computer suggestion 18...Bc6 which gives dangerous counterplay.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 22 Qxd1
Carlsen's unwillingness to unbalance the position allowed Caruana easy development and the opportunity to exchange pieces. In such a dry position, and with the players demonstrating excellent technique, a draw was the inevitable outcome.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 40 Kf2

Caruana declared his intention to retreat the bishop to a6 which would repeat the position for the third time. Draw.

This was a game with tense moments, but the balance was never significantly disturbed.


The challenger commented on the series of seven draws:

'After the first game, the games have been pretty tight, we haven't really given many chances to one another, and there haven't been huge mistakes or anything, so it's kind of natural that a lot of the games will end peacefully.' Fabiano Caruana

The world champion was obviously frustrated with the course of the game:

'After the last game I feel like I got away with murder so in that sense it's easier to be calm about a draw today. I'm not loving it but I'm not in any sort of panic mode either....I'm not at all thrilled about my play today but life goes on.' - Magnus Carlsen

Fabiano Caruana has come through two consecutive games with the black pieces with ease. For the final five games he has three whites compared to Carlsen's two. Advantage to the challenger?

(Daniel King)

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Game 6: Long, strong, miraculous.

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana remains deadlocked with six draws in six games. The lack of decisive results is not through want of trying. The sixth game went to 80 moves and lasted six and a half hours before the players agreed a draw, having eliminated most of the pieces from the board.


Magnus Carlsen opened with 1e4 (switching from 1 d4 and 1 c4 that we saw in his previous games with the white pieces) and Fabiano played his trusty Petroff. The World Champion played a tricky side line, but the challenger also knew the line well and an equal endgame arose.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 21...c5


With his last move, striking against the centre, it was quite clear that the challenger had no difficulties, and at this moment the world champion should have thought about steering the game towards a draw. But Carlsen said that with White 'You always feel like you have more room for error', and he carried out what he described as the classic positional manoeuvre, bringing the bishop round to b3 starting with 22 Bc2.

This was too slow, allowing Caruana to build an attack on the queenside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 29...Nc4


The position was still tenable for the world champion, but after a further series of inaccuracies, he had to give up a piece in the hope that challenger had too few pawns to force a win.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 48 g4

Although White has three pawns for the piece, it is impossible to hold onto them, and the only chance for a draw lay in constructing a fortress on the kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 68 Bc4

While the players were spinning their pieces around in circles to no great effect, the Norwegian super computer Sesse announced a mate in 30 moves on a couple of occasions. Here for example, 68...Bh4 is apparently a winning move – but this is way beyond human comprehension, certainly when playing against the clock and after so many hours play.


Caruana couldn't break down Carlsen's position, and after 80 moves a draw was agreed.

After the game, both players were amazed to learn of the miraculous winning chance. Caruana took it in his stride: 'Near the end, I thought it was a fortress...it was a bit of an accidental.


We are now half-way through the match: 12 classical games are scheduled, and it is still too close to call.

(Daniel King)

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Game 5: Thrust and Parry


The fifth game of the World Championship match had an exciting start, but burnt out to a draw after 34 moves.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales made the ceremonial opening move for Fabiano Caruana, and the American challenger used encyclopaedic opening knowledge to offer a gambit pawn to Magnus Carlsen in a rare line of the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian. The world champion took his time at first, clearly adjusting to the unusual circumstances, but the confident way in which he dealt with this attempted opening ambush leads one to suspect that he was merely recollecting analysis.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 6 b4)


That's the little explosion that Caruana had prepared. In fact the idea is quite old (curiously, the assistant arbiter at the match, Nana Alexandria, had played this in the Soviet women's championship in 1969) and Carlsen himself had faced the gambit when still a teenager in 2005. Then he had played 6...cxb4. Today he went for the more unusual 6...Nxb4, suggesting that he too had researched this line.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 10 Bxa1)

Back in 1969, Alexandria's opponent had taken on b4, allowing the e5 pawn to be captured. Carlsen's response, 10...d6, was stronger, holding his centre together. Caruana rejected a line that would have given him a symbolic structural advantage and tested his opponent with a new move.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 12 Qe2)

The position is tricky, but Carlsen deftly handled the complications with 12...b4 13 Qc4 Qa5 14 exd6 Be6!

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 14...Be6)

Caruana had to go into the endgame with 15 Qc7, and that spelled the end of White's initiative.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 21...Rd8)

Although the challenger has an extra pawn, in fact he has to be careful as Carlsen threatens the pawns on b4 and d3. However, an accurately calculated sequence of checks liquidated pieces, activated his rook and removed any thoughts of Carlsen trying to win the game.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 29 Kf1)

White's rook on the seventh rank ties down the knight and guarantees the draw. Carlsen took no chances, withdrawing his king from a slightly vulnerable position, but in the process returning the extra pawn.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 34 g4+)

Here Caruana offered a draw, and there was no reason for Carlsen to decline.


Afterwards the challenger said that, 'This line is really interesting and if Black is cooperative it can also get very exciting, but Magnus knew the line quite well and I think played in a very logical way'. While admitting that the endgame wasn't much fun, 'I never thought I was worse'.

Carlsen thought that only he could be better in the endgame, but couldn't find a way to push for a win. 'If there is a way at all to play for the advantage, the path is very narrow.'

After five games – five draws. It's still all square in the match. Carlsen now plays with two white's over the next two games which gives him a chance to put pressure on the challenger.

(Daniel King)


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Game 4: Correct on the board, but a blunder off

The fourth game of the world chess championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabio Caruana was drawn in 34 moves. The challenger played with the black pieces and had little difficulty in neutralising the world champion's initiative - which was a source of frustration to Carlsen: 'It was a bit disappointing, I thought I was clearly better after the opening'.


The challenger, Caruana, certainly seemed happier with his play after the game. 'I never really felt that my position was in much danger.'

Carlsen opened with 1 c4 – a different first move to his previous game with the white pieces and the game went into a kind of reversed Sicilian.

(position after 6...Bc5)

Bringing out the bishop is the fashionable way of playing the position (6...Nb6 is the standard move) and Caruana has some experience of this line with both colours.

Perhaps the most important moment of the game came after 14 moves when Carlsen had to make a big strategic decision.

(position after 14...c6)

The logical continuation of White's play is to push forward with the minority pawn attack, 15 b5, but the world champion was dissatisfied with this option: 'I spent a lot of time here...but it didn't seem to work very well.'

Then again, he also wasn't entirely happy with his move 15 Re1, allowing Caruana to play 15...Bd7 preventing White's pawn break.

Carlsen admitted, 'When I'm allowing ...Bd7 it's half a draw offer. After that the position is very dry and very equal.'

Piece exchanges quickly led into an endgame in which neither side managed to break into the other's position.

'I felt the ending was more or less balanced from the beginning' (Caruana).

(position after 34 Rbc1)

Here Carlsen offered a draw which was accepted by Caruana. Black could take the pawn on b4 and the position would liquidate into a drawn rook and pawn endgame.

Perhaps the most startling news of the day was that St Louis Chess Club, a supporter of Fabiano Caruana, had posted a video of the challenger's training camp showing a computer screen with opening lines under consideration. Although the video was quickly removed, the information was already in the public domain.

After the game, Fabiano Caruana declined to comment on the matter. It remains to be seen whether the incident proves to be a distraction or just an embarrassment.

Four games played, and four draws made. Wednesday is a rest day. Game 5 will be played on Thursday 15th November at 15.00 in London.


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Game 3: A Missed Opportunity and Sturdy Defence

The third game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana ended in a draw after 49 moves. At first glance this seemed like a pacific affair, but there was plenty going on beneath the surface and in the press conference neither player was particularly satisfied with their play.


Against the challenger's 1 e4, Carlsen repeated the opening of the first day, a Sicilian, and once again the Rossolimo variation appeared on the board. Fabiano Caruana was the first to deviate from game 1, castling on the sixth move rather than playing 6 h3.

(position after 6 0-0)
Magnus appeared unphased and continued quickly with the subtle 6...Qc7, not committing his kingside pieces. The first really big decision came at move 9 when Carlsen offered a pawn.

(position after 9...0-0)
Perhaps concerned about a quick kingside initiative, Caruana declined the pawn sacrifice and continued to develop steadily. In stark contrast to game 1, play was concentrated on the queenside, well away from the players' kings. This was turning into a heavy-weight strategic struggle.

In order to speed up his development and coordinate his pieces, Carlsen decided to simplify the position, exchanging pieces and pawns. With hindsight this might not have been the best decision, although Caruana had just one moment to exploit the shortcomings in Black's position.

(position after 14...Rxa5)
Here, the challenger could have played 15 Rxa5 Qxa5 16 Bd2 Qc7 17 Qa1, and White's control of files on the queenside and his compact pawn structure would give him a pleasant basis on which to conduct the middlegame.
Instead, he played 15 Bd2, overlooking that the rook could simply return,15...Raa8, and Black keeps control over the files on the queenside. 'It was a bit of a blackout', admitted Caruana after the game.
The challenger appreciated that he had no advantage and decided to exchange pieces bringing the game closer to a draw. But he had under-estimated Carlsen's position.

(position after 37 Kd1)
Carlsen was pressing all over the board, using his slight space advantage – as we have seem him do on so many occasions in the past.

Caruana showed his best qualities at this moment, not panicking, but trusting in the solidity of his position, and he expertly steered the game towards a draw by exchanging pawns and then giving up his knight to reach a theoretically drawn position.

(position after 49 exf5)
White's king steps into the corner on h1, and it is impossible to drive it away.

When asked after the game whether he was satisified with the outcome of the opening, Carlsen laconically replied 'Nope', and went on to describe how the position would have been unpleasant to play if Caruana had found the right continuation.

After three games the match score is still even, game 4 takes place on Tuesday at 15.00 in London.
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Game 2 of the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 49 moves.

Carlsen started the game solidly by playing 1 d4. A Queen's Gambit Declined appeared on the board with the World Champion trying out the complex Bf4 variation. Fabiano Caruana played an unusual line and was clearly more familiar with the opening as Carlsen consumed valuable time at the board. After Carlsen's 17th move Caruana still had 1 hour and 32 minutes on the clock while Carlsen had just 39 minutes. At that point the World Champion decided to compromise, allowing exchanges that left a simpler and drier position on the board. Although Carlsen had the slightly inferior position, he held the ensuing endgame comfortably.


The first surprise came for Carlsen with 10...Rd8.


Caruana explained afterwards that this is an old move that has fallen out of fashion: 'I was kind of excited to try this out'.
Magnus admitted in the press conference that his main thought on seeing this move was 'Oh s**t!'
The critical response is 11 Nd2, but fearing some deep preparation, Carlsen preferred unpretentious development with 11 Be2. His position was quite playable, but he underestimated a couple of Caruana's moves, fell behind on the clock, and that influenced his decision when it came to the critical juncture at move 17.


Here Carlsen had the chance to make a temporary piece sacrifice with 17 Nxf7, leading to highly complex positions. But given that Caruana was probably still following a prepared line, the World Champion decided to err on the side of caution.
'I thought at this point there was way better equity in playing it safe and trying to secure a draw' - Carlsen.
Caruana confirmed that he was still in his opening preparation: 'I knew this position was okay for Black...'
After Carlsen's safe move, pieces were exchanged, ultimately leading to a rook and pawn endgame where Caruana had an extra pawn, but no real winning chances and a draw was quickly agreed after three hours play.
After two games the match score remains level. The third game takes place on Monday at 15.00 in London.

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FIDE WCCM: Magnus Carlsen proudly defends his title as he is Crowned the World Chess Champion

FIDE - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 02:00

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score Carlsen ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½  ½  ½ ½  6 Caruana ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½  ½  ½   ½ ½ 6

MAGNUS CARLSEN PROUDLY DEFENDS HIS TITLE AS HE IS CROWNED THE WORLD CHESS CHAMPION

The world’s most prestigious Chess tournament has finally drawn to a thrilling close following the final round today, which saw Norwegian Magnus Carlsen defend his title and crowned the 2018 FIDE World Chess Champion, scooping up a prize of over €1million.

The 1,500 year-old sport has had a record breaking global audience online or attend the​ ​12 tense matches between World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and US challenger, Fabiano Caruana, in London from 9 and 28 November 2018.


The 2018 tournament turned out to be the closest fought battle in over a decade, with Magnus conquering his opponent in just the final round after games of drawers, with a final score of 0.3 in the last round. A press conference followed the final round where the two players spoke candidly about their experience over the past month with Magnus stating:

“I feel like I had a really good day at work today… It’s very special for me to win this time. Fabiano is the strongest opponent that I’ve played so far in a World Championship match. Fabiano Caruana he has just as much a right as mine to call himself the best in the world, so I’m very happy to have overcome this great challenge.”


FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 became one of the most popular sports events of the year, covered by worldwide media such as CNN, BBC, Sky News, CBS, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. More than 10, 000 guests visited The College from 40 countries, including the USA, Australia, Canada, Norway, Russia, and France.


During the Championship, the honoured guests who participated in the First Move Ceremony included Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson, founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, the daughter of Stephen Hawking Lucy Hawking, and other celebrities.

The organisers offered unprecedented experience for fans coming to London to watch the games live: a public program, chess entertainment, official souvenir shop, new limited edition merchandise, and much more. Spectators were also able to view the after-game press conferences and listen to live commentary from the the world’s strongest chess players and experts — Judit Polgar and Anna Rudolf. On top of the huge numbers of fans in attendance, people watched exclusive broadcasts from UK via www.worldchess.com.

The winner was then officially crowned the World Chess Champion at the Closing Ceremony, which saw guests and VIPs such as FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, CEO of World Chess Ilya Merenzon, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of PJSC PhosAgro Andrey Guryev,, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships of Kaspersky Lab Aldo del Bo attend the special event, where bespoke Beluga vodka cocktails were served to celebrate the close of the tournament.

President of FIDE (World Chess Federation), Arkadiy Dvorkovich, says: “Magnus and Fabiano are both exceptionally talented players, and I congratulate them both on their achievements.”


CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, says: “This year’s World Chess Championship has been the most popular yet, with a global audience of millions. We wanted to make the 2018 World Chess Championships the world’s most interesting event in chess history, and we didn’t disappoint. The world has closely watched both Magnus and Fabiano make each and every move, and they should extremely proud of their accomplishments.”

CEO of Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, says: “As always, the World Chess Championship has been a big intellectual pleasure to watch. I’m happy that this strategic, even mathematical sport is evolving and becoming more open to a bigger, younger audience thanks to connectivity and modern technology. Though I regret greatly not being able to be in London to shake the champion’s hand, I hereby congratulate Magnus for his well-deserved victory.”

Deputy Chairman of the Board of PhosAgro, an International-Class Master of Sports and Honoured Coach of Russia, Andrey Guryev says: “Despite the record number of draws, it was one of the most interesting matches in chess history between two young talented grandmasters.

“For my part, I would like to note that we have pinned great hopes on Russia's grandmasters and the Russian school of chess. This year, three Russians took part in the Candidates Tournament: Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Kramnik. I think we can look to the future with confidence and work together on the long-awaited return of the chess crown to Russia. PhosAgro, which has been the permanent general partner of the Russian Chess Federation for the past eight years, will continue to support the development of chess.”


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Game 11: One Game May Decide the Title

Saturday, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana extended their record-setting streak by drawing the eleventh game of their World Championship match. It is the longest streak to start a title match in history.


On Monday, in Game 12, they will have one more chance to clinch the title in regulation. If neither player can win, the match will proceed to tie-breakers on Wednesday.

The score in the best-of-12 match stands at 5.5 points apiece. (Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point.) In Game 11, Carlsen, 27, the World Champion from Norway, had White and opened with 1 e4, as he had in Game 6. Caruana, 26, who is American, replied with 1… e5 and then, just as in Game 6, opted for the Petroff, or Russian, Defense.

On Move 4, Carlsen varied from the earlier game with the standard retreat, 4 Nf3. The game then followed a well-known and heavily analyzed line. Caruana had little trouble equalizing and, after queens were traded on Move 13, he faced only incidental problems.


Carlsen tried to shake things up with 15 Nh4 and 16 Ng6, but after a series of exchanges from Moves 17 to 25, there were only bishops of opposite color and symmetrical pawn structures left. Though Caruana later blundered a pawn, it made absolutely no difference – Carlsen no longer had any reasonable winning chances.

The players agreed to a draw after 55 moves.

The match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner, or 55 percent, if the winner is decided by the tie-breakers.

The string of draws is certainly frustrating for fans and probably for the players themselves, but that is the danger when two foes face each other who are evenly matched. Carlsen and Caruana are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and they are only separated by three points in the rankings.

While Carlsen may have had an important edge at the start of the match, based on having played several title matches, that edge is now largely gone, as Carlsen acknowledged during one of the press conferences. Caruana is now as comfortable, or uncomfortable, as Carlsen.

Should the match go to tie-breakers, however, then Carlsen will once again have an advantage. The first four games would be at a rapid time control (25 minutes for each player with 10 seconds added after each move). At that time control, Carlsen is ranked No. 1, and has won World Championships, while Caruana is ranked No. 10.


If neither player should win the rapid games, then they would go to blitz games (five minutes per player with three seconds added after each move). There, Carlsen’s edge is even more pronounced as he No. 1, and has won World Championships in blitz, while Caruana is No. 18.

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Game 12 is Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 10: An Intense Fight, the Same Result

Game 10 of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 ended in a draw, but it was not for lack of effort on the part of Magnus Carlsen, 27, the World Champion from Norway, or Fabiano Caruana, 26, the American challenger.


For hours, the players waged an intense battle, walking a razor’s edge between success and ruin. In the end, however, after 54 moves and more than five hours, neither player could deliver a knockout blow.

The match score stands at five points apiece. All the games in the match have been drawn. It is the most consecutive draws to start a title match in history.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Those who may not have watched the match carefully might think that all the draws are a sign that the match has been dull. It has not been. Game 10 was an excellent example Caruana had White and, as he has throughout the match, he opened with 1 e4. Carlsen stuck with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) as he has played in each game that he has had Black. As in Game 8, Caruana went into the Open Sicilian and Carlsen responded with the Sveshnikov or Pelikan Variation.

The game was identical through Move 11. Caruana then varied with 12 b4, launching an attack on the queenside. Carlsen responded energetically and by Move 20, his initiative on the kingside offered him equal chances.

Three moves later, however, Carlsen made a small error with 23 … Qg5. If Caruana had replied 24 Qd4, it would have forced Carlsen to defend his e pawn, slowing his attack. Instead, Caruana erred with 24 g3, creating severe light-squared weaknesses in his kingside. With time growing short as the players approached the first time control at Move 40, the pace of the game picked up. Light-squared bishops were exchanged, slightly easing Caruana’s defensive task, but Carlsen retained a formidable pawn center, which counter balanced a strong White passed pawn on the queen side.

The position remained dynamically balanced until just after the first time control, when Carlsen made another small error with 45… Kd4. That miscalculation allowed Caruana to win a pawn, but it also led to simplification of the position. In the end, Caruana had no chance to win and the players agreed to a draw. The match will now certainly go the distance in regulation. But it seems more and more likely that it will be decided in tie-breaker games.

Game 11 is Saturday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.


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Game 9: Still Deadlocked

Another game, another draw.

Wednesday, Game 9 of the World Championship between the champion, Magnus Carlsen, and the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, produced the same result as the first eight games: A draw. The nine consecutive draws to start a World Championship match are a record.


The match has become a clash between the irresistible force (Carlsen) and the immovable object (Caruana).

In Game 9, Carlsen, 27 and from Norway, had White and, as he had in Game 4, he began with the English opening (1 c4). Caruana, 26, from the United States, replied with the same system that he had used in the earlier game and the players followed the same path until Carlsen varied with 9 Bg5. The move did not change the evaluation of the position much and by Move 16, Caruana was already trying to repeat the position to force a draw by playing Bd5 and Be4 to continually attack Carlsen’s queen.


Naturally, Carlsen avoided that by playing 17 Qd1. Caruana immediately exchanged his light-squared bishop for Carlsen’s knight with 17… Bf3. That turned out to be a small error as, after a further series of exchanges, Black had a broken, and therefore slightly worse pawn structure. That was not a serious problem for Caruana, however, and after more trades, the players wound up in an endgame in which chances were roughly equal.

The game continued for another 25 moves, but there was no real hope for either player to win and they finally agreed to a draw after 56 moves and three-and-a-half hours.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The Match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

The lack of decisive results has not dampened press coverage of the match. In the day before Game 9, articles appeared in The New York Times, NBC News, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, FiveThirtyEight, and Deadspin, to name a few.


There is certainly no shortage of tension, particularly with only three games left in the regulation, or slow, part of the match. The last match in 2016, went to tie-breakers before Carlsen prevailed over Sergey Karjakin. That turned out to be a really exciting finish. The current Match seems to be heading for the same ending.

Game 10 is Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 8: Dubious Record Tied

With a draw on Monday in Game 8 of the World Championship match in London, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana equaled the record for the most consecutive draws to start a title contest. In 1995, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand also drew the first eight games of their title match in New York City.

The match score stands at four points apiece.


Though Game 8 did not lead to a decisive result, it was a fight as the players contested a different opening than in the previous seven games.

Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the fourth time in the match. As he had in the previous games with White, he opened with 1 e4 and Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, once again answered with the Sicilian Defense (1… c5). Instead of the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5), Caruana finally ventured into the Open Sicilian by playing 3 d4. Carlsen answered with the Sveshnikov, or Pelikan, Variation (5… e5). Instead of 7 Bg5, which can lead to heavily analyzed and very complicated positions, Caruana chose 7 Nd5. Though that continuation is considered more strategic than the other approach, it also can be dangerous for Black.

Carlsen’s 8… Nb8 is odd-looking, but it is also considered the best move because the more “normal” 8… Ne7 can land Black in some hot water after 9 c3.


Both players continued to follow the paths considered best until Carlsen played 18… g5. The move is consistent with some plans in the variation of the Sveshnikov that the game was following, but the move neglected Black’s development and allowed Caruana to gain time. He took advantage with an enterprising pawn sacrifice (21 c5), after which White had a dangerous passed pawn.

Carlsen might have been in real trouble if Caruana had not played 24 h3. Instead, 24 Nc4, continuing to build pressure on Carlsen’s center, would have given White a clear edge. Caruana’s error gave Carlsen just enough time to shore up his defenses.


Though the game continued until Move 38 before the players agreed to a draw, most of the drama was already gone. The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

A close contest between Carlsen, who is ranked No. 1, and Caruana, who is No. 2, would certainly have been a logical expectation before the match began. But the inability of either player to pose a real threat to the other – with the exception of Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble – may be a bit vexing for fans, and even for top players. As Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, ranked No. 6, told Chess.com at one point during Game 7, “I’m not gonna hide; the position is pretty dull.”


If Carlsen and Caruana are to avoid going into the history books with a somewhat unwanted record – most consecutive draws to start a World Championship match – they are going to have to do remarkable in Game 9, which will be Wednesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.   PHOTO GALLERY

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Game 7: The Draws Continue

More than half the games in regulation have been played in the World Championship match in London and neither player has been able to notch a victory.


The latest effort was Sunday in Game 7. Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, had White for the second game in a row and, for the second time in the match, he opened with 1 d4.

As he had in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, steered the game into a Queen’s Gambit Declined. The players repeated the moves from Game 2 until Carlsen, who had been outplayed in the earlier game, deviated by playing 10 Nd2. That move has been played many times before, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Caruana’s reply, 10 … Qd8, was not the best, and Carlsen soon had a slight edge. But it was no more than that and, as the game progressed, Caruana was never in any danger.

After a wholesale exchange of pieces from moves 18 to 25, chances were equal. Though the game continued until Move 40, a draw already seemed like a foregone result.

The match is now tied at 3.5 points apiece.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match has now reached the same point as the match in 2016, which also started with seven draws. At that point, Carlsen tried too hard to beat Sergey Karjakin, who was then the challenger, and lost. It would be surprising if that happened again. At the same time, except for Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble, neither player has come close to victory. Fans, and even the players themselves, have to be wondering when or if one of the players will crack.



FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.
Game 8 is today at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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FIDE WCCM Game 6: The World Champion Escapes.

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, was on the ropes in Game 6 of the title match in London. But in a long endgame, Fabiano Caruana, the challenger, could find no way to break down Carlsen’s defenses and he was finally able to escape with a draw.

The result left the match tied the halfway point at three points apiece; all six games in the contest have ended in draws.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund).


In Game 6, Carlsen, who is from Norway, had White and started with 1 e4. It was Carlsen’s third game with White and, in all three games, he has chosen a different opening move. Caruana, who is American, replied 1 … e5 and after Carlsen continued 2 Nf3, Caruana chose the Petroff, or Russian, Defense. That was not a surprise as Caruana had employed the defense with great success when he won the Candidates tournament in Berlin earlier this year to qualify for the title match. 


The game continued down an obscure branch of the Petroff that Carlsen had doubtless studied carefully. Caruana demonstrated he also was well prepared as he navigated some of the intricacies with no problem.

After 15 moves, the position was symmetrical and the game seemed headed for a draw, which also was no surprise, as the Petroff has long had a reputation of being drawish. The game continued, however, partly because there is a rule in the match that games must be at least 30 moves, and also because neither player had any interest in agreeing to an early peace.

On Move 22, Carlsen made what turned out to be a small, but subtle error by positioning his light-squared bishop on a file that could be opened. Caruana was able to gain time to develop his rooks by attacking the bishop and that allowed him to take over the initiative.

Carlsen was in no immediate danger, but Caruana had nagging pressure against White’s position. By Move 34, the players had reached an endgame in which each had his bishop pair and a knight and a set of six pawns.

Just after the first time control at Move 40, Carlsen made another small error and was forced to trade one of his remaining pieces for three of Caruana’s pawns. Nominally, that is about an even trade, but, at the tail end of the sequence, Caruana was able to win another of Carlsen’s pawns.

Carlsen was clearly in trouble, but Caruana only had two pawns left and if Carlsen could trade them, the game would be a draw. The exchange of one pawn was impossible to prevent, but Carlsen could not easily get to the second. Computer evaluations showed a clear edge for Caruana.

Computers do not understand endgames very well, however. And Carlsen is one of the greatest endgame virtuoso’s in history. He found a plan that involved sacrificing his last queenside pawn to allow his king to infiltrate Caruana’s king side. Though Carlsen’s king now had almost no room to maneuver, it could support the advance of his h pawn if Caruana tried to go after Carlsen’s f pawn to clear the path for his own remaining f pawn.

For nearly 20 moves, Caruana tried to outflank Carlsen, but it was not possible. Carlsen had built a fortress. The game was drawn on Move 80, after six-and-a-half hours of play. A curious facet of the match is that Black has had equal chances or an edge in every one of the games; neither player’s strategy with White has been effective.


FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Game 7 is on Sunday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

Caruana will once again have Black. The way that the match has unfolded, that may be an advantage.

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Game 4: The Defense Holds Again

Game 4 of the World Championship on Tuesday ended as the first three had – with a draw. It was also the shortest game of the match, lasting 34 moves and three hours.


As in Game 3, neither player made any obvious or big error. Indeed, Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, who had White, chose the English (1 c4), an opening that generally does not put much pressure on Black. After Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, replied with 1 … e5 (essentially the Sicilian Defense with colors reversed), he had little trouble developing his pieces or establishing equal chances.

By Move 20, the queens, both sets of knights and the light-squared bishops had all been exchanged and though there was some imbalance in the pawn structure, neither player had particularly good prospects for a breakthrough. They agreed to a draw soon after.

The match now is tied at two points apiece.


The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

After a great deal of excitement in Game 1, which lasted 115 moves and which Caruana nearly lost, the match has settled down, with neither player having any significant winning chances in the last three games.


That is not really a surprise.

The players in World Championship matches are always incredibly well prepared and they are also reluctant to take big risks because falling behind in such a match is very dangerous.

Carlsen and Caruana are also fairly evenly matched, judging both by their rankings, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and the difference in their ratings – three points, which is only a whisker.

As the match progresses, the tension will mount. Normally, that would favor the champion, who not only has more match experience, but also would have an advantage in the tie-breakers, as they are played at faster time controls, at which he excels and at which Caruana is not nearly as proficient.


However, in the 2016 title match against Sergey Karjakin of Russia, it was Carlsen who cracked first as he lost his patience and overpressed in Game 8, eventually losing. He had to fight back in Game 10 to tie the match before prevailing in the tie-breakers. Has Carlsen learned from that experience? Time will tell.

Wednesday is a rest day. The match resumes with Game 5 on Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 3: An error-free day

After three games of the World Championship, neither player has made a dent in the other’s armor. All the games have ended in draws.


On Monday, in Game 3, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the second time in the match and, for the second time, he opened with 1 e4. As he had in Game 1, Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, replied with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) and Caruana again replied with the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5). The players repeated the same first five moves before Carlsen deviated first by moving his queen instead of his king knight.
The change was subtle and did not result in any major shift in the dynamic balance of the position. Indeed, unlike in the first game, when Caruana got into trouble, in this game he was never in any real danger. But neither was Carlsen. As the game proceeded and pieces and pawns were gradually exchanged, chances remained equal as neither player made any mistake.


In the end, Caruana sacrificed his remaining piece, a knight, to eliminate the last pawn that Carlsen had any chance to promote to a queen. With no winning chances for either side, the players agreed to a draw after 49 moves.
The match now is tied at 1.5 points apiece.
The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)



The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

Though the match is only three games old, one theme has already emerged: Black is having no trouble equalizing out of the opening. (Indeed, the player with Black has, if anything, had an advantage in each game.)

In this respect, Caruana may already be a bit worried about his match strategy as he has avoided mixing things up with Carlsen on the White side of a Sicilian Defense by playing 3 d4, the most popular third move. Though the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5) certainly holds dangers for Black, it may be necessary for Caruana to enter the myriad complications of the main lines of the Sicilian after 3 d4 if he hopes to crack Carlsen’s defense.

Or Caruana may have to resort to a different first move altogether, such as 1 d4. His opening choice in Game 5, when he again has White will be very interesting.



In the meantime, there is Game 4, which is Tuesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 2: A Fair Result

Two games into the World Championship and neither player in the title match has managed to score a win, but both have now been under pressure.

Saturday, in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, who had Black, emerged from the opening with a small but distinct advantage because the pawns of Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, were far advanced and difficult to defend. But Carlsen was able to force an endgame in which each player only had a rook and all the remaining pawns were on one side of the board, making Carlsen’s defensive task much easier.



After the first time control and 49 moves, the players agreed to the draw.

The match is tied at a point apiece.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.



The opening in Game 2 was a Queen’s Gambit Declined, with Carlsen choosing to play 5 Bf4 rather than the slightly more traditional 5 Bg5. It is an opening that he has used before and with great success, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Indeed, with 6 … c5, Caruana attacked Carlsen’s center. This is a known and sharp line , but Caruana proved better prepared with Carlsen consuming much time in solving new problems. Caruana soon established an edge by breaking up Carlsen’s queen side pawns.

A series of exchanges followed that saddled Carlsen with broken pawns on the kingside and a far advanced, but weak d pawn that would inevitably fall. But the reduced material, and Carlsen’s lead in development, allowed him to avoid real trouble.



Though Caruana had an extra pawn, he agreed to a draw after 49 moves. He probably saw no reason to try to repeat the 115-move marathon of Game 1, when Carlsen had an extra pawn and tried to squeeze out a victory in a position that offered no real hope for success.

There is a rest day on Sunday before the match resumes with Game 3 on Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 1: A Near Miss for Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, nearly got the perfect result – a win – on Friday in Game 1 of his title match against Fabiano Caruana. But at several critical moments, Carlsen missed his best moves, allowing Caruana to eke out a draw.

Though the result was a disappointment for Carlsen, it was anything but that for fans. The game stretched 115 moves and nearly six hours before the players split the point.



Carlsen, 27, who is from Norway, is making his third title defense, having captured the crown in 2013, when he beat Viswanathan Anand of India. Caruana, 26, who is American, is playing his first match for the title. Carlsen is ranked No. 1 in the world, while Caruana is No. 2. It is the first time since 1990, when Garry Kasparov faced Anatoly Karpov, that Nos. 1 and 2 have faced off for the undisputed title. The match, which is being held in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building, is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The match is being televised on Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.

The match has received worldwide media exposure, with articles in The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and ESPN, among others.

Carlsen and Caruana are well acquainted, having played each other at classical, or slow, time controls almost three dozen times. They know each other’s style; they have no secrets. But, in World Championship matches, where the pressure is at the highest level, every small edge counts, and so anything a player can do to surprise his opponent is significant. Other than playing psychological games, or resorting to gamesmanship, which neither Carlsen or Caruana is known to do, the only real way to surprise the opponent is with opening strategy and opening choices.



In Round 1, the edge almost certainly went to Carlsen. Against 1 e4 by Caruana, who had White, Carlsen chose the Sicilian Defense, perhaps the most double-edged reply. It has not been a standard part of Carlsen's repertoire for some time and is a provocative choice in such a high-stakes match.

(The opening choice may also indicate that Carlsen prepared for the match with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, a noted Sicilian expert, who is a month older than Carlsen. The members of each player’s team of seconds is usually a well-guarded secret because it can tip the opponent off about the pre-match preparation.)

After Carlsen played 2… Nc6, perhaps indicating perhaps that he wanted to enter the Sveshnikov Variation, Caruana countered with 3 Bb5 -- the Rossolimo Variation, which Anand used against Boris Gelfand during their 2012 title match. Caruana’s opening choice was possibly meant to avoid the maze of complications of the Sveshnikov, but it backfired as Carlsen gradually took control.

As the first time-control approached on Move 40, Caruana's time was dwindling rapidly and his position was under pressure as Carlsen managed to open up the file in front of Caruana’s king. Caruana decided that his best chance lay in a flight of his king to the other side of the board, but, according to the various computer engines analyzing the position, that was a mistake. Carlsen could have then swung his queen to the other side of the board and picked off one or two of Caruana’s pawns. In the endgame, his queenside pawns, supported by his dark-square bishop, would have been dangerous, if not lethal. The computers evaluated Carlsen having a strategic advantage of the equivalent of about two pawns – more than enough to be decisive at this level of competition.



But Carlsen did not see the strategy and continued to concentrate on the kingside. On his 40th move, he made a fateful decision – he exchanged his dangerous passed f pawn for Caruana’s c pawn. Though Carlsen retained an advantage, it was now minimal.

After the further exchange of Caruana’s knight for Carlsen’s bishop, as well as a pair of pawns, the players ended up in a rook-and-pawn endgame where Carlsen’s chances to win were insufficient, despite having an extra pawn. Carlsen, as is his habit, continued to press for another 60 moves before he agreed to a draw. It was one of the longest games in World Championship history, eclipsed by one of 124 moves in 1978 between Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, and another of 122 moves between Carlsen and Anand in 2014.

Game 2 is Saturday and starts at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12    Score     Carlsen  ½                       0.5  Caruana  ½                       0.5


Photos are available in the Gallery

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Opening Ceremony of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018

The official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 was held on November 8th at a prestigious red-carpet event at the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.





Guests from all over the world, including Woody Harrelson, Hou Yifan, Judit Polgar descended onto London for the glittering evening, hosted by British television presenter, George Lamb. Entertainment included a modern contemporary dance between two men featuring the unity and struggle of two strong characters, like in the game of chess, and a breath-taking performance by the talented Stephen Ridley – a young charismatic pianist, composer and singer.



The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the competitors, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of USA. The Chief Arbiter of the Match Stepahne Escafre conducted the ceremony of the drawing of lots. Magnus Carlsen will have the black pieces in the first game. The first move of the World Chess Championship match will be played on November 9th, at 3 pm local time.





President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, as well as Vice President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab, Aldo del Bo, CEO of S.T. Dupont, Alain Crevet joined the players on the stage.

Taking place from 9-28 November, the world’s most esteemed chess tournament consists of a 12-game Match, avidly followed and analysed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans, which will see current World Chess Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, defend his title against US challenger, Fabiano Carlsen. No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a World Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972, so all eyes will be on the two players. Those following the games online will also be catered for; they will be able to watch the moves for free on worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform. They can also sign up for a $20 premium account, giving fans access to multi-camera views, commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, the opportunity to ask questions during press conferences and more.



The last World Championship match, held in New York, in 2016, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.5 billion people.

Leading partners supporting the Championship Match 2018 include:

PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner
Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE’s Official Cybersecurity Partner
PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner
S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument
Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match
Unibet as the Official Betting Partner
Beluga as the Official VIP Partner

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Categories: Ενημέρωση

Carlsen – Caruana 2018 – tiebreaks LIVE!

Chessdom - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 16:34

Replay: Caruana – Carlsen game 1 / Carlsen – Caruana game 2 / Caruana – Carlsen game 3 / Carlsen – Caruana game 4 / Caruana – Carlsen game 5 / Carlsen – Caruana game 6 / Carlsen – Caruana game 7 / Caruana – Carlsen game 8 / Caruana – Carlsen game 9 / Caruana – Carlsen game 10 / Carlsen – Caruana game 11 / Caruana – Carlsen game 12

Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 World Chess Championship match between the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA). In this live blog + live games from WCC 2018 we will be covering the event Carlsen – Caruana with the latest news, developments, interviews, and in-game details.

The most important feature here will be the lines of analysis by Lc0 – the open Neural Network, and the TCEC champion Stockfish running on a Super Computer of 128 cores.

 

Refresh the page to get the latest updates

Update 19:00 CET

Magnus Carlsen is the 2018 World Chess Champion! Congratulations! With a solid third game, Carlsen brings the match and the title home.

Update 18:00 CET

It all went downhill for Caruana. 2-0 for Carlsen and a match ball for the Norwegian

Update 17:45 CET

Lc0 -0.56 : 22. .. bxc6 23. dxc6 Rfc8 24. Qc4 Qe6 25. Nd5 Ra5 26. Nb6 d5 27. Qc3 Rb5 28. Qc2 Rc7 29. Na8 Rc8 30. Nb6 Rc7 31. Na8 Bb4+ 32. Ke2 Rc8 33. Nb6 Bc3 34. bxc3 Rxc6 35. Qxa4 Rb2+ 36. Kf1 d4 37. cxd4 Rxc1+ 38. Bxc1 Rxb6 39. Qa8+ Kh7 40. Qe4 Rb4 41. d5 Qa6+ 42. Qe2 Qb7 43. Kg2 Qxd5+ 44. Kh2 Rg4

SF128 -0.54 : 22. .. bxc6 23. dxc6 Rfc8 24. Qc4 Bd8 25. Ne4 Ba5+ 26. Ke2 Rcb8 27. Nxd6 Rxb2+ 28. Kf1 Qf3 29. Qe4 Qxe4 30. Nxe4 f5 31. Ng5 Rc8 32. a3 Ra2 33. Kg2 Rxa3 34. Ne6 Rc3 35. Rxc3 Bxc3

Update 17:38 CET

A premature 21. c5 sends the game from opening success for white to trouble

Lc0: -0.5 : 21. .. O-O 22. Rd1 Rfd8 23. f3 Qd7 24. cxd6 Bxd6 25. a3 Rdc8 26. Ne4 Ra5 27. O-O Ne7 28. Bf2 Rxd5 29. Kg2 Bb8 30. Nc3 Rd4 31. Bxd4 exd4 32. Rxd4 Qxd4 33. Qxe7 Ba7 34. Qe2 Qc4 35. Re1 Bd4 36. Qxc4 Rxc4 37. Re4 f5 38. Rf4 g6 39. Kf1 Kf7 40. Ne2 g5

SF128 -0.09 : 21. .. O-O 22. Rd1 Rfd8 23. cxd6 Bxd6 24. O-O a3 25. Bb6 Rd7 26. bxa3 Ra6 27. Rb1 Nxh4 28. gxh4 Bc7 29. Be3 Rg6+ 30. Bg5 f6 31. Qe4 Qxe4 32. Nxe4 Rxd5 33. Rfd1 Rxd1+ 34. Rxd1 fxg5 35. Nxg5 Rd6 36. Rb1 Rb6 37. Rc1 Rc6 38. Rd1 Bb6 39. Rb1 Bd8 40. Rxb7 Bxg5 41. hxg5 Kh7 42. Rb5 Kg6

Update 17:19 CET

An opening success for white, now we have Carlsen in deep thought:

Lc0 +0.85 : 17. .. O-O 18. Be2 Bd8 19. O-O Ne7 20. Bxh5 Nf5 21. Qd3 Qc8 22. Kh2 g6 23. Be2 Nxe3 24. Qxe3 f5 25. Qh6 Rf6 26. b4 Bb6 27. a3 Qf8 28. Qxf8+ Rfxf8 29. Kg2 Bd4 30. Rac1 Rac8 31. Rfd1 Kf7 32. f4 Rfe8 33. Rc2 b6 34. Bf1

SF128 + 0.68 : 17. .. Bd8 18. Be2 Ne7 19. Bxh5 O-O 20. Qd3 Nf5 21. Bg4 Qc8 22. O-O-O b5 23. Nxb5 Bxb5 24. Bxf5 Qxc4+ 25. Kb1 g6 26. Qxc4 Bxc4 27. Be4 f5 28. Rc1 Be2 29. Rhe1 Bb5 30. Bc2 Kg7 31. a3 Rf7 32. Rg1 Rc8 33. f3 Rfc7 34. Rg2 e4 35. fxe4 fxe4 36. Rd1 Bf6 37. Bxe4 Re8

Update 17:15 CET

Game 2 is underway with the well known 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5

Update 17:01 CET

The World Championship drama is here! In a difficult endgame, Caruana makes the final blunder with 37… Kxe4. Precise play from that point on by Carlsen to bring the full point home. A goal for Carlsen, 1-0

Update 16:55 CET

30. Rd5 was not the right way to try to go for a win. Now the position is equal

Update 16:45 CET

Lc0 : 29. .. c5 30. Rc1 Kd6 31. e5+ Kd5 32. e6 Kxe6 33. Rxc5 g6 34. Ra5 h5 35. h4 Ra2 36. a4 Rd2 37. Kf1 Ra2 38. Rxa6+ Kf5 39. Ke1 Ra3 40. Kf2 Ra2+ 41. Kf3 Ra3+ 42. Kg2 Ra2+ 43. Kh3 Ra1 44. a5 Ke4 45. Rxg6 Kf3 46. Kh2 Ra2+ 47. Kh3 Ra1 48. Kh2 Ra2+ 49. Kg1 Ra1+ 50. Kh2

SF128: 29. .. c5 30. Rc1 Kd6 31. a4 Rd2 32. e5+ Kd5 33. e6 Kxe6 34. Rxc5 g6 35. Re5+ Kf6 36. Ra5 Ke6 37. h4 h5 38. Kf1 Ra2 39. Ke1 Kf6 40. Rxa6+ Kf5 41. Ra5+ Ke4 42. Rg5 Rxa4 43. Rxg6 Kf3 44. Kd1 Ra3 45. Rg7 Ke4 46. Kd2 Rb3 47. Rg5 Ra3 48. Rg6 Rb3 49. Ke2 Rb2+ 50. Kd1 Ra2 51. Rg5 Ra1+ 52. Kc2 Ra3 53. Kb2 Rd3 54. Kc1 Ra3 55. Re5+ Kf3 56. Kb2 Rd3 57. Kc2 Ra3

Update 16:39 CET

Lc0 +2.5: 24. Rxd4 Kf7 25. Kh1 Ke7 26. Red1 Rb6 27. Rd6 c5 28. e5 a5 29. f4 Rxd6 30. Rxd6 Nf8 31. Rc6 h6 32. Rxc5 Rd4 33. Kg2 g5 34. fxg5 hxg5 35. Kf3 a4 36. Rc7+ Kd8 37. Rc6 Ke7 38. Ke3 Rd1 39. Ra6 Re1+ 40. Kd4 Rd1+ 41. Kc3 Re1 42. Ra7+ Kd8 43. Rxa4 Rxe5 44. Ra8+ Ke7 45. a4 Nd7 46. Ra7 Kd6 47. Ra6+ Ke7 48. a5 Nf6 49. Ra8 Re3+ 50. Kb4 Re4
Eval

SF128 +2.52 : 24. Rxd4 Kf7 25. Kh1 Ke7 26. Red1 Rbb8 27. Bxa6 c5 28. R4d2 Nb6 29. Rxd8 Rxd8 30. Rxd8 Kxd8 31. Kg1 Kc7 32. Kf2 c4 33. Ke3 Kd6 34. Kd4 e5+ 35. Kc3 Kc5 36. f4 Na4+ 37. Kc2 Kd4 38. fxe5 Nc5 39. Bb5 Kxe5 40. Kc3 Nxe4+ 41. Kxc4 Kd6 42. a4 Kc7 43. a5 Kb7 44. Kb4 Ka7 45. Bd3 Nf6 46. Kc5 Ng4 47. Bxh7

Update 16:35 CET

SF128 +1.5: 22. .. Nd4 23. Bxd4 exd4 24. Rxd4 Kf7 25. Kh1 Rbb8 26. Red1 Ke7 27. Bxa6 c5 28. R4d2 Nb6 29. Rxd8 Rxd8 30. Rb1 Nd7 31. a4 Ra8 32. Bb5 c4 33. Rc1 Nb6 34. Rc2 Rc8 35. Kg2 Kd6 36. Ba6 Rc5 37. f4 Nxa4 38. Bxc4 e5 39. Kf3 Nb6 40. Rd2+ Ke7 41. Bg8 h5 42. fxe5

Lc0 +2.52 : 22. .. Nd4 23. Bxd4 exd4 24. Bxe6+ Kf8 25. Rxd4 Ke7 26. Rxd7+ Rxd7 27. Bxd7 Kxd7 28. Rd1+ Ke7 29. f4 c5 30. e5 Ke6 31. Rd6+ Kf5 32. Rxa6 Ke4 33. Kf1 Rxh2 34. Ke1 Kf3 35. Kd1 Rh1+ 36. Kd2 Rh2+ 37. Kd3 Kxg3 38. Ra4 Kf3 39. e6 Re2 40. f5 Re5 41. Ra7 g6 42. fxg6 hxg6 43. Rf7+ Kg4 44. e7 g5 45. Kc4 Kh5 46. a4

Update 16:31 CET

Nervs kick in, Caruana misses the obvious 19… Nb7 and goes Nb5 instead, engine evals call it a blunder, jumping to +1.90!

Update 16:21 CET

Magnus Carlsen missed the most critical line and after 14. Be3 the position is stabilizing for black. Now at move 17 Lc0 eval is +0.3, SF128 is +0.09

Update 16:17 CET

After 12. Na4 many possibilities for Caruana, none looks good in the eyes of Leela

Line 1 +0.9: 12. .. Be6 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. f4 c3 15. Nxc3 Bb3 16. h3 Nbd7 17. Be3 Rab8 18. Rf2 Re8 19. Rd2 Nb6 20. Bf1 Bc4 21. Bxb6 Bxf1 22. Bc7 Rb7 23. Bxe5 Bxh3 24. b4 Nd7 25. Bd6 h5 26. Rc1 a5 27. bxa5 Rb3 28. Rd4 Ra8 29. Rb4 Rxa3 30. Rb8+ Nxb8

Line 2 +0.92: 12. .. Nbd7 13. Qc2 Nb6 14. Nxb6 Qxb6 15. Qxc4 Be6 16. Qc3 Qd4 17. Qxd4 exd4 18. Bf4 Rfd8 19. Rfc1 Rac8 20. b4 h6 21. f3 Nd7 22. Bf1 g5

SF128 +0.57: 12. .. Be6 13. f4 c3 14. Qc2 exf4 15. gxf4 Qd4+ 16. Kh1 Nbd7 17. bxc3 Qc4 18. Nb2 Qb3 19. Qxb3 Bxb3 20. e5 Nd5 21. c4 Ne7 22. Rf2 g6 23. Be3 Nf5 24. Re1 Rfc8 25. Bh3 Rab8 26. Bxf5 gxf5 27. Rg1+ Kf8 28. Rd2 Rb7 29. Bf2 c5 30. Rg3 Ba2 31. h3 Bb1 32. Nd3 Rb6 33. a4 Rg6 34. Rxg6 hxg6 35. a5 Kg7 36. Kg2 g5 37. fxg5 Bxd3 38. Rxd3 Nxe5 39. Rd5 Nxc4 40. Rxf5 Nxa5 41. Bxc5 Nb3

Update 16:15 CET

Lc0 critical variation in game 1: 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Be3 Qe7 13. Na4 Nbd7 14. Qd2 a5 15. Rfd1 Ng4 16. Bb6 Ngf6 17. Bxa5 c5 18. Nb6 Nxb6 19. Bxb6 Ra6 20. Ba5 Bd7 21. Re1 Rd6 22. Qc1 Ra8 23. Bc3 Bc6 24. Qg5 Rd4 25. f4 h6 26. Qxe5 Qa7 27. f5 Re8 28. Qf4 Qb7 29. a4 Nxe4 30. Bxd4 cxd4

Eval +0.91

Update 16:10 CET

Now after 8… d6 the neural network Lc0 is saying the position for black is “difficult to play” +0.61 9. a3 Ba5 10. b4 Bc7 11. cxb5 axb5 12. d5 Bb6 13. dxc6 Nxc6 14. Bg5 Bg4 15. Nxb5 h6 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. Nbc3 Nd4 18. Qd3 Nxe2+ 19. Nxe2 Be6 20. a4 Rfc8 21. a5 Ba7 22. Rac1 Rxc1 23. Nxc1 Rc8 24. Qd2 Bc4 25. Nd3 Ba6 26. Rc1 Rxc1+ 27. Nxc1 Qe6 28. Bf1

The clock of Caruana agrees, this is an opening success for Carlsen

Update 16:01 CET

Game 1 we have the English opening with 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 4. e4 which is a different variation of the opening that we have seen so far

Lc0 line 1 +0.3 : 6. .. d6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. a3 Ba5 9. Qc2 Bb6 10. Na4 Bc7 11. d4 Nb6 12. Nxb6 Bxb6 13. Rd1 Qe7 14. b4 a5 15. c5 Bc7 16. Bb2 Re8 17. cxd6 Bxd6 18. dxe5 Bxe5 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20. Qc3 Qxc3 21. Nxc3 axb4 22. axb4

Lc0 line 2 +0.31 : 6. .. Re8 7. O-O d6 8. a3 Ba5 9. h3 Nbd7 10. Qc2 Bb6 11. Na4 Bc7 12. d4 a6 13. Rd1 b5 14. cxb5 axb5 15. Nac3 b4 16. Na4 Ba6 17. axb4 Bxe2 18. Qxe2

SF 128 +0.39 : 6. .. a6 7. O-O d6 8. d4 exd4 9. Nxd4 Nbd7 10. Nce2 Re8 11. a3 Bc5 12. b4 Bb6 13. Qc2 c5 14. Nf5 Ne5 15. Bf4 h6 16. Rfd1 Bxf5 17. exf5 Qe7 18. Rab1 cxb4 19. Rxb4 Qc7 20. Qb3 Bc5 21. Rxb7 Rab8 22. Rxc7 Rxb3 23. Bxe5 Rxe5 24. Nd4 Rb2 25. Rc8+ Kh7

Update 15:43 CET

Reminder of the current score in blitz and rapid from historical point of view. Carlsen leads Caruana 15,0 – 8,0, with Carlsen winning 13 games, Caruana winning 6 games, and 4 games finishing draw.

Update 15:30 CET

The tiebreak drama is here! Today is the day when we will know the new world chess champion. Even in the unlikely case where we do not have a single decisive game, there will be a new champion crowned. Carlsen and Caruana will start with best-of-four rapid games with time control 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move. In case of a 2-2 score we will have up to 5 pairs of blitz games with time control 5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment after each move. In case of another tie, there will be the famous Armageddon, where in case of draw the player with the black pieces will be crowned champion

Carlsen will start with the white pieces, as per the draw conducted during the last press conference.

Watch live video from TCEC_Chess_TV on www.twitch.tv

Categories: Ενημέρωση

2019 World Team Championship Categories 50+ and 65+

FIDE - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 12:40


This is the official invitation to all national chess federations of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) to participate in the World Team Championships categories 50+ and 65+ for open and women born in the year 1969 or earlier. The championships will be held in the 5-star Olympic Palace Hotel, in Rhodes,Greece. The dates are 15 April (arrivals, technical meeting) to 25 April 2019 (departures).


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28th Senior World Chess Championship in Bled

FIDE - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 02:00


28th Senior World Chess Championship Bled (Slovenia) 2018



Open 50+


Women 50+


Open 65+


Women 65+


Open and Women


V. Kupreichik Cup

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WSCC2018 - Report after Round 9

The 28th World Senior Chess Championship, which is being held from November 17th until November 29th2018, is currently in full swing. The championship is divided into 4 categories: Open 50+, Open 65+, Women 50+ and Women 65+. 330 participants come from 57 different countries and all continents. Among these players are 20 Grandmasters and 10 women Grandmasters.

The tournament in category Open 50+ is extremely tied. After 9 rounds GM Karen Movsziszian from Armenia and GM Bagaturov Giorgi from Georgia are in the lead. Both of them managed to score 7 and half points. 3rd place is currently being claimed by Russian IM Kalegin Evgenij with 7 points. If there will be no big surprises, someone among those three players will become the winner.

We have a very similar situation in the category Open 65+. We have two leaders: GM Jansa Vlastimilfrom Czech Republic and GM Baslashov Yuri from Russia. Both of them scored amazing 8 points. With 7 points another Russian GM Rashkovski is following them.

Among Women things are not that complicated. In category Women 50+ WGM Elvira Berend is in the clear lead with 7 and half points. She scored 1 point more than the second and third positioned players WGM Gabuzova Tatiana and WGM Stutinskaia Gallina - both from Russia.

In the oldest category among women – Women 65+ we have a new leader. The legendary Nona Gaprindashvili from Georgia finally took over the lead from now second WGM Kozlovskaya Valentina from Russia. 3rd is WIM Tsifanskaya Ludmila from Israel.







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WSCC2018 - Report after Round 8
Open 50+               1 2 GM Movsziszian Karen ARM 2513 7 0 39 42,5 2 9 GM Bagaturov Giorgi GEO 2417 6,5 0 38 41,5 3 10 IM Kalegin Evgenij RUS 2413 6 0 36,5 40 Open 65+               1 4 GM Balashov Yuri S RUS 2445 7 0,5 39,5 43,5 2 5 GM Jansa Vlastimil CZE 2437 7 0,5 39 43 3 3 GM Rashkovsky Nukhim N RUS 2482 6,5 0 40 43,5 Women 50+               1 3 WGM Strutinskaia Galina RUS 2201 6,5 0,5 34,5 38 2 1 WGM Berend Elvira LUX 2332 6,5 0,5 34 37,5 3 2 WGM Grabuzova Tatiana RUS 2326 5,5 0 35,5 39 Women 65+               1 4 WGM Kozlovskaya Valentina RUS 2154 6 0 34,5 38,5 2 1 GM Gaprindashvili Nona GEO 2301 5,5 0 34 37 3 9   Serjmyadag Damdin MGL 1864 5,5 0 32,5 36


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WSCC2018 - Report after Round 6

In meantime 6 rounds have been played in Senior World Chess Championship in Bled (Slovenia).

Open +50



Number one seeded GM Zurab Sturua (GEO) shared the point in round 6 after a big fight against GM Karen Movsziszian (ARM). With this the leading group consists in five players, all with 5 points.

Top standing after round 6 Open +50:
1. GM Karen Movsziszian (ARM)
2. GM Giorgi Bagaturov (GEO)
3. GM Henrik Danielsen (ISL)
4. GM Zurab Sturua (GEO)
5. GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (SCO)
(all with 5 points)

Open +65



In fifth round the two top seeded players GM Anatoli Vaisser (FRA) and GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS) didn’t had a positive day: both lost - to IM Nathan Birnboim (ISR) and GM Vlastimil Jansa (CZE). Jansa in round 6 won also the game on board 1 against IM Nils-Gustaf Renman (SWE) and is now the only leader.
Top standing after round 6 Open +65:
1. GM Vlastimil Jansa (CZE) 6
2. GM Yuri S. Balashov (RUS) 5,5
3. GM Nukhim N. Rashkovsky (RUS) 5
4. IM Nils-Gustaf Renman (SWE) 5

Women +50

WGM Galina Strutinskaia (RUS) is the only leader with 5 points. She already played against the two top seeded players WGM Elvira Berend (LUX) and WGM Tatiana Grabuzova (RUS).

Top standing after round 6 Women +50:

1. WGM Galina Strutinskaia (RUS) 5
2. WGM Elvira Berend (LUX) 4,5
3. WIM Ilena Krasenkova (RUS) 4,5
4. WIM Ingrid Lauterbach (ENG) 4,5

Women +65



In this section there is a clear leader: WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya (RUS) scored 5,5 points out of 6. The rest of the field has 4 points or less. Can someone stop the leader?
Top standing after round 6 Women +65:

1. WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya (RUS) 5,5
2. WIM Tamara Sorokina (RUS) 4
3. GM Nona Gaprindashvili (GEO) 4
4. WIM Ludmila A. Tsifanskaya (ISR) 4
5. WFM Valeria Dotan (ISR) 4

After the sixth round there was a free day.

This rest day was used to organize a rapid tournament in memorial to the great Slovenian GM Albin Planinc. 155 players out of 32 nations, 12 GM, 19 IM, 2 WGM, 3 WIM, 15 FM, 6 WFM are the impressive numbers of this tournament.

The tournament was won by GM Mladen Palac (CRO) with 7,5 points. Other 3 players scored the same points, but had a lower tie-break.

Final result rapid tournament "1st Albin Planinc Memorial":

1. GM Mladen Palac (CRO) 7,5
2. GM Nukhim N. Rashkovsky (RUS) 7,5
3. GM Marko Tratar (SLO) 7,5
4. GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA) 7,5
5. GM Ognjen Cvitan (CRO) 7
6. IM Branko Rogulj (CRO) 7
7. GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS) 7
8. IM Leon Mazi (SLO) 7






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28th WSCC 2018: Round 8

FIDE - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 02:00


28th Senior World Chess Championship Bled (Slovenia) 2018

Round 8

Open 50+               1 2 GM Movsziszian Karen ARM 2513 7 0 39 42,5 2 9 GM Bagaturov Giorgi GEO 2417 6,5 0 38 41,5 3 10 IM Kalegin Evgenij RUS 2413 6 0 36,5 40 Open 65+               1 4 GM Balashov Yuri S RUS 2445 7 0,5 39,5 43,5 2 5 GM Jansa Vlastimil CZE 2437 7 0,5 39 43 3 3 GM Rashkovsky Nukhim N RUS 2482 6,5 0 40 43,5 Women 50+               1 3 WGM Strutinskaia Galina RUS 2201 6,5 0,5 34,5 38 2 1 WGM Berend Elvira LUX 2332 6,5 0,5 34 37,5 3 2 WGM Grabuzova Tatiana RUS 2326 5,5 0 35,5 39 Women 65+               1 4 WGM Kozlovskaya Valentina RUS 2154 6 0 34,5 38,5 2 1 GM Gaprindashvili Nona GEO 2301 5,5 0 34 37 3 9   Serjmyadag Damdin MGL 1864 5,5 0 32,5 36


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Report after round 6

In meantime 6 rounds have been played in Senior World Chess Championship in Bled (Slovenia).

Open +50



Number one seeded GM Zurab Sturua (GEO) shared the point in round 6 after a big fight against GM Karen Movsziszian (ARM). With this the leading group consists in five players, all with 5 points.

Top standing after round 6 Open +50:
1. GM Karen Movsziszian (ARM)
2. GM Giorgi Bagaturov (GEO)
3. GM Henrik Danielsen (ISL)
4. GM Zurab Sturua (GEO)
5. GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (SCO)
(all with 5 points)

Open +65



In fifth round the two top seeded players GM Anatoli Vaisser (FRA) and GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS) didn’t had a positive day: both lost - to IM Nathan Birnboim (ISR) and GM Vlastimil Jansa (CZE). Jansa in round 6 won also the game on board 1 against IM Nils-Gustaf Renman (SWE) and is now the only leader.
Top standing after round 6 Open +65:
1. GM Vlastimil Jansa (CZE) 6
2. GM Yuri S. Balashov (RUS) 5,5
3. GM Nukhim N. Rashkovsky (RUS) 5
4. IM Nils-Gustaf Renman (SWE) 5

Women +50

WGM Galina Strutinskaia (RUS) is the only leader with 5 points. She already played against the two top seeded players WGM Elvira Berend (LUX) and WGM Tatiana Grabuzova (RUS).

Top standing after round 6 Women +50:

1. WGM Galina Strutinskaia (RUS) 5
2. WGM Elvira Berend (LUX) 4,5
3. WIM Ilena Krasenkova (RUS) 4,5
4. WIM Ingrid Lauterbach (ENG) 4,5

Women +65



In this section there is a clear leader: WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya (RUS) scored 5,5 points out of 6. The rest of the field has 4 points or less. Can someone stop the leader?
Top standing after round 6 Women +65:

1. WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya (RUS) 5,5
2. WIM Tamara Sorokina (RUS) 4
3. GM Nona Gaprindashvili (GEO) 4
4. WIM Ludmila A. Tsifanskaya (ISR) 4
5. WFM Valeria Dotan (ISR) 4

After the sixth round there was a free day.

This rest day was used to organize a rapid tournament in memorial to the great Slovenian GM Albin Planinc. 155 players out of 32 nations, 12 GM, 19 IM, 2 WGM, 3 WIM, 15 FM, 6 WFM are the impressive numbers of this tournament.

The tournament was won by GM Mladen Palac (CRO) with 7,5 points. Other 3 players scored the same points, but had a lower tie-break.

Final result rapid tournament "1st Albin Planinc Memorial":

1. GM Mladen Palac (CRO) 7,5
2. GM Nukhim N. Rashkovsky (RUS) 7,5
3. GM Marko Tratar (SLO) 7,5
4. GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA) 7,5
5. GM Ognjen Cvitan (CRO) 7
6. IM Branko Rogulj (CRO) 7
7. GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS) 7
8. IM Leon Mazi (SLO) 7






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FIDE WCCM Game 12 review: Relief and Pragmatism

FIDE - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 02:00


Relief and Pragmatism


After 31 moves of game 12, Magnus Carlsen offered a draw which was accepted by Fabiano Caruana. All 12 classical games have now been drawn - a result unprecedented in world championship history - and the players head for a tie-break on Wednesday.

The game started promisingly with a repeat of the Sveshnikov Sicilian. Instead of 8...Nb8 that was seen in previous games here in London, Carlsen had done his homework and quickly went for 8...Ne7, a line that has always had a tricky, if less reliable, reputation than the other knight move.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 8...Ne7
The challenger had obviously anticipated the move and, at least initially, continued playing quickly.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 12...h5
This move might have thrown Caruana to some extent. In a recent game at the Batumi Olympiad, Kramnik-Roganovic had continued instead 12...a6. The world champion had researched well.


At this point the challenger showed his mettle by spurning a draw by repetition, an indication that he wanted to have the match settled today. But he consumed more and more time in trying to figure out a middlegame strategy, while the world champion continued moving quickly. At one point Carlsen had a time advantage of around 50 minutes.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 22...Bg6
The stakes were raised when Caruana decided to castle queenside. With kings on opposite sides of the board there were greater chances for both sides to attack.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 25 f4
Here Carlsen had a tremendous opportunity to open up the queenside with 25...b5. Instead he went for 25...a5, but that gave the challenger time to find his feet and after a few moves the position stabilised.

 

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 31...Ra8
With the well-placed knight on c5 and protected passed pawn on e4, Black still had the better chances, so it came as a surprise when Carlsen offered a draw which Caruana, quite understandably, accepted.

Carlsen revealed afterwards that his intention before the game started was to hold the draw and head for the tie-breaks, and therefore he was not in the right mind-set to take any risks and play for the win.

'Everybody could see that I wasn't necessarily going for the maximum, I just wanted a position that was completely safe where I could put some pressure. If a draw hadn't been a satisfactory result, obviously I would have approached it differently.'

Speaking about the final position, Caruana declared,'I was a bit surprised by the draw offer...I can never be better here and I don't really have any active ideas. If anything Black is better but I thought I was over the worst of it. It was much more dangerous a few moves ago.'

Later on he admitted, 'I'm mainly relieved because I thought it was quite close today, I was very worried during the game.'


After the press conference the players drew lots to determine the colours for the tie-break on Wednesday. Magnus Carlsen will have White in the first game. Four games with the time limit 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move will be played. If the match is still tied, then a pair of blitz games will be played with the time control 5 minutes + 2 seconds increment. If scores are still even then another two blitz games will be played up to a maximum of 5 x2. If the players are still deadlocked then an Armageddon blitz game will be played to finally determine the winner.

(Daniel King)

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FIDE WCCM Game 12 review:Just a prelude

World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Challenger Fabiano Caruana have been hitting hard in the first ten games of the match, but game 11 proved to be something of a disappointment for spectators. After a steady opening, the world champion chose to simplify into an endgame where he held a symbolic advantage, but the challenger was able to draw with ease. We can see this game as just a prelude to the real battle to come in game 12.


Carlsen opened with his e-pawn and Caruana went for his favourite Petroff Defence. The World Champion went for the topical 5 Nc3 variation which the players had contested in Saint Louis in the summer.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 5 Nc3

The challenger has played this variation on several occasions this year and clearly felt very comfortable, playing his moves with speed. The question was, what new idea did the world champion have in mind?


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 11...Be6
All this had been seen before, for instance in the game Karjakin-Harikrishna (and others) which had continued 12 Bg5. Instead Carlsen deviated with 12 Kb1.

There is no doubt that White has the more comfortable position as he has better development and better scope for his pieces. Nevertheless, Caruana was obviously well prepared and he continued playing quickly, responding with 12...Qa5 which practically forces White to go into an endgame.


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...h6
White could consider 15 h3 or 15 Bc3 here which both keep the tension. Instead, Carlsen went for 15 Nh4, a tricky move, but Caruana met it with precise calculation, and the result was more simplification.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 24...b6
Black has to take care because all his queenside pawns are on the same colour as White's bishop. Caruana solved the problem by giving up one of his pawns, gaining time for his king to enter into the centre.


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 33 g3

In such opposite-coloured bishop endgames with regular pawn structures, the extra pawn should not be enough to force a win. Carlsen tried of course, but accurate defence from Caruana brought about a draw.


Carlsen-Caruana, final position after 55...Bc2

Here a draw was agreed. If 56 Kxf7 Bxf5 holds the kingside; likewise 56 fxg6 fxg6.

Afterwards Carlsen admitted, 'I was hoping to press a little bit but I don't think there was anything real...obviously the drawing margin is very high.'

In game 12, the final classical game, the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, has the advantage of the white pieces. When asked about his prospects, the challenger declared, 'It's going to be a tough game. At this point the tension is at its peak.'

(Daniel King)
 
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FIDE WCCM Game 10 review: Wild

Game 10 of the World Chess Championship was a wild struggle with both players going for the win. But in spite of their best efforts, neither player could land a clean punch and the game ended in a draw after five and a half hours play.

Fabiano Caruana was once again ready to take on Carlsen's Sicilian Sveshnikov and introduced an aggressive new idea on move 12.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 12 b4


Carlsen had to fight fire with fire. To counter White's queenside action, he advanced his kingside pawns to attack Caruana's king.

The position exploded on all sides of the board. The world champion produced a remarkable idea on move 21.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21...b5


Carlsen: 'I thought for so long and I wasn't sure about it, but I thought just go for it and up the stakes even more. Either you win the game or you get mated.'

If the pawn is taken en passant, White's pieces would be dragged offside giving Black the chance to attack on the kingside. Prudently, Caruana declined with 22 Nb6 and stabilised his kingside.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 29 Rxb4


Carlsen's kingside attack has been stopped and the play has switched to the centre and the queenside. Caruana's passed pawn was matched by Carlsen's central pawn majority.




Caruana-Carlsen, position after 35...Qe2
With this last move, Carlsen set a clever trap. If 36 Qb3+ Kh8 37 c4 appears to trap Black's queen, but 37...Rxb6! turns the tables.

Caruana was surprised by the queen move, but regained his equanimity and went into an equal endgame.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 47...Ke6
The position is balanced. Neither side can make significant progress and after simplifications a theoretically drawn endgame was reached.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 54 Kg3


Although Caruana has an extra pawn, he decided not to test the world champion's defensive technique, and a draw was agreed.

This was a tremendous fight which could have gone either way, but the players matched each other's skill, and a draw was a fair result.



Caruana: 'It's the type of game I expected from this line, very very double-edged....Black takes very clear risks because he is going for an attack and he is sort of going all in; and of course I am getting attacked so I could potentially get mated.'

Carlsen: 'I think it was just a case of too complicated and too much at stake, that was the main thing here. I think I could have played better many times. I think both of us made many mistakes.'

The world champion was being too harsh on himself. Although there were a few inaccuracies - that's inevitable in a game of this complexity - in fact there were no blunders and the standard of play was very high.

With two games to go, the situation is still even and still tense, but the possibility of a rapid-play tie-break after 12 classical games looms larger.


(Daniel King)


 
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FIDE WCCM Game 9 review: Compromise, Defence and Frustration

The deadlock continues at the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana as the ninth game was drawn after 56 moves.


The world champion found a new idea in the opening which unsettled Caruana. After consuming much time, the challenger made a practical decision to simplify the position, even if he stood slightly worse. Carlsen attempted a kingside assault, but with accurate defence Caruana blocked it out and a draw was inevitable.

The first surprise came as the players reached the board: Magnus Carlsen had a plaster above a swollen right eye, the result of a collision on the football pitch. It did not seem to affect his play.


The world champion played the English opening, repeating the variation from game 4. Carlsen was the first to deviate with 9 Bg5, a line not favoured by the computers, but a very human-looking move as it slightly weakened Caruana's kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 9 Bg5

If the idea was partly to bring the challenger out of his opening preparation, then it succeeded.

Caruana felt uncomfortable, and he took the fundamental decision to exchange off his centrally placed bishop for a knight, clarifying the position, but accepting a permanent, if slight, disadvantage.

Carlsen-Caruana, position just before 17...Bxf3

This was criticised by many commentators, but Caruana understood that it gave him a well-defined defensive task instead of facing the uncertainty of an unclear middlegame which Carlsen would have rehearsed.

Carlsen admitted after the game that he had 'mixed feelings' when this exchange was made. On the one hand he was the only one with any serious winning chances; on the other, the drawing margin increased with the presence of opposite-coloured bishops.

Normally, this is exactly the kind of position that Carlsen excels in, squeezing the life out of his opponents in marathon games. But he rushed his kingside assault.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 25 h5

Advancing the h-pawn brings about a crisis: if White is able to play Kg2 and Rh1 then Black's position would be unpleasant, but Caruana defended excellently, making the bold decision to take the pawn, even if it damaged his kingside pawn structure.

Carlsen-Caruana, after 27...h4

A few moves later Caruana was able to return the pawn, opening up Carlsen's king. At that point the world champion could no longer entertain thoughts of attack and had to exchange pieces. The inevitable result was a draw in an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.

Carlsen-Caruana, final position

Nine games played, nine games drawn. After the game Caruana was content: his defensive decision-making had proved successful. Carlsen was clearly dissatisfied. Having achieved a decent position he rushed his kingside assault and, frustratingly for him, the game burned out to a draw.


There are three games still to play in this 12-game match, but unless one of the players comes up with something special, we are heading for a rapid-play tie-break.

(Daniel King)
 
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FIDE WCCM Game 8 review: Fire and Fizzle

The eighth game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana caught fire but then burned out quickly, ending in a draw after 38 moves.


The challenger had the better of the opening, sacrificed a pawn and appeared to be ready for an assault on the champion's king, but then at a crucial moment hesitated, giving his opponent time to defend. The attack faded, and the opportunity had gone. Carlsen declared that he was 'relieved', while Caruana was 'a little bit disappointed'.


The game started promisingly with Caruana going for an open Sicilian rather than 3 Bb5. Carlsen played the notorious Sveshnikov Variation, named after the Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov which has a reputation for leading to unbalanced and dynamic positions. The game did not disappoint.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 7 Nd5
Instead of playing into the main lines of 7 Bg5, the challenger opted for a more strategic approach that nevertheless kept the tension in the position. 7 Nd5 is an old move, but has not been researched in as much detail as other options. It turned out to be a shrewd choice.

A position arose where Caruana had clamped Carlsen's queenside, and to gain counterplay the champion had to attack on the kingside by advancing the pawns in front of his king. An extremely double-edged situation.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21 c5
The position reached a climax when the challenger broke through the middle of the board with a pawn sacrifice.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 23...Bd6
The bishop on c3 rakes across the board in front of Black's king, and here 24 Qh5 or 24 Nc4 are both promising. Instead the challenger hesitated with 24 h3, preventing the advance of the g-pawn, but giving the champion the time to defend with 24...Qe8-g6 – a manoeuvre that Caruana admitted he had underestimated.

The moment had passed. After a few more moves the challenger could find nothing better than to exchange down into an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 38 Rg5

Here the players agreed to a draw as more pawns were about to be exchanged.


'At some point I thought I had a very promising position, but I didn't quite see exactly which moment I had something very good.' Caruana

'This was a tough game. He was the one who had all the chances, so I am happy to have survived it.' Carlsen

The match remains deadlocked with eight draws in eight games. The players have a rest day before going into game 9 on Wednesday.
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Game 7: Preparation and Frustration

The seventh game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 40 moves.


Carlsen had the white pieces and repeated the Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined from game 2, but was surprised by an unusual early retreat of the queen by Caruana. Fearing preparation, the world champion did not want to risk too much, played solidly, and the challenger had little difficulty in equalising the position.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 10...Qa5-d8

A few moves before, Caruana had played the queen out to a5, which is the standard theoretical continuation. But returning to the starting square after a couple of moves is unexpected and unusual. The justification is that White's knight move to d2 is also a retreat, and must also redeploy.


If White is to exploit this unusual idea then Rd1 or even castling queenside should be tried. The way that Carlsen played, he felt he had only one real opportunity to unbalance the position and play for a win.



Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...Ne5

Here the world champion castled, collected the pawn on c4 – and the position drifted towards equality.

'Castling is essentially an admission that the position is equal', the world champion admitted.


Instead, after the game, both players mentioned that they had been considering 15 Nce4 Bd7 16 Qc3 Nxe4 17 Nxe4 f6 18 Qxe5 fxg5 with a very unbalanced position. Carlsen felt that the two bishops should give Black adequate play, and his judgement was probably correct. There is also the computer suggestion 18...Bc6 which gives dangerous counterplay.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 22 Qxd1
Carlsen's unwillingness to unbalance the position allowed Caruana easy development and the opportunity to exchange pieces. In such a dry position, and with the players demonstrating excellent technique, a draw was the inevitable outcome.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 40 Kf2

Caruana declared his intention to retreat the bishop to a6 which would repeat the position for the third time. Draw.

This was a game with tense moments, but the balance was never significantly disturbed.


The challenger commented on the series of seven draws:

'After the first game, the games have been pretty tight, we haven't really given many chances to one another, and there haven't been huge mistakes or anything, so it's kind of natural that a lot of the games will end peacefully.' Fabiano Caruana

The world champion was obviously frustrated with the course of the game:

'After the last game I feel like I got away with murder so in that sense it's easier to be calm about a draw today. I'm not loving it but I'm not in any sort of panic mode either....I'm not at all thrilled about my play today but life goes on.' - Magnus Carlsen

Fabiano Caruana has come through two consecutive games with the black pieces with ease. For the final five games he has three whites compared to Carlsen's two. Advantage to the challenger?

(Daniel King)

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Game 6: Long, strong, miraculous.

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana remains deadlocked with six draws in six games. The lack of decisive results is not through want of trying. The sixth game went to 80 moves and lasted six and a half hours before the players agreed a draw, having eliminated most of the pieces from the board.


Magnus Carlsen opened with 1e4 (switching from 1 d4 and 1 c4 that we saw in his previous games with the white pieces) and Fabiano played his trusty Petroff. The World Champion played a tricky side line, but the challenger also knew the line well and an equal endgame arose.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 21...c5


With his last move, striking against the centre, it was quite clear that the challenger had no difficulties, and at this moment the world champion should have thought about steering the game towards a draw. But Carlsen said that with White 'You always feel like you have more room for error', and he carried out what he described as the classic positional manoeuvre, bringing the bishop round to b3 starting with 22 Bc2.

This was too slow, allowing Caruana to build an attack on the queenside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 29...Nc4


The position was still tenable for the world champion, but after a further series of inaccuracies, he had to give up a piece in the hope that challenger had too few pawns to force a win.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 48 g4

Although White has three pawns for the piece, it is impossible to hold onto them, and the only chance for a draw lay in constructing a fortress on the kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 68 Bc4

While the players were spinning their pieces around in circles to no great effect, the Norwegian super computer Sesse announced a mate in 30 moves on a couple of occasions. Here for example, 68...Bh4 is apparently a winning move – but this is way beyond human comprehension, certainly when playing against the clock and after so many hours play.


Caruana couldn't break down Carlsen's position, and after 80 moves a draw was agreed.

After the game, both players were amazed to learn of the miraculous winning chance. Caruana took it in his stride: 'Near the end, I thought it was a fortress...it was a bit of an accidental.


We are now half-way through the match: 12 classical games are scheduled, and it is still too close to call.

(Daniel King)

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Game 5: Thrust and Parry


The fifth game of the World Championship match had an exciting start, but burnt out to a draw after 34 moves.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales made the ceremonial opening move for Fabiano Caruana, and the American challenger used encyclopaedic opening knowledge to offer a gambit pawn to Magnus Carlsen in a rare line of the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian. The world champion took his time at first, clearly adjusting to the unusual circumstances, but the confident way in which he dealt with this attempted opening ambush leads one to suspect that he was merely recollecting analysis.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 6 b4)


That's the little explosion that Caruana had prepared. In fact the idea is quite old (curiously, the assistant arbiter at the match, Nana Alexandria, had played this in the Soviet women's championship in 1969) and Carlsen himself had faced the gambit when still a teenager in 2005. Then he had played 6...cxb4. Today he went for the more unusual 6...Nxb4, suggesting that he too had researched this line.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 10 Bxa1)

Back in 1969, Alexandria's opponent had taken on b4, allowing the e5 pawn to be captured. Carlsen's response, 10...d6, was stronger, holding his centre together. Caruana rejected a line that would have given him a symbolic structural advantage and tested his opponent with a new move.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 12 Qe2)

The position is tricky, but Carlsen deftly handled the complications with 12...b4 13 Qc4 Qa5 14 exd6 Be6!

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 14...Be6)

Caruana had to go into the endgame with 15 Qc7, and that spelled the end of White's initiative.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 21...Rd8)

Although the challenger has an extra pawn, in fact he has to be careful as Carlsen threatens the pawns on b4 and d3. However, an accurately calculated sequence of checks liquidated pieces, activated his rook and removed any thoughts of Carlsen trying to win the game.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 29 Kf1)

White's rook on the seventh rank ties down the knight and guarantees the draw. Carlsen took no chances, withdrawing his king from a slightly vulnerable position, but in the process returning the extra pawn.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 34 g4+)

Here Caruana offered a draw, and there was no reason for Carlsen to decline.


Afterwards the challenger said that, 'This line is really interesting and if Black is cooperative it can also get very exciting, but Magnus knew the line quite well and I think played in a very logical way'. While admitting that the endgame wasn't much fun, 'I never thought I was worse'.

Carlsen thought that only he could be better in the endgame, but couldn't find a way to push for a win. 'If there is a way at all to play for the advantage, the path is very narrow.'

After five games – five draws. It's still all square in the match. Carlsen now plays with two white's over the next two games which gives him a chance to put pressure on the challenger.

(Daniel King)


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Game 4: Correct on the board, but a blunder off

The fourth game of the world chess championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabio Caruana was drawn in 34 moves. The challenger played with the black pieces and had little difficulty in neutralising the world champion's initiative - which was a source of frustration to Carlsen: 'It was a bit disappointing, I thought I was clearly better after the opening'.


The challenger, Caruana, certainly seemed happier with his play after the game. 'I never really felt that my position was in much danger.'

Carlsen opened with 1 c4 – a different first move to his previous game with the white pieces and the game went into a kind of reversed Sicilian.

(position after 6...Bc5)

Bringing out the bishop is the fashionable way of playing the position (6...Nb6 is the standard move) and Caruana has some experience of this line with both colours.

Perhaps the most important moment of the game came after 14 moves when Carlsen had to make a big strategic decision.

(position after 14...c6)

The logical continuation of White's play is to push forward with the minority pawn attack, 15 b5, but the world champion was dissatisfied with this option: 'I spent a lot of time here...but it didn't seem to work very well.'

Then again, he also wasn't entirely happy with his move 15 Re1, allowing Caruana to play 15...Bd7 preventing White's pawn break.

Carlsen admitted, 'When I'm allowing ...Bd7 it's half a draw offer. After that the position is very dry and very equal.'

Piece exchanges quickly led into an endgame in which neither side managed to break into the other's position.

'I felt the ending was more or less balanced from the beginning' (Caruana).

(position after 34 Rbc1)

Here Carlsen offered a draw which was accepted by Caruana. Black could take the pawn on b4 and the position would liquidate into a drawn rook and pawn endgame.

Perhaps the most startling news of the day was that St Louis Chess Club, a supporter of Fabiano Caruana, had posted a video of the challenger's training camp showing a computer screen with opening lines under consideration. Although the video was quickly removed, the information was already in the public domain.

After the game, Fabiano Caruana declined to comment on the matter. It remains to be seen whether the incident proves to be a distraction or just an embarrassment.

Four games played, and four draws made. Wednesday is a rest day. Game 5 will be played on Thursday 15th November at 15.00 in London.


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Game 3: A Missed Opportunity and Sturdy Defence

The third game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana ended in a draw after 49 moves. At first glance this seemed like a pacific affair, but there was plenty going on beneath the surface and in the press conference neither player was particularly satisfied with their play.


Against the challenger's 1 e4, Carlsen repeated the opening of the first day, a Sicilian, and once again the Rossolimo variation appeared on the board. Fabiano Caruana was the first to deviate from game 1, castling on the sixth move rather than playing 6 h3.

(position after 6 0-0)
Magnus appeared unphased and continued quickly with the subtle 6...Qc7, not committing his kingside pieces. The first really big decision came at move 9 when Carlsen offered a pawn.

(position after 9...0-0)
Perhaps concerned about a quick kingside initiative, Caruana declined the pawn sacrifice and continued to develop steadily. In stark contrast to game 1, play was concentrated on the queenside, well away from the players' kings. This was turning into a heavy-weight strategic struggle.

In order to speed up his development and coordinate his pieces, Carlsen decided to simplify the position, exchanging pieces and pawns. With hindsight this might not have been the best decision, although Caruana had just one moment to exploit the shortcomings in Black's position.

(position after 14...Rxa5)
Here, the challenger could have played 15 Rxa5 Qxa5 16 Bd2 Qc7 17 Qa1, and White's control of files on the queenside and his compact pawn structure would give him a pleasant basis on which to conduct the middlegame.
Instead, he played 15 Bd2, overlooking that the rook could simply return,15...Raa8, and Black keeps control over the files on the queenside. 'It was a bit of a blackout', admitted Caruana after the game.
The challenger appreciated that he had no advantage and decided to exchange pieces bringing the game closer to a draw. But he had under-estimated Carlsen's position.

(position after 37 Kd1)
Carlsen was pressing all over the board, using his slight space advantage – as we have seem him do on so many occasions in the past.

Caruana showed his best qualities at this moment, not panicking, but trusting in the solidity of his position, and he expertly steered the game towards a draw by exchanging pawns and then giving up his knight to reach a theoretically drawn position.

(position after 49 exf5)
White's king steps into the corner on h1, and it is impossible to drive it away.

When asked after the game whether he was satisified with the outcome of the opening, Carlsen laconically replied 'Nope', and went on to describe how the position would have been unpleasant to play if Caruana had found the right continuation.

After three games the match score is still even, game 4 takes place on Tuesday at 15.00 in London.
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Game 2 of the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 49 moves.

Carlsen started the game solidly by playing 1 d4. A Queen's Gambit Declined appeared on the board with the World Champion trying out the complex Bf4 variation. Fabiano Caruana played an unusual line and was clearly more familiar with the opening as Carlsen consumed valuable time at the board. After Carlsen's 17th move Caruana still had 1 hour and 32 minutes on the clock while Carlsen had just 39 minutes. At that point the World Champion decided to compromise, allowing exchanges that left a simpler and drier position on the board. Although Carlsen had the slightly inferior position, he held the ensuing endgame comfortably.


The first surprise came for Carlsen with 10...Rd8.


Caruana explained afterwards that this is an old move that has fallen out of fashion: 'I was kind of excited to try this out'.
Magnus admitted in the press conference that his main thought on seeing this move was 'Oh s**t!'
The critical response is 11 Nd2, but fearing some deep preparation, Carlsen preferred unpretentious development with 11 Be2. His position was quite playable, but he underestimated a couple of Caruana's moves, fell behind on the clock, and that influenced his decision when it came to the critical juncture at move 17.


Here Carlsen had the chance to make a temporary piece sacrifice with 17 Nxf7, leading to highly complex positions. But given that Caruana was probably still following a prepared line, the World Champion decided to err on the side of caution.
'I thought at this point there was way better equity in playing it safe and trying to secure a draw' - Carlsen.
Caruana confirmed that he was still in his opening preparation: 'I knew this position was okay for Black...'
After Carlsen's safe move, pieces were exchanged, ultimately leading to a rook and pawn endgame where Caruana had an extra pawn, but no real winning chances and a draw was quickly agreed after three hours play.
After two games the match score remains level. The third game takes place on Monday at 15.00 in London.

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World Youth U-16 Chess Olympiad 2018

FIDE - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 20:02


At the first round of the World Youth U-16 Chess Olympiad 2018 on November 25th, people witnessed many surprising results such that from the first 5 top teams, only Uzbekistan (top seed) and India (3rd top seed) managed to survive without wounds.
On the second board, the second top team, Russia (ELO average of 2440) drew 2-2 against number 25, China. One of the 4 GMs of the tournament, Esipenko (2609) drew with Huang, Renjie with black.
Surprisingly, Portugal won against the fourth top seed, Azerbaijan 2.5-1.5. FM Veiga and Santos won against IM Gadimbayli and IM Garayev.
The most interesting match game of the day was between Iran and Sri Lanka in which Sri Lanka shocked their opponent by winning the battle with 2.5-1.5 after getting the full points from their 3rd and 4th boards.
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Caruana – Carlsen 2018 game 12 LIVE!

Chessdom - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 16:12

Replay: Caruana – Carlsen game 1 / Carlsen – Caruana game 2 / Caruana – Carlsen game 3 / Carlsen – Caruana game 4 / Caruana – Carlsen game 5 / Carlsen – Caruana game 6 / Carlsen – Caruana game 7 / Caruana – Carlsen game 8 / Caruana – Carlsen game 9 / Caruana – Carlsen game 10

Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 World Chess Championship match between the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA). In this live blog + live games from WCC 2018 we will be covering the event Carlsen – Caruana with the latest news, developments, interviews, and in-game details.

The most important feature here will be the lines of analysis by Lc0 – the open Neural Network, and the TCEC champion Stockfish running on a Super Computer of 128 cores.

 

Refresh the page to get the latest updates

Update 19:07 CET

Thematic! The players agree to a draw, despite all the grind possibilities that black have

Update 18:41 CET

Lc0 -2.15: 29. .. Ba4 30. Rcc1 b5 31. Bd4 Bxd4 32. Qxd4 bxc4 33. Rxc4 Bb5 34. Rc3 Qb8 35. Bxb5 Qxb5 36. Rec1 Rc7 37. R1c2 Rb8 38. Qc4 Rcb7 39. Nd1 Qe8 40. Qd4 Qg6 41. a3 Kh7 42. Ka2 Nd3 43. Qe3 Qf7 44. Qd4 Nc5 45. Ne3 Nd3

Update 18:35 CET

However, closing the center with e4 is problematic. Now white has easier moves, according to Lc0. For example:

29. Nh3 g6 30. Ng5 Ba4 31. b3 Bd7 32. Bd4 Bxd4 33. Qxd4 Qb6 34. Qb2 Qb4 35. Rc3 Rb8 36. Rd2 Ra8 37. Rd1 Qb6 38. Rc2 Ra6 39. Rdd2 Qd8 40. Qc3 Qf6 41. Qxf6 Rxf6 42. Kb2 Rf8 43. Kc3 Rb6 44. Rc1 Rc8 45. Rdc2

Update 18:23 CET

No, 25… a5 is not a blunder. It is a statement by Magnus. He knows he is better and not by a little. Best move by Caruana here is Qa3, not looking nice for white’s pieces coordinaton

SF128 -0.85: 26. Qa3 b6 27. Nh3 Be8 28. Be2 g6 29. Kb1 Ba4 30. b3 Bd7 31. Qc1 Bf6 32. fxe5 Bxe5 33. Nf4 Kh7 34. Bf3 Qd8 35. Bd4 Qf6 36. Qe3 Rfe8 37. Bc3 Bxc3 38. Qxc3 Qxc3 39. Rxc3 Re7 40. Rdc1 Rce8 41. Kb2 Kg7 42. Kb1 Kf6 43. Kb2 Re3 44. Bg2 Rxc3 45. Rxc3 b5 46. cxb5 Bxb5 47. Bf3 Ne4 48. Bxe4 fxe4

Update 18:15 CET

f4 by Caruana and the position gets concrete, but also more difficult for the American. Magnus with significant advantage:

Lc0 -1.7: 25. .. exf4 26. Bxf4 b5 27. Bf1 a5 28. Qd2 b4 29. Nd3 b3 30. Nxc5 bxc2 31. Re1 Qxc5 32. Rxe7 Qg1 33. Qg2 Qd4 34. Qd2 Qg1 35. Qg2 Qxg2 36. Bxg2 Rxc4 37. Bxd6 f4 38. Be5 Rf7 39. Rxf7 Kxf7 40. gxf4 Bf5 41. b3 Rb4 42. d6 Ke8 43. Bd5 a4 44. a3 Rb6 45. b4 Kd7 46. Bc4 g6 47. Bd5 Rb8 48. Bc4 Kc6 49. Ba6 Rd8 50. Bc4 Be4 51. Ba6 Bf5 52. Bc4

SF128 -1.51: 25. .. exf4 26. gxf4 Bxh4 27. Qd2 Nxd3+ 28. Qxd3 b5 29. Bd4 Qf7 30. c5 dxc5 31. Be5 c4 32. Qd4 Bf6 33. Nh3 Bxe5 34. Qxe5 Rfe8 35. Ng5 Qf6 36. Qxf6 gxf6 37. Ne6 Kf7 38. Rc3 b4 39. Rh3 a5 40. Nd4 Re7 41. Nc6 Rd7 42. a3 b3 43. Rc3 h4 44. Nxa5 Rc5 45. Nxc4 Rcxd5 46. Rxd5 Rxd5 47. Ne3 Rd4 48. Rxb3 Rxf4 49. Rb7+ Ke6

Update 18:10 CET

After 24. Nf2, a rather passive move compared to 24. Ng5, Carlsen increases his advantage

Lc0 -0.77: 24. .. b6 25. Nh3 Nc5 26. f4 Rfe8 27. Qd2 Bf6 28. Ng5 a5 29. Kb1 Rb8 30. fxe5 dxe5 31. Rcc1 Qd6 32. Bc2 e4 33. Bf4 Be5 34. Qe3 Qf6 35. Bxe5 Qxe5 36. Nh3 Bf7 37. Nf4

SF128 -0.79: 24. .. Nc5 25. Bxc5 Qxc5 26. Qxc5 Rxc5 27. Kd2 Be8 28. Ke2 Bd7 29. Rh1 Ra5 30. a3 b5 31. Rhc1 Bd8 32. c5 dxc5 33. Rxc5 Bb6 34. Rc6 Bxc6 35. dxc6 e4 36. Bc2 b4 37. Bb3+ Kh7 38. axb4 Re5 39. fxe4 Bc7 40. Bc4 Rb8 41. Nd3 Rxe4+ 42. Kf3 Rg4 43. Nf4 Bxf4 44. gxf4 Rxb4

Update 17:39 CET

Caruana blinks, 21. Rh2 is the first move not present in the top lines of Lc0 and SF128. The position on the board will get sharp now:

Lc0 -0.7 : 21. .. Bg6 22. O-O-O Rac8 23. Rc2 f5 24. Ng5 Bxg5 25. hxg5 e4 26. Bf1 f4 27. Bxf4 Nc5 28. fxe4 Rce8 29. Qa3 h4 30. Rh2 Rxe4 31. Rxh4 a5 32. Qc3 a4 33. Qc2 Rfe8 34. Be3 Rxc4 35. Qxc4 b5 36. Qxc5 dxc5 37. d6 Qc6 38. d7 Rd8 39. Bh3 a3 40. bxa3 c4 41. Rf4 c3 42. Bd4 Qa6 43. Bxc3 Qxa3+ 44. Kd2 Qxa2+ 45. Ke1 Qb3 46. Rf3 b4 47. Rd6

SF128 -0.41 : 21. .. Bg6 22. O-O-O Rac8 23. Rc2 f5 24. Ng5 e4 25. Bf1 a5 26. Qe1 Bxg5 27. hxg5 exf3 28. Bf4 Rfe8 29. Qc3 Qc5 30. Qxf3 b5 31. Qg2 b4 32. Kb1 Ne5 33. Rcc1 Ng4 34. Re1 Re4 35. Bd3 Rxe1 36. Rxe1 Nf2 37. Bc2 Ne4 38. Bd3 a4 39. Be3 Qc7 40. Bxe4 fxe4 41. Rc1 Rf8 42. Qd2 Rf3 43. c5 dxc5

Update 17:30 CET

Lc0 already believes it is easier to play with black. The 128 cores Stockfish stays calm.

Lc0 -0.08: 19. .. Nd7 20. Qd2 Bxe4 21. fxe4 Nf6 22. Bd3 Ng4 23. O-O Nxe3 24. Qxe3 a5 25. Rac1

SF128 +0.4: 19. .. Nd7 20. Qd2 Nc5 21. Nf2 a5 22. b3 Bg6 23. Rc1 Qd7 24. Qd1 Bf6 25. Qd2 Bd8 26. Qd1 f5 27. Bxc5

Update 16:35 CET

16… Qc7 is a strange move by Carlsen. Instead of developing the bishop, he prefers another setup. The engines do not think it is the most optimal, but it is of course an ok move

Lc0 +0.41 : 17. Qa4+ Bd7 18. Qb3 Be7 19. g3 Bg4 20. Qa4+ Bd7 21. Qb3 Bg4 22. Ne4 O-O 23. f3 Bd7 24. Bb6 Qc8 25. O-O-O f5 26. Ng5 f4 27. Bd3 Bf5 28. g4 hxg4 29. fxg4 Bxd3

SF128 +0.31: : 17. g3 Be7 18. Be2 Nf8 19. Na4 Nd7 20. O-O Bg6 21. Nb6 Nxb6 22. Bxb6 Qd7 23. Rfe1 O-O 24. Bf1 Bd8 25. Rac1 a5 26. Qb3 a4 27. Qb4 f5 28. Bh3 Bxb6 29. Qxb6 Ra6 30. Qe3 e4 31. Kh2 Qe7 32. Qg5 Qxg5 33. hxg5 f4
Eval

Update 16:30 CET

Different approaches are possible in this position

Lc0: 15. .. a6 16. Nc3 Be7 17. Qxb7 O-O 18. O-O-O Nxh4 19. Qb6 Qd7 20. Qc6 Qd8 21. Qb6 Qd7 22. Qc6 Qd8 23. c5 Bg4 24. Qa4 Bxd1 25. Qxd1 g6 26. Bd3 Qc8 27. cxd6 Bf6 28. Qa4 Nxg2 29. d7 Qb7 30. Ne4 Be7 31. d6 Bd8 32. Bh6 Nf4 33. Rd1 Nxd3+ 34. Rxd3 h4 35. Bxf8

SF128: 15. .. Be7 16. Nxa7 O-O 17. a4 Bg4 18. Bb6 Qd7 19. f3 Bf5 20. g3 Bd8 21. Bxd8 Rfxd8 22. Nb5 e4 23. f4 e3 24. Nd4 Ne7 25. b3 Re8 26. O-O-O Bg4 27. Be2 Bxe2 28. Nxe2 Qg4 29. Rde1 Qg6 30. Rhg1 Nf5 31. Kb2 Qf6+ 32. Qc3 Qg6 33. Ka3 Rec8 34. Ka2

Update 16:25 CET

After one repetition:

Lc0 +0.6: 15. Bg5 Qb8 16. Be2 a6 17. Nc3 Qc7 18. g3 Be7 19. Be3 Nf8 20. Qb6 Qc8 21. Qb3 Nd7 22. Rc1 Bg6 23. Qd1 Nf6 24. Na4 Qf5 25. Nb6 Rd8 26. Qa4+ Kf8 27. Qd1 Kg8 28. b4 Ng4

SF128 +0.52: 15. Bg5 Qb8 16. g3 a6 17. Nc3 Be7 18. Be3 Nf8 19. Be2 Nd7 20. O-O Bg6 21. Na4 O-O 22. Nb6 Nxb6 23. Qxb6 f5 24. f4 Bd8 25. Qb3 Bf6 26. Kg2 Qd8 27. Rae1 e4 28. a4 a5 29. c5 Qc7 30. Rc1 Bf7 31. Rfd1 Rfc8 32. Rc2 Qd7 33. Rdc1

Update 16:17 CET

Fabiano has several choices, the most active one at this moment is Bg5. The move 12 …h5 by Magnus Carlsen is a novelty, so Caruana will take his time on this move.

Lc0 +0.6: 13. Bg5 Qb8 14. Be2 a6 15. Nc3 Qc7 16. g3 Be7 17. Rd1 Nf8 18. a4 b6 19. Qa3 Nd7 20. b4 Bxg5 21. hxg5 Ke7 22. Rh4 g6 23. a5 bxa5 24. bxa5

Update 16:15 CET

The players continue following Lc0′s line with 10. Qa4 Bd7 11. Qb4 but then Magnus goes Bf5 instead of Qb8

SF 128 +0.22: 12. Be3 Qd7 13. a4 f6 14. g4 a6 15. Ke2 h5 16. gxh5 Rd8

Lc0 +0.65: 12. h4 Be7 13. h5 Nf4 14. Be3 O-O 15. Qd2 a6 16. Nc3 g6 17. hxg6 fxg6 18. a4 Rc8 19. a5 Rf7 20. b3 Bf6 21. g3 Bg4 22. Rh2 Bg7 23. Ne4 h5 24. c5 dxc5 25. d6 Bf3 26. Ra4 Ne6 27. Bc4 Qd7 28. Qd3 Rc6 29. Bd5

If Qa4 with repetition then we have

Lc0 +0.6: 12. Qa4 Bd7 13. Qb4 Bf5 14. Bg5 Qd7 15. Qa4 Rc8 16. Qxa7 h6 17. Be3 Be7 18. Qa4 O-O 19. Qb3 Nh4 20. Rg1 Bg6

Update 16:03 CET

The open Sicilian is on the board for the third time during this match, with Sveshnikov variation once again. Magnus Carlsen is the first to deviate with Ne7

Lc0 +0.62: 10. Qa4 Bd7 11. Qb4 Qb8 12. h4 h5 13. Be2 a6 14. Nc3 Ne7 15. a4 a5 16. Qa3 Nf5 17. Bg5 f6 18. Bd2 Kf7 19. Bd3 g6 20. b4 Be7 21. bxa5 Rxa5 22. Nb5 Ra6 23. a5 b6 24. O-O

Update 15:00 CET

In less than 1 hour the last classical game between Caruana and Carlsen will begin. Caruana has the white pieces and this is his last chance to avoid tiebreaks. Will he take it? Eight years ago in Sofia, Veselin Topalov tried to take the last game from Vishy Anand and avoid tiebreaks. The result was disastrous as he lost the World Championship outright.

For sure today we will have another theoretical battle on the board. Caruana is expected to enter a sideline, but not the most bizarre one, rather a line that gives him small permanent advantage.

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28th WSCC 2018: Round 6

FIDE - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 10:28


28th Senior World Chess Championship Bled (Slovenia) 2018

Report after round 6

In meantime 6 rounds have been played in Senior World Chess Championship in Bled (Slovenia).

Open +50



Number one seeded GM Zurab Sturua (GEO) shared the point in round 6 after a big fight against GM Karen Movsziszian (ARM). With this the leading group consists in five players, all with 5 points.

Top standing after round 6 Open +50:
1. GM Karen Movsziszian (ARM)
2. GM Giorgi Bagaturov (GEO)
3. GM Henrik Danielsen (ISL)
4. GM Zurab Sturua (GEO)
5. GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (SCO)
(all with 5 points)

Open +65



In fifth round the two top seeded players GM Anatoli Vaisser (FRA) and GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS) didn’t had a positive day: both lost - to IM Nathan Birnboim (ISR) and GM Vlastimil Jansa (CZE). Jansa in round 6 won also the game on board 1 against IM Nils-Gustaf Renman (SWE) and is now the only leader.
Top standing after round 6 Open +65:
1. GM Vlastimil Jansa (CZE) 6
2. GM Yuri S. Balashov (RUS) 5,5
3. GM Nukhim N. Rashkovsky (RUS) 5
4. IM Nils-Gustaf Renman (SWE) 5

Women +50

WGM Galina Strutinskaia (RUS) is the only leader with 5 points. She already played against the two top seeded players WGM Elvira Berend (LUX) and WGM Tatiana Grabuzova (RUS).

Top standing after round 6 Women +50:

1. WGM Galina Strutinskaia (RUS) 5
2. WGM Elvira Berend (LUX) 4,5
3. WIM Ilena Krasenkova (RUS) 4,5
4. WIM Ingrid Lauterbach (ENG) 4,5

Women +65



In this section there is a clear leader: WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya (RUS) scored 5,5 points out of 6. The rest of the field has 4 points or less. Can someone stop the leader?
Top standing after round 6 Women +65:

1. WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya (RUS) 5,5
2. WIM Tamara Sorokina (RUS) 4
3. GM Nona Gaprindashvili (GEO) 4
4. WIM Ludmila A. Tsifanskaya (ISR) 4
5. WFM Valeria Dotan (ISR) 4

After the sixth round there was a free day.

This rest day was used to organize a rapid tournament in memorial to the great Slovenian GM Albin Planinc. 155 players out of 32 nations, 12 GM, 19 IM, 2 WGM, 3 WIM, 15 FM, 6 WFM are the impressive numbers of this tournament.

The tournament was won by GM Mladen Palac (CRO) with 7,5 points. Other 3 players scored the same points, but had a lower tie-break.

Final result rapid tournament "1st Albin Planinc Memorial":

1. GM Mladen Palac (CRO) 7,5
2. GM Nukhim N. Rashkovsky (RUS) 7,5
3. GM Marko Tratar (SLO) 7,5
4. GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA) 7,5
5. GM Ognjen Cvitan (CRO) 7
6. IM Branko Rogulj (CRO) 7
7. GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS) 7
8. IM Leon Mazi (SLO) 7






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FIDE WCCM Game 11 review: Just a prelude

FIDE - Sun, 11/25/2018 - 02:00



Just a prelude

World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Challenger Fabiano Caruana have been hitting hard in the first ten games of the match, but game 11 proved to be something of a disappointment for spectators. After a steady opening, the world champion chose to simplify into an endgame where he held a symbolic advantage, but the challenger was able to draw with ease. We can see this game as just a prelude to the real battle to come in game 12.


Carlsen opened with his e-pawn and Caruana went for his favourite Petroff Defence. The World Champion went for the topical 5 Nc3 variation which the players had contested in Saint Louis in the summer.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 5 Nc3

The challenger has played this variation on several occasions this year and clearly felt very comfortable, playing his moves with speed. The question was, what new idea did the world champion have in mind?


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 11...Be6
All this had been seen before, for instance in the game Karjakin-Harikrishna (and others) which had continued 12 Bg5. Instead Carlsen deviated with 12 Kb1.

There is no doubt that White has the more comfortable position as he has better development and better scope for his pieces. Nevertheless, Caruana was obviously well prepared and he continued playing quickly, responding with 12...Qa5 which practically forces White to go into an endgame.


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...h6
White could consider 15 h3 or 15 Bc3 here which both keep the tension. Instead, Carlsen went for 15 Nh4, a tricky move, but Caruana met it with precise calculation, and the result was more simplification.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 24...b6
Black has to take care because all his queenside pawns are on the same colour as White's bishop. Caruana solved the problem by giving up one of his pawns, gaining time for his king to enter into the centre.


Carlsen-Caruana, position after 33 g3

In such opposite-coloured bishop endgames with regular pawn structures, the extra pawn should not be enough to force a win. Carlsen tried of course, but accurate defence from Caruana brought about a draw.


Carlsen-Caruana, final position after 55...Bc2

Here a draw was agreed. If 56 Kxf7 Bxf5 holds the kingside; likewise 56 fxg6 fxg6.

Afterwards Carlsen admitted, 'I was hoping to press a little bit but I don't think there was anything real...obviously the drawing margin is very high.'

In game 12, the final classical game, the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, has the advantage of the white pieces. When asked about his prospects, the challenger declared, 'It's going to be a tough game. At this point the tension is at its peak.'

(Daniel King)
 
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FIDE WCCM Game 10 review: Wild

Game 10 of the World Chess Championship was a wild struggle with both players going for the win. But in spite of their best efforts, neither player could land a clean punch and the game ended in a draw after five and a half hours play.

Fabiano Caruana was once again ready to take on Carlsen's Sicilian Sveshnikov and introduced an aggressive new idea on move 12.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 12 b4


Carlsen had to fight fire with fire. To counter White's queenside action, he advanced his kingside pawns to attack Caruana's king.

The position exploded on all sides of the board. The world champion produced a remarkable idea on move 21.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21...b5


Carlsen: 'I thought for so long and I wasn't sure about it, but I thought just go for it and up the stakes even more. Either you win the game or you get mated.'

If the pawn is taken en passant, White's pieces would be dragged offside giving Black the chance to attack on the kingside. Prudently, Caruana declined with 22 Nb6 and stabilised his kingside.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 29 Rxb4


Carlsen's kingside attack has been stopped and the play has switched to the centre and the queenside. Caruana's passed pawn was matched by Carlsen's central pawn majority.




Caruana-Carlsen, position after 35...Qe2
With this last move, Carlsen set a clever trap. If 36 Qb3+ Kh8 37 c4 appears to trap Black's queen, but 37...Rxb6! turns the tables.

Caruana was surprised by the queen move, but regained his equanimity and went into an equal endgame.



Caruana-Carlsen, position after 47...Ke6
The position is balanced. Neither side can make significant progress and after simplifications a theoretically drawn endgame was reached.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 54 Kg3


Although Caruana has an extra pawn, he decided not to test the world champion's defensive technique, and a draw was agreed.

This was a tremendous fight which could have gone either way, but the players matched each other's skill, and a draw was a fair result.



Caruana: 'It's the type of game I expected from this line, very very double-edged....Black takes very clear risks because he is going for an attack and he is sort of going all in; and of course I am getting attacked so I could potentially get mated.'

Carlsen: 'I think it was just a case of too complicated and too much at stake, that was the main thing here. I think I could have played better many times. I think both of us made many mistakes.'

The world champion was being too harsh on himself. Although there were a few inaccuracies - that's inevitable in a game of this complexity - in fact there were no blunders and the standard of play was very high.

With two games to go, the situation is still even and still tense, but the possibility of a rapid-play tie-break after 12 classical games looms larger.


(Daniel King)


 
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FIDE WCCM Game 9 review: Compromise, Defence and Frustration

The deadlock continues at the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana as the ninth game was drawn after 56 moves.


The world champion found a new idea in the opening which unsettled Caruana. After consuming much time, the challenger made a practical decision to simplify the position, even if he stood slightly worse. Carlsen attempted a kingside assault, but with accurate defence Caruana blocked it out and a draw was inevitable.

The first surprise came as the players reached the board: Magnus Carlsen had a plaster above a swollen right eye, the result of a collision on the football pitch. It did not seem to affect his play.


The world champion played the English opening, repeating the variation from game 4. Carlsen was the first to deviate with 9 Bg5, a line not favoured by the computers, but a very human-looking move as it slightly weakened Caruana's kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 9 Bg5

If the idea was partly to bring the challenger out of his opening preparation, then it succeeded.

Caruana felt uncomfortable, and he took the fundamental decision to exchange off his centrally placed bishop for a knight, clarifying the position, but accepting a permanent, if slight, disadvantage.

Carlsen-Caruana, position just before 17...Bxf3

This was criticised by many commentators, but Caruana understood that it gave him a well-defined defensive task instead of facing the uncertainty of an unclear middlegame which Carlsen would have rehearsed.

Carlsen admitted after the game that he had 'mixed feelings' when this exchange was made. On the one hand he was the only one with any serious winning chances; on the other, the drawing margin increased with the presence of opposite-coloured bishops.

Normally, this is exactly the kind of position that Carlsen excels in, squeezing the life out of his opponents in marathon games. But he rushed his kingside assault.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 25 h5

Advancing the h-pawn brings about a crisis: if White is able to play Kg2 and Rh1 then Black's position would be unpleasant, but Caruana defended excellently, making the bold decision to take the pawn, even if it damaged his kingside pawn structure.

Carlsen-Caruana, after 27...h4

A few moves later Caruana was able to return the pawn, opening up Carlsen's king. At that point the world champion could no longer entertain thoughts of attack and had to exchange pieces. The inevitable result was a draw in an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.

Carlsen-Caruana, final position

Nine games played, nine games drawn. After the game Caruana was content: his defensive decision-making had proved successful. Carlsen was clearly dissatisfied. Having achieved a decent position he rushed his kingside assault and, frustratingly for him, the game burned out to a draw.


There are three games still to play in this 12-game match, but unless one of the players comes up with something special, we are heading for a rapid-play tie-break.

(Daniel King)
 
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FIDE WCCM Game 8 review: Fire and Fizzle

The eighth game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana caught fire but then burned out quickly, ending in a draw after 38 moves.


The challenger had the better of the opening, sacrificed a pawn and appeared to be ready for an assault on the champion's king, but then at a crucial moment hesitated, giving his opponent time to defend. The attack faded, and the opportunity had gone. Carlsen declared that he was 'relieved', while Caruana was 'a little bit disappointed'.


The game started promisingly with Caruana going for an open Sicilian rather than 3 Bb5. Carlsen played the notorious Sveshnikov Variation, named after the Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov which has a reputation for leading to unbalanced and dynamic positions. The game did not disappoint.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 7 Nd5
Instead of playing into the main lines of 7 Bg5, the challenger opted for a more strategic approach that nevertheless kept the tension in the position. 7 Nd5 is an old move, but has not been researched in as much detail as other options. It turned out to be a shrewd choice.

A position arose where Caruana had clamped Carlsen's queenside, and to gain counterplay the champion had to attack on the kingside by advancing the pawns in front of his king. An extremely double-edged situation.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21 c5
The position reached a climax when the challenger broke through the middle of the board with a pawn sacrifice.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 23...Bd6
The bishop on c3 rakes across the board in front of Black's king, and here 24 Qh5 or 24 Nc4 are both promising. Instead the challenger hesitated with 24 h3, preventing the advance of the g-pawn, but giving the champion the time to defend with 24...Qe8-g6 – a manoeuvre that Caruana admitted he had underestimated.

The moment had passed. After a few more moves the challenger could find nothing better than to exchange down into an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 38 Rg5

Here the players agreed to a draw as more pawns were about to be exchanged.


'At some point I thought I had a very promising position, but I didn't quite see exactly which moment I had something very good.' Caruana

'This was a tough game. He was the one who had all the chances, so I am happy to have survived it.' Carlsen

The match remains deadlocked with eight draws in eight games. The players have a rest day before going into game 9 on Wednesday.
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Game 7: Preparation and Frustration

The seventh game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 40 moves.


Carlsen had the white pieces and repeated the Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined from game 2, but was surprised by an unusual early retreat of the queen by Caruana. Fearing preparation, the world champion did not want to risk too much, played solidly, and the challenger had little difficulty in equalising the position.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 10...Qa5-d8

A few moves before, Caruana had played the queen out to a5, which is the standard theoretical continuation. But returning to the starting square after a couple of moves is unexpected and unusual. The justification is that White's knight move to d2 is also a retreat, and must also redeploy.


If White is to exploit this unusual idea then Rd1 or even castling queenside should be tried. The way that Carlsen played, he felt he had only one real opportunity to unbalance the position and play for a win.



Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...Ne5

Here the world champion castled, collected the pawn on c4 – and the position drifted towards equality.

'Castling is essentially an admission that the position is equal', the world champion admitted.


Instead, after the game, both players mentioned that they had been considering 15 Nce4 Bd7 16 Qc3 Nxe4 17 Nxe4 f6 18 Qxe5 fxg5 with a very unbalanced position. Carlsen felt that the two bishops should give Black adequate play, and his judgement was probably correct. There is also the computer suggestion 18...Bc6 which gives dangerous counterplay.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 22 Qxd1
Carlsen's unwillingness to unbalance the position allowed Caruana easy development and the opportunity to exchange pieces. In such a dry position, and with the players demonstrating excellent technique, a draw was the inevitable outcome.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 40 Kf2

Caruana declared his intention to retreat the bishop to a6 which would repeat the position for the third time. Draw.

This was a game with tense moments, but the balance was never significantly disturbed.


The challenger commented on the series of seven draws:

'After the first game, the games have been pretty tight, we haven't really given many chances to one another, and there haven't been huge mistakes or anything, so it's kind of natural that a lot of the games will end peacefully.' Fabiano Caruana

The world champion was obviously frustrated with the course of the game:

'After the last game I feel like I got away with murder so in that sense it's easier to be calm about a draw today. I'm not loving it but I'm not in any sort of panic mode either....I'm not at all thrilled about my play today but life goes on.' - Magnus Carlsen

Fabiano Caruana has come through two consecutive games with the black pieces with ease. For the final five games he has three whites compared to Carlsen's two. Advantage to the challenger?

(Daniel King)

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Game 6: Long, strong, miraculous.

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana remains deadlocked with six draws in six games. The lack of decisive results is not through want of trying. The sixth game went to 80 moves and lasted six and a half hours before the players agreed a draw, having eliminated most of the pieces from the board.


Magnus Carlsen opened with 1e4 (switching from 1 d4 and 1 c4 that we saw in his previous games with the white pieces) and Fabiano played his trusty Petroff. The World Champion played a tricky side line, but the challenger also knew the line well and an equal endgame arose.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 21...c5


With his last move, striking against the centre, it was quite clear that the challenger had no difficulties, and at this moment the world champion should have thought about steering the game towards a draw. But Carlsen said that with White 'You always feel like you have more room for error', and he carried out what he described as the classic positional manoeuvre, bringing the bishop round to b3 starting with 22 Bc2.

This was too slow, allowing Caruana to build an attack on the queenside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 29...Nc4


The position was still tenable for the world champion, but after a further series of inaccuracies, he had to give up a piece in the hope that challenger had too few pawns to force a win.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 48 g4

Although White has three pawns for the piece, it is impossible to hold onto them, and the only chance for a draw lay in constructing a fortress on the kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 68 Bc4

While the players were spinning their pieces around in circles to no great effect, the Norwegian super computer Sesse announced a mate in 30 moves on a couple of occasions. Here for example, 68...Bh4 is apparently a winning move – but this is way beyond human comprehension, certainly when playing against the clock and after so many hours play.


Caruana couldn't break down Carlsen's position, and after 80 moves a draw was agreed.

After the game, both players were amazed to learn of the miraculous winning chance. Caruana took it in his stride: 'Near the end, I thought it was a fortress...it was a bit of an accidental.


We are now half-way through the match: 12 classical games are scheduled, and it is still too close to call.

(Daniel King)

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Game 5: Thrust and Parry


The fifth game of the World Championship match had an exciting start, but burnt out to a draw after 34 moves.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales made the ceremonial opening move for Fabiano Caruana, and the American challenger used encyclopaedic opening knowledge to offer a gambit pawn to Magnus Carlsen in a rare line of the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian. The world champion took his time at first, clearly adjusting to the unusual circumstances, but the confident way in which he dealt with this attempted opening ambush leads one to suspect that he was merely recollecting analysis.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 6 b4)


That's the little explosion that Caruana had prepared. In fact the idea is quite old (curiously, the assistant arbiter at the match, Nana Alexandria, had played this in the Soviet women's championship in 1969) and Carlsen himself had faced the gambit when still a teenager in 2005. Then he had played 6...cxb4. Today he went for the more unusual 6...Nxb4, suggesting that he too had researched this line.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 10 Bxa1)

Back in 1969, Alexandria's opponent had taken on b4, allowing the e5 pawn to be captured. Carlsen's response, 10...d6, was stronger, holding his centre together. Caruana rejected a line that would have given him a symbolic structural advantage and tested his opponent with a new move.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 12 Qe2)

The position is tricky, but Carlsen deftly handled the complications with 12...b4 13 Qc4 Qa5 14 exd6 Be6!

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 14...Be6)

Caruana had to go into the endgame with 15 Qc7, and that spelled the end of White's initiative.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 21...Rd8)

Although the challenger has an extra pawn, in fact he has to be careful as Carlsen threatens the pawns on b4 and d3. However, an accurately calculated sequence of checks liquidated pieces, activated his rook and removed any thoughts of Carlsen trying to win the game.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 29 Kf1)

White's rook on the seventh rank ties down the knight and guarantees the draw. Carlsen took no chances, withdrawing his king from a slightly vulnerable position, but in the process returning the extra pawn.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 34 g4+)

Here Caruana offered a draw, and there was no reason for Carlsen to decline.


Afterwards the challenger said that, 'This line is really interesting and if Black is cooperative it can also get very exciting, but Magnus knew the line quite well and I think played in a very logical way'. While admitting that the endgame wasn't much fun, 'I never thought I was worse'.

Carlsen thought that only he could be better in the endgame, but couldn't find a way to push for a win. 'If there is a way at all to play for the advantage, the path is very narrow.'

After five games – five draws. It's still all square in the match. Carlsen now plays with two white's over the next two games which gives him a chance to put pressure on the challenger.

(Daniel King)


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Game 4: Correct on the board, but a blunder off

The fourth game of the world chess championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabio Caruana was drawn in 34 moves. The challenger played with the black pieces and had little difficulty in neutralising the world champion's initiative - which was a source of frustration to Carlsen: 'It was a bit disappointing, I thought I was clearly better after the opening'.


The challenger, Caruana, certainly seemed happier with his play after the game. 'I never really felt that my position was in much danger.'

Carlsen opened with 1 c4 – a different first move to his previous game with the white pieces and the game went into a kind of reversed Sicilian.

(position after 6...Bc5)

Bringing out the bishop is the fashionable way of playing the position (6...Nb6 is the standard move) and Caruana has some experience of this line with both colours.

Perhaps the most important moment of the game came after 14 moves when Carlsen had to make a big strategic decision.

(position after 14...c6)

The logical continuation of White's play is to push forward with the minority pawn attack, 15 b5, but the world champion was dissatisfied with this option: 'I spent a lot of time here...but it didn't seem to work very well.'

Then again, he also wasn't entirely happy with his move 15 Re1, allowing Caruana to play 15...Bd7 preventing White's pawn break.

Carlsen admitted, 'When I'm allowing ...Bd7 it's half a draw offer. After that the position is very dry and very equal.'

Piece exchanges quickly led into an endgame in which neither side managed to break into the other's position.

'I felt the ending was more or less balanced from the beginning' (Caruana).

(position after 34 Rbc1)

Here Carlsen offered a draw which was accepted by Caruana. Black could take the pawn on b4 and the position would liquidate into a drawn rook and pawn endgame.

Perhaps the most startling news of the day was that St Louis Chess Club, a supporter of Fabiano Caruana, had posted a video of the challenger's training camp showing a computer screen with opening lines under consideration. Although the video was quickly removed, the information was already in the public domain.

After the game, Fabiano Caruana declined to comment on the matter. It remains to be seen whether the incident proves to be a distraction or just an embarrassment.

Four games played, and four draws made. Wednesday is a rest day. Game 5 will be played on Thursday 15th November at 15.00 in London.


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Game 3: A Missed Opportunity and Sturdy Defence

The third game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana ended in a draw after 49 moves. At first glance this seemed like a pacific affair, but there was plenty going on beneath the surface and in the press conference neither player was particularly satisfied with their play.


Against the challenger's 1 e4, Carlsen repeated the opening of the first day, a Sicilian, and once again the Rossolimo variation appeared on the board. Fabiano Caruana was the first to deviate from game 1, castling on the sixth move rather than playing 6 h3.

(position after 6 0-0)
Magnus appeared unphased and continued quickly with the subtle 6...Qc7, not committing his kingside pieces. The first really big decision came at move 9 when Carlsen offered a pawn.

(position after 9...0-0)
Perhaps concerned about a quick kingside initiative, Caruana declined the pawn sacrifice and continued to develop steadily. In stark contrast to game 1, play was concentrated on the queenside, well away from the players' kings. This was turning into a heavy-weight strategic struggle.

In order to speed up his development and coordinate his pieces, Carlsen decided to simplify the position, exchanging pieces and pawns. With hindsight this might not have been the best decision, although Caruana had just one moment to exploit the shortcomings in Black's position.

(position after 14...Rxa5)
Here, the challenger could have played 15 Rxa5 Qxa5 16 Bd2 Qc7 17 Qa1, and White's control of files on the queenside and his compact pawn structure would give him a pleasant basis on which to conduct the middlegame.
Instead, he played 15 Bd2, overlooking that the rook could simply return,15...Raa8, and Black keeps control over the files on the queenside. 'It was a bit of a blackout', admitted Caruana after the game.
The challenger appreciated that he had no advantage and decided to exchange pieces bringing the game closer to a draw. But he had under-estimated Carlsen's position.

(position after 37 Kd1)
Carlsen was pressing all over the board, using his slight space advantage – as we have seem him do on so many occasions in the past.

Caruana showed his best qualities at this moment, not panicking, but trusting in the solidity of his position, and he expertly steered the game towards a draw by exchanging pawns and then giving up his knight to reach a theoretically drawn position.

(position after 49 exf5)
White's king steps into the corner on h1, and it is impossible to drive it away.

When asked after the game whether he was satisified with the outcome of the opening, Carlsen laconically replied 'Nope', and went on to describe how the position would have been unpleasant to play if Caruana had found the right continuation.

After three games the match score is still even, game 4 takes place on Tuesday at 15.00 in London.
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Game 2 of the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 49 moves.

Carlsen started the game solidly by playing 1 d4. A Queen's Gambit Declined appeared on the board with the World Champion trying out the complex Bf4 variation. Fabiano Caruana played an unusual line and was clearly more familiar with the opening as Carlsen consumed valuable time at the board. After Carlsen's 17th move Caruana still had 1 hour and 32 minutes on the clock while Carlsen had just 39 minutes. At that point the World Champion decided to compromise, allowing exchanges that left a simpler and drier position on the board. Although Carlsen had the slightly inferior position, he held the ensuing endgame comfortably.


The first surprise came for Carlsen with 10...Rd8.


Caruana explained afterwards that this is an old move that has fallen out of fashion: 'I was kind of excited to try this out'.
Magnus admitted in the press conference that his main thought on seeing this move was 'Oh s**t!'
The critical response is 11 Nd2, but fearing some deep preparation, Carlsen preferred unpretentious development with 11 Be2. His position was quite playable, but he underestimated a couple of Caruana's moves, fell behind on the clock, and that influenced his decision when it came to the critical juncture at move 17.


Here Carlsen had the chance to make a temporary piece sacrifice with 17 Nxf7, leading to highly complex positions. But given that Caruana was probably still following a prepared line, the World Champion decided to err on the side of caution.
'I thought at this point there was way better equity in playing it safe and trying to secure a draw' - Carlsen.
Caruana confirmed that he was still in his opening preparation: 'I knew this position was okay for Black...'
After Carlsen's safe move, pieces were exchanged, ultimately leading to a rook and pawn endgame where Caruana had an extra pawn, but no real winning chances and a draw was quickly agreed after three hours play.
After two games the match score remains level. The third game takes place on Monday at 15.00 in London.

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FIDE announces World Rapid and Blitz 2018 Championships

FIDE - Sat, 11/24/2018 - 21:39


Dear chess friends,

FIDE is happy to confirm the World Rapid and Blitz 2018 Championships to take place between December 25 (arrival day) and December 31 (departure day), with the prize giving ceremony on December 30 early evening.

While we are still finalizing the details in order to publish the official regulations next week, we found it essential to update our players, thus allowing them to plan their schedule accordingly.

FIDE is looking forward to stage an exceptional event, and let the strongest win!

















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Carlsen – Caruana 2018 game 11 LIVE!

Chessdom - Sat, 11/24/2018 - 16:32

Replay: Caruana – Carlsen game 1 / Carlsen – Caruana game 2 / Caruana – Carlsen game 3 / Carlsen – Caruana game 4 / Caruana – Carlsen game 5 / Carlsen – Caruana game 6 / Carlsen – Caruana game 7 / Caruana – Carlsen game 8 / Caruana – Carlsen game 9 / Caruana – Carlsen game 10

Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 World Chess Championship match between the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA). In this live blog + live games from WCC 2018 we will be covering the event Carlsen – Caruana with the latest news, developments, interviews, and in-game details.

The most important feature here will be the lines of analysis by Lc0 – the open Neural Network, and the TCEC champion Stockfish running on a Super Computer of 128 cores.

 

Refresh the page to get the latest updates

 

Current move eval: Move 10: Lc0 +0.42 , SF[128] +0.21

Update 18:25 CET

Draw 11 of the match is a fact. Unambitious opening by white and precise play by black leave the score equal at 5,5-5,5

Update 16:45 CET

Similar pawn structures and opposite color bishops. This game is going towards a draw.

Update 16:35 CET

After move 14 it is clear that Carlsen will be happy with rapid tiebreak. Why would he go into such a drawish opening with early queens exchange? The game still has to continue until move 30 and the players are obliged to show they know the right continuation.

Update 16:03 CET

We have 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 and this is Petrov, Caruana’s pet defence. It was expected to see it from him, the question here is if Carlsen’s team found something new.

Lc0 +0.42: 11. Bg5 Be6 12. Rhe1 c4 13. Bf1 d5 14. Nd4 Qa5 15. Kb1 Rae8 16. f3 Qb6 17. Re5 Ba3 18. Qc1 Nd7 19. Ree1 h6 20. Be3 Bc5 21. Qd2 Nf6 22. Ka1 a5 23. g4 Bd7 24. h4 Re7 25. g5 hxg5 26. hxg5 Nh5 27. Qh2 g6 28. Bf2 Rxe1 29. Rxe1 Bd6 30. Qg1

SF128 +0.22: 11. Rhe1 Be6 12. Kb1 Qa5 13. c4 Qxd2 14. Bxd2 h6 15. h3 Rfe8 16. b3 Rad8 17. Ba5 b6 18. Bc3 d5 19. Ne5 d4 20. Bb2 Rd6 21. c3 dxc3 22. Bxc3 Red8 23. Kc2 Ne8 24. Be4 Rxd1 25. Rxd1 Rxd1 26. Kxd1 Bf6 27. f4 h5 28. Bf3 h4 29. Kd2 Kf8 30. Kd3 Bf5+ 31. Be4 Bxe4+ 32. Kxe4 Ke7 33. Kf5 Nd6+ 34. Kg4 Ke6 35. Bb2 Be7

Update 15:30 CET

Ten games and ten draws so far at the World Chess Championship. Many are contemplating the possibility that we are going to have a classical world champion without winning a single classical game.

Game 11 is today and this is the last game with white for Carlsen. The stakes are nerve wrecking, will we see another draw or a player will cruise to a victory at the very end of the match?

Watch live video from TCEC_Chess_TV on www.twitch.tv

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Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President, visits Khanty-Mansiysk

FIDE - Sat, 11/24/2018 - 10:07



On November 23, Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President and Sergey Kosilov, Deputy Minister of Sports of Russian Federation paid an official visit to Khanty-Mansiysk. They attended chess events taking place in the city and visited several locations of UgraMegaSport.

Arkady Dvorkovich together with Valery Radchenko, Director of UgraMegaSport, and Yury Yuzhakov, Deputy Governor of Ugra, examined conditions of chess tournaments that were taking place during the Women’s World Championship.



The delegation observed the tournament that attracted more than 140 players, and then focused on the exhibition stand with children’s drawings on chess topics. After that the guests went to the Ugra Chess Academy for the Women’s World Championship Final between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia).



After the tie-break the VIP guests went to the Museum of Nature and Human, where they participated in establishing a chess club under the project “Removing blank sports from Ugra chess map”. After the ceremony, the delegation members took part in an excursion and learned about the history and traditions of the Ugra land.








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FIDE President awards the Women’s World Champion

FIDE - Sat, 11/24/2018 - 09:55



Three weeks after the start of the Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk, the world’s strongest woman chess player was determined. The rating favorite of the event, Ju Wenjun from China, defended the title she had won in spring, beating the Russian Kateryna Lagno in the final match.



The Closing Ceremony of the championship was attended by Natalia Komarova, Governor of Ugra, Sergey Kosilov, Deputy Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation, Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President, and Andrey Filatov, RCF President. However, the main roles were played by the finalists of the championship – Kateryna Lagno and Ju Wenjun.

Sergey Kosilov and Arkady Dvorkovich delivered their speeches to the audience.



“On behalf of the Ministry of Sports of Russian Federation and personally I would like to greet all these present here including participants, organizers and guests of the championship. My congratulations to the organizers of this tournament, carried out at the very high level. My congratulations to the players on their mastership and level of chess they shown us. I am sure that the spectators have enjoyed watching the world’s top players’ games. I wish everyone great spirits and I wish athletes more high achievements in chess”, addressed Mr. Kosilov.



“On behalf of FIDE, I’d like to congratulate all of you for holding the Women’s World Championship perfectly. This is the first chess championship for me as the FIDE President. I am not sure who was more anxious – myself or the participants of the tournament. But most important thing that we’ve reached the finish and I would like to congratulate all of us on this achievement. Also I’d like to thank every participant. They all have been playing at the level they had been prepared at, and everyone has invested a part of their souls into the play. In addition to being the FIDE President, I am a chess fan. And as a fan of Russia my special congratulations go to Alexandra Kosteniuk and Kateryna Lagno. But as FIDE President I’d like to congratulate Ju Wenjun for defending her title”, said Mr. Dvorkovich.



Sergey Kosilov and Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the rewards and flowers to the finalists.

The FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship took place in Khanty-Mansiysk on November 2-23. 64 players from 28 countries were determining the strongest in a knock-out format.

Among the participants there were the defending champion Ju Wenjun (China), and former World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine), Tan Zhongyi (China), Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), and Anna Ushenina (Ukraine).

Ju Wenjun: Khanty-Mansiysk is my lucky place




Press conference with the Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun (China) and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.

– Ju Wenjun, congratulations on defending the champion’s title! Please tell us about this long marathon. Are you happy with your playing here in Khanty-Mansiysk?

– Thank you! Yes, I am. This is my fourth time in Khanty-Mansiysk. I love the city. And as for this marathon, I think I played very well. In the final, Kateryna Lagno played very solidly, she advanced in the second game. I was very lucky to I win the last game and then play tie-breaks.

– Can we say that the final match was the toughest one for you?

– Preparation takes a lot of time and it is very tough for me. But when I am playing I just think about chess. The situation for me was tough but I enjoyed my games, and that is the important thing.

– Mr. Dvorkovich, you watched tie-breaks today. What are your impressions of it?

– We have just witnessed a unique moment in chess history when the world champion defended her title in the knock-out tournament. It’s quite rare event for the chess world. Ju Wenjun was playing amazing games even against one of the toughest opponents like Kateryna Lagno. And I was feeling the pressure that both competitors had on their shoulders and, of course, nerves played some role in this tie-break.

Let me first congratulate all the participants of the Championship. I think all the ladies played very well and we enjoyed the tournament a lot. And of course I’d like to congratulate the three players – semi-finalists – who qualified for the Women’s Candidates Tournament next year. So we are expecting a very tough competition and I am sure that Ju Wenjun will be waiting for the new contender to come out of this Candidates tournament. And, of course, the most important congratulations are for the champion! Ju Wenjun, you’re a great player and a great champion.



– Wenjun, what do you think about the organization of this event?

– I am happy with the organization. Actually, Khanty-Mansiysk is my lucky place. In 2016, I played the Grand Prix series leg here and I became the challenger for the title. Now I have just won the World knock-out championship.

– Two years ago, when you won the FIDE Grand Prix series here, you told us that you were going to spend your prize money just for a dinner with your friends. How are you going to spend your prize now? And how are you going to celebrate your victory?

– Well, I still want to spend this for a dinner with my friends. Also I want to spend some money to keep training. But after this tournament I want to have some rest and just live for a while because it was tedious.

– Mr. Dvorkovich, you have visited some events during this Championship. I would like to ask you about your impressions of the chess life in Ugra.

– Chess life in Ugra is very active and intensive, there are fewer and fewer blank spots with no chess in Ugra. Chess is almost everywhere. Today we visited the Ugra Governor Cup where hundreds of participants play and it’s very impressive. The organization of this event as well as organization of other high level events is very good and of a high quality. That’s why FIDE has been consistently giving the right to host tournaments to Ugra and Khanty-Mansisyk. We will witness a couple of more events in the upcoming years – the World Cup and World Chess Olympiad.

– Ju Wenjun during one of the press-conference told us that she was happy that the format of the Women’s World Championship would change so please tell us some details of this changes.

– Changes have been announced already. We are going to shift to a standard format that prevails in chess where the champion will defend the title against the winner of the Candidates Tournament that will be organized next year. And in the future we will have both the FIDE Grand Prix series and the World Cup played according the knock-out system. A number of players qualified by rating and the best ones of the GP series and the World Cup will play in the Candidates tournament. That means that all the players who have already got their rights to participate in the knock-out tournament will keep their rights. There will be no harm for anyone while there will be clear benefits for high-level players.


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FIDE WCCM Game 11: One Game May Decide the Title

FIDE - Sat, 11/24/2018 - 02:00

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score Carlsen ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½  ½  ½   5.5 Caruana ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½  ½  ½   ½   5.5
Game 11: One Game May Decide the Title

Saturday, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana extended their record-setting streak by drawing the eleventh game of their World Championship match. It is the longest streak to start a title match in history.


On Monday, in Game 12, they will have one more chance to clinch the title in regulation. If neither player can win, the match will proceed to tie-breakers on Wednesday.

The score in the best-of-12 match stands at 5.5 points apiece. (Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point.) In Game 11, Carlsen, 27, the World Champion from Norway, had White and opened with 1 e4, as he had in Game 6. Caruana, 26, who is American, replied with 1… e5 and then, just as in Game 6, opted for the Petroff, or Russian, Defense.

On Move 4, Carlsen varied from the earlier game with the standard retreat, 4 Nf3. The game then followed a well-known and heavily analyzed line. Caruana had little trouble equalizing and, after queens were traded on Move 13, he faced only incidental problems.


Carlsen tried to shake things up with 15 Nh4 and 16 Ng6, but after a series of exchanges from Moves 17 to 25, there were only bishops of opposite color and symmetrical pawn structures left. Though Caruana later blundered a pawn, it made absolutely no difference – Carlsen no longer had any reasonable winning chances.

The players agreed to a draw after 55 moves.

The match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner, or 55 percent, if the winner is decided by the tie-breakers.

The string of draws is certainly frustrating for fans and probably for the players themselves, but that is the danger when two foes face each other who are evenly matched. Carlsen and Caruana are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and they are only separated by three points in the rankings.

While Carlsen may have had an important edge at the start of the match, based on having played several title matches, that edge is now largely gone, as Carlsen acknowledged during one of the press conferences. Caruana is now as comfortable, or uncomfortable, as Carlsen.

Should the match go to tie-breakers, however, then Carlsen will once again have an advantage. The first four games would be at a rapid time control (25 minutes for each player with 10 seconds added after each move). At that time control, Carlsen is ranked No. 1, and has won World Championships, while Caruana is ranked No. 10.


If neither player should win the rapid games, then they would go to blitz games (five minutes per player with three seconds added after each move). There, Carlsen’s edge is even more pronounced as he No. 1, and has won World Championships in blitz, while Caruana is No. 18.

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Game 12 is Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 10: An Intense Fight, the Same Result

Game 10 of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 ended in a draw, but it was not for lack of effort on the part of Magnus Carlsen, 27, the World Champion from Norway, or Fabiano Caruana, 26, the American challenger.


For hours, the players waged an intense battle, walking a razor’s edge between success and ruin. In the end, however, after 54 moves and more than five hours, neither player could deliver a knockout blow.

The match score stands at five points apiece. All the games in the match have been drawn. It is the most consecutive draws to start a title match in history.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Those who may not have watched the match carefully might think that all the draws are a sign that the match has been dull. It has not been. Game 10 was an excellent example Caruana had White and, as he has throughout the match, he opened with 1 e4. Carlsen stuck with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) as he has played in each game that he has had Black. As in Game 8, Caruana went into the Open Sicilian and Carlsen responded with the Sveshnikov or Pelikan Variation.

The game was identical through Move 11. Caruana then varied with 12 b4, launching an attack on the queenside. Carlsen responded energetically and by Move 20, his initiative on the kingside offered him equal chances.

Three moves later, however, Carlsen made a small error with 23 … Qg5. If Caruana had replied 24 Qd4, it would have forced Carlsen to defend his e pawn, slowing his attack. Instead, Caruana erred with 24 g3, creating severe light-squared weaknesses in his kingside. With time growing short as the players approached the first time control at Move 40, the pace of the game picked up. Light-squared bishops were exchanged, slightly easing Caruana’s defensive task, but Carlsen retained a formidable pawn center, which counter balanced a strong White passed pawn on the queen side.

The position remained dynamically balanced until just after the first time control, when Carlsen made another small error with 45… Kd4. That miscalculation allowed Caruana to win a pawn, but it also led to simplification of the position. In the end, Caruana had no chance to win and the players agreed to a draw. The match will now certainly go the distance in regulation. But it seems more and more likely that it will be decided in tie-breaker games.

Game 11 is Saturday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.


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Game 9: Still Deadlocked

Another game, another draw.

Wednesday, Game 9 of the World Championship between the champion, Magnus Carlsen, and the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, produced the same result as the first eight games: A draw. The nine consecutive draws to start a World Championship match are a record.


The match has become a clash between the irresistible force (Carlsen) and the immovable object (Caruana).

In Game 9, Carlsen, 27 and from Norway, had White and, as he had in Game 4, he began with the English opening (1 c4). Caruana, 26, from the United States, replied with the same system that he had used in the earlier game and the players followed the same path until Carlsen varied with 9 Bg5. The move did not change the evaluation of the position much and by Move 16, Caruana was already trying to repeat the position to force a draw by playing Bd5 and Be4 to continually attack Carlsen’s queen.


Naturally, Carlsen avoided that by playing 17 Qd1. Caruana immediately exchanged his light-squared bishop for Carlsen’s knight with 17… Bf3. That turned out to be a small error as, after a further series of exchanges, Black had a broken, and therefore slightly worse pawn structure. That was not a serious problem for Caruana, however, and after more trades, the players wound up in an endgame in which chances were roughly equal.

The game continued for another 25 moves, but there was no real hope for either player to win and they finally agreed to a draw after 56 moves and three-and-a-half hours.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The Match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

The lack of decisive results has not dampened press coverage of the match. In the day before Game 9, articles appeared in The New York Times, NBC News, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, FiveThirtyEight, and Deadspin, to name a few.


There is certainly no shortage of tension, particularly with only three games left in the regulation, or slow, part of the match. The last match in 2016, went to tie-breakers before Carlsen prevailed over Sergey Karjakin. That turned out to be a really exciting finish. The current Match seems to be heading for the same ending.

Game 10 is Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 8: Dubious Record Tied

With a draw on Monday in Game 8 of the World Championship match in London, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana equaled the record for the most consecutive draws to start a title contest. In 1995, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand also drew the first eight games of their title match in New York City.

The match score stands at four points apiece.


Though Game 8 did not lead to a decisive result, it was a fight as the players contested a different opening than in the previous seven games.

Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the fourth time in the match. As he had in the previous games with White, he opened with 1 e4 and Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, once again answered with the Sicilian Defense (1… c5). Instead of the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5), Caruana finally ventured into the Open Sicilian by playing 3 d4. Carlsen answered with the Sveshnikov, or Pelikan, Variation (5… e5). Instead of 7 Bg5, which can lead to heavily analyzed and very complicated positions, Caruana chose 7 Nd5. Though that continuation is considered more strategic than the other approach, it also can be dangerous for Black.

Carlsen’s 8… Nb8 is odd-looking, but it is also considered the best move because the more “normal” 8… Ne7 can land Black in some hot water after 9 c3.


Both players continued to follow the paths considered best until Carlsen played 18… g5. The move is consistent with some plans in the variation of the Sveshnikov that the game was following, but the move neglected Black’s development and allowed Caruana to gain time. He took advantage with an enterprising pawn sacrifice (21 c5), after which White had a dangerous passed pawn.

Carlsen might have been in real trouble if Caruana had not played 24 h3. Instead, 24 Nc4, continuing to build pressure on Carlsen’s center, would have given White a clear edge. Caruana’s error gave Carlsen just enough time to shore up his defenses.


Though the game continued until Move 38 before the players agreed to a draw, most of the drama was already gone. The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

A close contest between Carlsen, who is ranked No. 1, and Caruana, who is No. 2, would certainly have been a logical expectation before the match began. But the inability of either player to pose a real threat to the other – with the exception of Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble – may be a bit vexing for fans, and even for top players. As Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, ranked No. 6, told Chess.com at one point during Game 7, “I’m not gonna hide; the position is pretty dull.”


If Carlsen and Caruana are to avoid going into the history books with a somewhat unwanted record – most consecutive draws to start a World Championship match – they are going to have to do remarkable in Game 9, which will be Wednesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.   PHOTO GALLERY

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Game 7: The Draws Continue

More than half the games in regulation have been played in the World Championship match in London and neither player has been able to notch a victory.


The latest effort was Sunday in Game 7. Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, had White for the second game in a row and, for the second time in the match, he opened with 1 d4.

As he had in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, steered the game into a Queen’s Gambit Declined. The players repeated the moves from Game 2 until Carlsen, who had been outplayed in the earlier game, deviated by playing 10 Nd2. That move has been played many times before, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Caruana’s reply, 10 … Qd8, was not the best, and Carlsen soon had a slight edge. But it was no more than that and, as the game progressed, Caruana was never in any danger.

After a wholesale exchange of pieces from moves 18 to 25, chances were equal. Though the game continued until Move 40, a draw already seemed like a foregone result.

The match is now tied at 3.5 points apiece.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match has now reached the same point as the match in 2016, which also started with seven draws. At that point, Carlsen tried too hard to beat Sergey Karjakin, who was then the challenger, and lost. It would be surprising if that happened again. At the same time, except for Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble, neither player has come close to victory. Fans, and even the players themselves, have to be wondering when or if one of the players will crack.



FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.
Game 8 is today at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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FIDE WCCM Game 6: The World Champion Escapes.

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, was on the ropes in Game 6 of the title match in London. But in a long endgame, Fabiano Caruana, the challenger, could find no way to break down Carlsen’s defenses and he was finally able to escape with a draw.

The result left the match tied the halfway point at three points apiece; all six games in the contest have ended in draws.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund).


In Game 6, Carlsen, who is from Norway, had White and started with 1 e4. It was Carlsen’s third game with White and, in all three games, he has chosen a different opening move. Caruana, who is American, replied 1 … e5 and after Carlsen continued 2 Nf3, Caruana chose the Petroff, or Russian, Defense. That was not a surprise as Caruana had employed the defense with great success when he won the Candidates tournament in Berlin earlier this year to qualify for the title match. 


The game continued down an obscure branch of the Petroff that Carlsen had doubtless studied carefully. Caruana demonstrated he also was well prepared as he navigated some of the intricacies with no problem.

After 15 moves, the position was symmetrical and the game seemed headed for a draw, which also was no surprise, as the Petroff has long had a reputation of being drawish. The game continued, however, partly because there is a rule in the match that games must be at least 30 moves, and also because neither player had any interest in agreeing to an early peace.

On Move 22, Carlsen made what turned out to be a small, but subtle error by positioning his light-squared bishop on a file that could be opened. Caruana was able to gain time to develop his rooks by attacking the bishop and that allowed him to take over the initiative.

Carlsen was in no immediate danger, but Caruana had nagging pressure against White’s position. By Move 34, the players had reached an endgame in which each had his bishop pair and a knight and a set of six pawns.

Just after the first time control at Move 40, Carlsen made another small error and was forced to trade one of his remaining pieces for three of Caruana’s pawns. Nominally, that is about an even trade, but, at the tail end of the sequence, Caruana was able to win another of Carlsen’s pawns.

Carlsen was clearly in trouble, but Caruana only had two pawns left and if Carlsen could trade them, the game would be a draw. The exchange of one pawn was impossible to prevent, but Carlsen could not easily get to the second. Computer evaluations showed a clear edge for Caruana.

Computers do not understand endgames very well, however. And Carlsen is one of the greatest endgame virtuoso’s in history. He found a plan that involved sacrificing his last queenside pawn to allow his king to infiltrate Caruana’s king side. Though Carlsen’s king now had almost no room to maneuver, it could support the advance of his h pawn if Caruana tried to go after Carlsen’s f pawn to clear the path for his own remaining f pawn.

For nearly 20 moves, Caruana tried to outflank Carlsen, but it was not possible. Carlsen had built a fortress. The game was drawn on Move 80, after six-and-a-half hours of play. A curious facet of the match is that Black has had equal chances or an edge in every one of the games; neither player’s strategy with White has been effective.


FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Game 7 is on Sunday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

Caruana will once again have Black. The way that the match has unfolded, that may be an advantage.

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Game 4: The Defense Holds Again

Game 4 of the World Championship on Tuesday ended as the first three had – with a draw. It was also the shortest game of the match, lasting 34 moves and three hours.


As in Game 3, neither player made any obvious or big error. Indeed, Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, who had White, chose the English (1 c4), an opening that generally does not put much pressure on Black. After Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, replied with 1 … e5 (essentially the Sicilian Defense with colors reversed), he had little trouble developing his pieces or establishing equal chances.

By Move 20, the queens, both sets of knights and the light-squared bishops had all been exchanged and though there was some imbalance in the pawn structure, neither player had particularly good prospects for a breakthrough. They agreed to a draw soon after.

The match now is tied at two points apiece.


The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

After a great deal of excitement in Game 1, which lasted 115 moves and which Caruana nearly lost, the match has settled down, with neither player having any significant winning chances in the last three games.


That is not really a surprise.

The players in World Championship matches are always incredibly well prepared and they are also reluctant to take big risks because falling behind in such a match is very dangerous.

Carlsen and Caruana are also fairly evenly matched, judging both by their rankings, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and the difference in their ratings – three points, which is only a whisker.

As the match progresses, the tension will mount. Normally, that would favor the champion, who not only has more match experience, but also would have an advantage in the tie-breakers, as they are played at faster time controls, at which he excels and at which Caruana is not nearly as proficient.


However, in the 2016 title match against Sergey Karjakin of Russia, it was Carlsen who cracked first as he lost his patience and overpressed in Game 8, eventually losing. He had to fight back in Game 10 to tie the match before prevailing in the tie-breakers. Has Carlsen learned from that experience? Time will tell.

Wednesday is a rest day. The match resumes with Game 5 on Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 3: An error-free day

After three games of the World Championship, neither player has made a dent in the other’s armor. All the games have ended in draws.


On Monday, in Game 3, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the second time in the match and, for the second time, he opened with 1 e4. As he had in Game 1, Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, replied with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) and Caruana again replied with the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5). The players repeated the same first five moves before Carlsen deviated first by moving his queen instead of his king knight.
The change was subtle and did not result in any major shift in the dynamic balance of the position. Indeed, unlike in the first game, when Caruana got into trouble, in this game he was never in any real danger. But neither was Carlsen. As the game proceeded and pieces and pawns were gradually exchanged, chances remained equal as neither player made any mistake.


In the end, Caruana sacrificed his remaining piece, a knight, to eliminate the last pawn that Carlsen had any chance to promote to a queen. With no winning chances for either side, the players agreed to a draw after 49 moves.
The match now is tied at 1.5 points apiece.
The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)



The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

Though the match is only three games old, one theme has already emerged: Black is having no trouble equalizing out of the opening. (Indeed, the player with Black has, if anything, had an advantage in each game.)

In this respect, Caruana may already be a bit worried about his match strategy as he has avoided mixing things up with Carlsen on the White side of a Sicilian Defense by playing 3 d4, the most popular third move. Though the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5) certainly holds dangers for Black, it may be necessary for Caruana to enter the myriad complications of the main lines of the Sicilian after 3 d4 if he hopes to crack Carlsen’s defense.

Or Caruana may have to resort to a different first move altogether, such as 1 d4. His opening choice in Game 5, when he again has White will be very interesting.



In the meantime, there is Game 4, which is Tuesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 2: A Fair Result

Two games into the World Championship and neither player in the title match has managed to score a win, but both have now been under pressure.

Saturday, in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, who had Black, emerged from the opening with a small but distinct advantage because the pawns of Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, were far advanced and difficult to defend. But Carlsen was able to force an endgame in which each player only had a rook and all the remaining pawns were on one side of the board, making Carlsen’s defensive task much easier.



After the first time control and 49 moves, the players agreed to the draw.

The match is tied at a point apiece.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.



The opening in Game 2 was a Queen’s Gambit Declined, with Carlsen choosing to play 5 Bf4 rather than the slightly more traditional 5 Bg5. It is an opening that he has used before and with great success, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Indeed, with 6 … c5, Caruana attacked Carlsen’s center. This is a known and sharp line , but Caruana proved better prepared with Carlsen consuming much time in solving new problems. Caruana soon established an edge by breaking up Carlsen’s queen side pawns.

A series of exchanges followed that saddled Carlsen with broken pawns on the kingside and a far advanced, but weak d pawn that would inevitably fall. But the reduced material, and Carlsen’s lead in development, allowed him to avoid real trouble.



Though Caruana had an extra pawn, he agreed to a draw after 49 moves. He probably saw no reason to try to repeat the 115-move marathon of Game 1, when Carlsen had an extra pawn and tried to squeeze out a victory in a position that offered no real hope for success.

There is a rest day on Sunday before the match resumes with Game 3 on Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 1: A Near Miss for Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, nearly got the perfect result – a win – on Friday in Game 1 of his title match against Fabiano Caruana. But at several critical moments, Carlsen missed his best moves, allowing Caruana to eke out a draw.

Though the result was a disappointment for Carlsen, it was anything but that for fans. The game stretched 115 moves and nearly six hours before the players split the point.



Carlsen, 27, who is from Norway, is making his third title defense, having captured the crown in 2013, when he beat Viswanathan Anand of India. Caruana, 26, who is American, is playing his first match for the title. Carlsen is ranked No. 1 in the world, while Caruana is No. 2. It is the first time since 1990, when Garry Kasparov faced Anatoly Karpov, that Nos. 1 and 2 have faced off for the undisputed title. The match, which is being held in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building, is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The match is being televised on Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.

The match has received worldwide media exposure, with articles in The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and ESPN, among others.

Carlsen and Caruana are well acquainted, having played each other at classical, or slow, time controls almost three dozen times. They know each other’s style; they have no secrets. But, in World Championship matches, where the pressure is at the highest level, every small edge counts, and so anything a player can do to surprise his opponent is significant. Other than playing psychological games, or resorting to gamesmanship, which neither Carlsen or Caruana is known to do, the only real way to surprise the opponent is with opening strategy and opening choices.



In Round 1, the edge almost certainly went to Carlsen. Against 1 e4 by Caruana, who had White, Carlsen chose the Sicilian Defense, perhaps the most double-edged reply. It has not been a standard part of Carlsen's repertoire for some time and is a provocative choice in such a high-stakes match.

(The opening choice may also indicate that Carlsen prepared for the match with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, a noted Sicilian expert, who is a month older than Carlsen. The members of each player’s team of seconds is usually a well-guarded secret because it can tip the opponent off about the pre-match preparation.)

After Carlsen played 2… Nc6, perhaps indicating perhaps that he wanted to enter the Sveshnikov Variation, Caruana countered with 3 Bb5 -- the Rossolimo Variation, which Anand used against Boris Gelfand during their 2012 title match. Caruana’s opening choice was possibly meant to avoid the maze of complications of the Sveshnikov, but it backfired as Carlsen gradually took control.

As the first time-control approached on Move 40, Caruana's time was dwindling rapidly and his position was under pressure as Carlsen managed to open up the file in front of Caruana’s king. Caruana decided that his best chance lay in a flight of his king to the other side of the board, but, according to the various computer engines analyzing the position, that was a mistake. Carlsen could have then swung his queen to the other side of the board and picked off one or two of Caruana’s pawns. In the endgame, his queenside pawns, supported by his dark-square bishop, would have been dangerous, if not lethal. The computers evaluated Carlsen having a strategic advantage of the equivalent of about two pawns – more than enough to be decisive at this level of competition.



But Carlsen did not see the strategy and continued to concentrate on the kingside. On his 40th move, he made a fateful decision – he exchanged his dangerous passed f pawn for Caruana’s c pawn. Though Carlsen retained an advantage, it was now minimal.

After the further exchange of Caruana’s knight for Carlsen’s bishop, as well as a pair of pawns, the players ended up in a rook-and-pawn endgame where Carlsen’s chances to win were insufficient, despite having an extra pawn. Carlsen, as is his habit, continued to press for another 60 moves before he agreed to a draw. It was one of the longest games in World Championship history, eclipsed by one of 124 moves in 1978 between Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, and another of 122 moves between Carlsen and Anand in 2014.

Game 2 is Saturday and starts at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12    Score     Carlsen  ½                       0.5  Caruana  ½                       0.5


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Opening Ceremony of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018

The official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 was held on November 8th at a prestigious red-carpet event at the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.





Guests from all over the world, including Woody Harrelson, Hou Yifan, Judit Polgar descended onto London for the glittering evening, hosted by British television presenter, George Lamb. Entertainment included a modern contemporary dance between two men featuring the unity and struggle of two strong characters, like in the game of chess, and a breath-taking performance by the talented Stephen Ridley – a young charismatic pianist, composer and singer.



The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the competitors, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of USA. The Chief Arbiter of the Match Stepahne Escafre conducted the ceremony of the drawing of lots. Magnus Carlsen will have the black pieces in the first game. The first move of the World Chess Championship match will be played on November 9th, at 3 pm local time.





President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, as well as Vice President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab, Aldo del Bo, CEO of S.T. Dupont, Alain Crevet joined the players on the stage.

Taking place from 9-28 November, the world’s most esteemed chess tournament consists of a 12-game Match, avidly followed and analysed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans, which will see current World Chess Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, defend his title against US challenger, Fabiano Carlsen. No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a World Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972, so all eyes will be on the two players. Those following the games online will also be catered for; they will be able to watch the moves for free on worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform. They can also sign up for a $20 premium account, giving fans access to multi-camera views, commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, the opportunity to ask questions during press conferences and more.



The last World Championship match, held in New York, in 2016, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.5 billion people.

Leading partners supporting the Championship Match 2018 include:

PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner
Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE’s Official Cybersecurity Partner
PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner
S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument
Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match
Unibet as the Official Betting Partner
Beluga as the Official VIP Partner

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