Carlsen vs Caruana: the missed win in game 6

by Johannes Fischer
12/19/2018 – 12 games, 12 draws - there was not a single win in the World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana. However, the players more than once came close. In game 1 Carlsen missed the win, in game 6 Caruana could have won - in a very complicated and difficult endgame. Karsten Müller took a closer look and shows how Caruana missed a big chance. | Photos: Nikolai Dunaevsky (Agon)

Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play

Rules of thumb are the key to everything when you are having to set the correct course in a complex endgame. In this final DVD of his series on the endgame, our endgame specialist introduces you to the most important of these rules of thumb.


A missed chance in a complicated endgame

Game six of the match, in which Caruana had Black, started with an unusual opening but quickly turned into an equal position in which both players did not seem to have much to play for.

However, Caruana gradually outplayed Carlsen from this seemingly harmless position and to avoid worse Carlsen eventually decided to give a piece for two pawns and put his hope on building a fortress in the endgame. A fortress which Caruana after more than five hours of play and with limited time on the clock could not crack. 

However, the Norwegian supercomputer Sesse soon claimed that Black had a forced mate. But as strong as computers are they still struggle with fortresses and zugzwang. Endgame expert Karsten Müller analysed this complicated endgame from a human perspective and shows the way Black could have won.



Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".
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chesspasky chesspasky 12/21/2018 05:14
carlsen is just still the better player
fons3 fons3 12/20/2018 03:28
@ ArcyKen: Indeed.

Caruana had an impossible to find win for one single move.

Magnus had an easily winning position for about ten moves in a row.
Also Magnus would probably have won the last (classical) game if he had bothered to try.
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 12/20/2018 02:54
If people expected Caruana to find a move like Ng1 then they better lower their expectations. It's a move which moves a knight to the corner of the board, away from the action, and it allows white to imprison it with the bishop. Had Caruana made that move, metal detectors might have gone off, I would definitely search him.
ArcyKen ArcyKen 12/19/2018 09:16
If someone missed a win it is clearly Carlsen in game 1 : the move Rg3! is obvious and crushing.