Magnus Carlsen keeps the crown

by Antonio Pereira
11/29/2018 – The 2018 World Championship match in London concluded on Wednesday. Two days before his 28th birthday, Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen confirmed his status as World Champion for at least two more years. And he did it in style, getting a 3:0 wipe-out in the rapid tiebreaks over Fabiano Caruana. Both players were deservingly praised for their efforts afterwards, in what was considered one of the most far-reaching chess events in recent history. GM DANIEL FERNANDEZ and GM YANNICK PELLETIER analysed all the games of the tiebreaks. | Photos: World Chess

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Tour de force

A lot can be said about what happened during the classical portion of the match, especially about the fact that it ended without a single decisive result. However, the palpable tension and the increasing rise of expectation established before the tiebreaks gave way to a fascinating final showdown scenario. For the chess world, Wednesday was clearly the most important date in this year's calendar — a champion was to be crowned no matter what. For such high-class competitors as Magnus and Fabiano, it probably would not have made much of a difference if the tiebreaks would have been played on a desert island...

But they were far from isolated. Chess fans all over the world tuned in to follow the action, while mainstream media outlets also showed up in London to report for a much wider general audience — networks as big as NBC, ABC, CBS, USA Today, the New York Times and Eurosport were present. Lucy Hawking, the daughter of one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century, Stephen Hawking, made the first move — she shared a childhood experience:

I used to play chess with my father, but since I was a little girl I didn’t understand that he was a genius…I was mystified [by] why he always won.

Lucy Hawking almost played 1.c3? for Magnus, but then corrected to 1.c4

For those of us more in touch with the game, Carlsen's decision to so intentionally go for the rapid tiebreaks made a lot of sense. After all, we have seen through the years how dominant he is when it comes to accelerated time controls. And not only that — we have also seen how this is clearly not Fabiano's forte. Before the games, the difference in rapid ratings between the two contenders was no less than 91 points (now the gap has widened to 136, with Magnus having an outstanding 2902 live rating!)

Nevertheless, Fabiano had shown great nerves throughout the match, and Magnus did not appear to be at his best. Everything was still possible.

Four games with 25 minutes per side plus a 10-second increment were to be played, with blitz mini-matches and Armageddon to follow in case of a tie. The first game started at 3 p.m. in London, so it was not hard to imagine for things to wrap up by around 9 or 10 in the evening, particularly if we take into account how close and tense the classical games had been. 

But a different plot was in store...

Tiebreak summary

GM Daniel King presents a brief summary of the games

Game 1

Carlsen had the white pieces and opened with 1.c4, taking the battlefield to his terrain of controlled positional struggles — the Norwegian used a rare line with 4.e4 to reach this goal. Soon enough, it was clear that Fabiano was having problems in handling the position, and by move 27 the players reached a rook endgame in which White was a pawn up:


Would Magnus manage to convert this? After all, he could not take advantage of a very favourable position in the first classical game. 

The maxim "all rook endgames are drawn" seemed close to being once again proven true, as Fabiano put up great resistance. However, first he let Magnus' king off the back-rank with 34...Rc3 — "not losing, but a bad idea" (D. Fernandez) — and then completely gave away his drawing chances when he grabbed the e-pawn:


37.Kxe4? turned out to be the losing blunder, when it was necessary to check White's king with 37...Ra2+ — the idea was to create mating threats on h1 with the kings on f3 and h3. Carlsen showed good technique and took the full point after 55 moves.

This was the first decisive game of the match, and one that was a definite turning point — Magnus' boost of confidence provoked by this victory was key in what was to come.

Magnus showing he is well-versed in rook endgames

Game 2

The pressure was now on Caruana, who opened 1.e4 for the seventh time in London, and Magnus offered to explore a similar Sveshnikov Sicilian as the one seen in game twelve — the champion did not change his strategy after getting the advantage in the match. Fabiano, true to the nature of the position, played 12.h4, a move favoured by the engine but also a manoeuvre that according to Judit Polgar was not easy for Fabiano, as "he couldn't feel the dynamics of the position".

In a rich position, the Challenger showed courage with a pawn break:


With his king still in the centre, Caruana opened up the position with the sharp 21.c5. Here is when Carlsen showed his class, though. In the following sequence of moves, he did not falter despite the difficulties — and then he took advantage of Caruana's mistakes. The American was already in deep trouble after, once again, pushing his c-pawn:


Black's knight is about to get to e5 with decisive effect, so it was imperative to defend against this strategical threat with 26.Bd4. Caruana's 26.c7?, on the other hand, was losing. It was evident that Carlsen had calculated this idea, as he immediately captured with 26...Bxc7. The game continued 27.Nxc7 Ne5, and Caruana erred again with 28.Nd5?:


Fabiano is counting on a knight fork from e7 — Carlsen, aware of this, did not take long to play the cool and accurate 28...Kh7. Everything is hanging in White's position. At this point, Caruana looked a bit shell-shocked; he took a few glances at the clock and resigned. 

Carlsen was up 2:0 and only a miracle could save the American.

Three long weeks that followed a long preparation phase about to be over

Game 3

The previous game had proven that Carlsen was in 'beast mode', completely in control of his emotions and with his confidence up to its usual (very) high standard — that did not change in the third encounter. He set up a Maroczy Bind structure from a Sicilian and created a harmonious position, with total control over the d5-square:


Caruana started to look for chances with 21...Ne7, but in the long run, as it tends to happen in these situations, he only managed to give White space and opportunities. 

The position was objectively balanced, but the match situation clearly called for Black to try to muddy the waters. Carlsen did not falter, though. It was all about control, and apparently nothing could perturb the champion's concentration. By move 49, he was already winning, and he even managed to finish off the match with two queens on the board:


The same c-pawn that caused Fabiano to lose game three promoted into a queen in the next encounter. After 50.c8Q f4 51.Qg4, Caruana resigned and Carlsen kept his title after getting a whopping 3:0 score in the tiebreaks.

Carlsen showed his strength

Tiebreak games analysed by GM Daniel Fernandez

English GM Daniel Fernandez provided expert analyses of Carlsen's three rapid victories:


The aftermath

A clearly satisfied Magnus started the press conference with a relaxed statement: "I felt that I had a really good day at work today. [...] Everything went perfectly". Caruana humbly accepted the result, declaring in a post-game interview: "I think the results show that he is the strongest player in the world…and he is the World Champion, so it's quite fitting".

The final press conference

In the closing ceremony that followed, Carlsen thanked his team and the organisers. He was emphatic when praising his opponent:

Thanks to my opponent for a great fight. He showed himself to be an extremely strong player, versatile and very, very tough to beat. [...] I don't think we've seen the last from Fabiano in this particular context.   

Regarding his decision from the twelfth game, the champion said:

I made a sporting decision that I felt very comfortable with at the time, and I would have believed it to be the right one regardless of the result in the [tiebreaks].

He then clarified:

I've been a chess professional now for many years [...]. One of the things that I've never done very well is listen to other people's advice. I've always gone my way and that's what I did this time. [...] And it's brought me this trophy today.

Carlsen with trophy

A satisfied champion | Photo: Niki Riga

Former World Champion — and former Magnus' trainer — Garry Kasparov congratulated Magnus and Fabiano on Twitter. He noted what Caruana’s ‘mistake’ was:

As per usual, Fabiano showed great sportsmanship and quickly posted:

It was a unique and hard-fought match, with a deserving winner and a worthy challenger. Will we see a rematch in 2020?  

A great Challenger

Replay the first moves of the tiebreaks with commentary

Judit Polgar and Anna Rudolf provided live commentary for the official boradcast

Final press conference

Carlsen: "Everything went perfectly"

Round-up shows

GM Yannick Pelletier reviews the game

All games of the match


Macauley Peterson contributed reporting from London


Antonio is a freelance writer and a philologist. He is mainly interested in the links between chess and culture, primarily literature. In chess games, he skews towards endgames and positional play.
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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/2/2018 05:51
@ jsaldea12:

"No NEED to go into details of the formats of rapid-blitz.. Let the organizers/promoters decide"

But the question is precisely the question of the format of the Rapid and Blitz World Championships!!

Because, otherwise, as the Rapid and Blitz World Championships already exist, there wouldn't be any problem!!

If you consider that the format isn't a problem, what are you asking to President Dvorkovich?

But, in my opinion, as these 2 World Championships are both Swiss System tournaments, their format is totally inadequate for a World Championship.
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 12/2/2018 03:19
Reiterating Open letter to Hon. FIDE Pres. Arkady Dvorkovich

Suggested rapid/blitz chess tournament other than classical chess tournament

Classical chess championship is for the highly ELO players and too long in this modern world. On the other hands, Rapid-blitz chess is fast your eyes can see and follow in thIs rapidly changing time, it can be suited for TVs, internets, radios. DEFINITELY WILL ATTRACT MORE AUDIENCE, and the beauty, it is cheaper, less expense and less strenuous to organizers and promoters.

No NEED to go into details of the formats of rapid-blitz.. Let the organizers/promoters decide

Jose S. Aldea
Dec. 2, 2018
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/2/2018 02:01
On the Rapid-Blitz. Are you totally sure cumulating both is a good idea? That would not be if you consider that they are different in nature, in a comparable way that classic is different in nature that rapid and blitz.

If it would be so close in nature, rankings in blitz and rapid would be similar, and it is comparably different as it is different in classic.

For example, in blitz, MVL is a close second, only two points from Carlsen - in Rapid, MVL is seventh, 117 points behind - Carlsen is first, and the second behind him, Nakamura, is 59 points behind (live ratings, December 2, 2018).
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/2/2018 10:43
@ jsaldea12:

A possible schedule for the combined Rapid and Blitz World Championship could be:

- Rapid double-round robin (18 games on 4 days - per day: 5 or 4 games).

- (Rest day.)

- Blitz double-round robin (18 games on 2 days - per day: 9 games).

- (Rest day.)

- Rapid match between the two top-finishers in the cumulative results of the Rapid and Blitz double-round robins (12 games on 3 days - per day: 4 games).

- Blitz match between the two top-finishers in the cumulative results of the Rapid and Blitz double-round robins (12 games on 1 day).

(Total number of days: 12 days.)

The Champion would be the player who would have the most points cumulatively in the Rapid and Blitz matches; in case of a tie in the match-section, the winner would be the player who would have the most points cumulatively in the Rapid and Blitz double-round robins. (And, if still tied - which would occur very rarely, in my opinion... -, some of the usual tiebreaking methods: individual results of the tied players - using the cumulative results of the double-round robins -, number of wins, Sonneborn-Berger, etc..)
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/2/2018 09:57
@ jsaldea12:

Perhaps indeed, the best would be a combined "Rapid and Blitz World Championship" as it would create two well-defined competitions, placing the emphasis on the quality of the games for the classical time controls, and on an important "time element" in the Rapid and Blitz World Championship.

And it would be possible to use, for example, the system I proposed, adding the results of the two double-round robin tournaments (...for example, if a player has 11 points in the Rapid and 13 points in the Blitz, he would have a 24-points cumulative result...), and, for the match, having the players play twelve Rapid games and twelve Blitz games.

(One possibility, to decide the participants of the "tournament part", would be to add their ranks in the Blitz World Ranking and in the Rapid World Ranking; to give a concrete example, Vachier-Lagrave is 2nd in Blitz and 11th in Rapid: he would be 6.5 in "Blitz + Rapid"; Nakamura is 3d in Blitz and 2nd in Rapid: he would be 2.5 - and thus above Vachier-Lagrave - for "Blitz + Rapid". I think this would be better than to add the Elo points, for example, because if, for example, a player dominates with a huge margin one of the two time controls, with this last system, it would mean that he could be rather far in the rankings in the other time controls while still staying in 1st rank globally. While to add the players' ranks would mean that they must necessarily be good in both time controls, and I think this would be better for a "combined" Rapid and Blitz World Championship.)
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 12/2/2018 08:28
I, too, favor both classical chess and rapid/blitz chess to co-exist.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/2/2018 05:35
Questions for the partisans of classical-games-only tournament for World Championship.

Assuming a classical chess tournament with only classical games for World championship, do you agree that:

1) - there should be a maximal number of games (even 12 is tiring, but maybe it could be more) not too high to ensure that the chess competition does not become a physical fitness competition – to me 18 seems like a big maximum. Also, we must think about the organizers and people following on the Internet. Nowadays, a lot of people follow on the Internet. In the false-memory good old days (24 games, champion kept title in case of equality), the general public may have had a distract look in the newspapers and only dedicated aficionados would follow it. Now we have to maintain the interest of people with an intermediate interest.

Also think of the organizers - having to lodge and take care of a lot of people (journalists, players’ teams, etc. ) for a longer time. And the commentators - hard to find something interesting to say during the long times the players think - even after 12 games :0). But again, even if we think only of the players, 18 seems to me as a big maximum - this is very hard and demanding – it is a chess competition, not a physical endurance competition.

2) In the case of a tie in reality, it would be unfair to artificially declare one of the participants as the champion – which then means we would have co-champions – which requires thinking of what to do in such an event - but there are possible solutions. But one discussion at a time.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/2/2018 05:16
@ jsaldea12: As for me, I don't consider classical chess, on the one hand, and Rapid and Blitz chess, on the other hand, as being in competition one with the other; I think that both can coexist without any problems in the Chess World!...

But I would like to see really well organized Rapid and Blitz World Championships (or, as you suggested, a combined Rapid + Blitz World Championship)...
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 12/2/2018 02:32
Open letter to Pres. Dvorkovich

The beauty of rapid/blitz chess tournament over classical chess tournament

Classical chess championship is for the highly ELO players and too long in this modern world. On the other hands, Rapid/blitz chess is fast moving in thIs fast addictive time your eyes can see and follow. in TVs, internets, radios. DEFINITELY MORE INTERESTING, WILL ATTRACT MORE AUDIENCE, and the beauty, it is cheaper, less expense and strenuos to organizers and promoters.

This is suggestion by Petrarlsen and undersigned.

Congrats to GM Nakamura and GM SO for winning in speed chess!!!
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/1/2018 09:43
@ jsaldea12: "A separate world chess championship would be more interesting: one classical and the other one rapid-bliz." It could be interesting indeed!
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 12/1/2018 01:41
A separate world chess championship would be more interesting: one classical and the other one rapid-bliz. How about that Pres. Dvorkovich
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 12/1/2018 01:31
I agree wholeheartedly with Petrarsen.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/1/2018 01:09
@ jsaldea12: I don't know for others, but, as for me, I follow both Classical and accelerated (Rapid or Blitz) competitions; I find both very interesting, but also very different: Classical means the best quality possible for games between human players (...rather fascinating, in fact; it represents the limit of what a human alone can do in chess...), while accelerated time controls highlight the ability of the players to play at a good level with a much shorter reflexion time. Yes; for me, both are quite interesting...

I also think that, for the Rapid and Blitz World Championship to be fully successful, it should be necessary to change the format. Perhaps into something like, for example, 1) A double-round robin (on four days for the Rapid tournament) between the top-ten players (top-ten in Blitz ratings for the Blitz World Championship, and top-ten in Rapid ratings for the Rapid World Championship). 2) A 14-games match (on three days, for the Rapid tournament) between the two top finishers of the double-round robin (using as a tiebreaker the results of the double-round robin: in case of a tie at the end of the match, the winner of the tournament is the Champion).
PatChessFan PatChessFan 12/1/2018 01:04
Carisen has become a somewhat boring classical chess player...his match record is not as good as several other world champions. One win in 24 games and comparatively few memorable games . His classical rating may well be lower than Caruana's soon enough ...especially if Nakamura stops losing so many games.

He is clearly a truly superb rapid and blitz player and great to's possible he simply enjoys this type of chess many of us do.
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 12/1/2018 12:40
I agree 105%, the idea of having two world chess championships: classical championship and rapid-blitz championship. If this would be considered, and it should be SERIOUSLY considered, who do you think will attract more audience and be more exciting, classical or rapid-blitz?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 11:26
@ badibadibadi (2/2):

And even if the present system would be considered to be a "Combined" World Championship, it would still not be coherent, for two reasons:

1) Because, as I have already said, there would be no reasons to have a Blitz, a Rapid, and a Combined World Championship without having a pure Classical World Championship. 2) And because, anyway, the present system would be a very bad combined World Championship, as we have seen in practice that (since the 2006 match) accelerated time controls are only present in half of the matches (so half of the matches, in practice, aren't at all "combined"), and no match went to the Blitz part of the tiebreaks (so that, at best, this system is, in practice, a mix between Classical and Rapid chess - and I wouldn't see any reason to exclude altogether Blitz chess of a Combined World Championship: if the idea is to show the versatility of the players, let's go all the way, and make them also demonstrate their Blitz abilities; I don't see why we should "stop full in the middle of the road").

So, in my opinion, if Classical chess would still be considered as a viable form of chess (and I very much think that it is), two possibilities would be coherent: 1) Three World Championships, Blitz, Rapid, and pure Classical. 2) Or four World Championships, Blitz, Rapid, pure Classical, and Combined (Blitz + Rapid + Classical).

We see the results of having such an illogical hybrid system as the present one: The Classical World Championship titles 2016 and 2018 have been both obtained in Rapid games by Carlsen... but the 2017 Rapid World Champion is Anand!!! So who is the King of Rapid Chess??? The Classical World Champion, Carlsen, who stays there thanks to Rapid games? Or the real Rapid World Champion, Anand? This highlights quite well, in my opinion, the inconsistencies of the present system...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 11:17
@ badibadibadi (1/2):

- "@Petrarlsen : "this would make a complete confusion between the World Rapid and the classical World Championship. ". This is exactly what is going on right now."

I obviously agree, but with Henrique Marinho's system, it would be even worse still.

- "I don't think the rapid tie break idea is all that bad, but only it should not come so fast."

The problem is that the whole system, in general, isn't coherent.

There is a Rapid World Championship. And a Blitz Championship. Why should the third World Championship be a mixt of Classical, Rapid, and Blitz? It simply seems logical that the third World Championship should be a pure Classical World Championship.

Or, if it would be considered that "Classical Chess is Dead" (...or more or less something like that - I would completely disagree with this, by the way...), the Classical World Championship should be suppressed altogether.

Another possibility: to have FOUR and not three World Championships: Blitz, Rapid, Classical and Combined (a mix of the three others - it would highlight the versatility of the players and be some sort of a "chess triathlon").
peterhaslund peterhaslund 11/30/2018 08:10
all you sorry ass eastern european wannabes can take your coward remarks and stuff them where the sun don't shine. yes, that's putin's. magnus is the best player in the world at chess period. and it's not even close. this match against his highest rated opponent yet he controlled every game and only was in any danger one game to a computer mate in 46. don't get confused ivans. just because sesse sees it does not make u a strong player. back to square one and come back when u can challenge the king of chess.
badibadibadi badibadibadi 11/30/2018 06:06
I don't think the rapid tie break idea is all that bad, but only it should not come so fast. Even result after 12 draws doesn't mean the players are even in classical time control. All theses 12 games matchs except for a few exceptions always were extremely close, because at this level it is simply not so easy to beat an opponent so easily.

Only, we need the 24 games format back. Then if the score is even, then ok for a rapid tie break, maybe 12 games format is a good format for a rapid tie break actually.
badibadibadi badibadibadi 11/30/2018 05:57
@Petrarlsen : "this would make a complete confusion between the World Rapid and the classical World Championship. ". This is exactly what is going on right now.

@fixpont : The actual World Championship Classical Chess format is like a one half soccer game with straight penalties.


Carlsen is the world champion of the Classical/Rapid mix, but that's it. Definately, not the undisputed best Classical Chess player in the World anymore. He is very honnest and humble in that regard since he admitted it himself at the press conference saying he has to work on his classical chess which has deteriorated over the years.

One of the reasons it might have deteriorated is that he focused heavily on faster time control, rapid, but also blitz and even bullet. "Blitz kills idea" said Fischer and he was as good as anybody as a blitz player.

Maybe the future of chess is a mixture of time controls, if that's the way it is, let it be.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 04:37
@ fixpont: And if you would say that tennis and table tennis are by essence different, which isn't the case for classical games and Blitz games, I would answer that it is the same for penalty shoot-outs, which aren't at all a "miniature football match" (for many reasons, but in particular because there are a series of individual confrontations, while football in general is by essence a team sport).

In this respect, my comparison between classical and Blitz chess, on the one hand, and marathon and 100 meters, on the other hand, is much better than your soccer match / penalty shoot-outs comparison, or my tennis / table tennis comparison, because to run, be it for 42.195 kilometres or for 100 meters, is always to run, as well as to play chess is always to play chess, whether in classical chess or in Blitz.

But to run for 100 meters or for 42.195 kilometres doesn't mean the same thing, and to be the best in Blitz chess or in classical doesn't mean the same thing either... this being the reason why Blitz (and Rapid) chess isn't a satisfying tiebreaker for classical chess.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 04:17
@ fixpont: It could also be compared to a system in which, for a tennis match, under certain conditions, the players would have to switch to table tennis if their results are too close.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 04:14
@ fixpont: It would be quite possible to say that if two runners end up with a very small gap, it isn't significant (the same idea as the draw in chess - even if the position is better for one player, it isn't sufficient; it is necessary to be able to checkmate the opponent).

And, anyway, this isn't the most important; what really counts is that it is as absurd to use Blitz as a tiebreak for a Classical World Championship that it would be to use 100 meters as a tiebreak for a marathon.
fixpont fixpont 11/30/2018 03:46
@Petrarlsen: those are the same people who have no better idea.
fixpont fixpont 11/30/2018 03:45
@Petrarlsen your comment makes little sense since in marathon, "draw" is almost impossible there is no need to introduce tie-break system in marathon. But in soccer and especially chess, draw happens more often, you have to deal with it somehow.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 02:18
@ fixpont: Then marathons, when the runners are too close when passing the finish line, could be decided by a 100-metres. Deal with it.
mc1483 mc1483 11/30/2018 01:58
@fixpon: that's why penalty kicks for deciding soccer world championships are heavily criticized.
fixpont fixpont 11/30/2018 01:55
If the soccer world championship (which sport is million times more popular than chess, there are more mony and bigger stakes in it) can be decided on penalty kicks then chess WC can be decided on faster time control. Deal with it.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 01:54
@ Henrique Marinho: Carlsen dominates Rapid and Blitz; I don't see why it should be necessary to give him the possibility to dominate the Classical World Championship thanks to his superiority in accelerated time controls.

It seems to me only logical that, in classical time controls, the decisive factor should be a player's ability in classical time controls.

With the present system, Carlsen already keeps his title only thanks to his superior rapid play ( isn't Carlsen's fault; he plays using the system which is given to him...); it would be worse still with your system. And it wouldn't be logical for the classical World Championship to reward most of all the level of one player in rapid games. In particular as a World Rapid Championship also exists; this would make a complete confusion between the World Rapid and the classical World Championship.
Henrique Marinho Henrique Marinho 11/30/2018 12:37
After the Carlsen-Caruana meeting I think the World Cup should be a mix of rapid and classic games. Rapid 1 and 2 games; classic 3 and 4 games; rapid 5 and 6 games; classic 7 and 8 games; rapid 9 and 10 games and classic 11 and 12 games. Win 1 point, draw 1/2 point and defeat zero points. The encounter starting with fast unbalances and so will remain throughout the encounter that will be decided in classic games.
chessdrummer chessdrummer 11/30/2018 12:29
It seems that people are making the argument that because of computers players simply remember 20 moves of theory and belt them out at the board. That is not the way it works. You still have to understand the ideas and the wrinkles in the position. Even studying with engines doesn't mean you follow the moves by rote memory. In any event, players have been developing openings 20 to 30 moves deep before the age of the computer. The computer simply refines and accelerates the process.
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 11/30/2018 11:35
Speed chess is becoming a very contagious fever at this modern rapidly changing time. Good for TVs, etc. good for promoting chess., eyes can see and follow. ..A Caruana vs. Carlsen on the screen in the next two years?
badibadibadi badibadibadi 11/30/2018 10:40
Carlsen argued himself in the press conference, that more emphasis should be put on rapid and blitz as it is a better way to display chess skills and see who is trully better.

Now, we have a situation where the best classical chess player (even ex-aequo), is also the best rapid/blitz player.

But if it was not for Carlsen, then it might be someone else, much better in Rapid/blitz than anyone else, but definately not so in classical chess.

Classical Chess and Rapid/Blitz display different skills, it is impossible to ponder 40 minutes to discover a brillant fresh idea over the board.

I think there should be a true World Championship cycle for both Blitz and rapid (with a 24 games match at the end) so those who enjoy it would get what they like.

Even in case of a rapid tie break, the first problem is that the 12 games format is way too short, and involves too much luck, one mistake, you lose one game, and it's extremely hard to fight back (bravo to Carlsen for achieving this against Karjakin by the way).

In that 12 games format, the first to make a mistake is pretty much doomed, that's why they were so unwilling to take risks, (game 12 very much illustrated this, Carlsen didn't even want a shot at it)
badibadibadi badibadibadi 11/30/2018 10:33
With this 12 games format, 4 games rapid tie break (blitz armagedon tie break : "lol").

Caruana-Nakamura, I would put my money on Nakamura.

Caruana is a creative player who will often invest a lot of time to find new fresh concepts, which can only be done in a classical time control. This defense with Nd5 and somehow finding a perpetual check, all the commentators live streaming without an engine completely missed it, and this very much illustrates what happened in the game, after finding a wonderfull ressource to hold the game, he then blundered a "simple" move (Ra2+ before taking the pawn) having less than 2 minutes on the clock (we could see how in the 12 previous games such blunders never happened and he never cracked that way).
RayLopez RayLopez 11/30/2018 09:49
I've never seen Carlsen act that outrageously. Can anybody point me to a specific YouTube video? I think there are a lot of hypersensitive "snowflakes" of the PC-American variety who think a player having an occasional temper tantrum, like Kasparov used to have, is a big negative, but if you know human nature, it's not. I think, though I was rooting for Caruana, that Carlsen is the better ambassador for chess, as he is a bit more edgy. I do think we should extend the format to 24 games however.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 07:11
"A 7 hour game is usually higher quality chess than a 4 hour game. The idea of the classical World Championship is to see the best chess that can be produced in a single sitting. (...) Personally, I like to see what the elite players can produce when given plenty of time to think." (Keshava)

I agree. With today's time control, World Championship games represent more or less the best chess a human can play; this gives a particular interest to these games.

If I want to see games in which time is a central element, then I follow a Rapid or Blitz tournament - it is also quite interesting, but this is not what I expect in a Classical World Championship. In my opinion, the central element in a Classical World Championship is the quality of the games.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/30/2018 07:01
@ kburtram:

"Kasparov fighting for his life on the brink of elimination in 1984 was exactly what I had in mind."

I think that, as this match was played more than a third of century ago, you probably forget the content of many games of this match.

When some say that Carlsen and Caruana have no fighting spirit, etc. and that a player as Kasparov had a fantastic fighting spirit, they remember only the most remarkable of Kasparov's games, and forget many others.

If Carlsen and Caruana had played some of the games of the 1984 match, the public's reaction would be ten-times worse than for what we have seen in this match.

For example, 3 games in which Kasparov played White:

- Draw in 15 moves:

- Draw in 16 moves:

- Draw in 17 moves:

And one game with Black:

- Draw in 13 moves:

(I have only made a very quick research in this enormous match, and these aren't perhaps even the most topical examples...)

There is always a tendency to think that, in the old days, things were better (and, sometimes, it can be quite true), but as for non-fighting games, it is rather the opposite; it would be unthinkable to have such short and "empty" games in a modern World Championship match.

But nonetheless, obviously, for the 1984 match, the format was clearly the main reason for this multiplication of drawn (and frequently quite lifeless) games, as Kasparov and Karpov then played 4 more World Championship matches without any comparable endless series of draws...
ARK_ANGEL ARK_ANGEL 11/30/2018 06:31
Fabiano is a class player and humble human being. I reserve great respect. And classical chess is officially over now. There is not point of spending lot on classical chess. Instead FIDE should only hold rapid and blitz. I agree Carlsen did nothing injustice and well played with in the system of course with out no class. This classical format has to be changed back to 24 games format. Other wise there is no point for a classical world championship. If I were Curana I def say in the press conference "I am proved to be equal to world champion strength. But I didn't want to be a rapid champion in a classical format.". Carlsen seriously damaged the world champions honor with his coward play. Now future players will take this lesson from him.
Keshava Keshava 11/30/2018 05:41
A 7 hour game is usually higher quality chess than a 4 hour game. The idea of the classical World Championship is to see the best chess that can be produced in a single sitting. In the past the world championship was even slower - 40 moves in 2 1/2 hours (of course they had adjournments back then). With the use of engines we can compare the level of play in the current world championship match to those previous. So that is interesting. Besides, there is already a rapid chess championship for people who like to see more wins and losses. Even at rapid time control the top engines draw a lot against each other. That means as the level of play improves so will draws - even at rapid time control. The more you speed things up the greater advantage certain players (like Magnus) have - Kasparov considers it something special about Magnus - that he loses maybe 15% of skill at rapid time control (compared to classical) whereas most other GM's lose more. Personally, I like to see what the elite players can produce when given plenty of time to think.
Masquer Masquer 11/30/2018 04:36
manu1945 makes a good point. Slow chess does not have to be this slow.