Sunday, May 26, 2019                

Commentary

Magnus Carlsen retains his World Champion title by defeating Fabiano Caruana 3-0 in the rapid games after the match of classic games was tied 6-6.

The World Championship: 12 game match between Magnus Carlsen (Nor) and challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA) in London in November. Prize money: 1 million Euros (1.6m AUD), shared 60% winner:40% loser.

Description of games and links to after game video analyses by Peter Svidler: 

Game 1:  Interesting game (Sicilian-Rossolimo) with opposite sides castling. Carlsen, with black, has a strong advantage in position and on the clock. Caruana is fortunate to survive. Draw (115 moves). Analysis.

Game 2:  Caruana plays quickly and is well prepared with a new idea for black in Queen's Gambit. Carlsen uses a lot of time to navigate a safe path and is content to have a rook ending a pawn down. Draw (49 moves). Rest day to follow - Sunday. Analysis.

Game 3: A less exciting game (Sicilian - Rossolimo) where major pieces get swapped. Carlsen gains an advantage in the endgame, but insufficient to win. Draw (49 moves). Analysis.

Game 4: Caruana confidently counteracts the English opening from Carlsen. Draw (34 moves). Analysis. Rest day to follow - Wed.

Game 5: Another Sicilian Rossilmo opening from Caruana, but he tries a gambit line which seems to surprise everyone except Carlsen. After a tactical melee, Carlsen ends up with a small advantage, but insufficient to bother Caruana. Draw (34 moves). Analysis.

Game 6: Great play from both players. An unusual Petroff line with lots of knight manoeuvring sees Caruana, with black, eventually get the better of Carlsen. Carlsen attempts to relieve the pressure by giving up a piece for two pawns. In a complex endgame, Caruana misses an obscure winning manoeuvre. Draw (80 moves). Analysis. Rest day to follow - Sat.

Halfway through the match and honours are even. Both players seem well-prepared and both have had winning chances. If the match goes to 6 all, then they play a series of rapid games. Carlsen has the better record in rapid play, so there is perhaps more pressure on Caruana to go for a win in the remainder of the match.

Game 7: Repeat opening from Game 2 (Queen's Gambit Declined), but little new from Carlsen with white. Both players play it safe and avoid complications. A tame draw results. Analysis. Draw (40 moves)

Game 8: Sicilian Sveshnikov leads to a sharp position where Caruana is clearly better prepared than Carlsen. Carlsen way behind on the clock, but imprecise play by Caruana eases the pressure.Analysis. Draw (38 move). Rest day to follow (Tue).

Game 9: English Opening. Reverse of game 8. This time Carlsen plays the opening quickly and gets an advantage in position and time, but imprecise play eases his opponent's problems. Analysis. Draw (58 moves).

Game 10: Sicilian Sveshnikov with novelty from Caruana. Carlsen creates attacking chances but they peter out. Analysis. Draw (54 moves). Rest day to follow (Fri).

Game 11: Petroff opening. Caruana again surprises Carlsen who is then content to exchange pieces and head for a drawn endgame. Analysis. Draw (55 moves). Rest day to follow (Sun).

Game 12: Sicilian Sveshnikov. Carlsen gets a significant advantage in position and time but fails to press and instead offers a draw after 31 moves which Caruana is happy to accept. Analysis. Draw (31 moves).

 

The main part of the match has ended in a 6 all tie. So, it will now go to a series of rapid play games to decide the title on Wed evening. Comments and details.

Rapid Games: Carlsen wins 3-0. Games & Analysis.

 

Meanwhile, the Women's World Championship Knockout tournament is taking place Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia (Official website). The 4 game final has been reached between Kateryna Lagno (Russia) and Ju Wenjun (China), the current World Women's Champion.

Game 1: Draw.  

Game 2: Lagno outplays her opponent in the endgame. Match 1.5-0.5 to Lagno

Game 3: Complex tactical game, but a draw. Match 2-1 to Lagno with one game to go.

Game 4: Ju Wenjun wins and the match goes to a tiebreak of rapid games. 

Ju Wenjun wins the tiebreak and retains her title of World Women's Champion.

Next year the women will begin a cycle of Candidates matches and World Title match similar in structure to the Open cycle.

 

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