GM Alex Yermolinsky recaps games 5 and 6 of the World Championship 2018
After the first six games, Carlsen and Caruana are tied 3-3. GM Alex Yermolinaky analyzes the last two games and shares his impressions of the first half of the epic battle for the crown.
Black is the new White. At least in this match. We all were concerned about Fabiano having to play two games in a row with the black pieces, but in game 6 the American was the only one to have chances to interrupt the series of draws that is characterizing the encounter for the crown. At a point, it looked like Carlsen was going down, and the excitement of the fans skyrocketed. But the genius from Norway held up, sacrificing a piece for two pawns, knowing that Caruana would have pushed for hours in the attempt to finally score, but with no success. It was probably nothing serious for the WC, but we, the people, thought something amazing was going to happen, and unleashed our excitement on the socials. Even Nakamura tweeted something on the line "if this endgame is a draw, then chess is irremediably drawn". Not really. Carlsen had calculated rightly. He's commonly regarded as an endgame wizard, and today he showed once more that it's super-hard to beat him. Especially because Magnus knows he's playing a human being, and not some abstruse super-computer which saw a mate in 33 (!), after an alleged "blunder" played by the World Champion in the endgame.
So, it the sixth draw out of six games, with some probably exaggerated noise in game 6. Now, as Dante Alighieri, the greatest Italian poet wrote, 800 years ago: "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, ché la diritta via era smarrita" - "Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost": the two contestants are sinking into a sort of depressing immobilism. Neither seems to be able to force a mistake or to outplay the other. The games slide away without any real gasp. Too smooth, too "equal". And, though this adds up to the uncertainty of the outcome, the public is getting restless. The socials are flooded with satirical comments. GM Alexander Grischuk today came out with a hilarious comment: "Kramnik told me in France they're going to have a reality show. They'll put some cameras in the coffin & there'll just be a dead body in the coffin-lights & cameras. Twice per day 15 minutes on TV with highlights & 24/7 on the internet. It's about as exciting as this game!". Probably just a bit too much, but it gives the idea on how people feel about the match. Actually, the level of these games is extremely good. It's a battle of nerves, and under such gargantuan pressure, these two young men managed to play good chess, without blunders or weak moves. Chess at this level, and with the World Champion's Crown at stake, is something that's not easy to grasp for the vast majority of us mere mortals. Of course, we do need to comment and express our frustration, to participate and feel part of the community that is following this amazing event worldwide.
November the 17th is a rest day, and ICC's GM Alex Yermolinsky recaps and analyzes games 5 and 6 for us LIVE on ICC's YouTube channel. Don't miss Yermo's show.
Another draw. That's what stands out, obviously. But today Caruana, knowing that now he will have to face his mighty opponent two times in a row with black, tried to spice up the game in the opening. In a Sicilian - again - Fabiano played 6.b4!?! Not a novelty, as it was played more than once, and notably in Fischer-Spassky 1992. Carlsen looked a bit surprised, from his facial expressions, but he was able to play through it with apparent ease, and even got what we might call a very slight advantage. Not anything that would allow fireworks, but playing black and coming out of the opening equal is already good. After "neutralizing" Fabi's surprise, Magnus played solidly, and Fabiano did the same. The game went quickly into a very equal position, and the two chess wizards agreed on a draw at move 33.
The first of the three out of four games in a row Carlsen will play with White is over, and Caruana managed to stop any initiative and hold the Champion to a draw in game 4. So, after four games, the tension keeps mounting as neither of the contestants has been able to score a full point. And it's due to get higher as the games go by. In a short 12-game match, losing a game can be deadly, especially in such a balanced match. It is true that a victory would change the whole psychological aspect of the match, but these guys have nerves made of steel, and with a full point of advantage, the match would look shorter and shorter. On the other hand, should the equilibrium resist until the end, the tiebreaks favor Carlsen, who is the strongest Blitz player ever. Maybe in Rapid play Caruana will be able to resist the hurricane, but in Blitz, he's just got no chances at all. This is why probably Caruana, as soon as he gets back playing white, will have to push a bit more, be less cautious, try something to throw Carlsen off balance, and see if he can squeeze in a win. Tomorrow is a rest day, and ICC will publish a video-recap - FREE for everyone to watch.
As almost always happens, a World Championship Match is a psychological war. These first three games have shown how delicate is the equilibrium, and how difficult is for the two foes to maintain their focus, to back up every decision they have to take at the board. the media are on the two young men, reporting every facial expression, every gesture. And probably this adds on the pressure. Today Twitter has been flooded for a while about Carlsen touching a Knight, and the moving another piece. everyone knows that this is not allowed, and the people on Twitter were claiming that nobody had heard the Champion utter the usual formula "j'adoube" before touching the knight. Of course, Carlsen had declared his intention to adjust the knight's position on the board, but everyone needed a moment of thrilling to revive a game that, for the vast majority of the viewers, was trailing slowly but implacably to another draw. Caruana is holding the proverbial ability of the champion in endgames at bay, at least for now. The American, in these first three games, was able to keep himself away from the strangling technique of Python Carlsen. Today Carlsen said that he has never been playing for a win in the third game, and that makes it clear how hard is this epic match.
GM Alex Yermolinsky recaps the first two games of the World Championship 2018
After the first two games, Carlsen and Caruana are tied 1-1. GM Alex Yermolinaky analyzes the games and shares with us his impressions on this beginning of the epic battle for the crown.
After the epic struggle Caruana had to face in Game 1, today the American with an Italian name looked much more comfortable at the board, holding with relative ease a draw with the black pieces. Fabiano was never in trouble, and entered a rook endgame with a better pawn structure. Carlsen opened with 1.d4, and then the game went on into a Clasiccal Queen Gambit Declined (with 5.Bf4). A very well known opening played at any level. The fans, after the battle they witnessed yesterday, were probably expecting the two foes to go on and on, trying to tire out each other. But his time Carlsen didn't feel like "waiting and hoping for a blunder", in a slightly worse position, and they agreed to draw the game at move 49.
Tomorrow is a rest day. GM Alex Yermolinsky, at 5 PM EST (23:00 CET), will analyze the first two games and share his feelings LIVE on the ICC YouTube Channel. Don't miss Alex's LIVE show! Here is the link to WATCH Here is today's game.
What a game! It's been a game for the books, no matter mistakes and inaccuracies. It was the two strongest players alive, and they showed the world what stamina is. 7 hours, 115 moves of pure thrill. After such a battle, one would have expected these two supermen to hug, but of course it didn't happen. Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana made the day - a long one - of millions of followers, that have been watching the game from all over the world. Yes, the two contestants have made mistakes, but isn't that what one would expect from human beings? IM Greg Shahade, always witty and sagacious, epitomized all the screaming that happened over the socials when Magnus Carlsen - apparently - didn't convert a "winning" position into the full point, with a hilarious tweet:
The game was a rollercoaster and Caruana said that he was lucky to have survived it. But he's shown how resilient a true champion can and must be. If this is just the beginning, man, we're doomed! Here is the game.
The most awaited event of this frantic - chess-wise - 2018, is finally here!
November the 9th, at 10 AM EST (16:00 CET), the World Championship Match played between Magnus Carlsen (NOR) and Fabiano Caruana (USA) starts, for the joy of millions of fans around the globe.
One can't avoid mentioning that for the first time since Bobby Fischer in 1972, an American is playing in a World Championship match. Obviously, the main question is: How many possibilities are there that we'll see a change at the top of the chess Olympus? I wish we had a crystal ball, or maybe not. It's actually a nice feeling having to wait and enjoy the match, game by game, move by move. The signs lead to think that this will be a tough match, and that's what is needed to make the event a great happening. 2018 has been Fabiano's year, with his successes and the rating skyrocketing, leading the American to a tiny 3-point gap. In the last years, nobody has ever been so close to overcoming Magnus as Numero Uno. Magnus has the experience, and should the match go to rapid and blitz, he's the great favorite and, last but not least, he's Magnus, the strongest living chess player.
All the shows will be broadcast LIVE on ICC's YouTube channel.