Carlsen keeps his crown
Eventually, the expected happened in an extended battle. In the clash involving the two highestrated chess players of our times, fighting for the world title, Magnus Carlsen kept his crown by stopping Fabiano Caruana.
In London, they played 12 drawn games in the classical time format before Carlsen proved his superiority by emerging a rampaging 30 winner in the bestoffour rapid tiebreak games. In all, the duo played 773 moves spread across 15 games in 20 days. A fourth world title brought Carlsen €550,000. Caruana, the gallant challenger, received €450,000.
For the first time in the 132year history of world championship chess matches, draws monopolised the proceedings. There were chances of breaking the deadlock, like Carlsen had in the first and 12th games. But it was destined to finish in tiebreak games.
The manner of rapid games deciding the classical world title is much like, in cricket, the World Test Championship title going to a nation that wins the tiebreak T20 match!
The match brought out the extensive preparation of the duo, separated by just three points in their classical ratings. Carlsen, the world champion since dethroning Viswanathan Anand in 2013 and world No. 1 for the last eight years, is rated 2,■35 to Caruana’s 2,■32!
Not since the epic 1972 clash involving the American genius Bobby Fischer and the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky had the title match evoked such interest across the world. Online viewership kept growing, social media was abuzz with speculation and overall, in spite of the continued deadlock, the clash kept chess lovers involved.
Carlsen, criticised by former champions Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik for offering a draw in a promising position in the 12th game to take the match into the faster time format in which the Norwegian is the topranked player, was extremely pleased with the hardearned win.
“I felt like I had a very good day at work. Everything went perfectly,” was how Carlsen described his feelings after the “rapid” destruction of Caruana in the tiebreaker. Talking about the draw offer he made in the 12th game, the smiling champion said: “I think I made the right decision, and not solely based on the result. As for the opinions of Garry and Vlad, they are entitled
Epic battle: Magnus Carlsen had chances of breaking the deadlock in the first and 12th games.