Carlsen keeps his crown

Sportstar - - CHESS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - In Lon­don, the two high­est­rated chess play­ers of our times played 12 drawn games in the clas­si­cal time for­mat, but reign­ing world cham­pion Mag­nus Carlsen emerged a ram­pag­ing 3­0 win­ner in the best­of­four rapid tiebreak games against Fabi­ano Caru­ana.

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

GETTY IM­AGES

Epic bat­tle: Mag­nus Carlsen had chances of break­ing the dead­lock in the first and 12th games.

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