Watching the World Championship (and Stockfish), by GM ALEX COLOVIC

By GM Alex Colovic / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship

I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit the recently finished match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana at The College, in London’s Holborn armed with Stockfish.

Watching the games where they take place is a unique experience.

>> 13 famous chess games from world chess champions & what you can learn

This was even more so for the World Championship match because I was not alone watching the games – there were a lot of strong players around me with whom I could share opinions and discuss variations.

He doesn't need Stockfish... Magnus Carlsen holds the trophy aloft
He doesn’t need Stockfish… Magnus Carlsen holds the trophy aloft

The main feeling I had while following the games was one of uncertainty. I was never certain what was happening on the board. Yes, I did have an idea of what is probably going on, but there never was certainty.

Quite similar to playing a game myself. And this feeling was shared with the distinguished Grandmasters who were also present.

Stockfish – the answer?

Having to use one’s own brain to figure things out is extremely difficult. The players who are better at this are the better players.

>> Squeaky-bum time as World Chess Championship goes to tie-breaks: Our Game 12 report

Following the game from home is quite a different story. The whole difference can be summed up in one word – Stockfish. The engine is the answer to all questions, even the ones I didn’t know I wanted to ask.

I switch the engine on and everything is clear. I understand why a move was played in an instant. There are no doubts, everything is easy.

The moment I switch the engine off the fog of uncertainty encompasses me immediately. Even if I remember the engine’s recommendations, it’s all unclear why a move should be played and why not another one. It’s back to having to figure out things by myself and this is tough.

Becoming aware of this distinction made me appreciate how strong the best players are. This was most evident when I followed the games with the commentary from Svidler and Grischuk (and later Giri).

The most fascinating thing was to observe how these guys were constantly finding clarity in the mess in front of them by using their brains only. The moves they were suggesting were natural, strong and were never blunders.

And they did this very quickly. Compared to me, they were like engines.

A better understanding

Things weren’t always clear to them, but their lack of clarity was less than mine. It was on a different level. If Stockfish made us equal in understanding everything when turned on, without it these guys were understanding much more than me.

Clarity is what makes chess players strong. The bigger the clarity, the better the understanding of the position, what move needs to be played and why, the stronger a player is.

>> World Chess Championship 2018: A quick round-by-round summary

And how to obtain clarity? Alas, no shortcuts here – the usual chess work of calculation, analysis of classical games, study of openings and endgames cannot be substituted.

The engine can help too, as it gives you the answer to any question, just try not to rely on it too much. When you sit to play your own game it is your brain that needs to be in shape, not the finger pressing the space bar.

Good luck!

13 famous chess games from world chess champions & what you can learn

Magnus Carlsen crushes Fabiano Caruana to win World Chess Championship in tie-breaks

By Leon Watson / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, Uncategorised, World Chess Championship

It has been the longest staredown in history – 12 long drawn-out games. But after 50 nerve-shredding hours of play, one black-eye, and an embarrassing data leak, the world chess champion has been crowned in London.

Norway’s rock star of chess Magnus Carlsen held onto his title in commanding style on Wednesday as he crushed US challenger Fabiano Caruana in a penalty-kick style sudden-death playoff that followed three weeks of deadlock.

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen
World chess champion Magnus Carlsen

Carlsen picks up a prize fund of £487,000 plus 20% of the worldwide pay per view proceeds, while Caruana takes home £400,000.

Caruana, who was bidding to be only game’s 17th king and the first American for 46 years, pushed Carlsen all the way but could not hold on at the end.

Heartbreak for Fabi

“It’s heartbreak for Fabi because he had been doing so well over the course of the 12 games,” said International Master Anna Rudolf.

Chess legend Garry Kasparov, meanwhile, paid tribute to Carlsen’s brilliancy in playoff situations where the time controls get faster.

Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen

“Carlsen’s consistent level of play in rapid chess is phenomenal,” said. “We all play worse as we play faster and faster, but his ratio may be the smallest ever, perhaps only a 15% drop off. Huge advantage in this format.”

The grueling three-week match, every minute of which has been broadcast live in Norway across two channels, was poised on a knife-edge after a record 12 straight draws in the classical version of the game.

Moment of weakness

The previous record had been just eight in Kasparov’s 1995 match against Vishy Anand.
Carlsen, 27, and Caruana, 26, then had to enter overtime to battle it out in rapid and, if needed, blitz – two much faster forms of the game – to find a victor.

Carlsen had the advantage of playing with the white pieces for the first of four mini-games and won swiftly after Caruana blundered. It was the first moment of weakness the American had shown all match.

Carlsen then followed up in the second game as Caruana wilted under the pressure in the fully-enclosed sound-proofed glass tank they were playing in at The College, Holborn. It left Carlsen two nil up and needing just a draw. He then won the final game to secure the result and a very painful end for the American.

Carlsen, who has held the title now for five years, was the heavy favourite going into the playoffs. He is the world’s number one rapid and blitz player, while Caruana is only ranked 8th and 16th respectively.

The main section of the match was described by some as one of the most boring in history as the ultra-high level of play from Carlsen and Caruana only resulted in the world’s top two players battling themselves to a standstill.

However, off the board, there were a series of incidents that have spiced up the match, held in London for the first time since 2000.

‘It was so, so tense’

In round 5, Caruana played without knowing a clip that appeared to reveal tightly held secrets of the American challenger’s preparation had been uploaded to YouTube shortly before the game.
Carlsen’s team had seen it and informed the champion, but Caruana only found out at the post-match press conference.

Then it was Carlsen’s turn. In round 5 he turned up sporting a bandage and a black eye having collided with a Norwegian TV reporter while playing football the day before.

Carlsen Vs Caruana
Carlsen Vs Caruana

He missed a winning chance with an impatient move and the match remained deadlocked.

Added to that, Carlsen has complained about the enclosed glass “fish tank” being too cold and at one key moment the sound-proofing allowing Russian voices to disturb the players.

Lucy Hawking, the novelist daughter of British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, was invited to make the ceremonial first move in the playoff.

She said afterward: “The atmosphere in there was electric! It was so, so tense.”

Carlsen is a former child prodigy who has been dubbed everything from the “Mozart of chess” for his symphonic style to the “Justin Bieber of chess”, for his good looks and trendy quiff. He has modeled for a fashion label, been named one of Cosmopolitan’s sexiest men and given interviews to teen girl magazines.

In 2004 he became a grandmaster aged just 13 years and 148 days, making him the second youngest ever at the time after Russian rival Sergey Karjakin.

Carlsen won his first world championship in 2013 against Anand before becoming the highest-rated player in the history of chess with a peak rating of 2881 in 2014.

He then defended his title again in 2014 and in 2016 against Karjakin.

Carlsen dominates the international chess scene but until today has had an up and down year that has included a record run of draws in classical chess.

World Chess Championship 2018: A quick round-by-round summary

By Leon Watson / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, Uncategorised, World Chess Championship

The World Chess Championship 2018 has been an enormous amount to take in – however much of a superfan you are.

By our (rough) calculations, there have been 637 moves and around 48 hours of chess in total.

Not to mention novelties, shocks, surprises and the odd celebrity.

So to make it easier to get a handle on, we’ve boiled each game down to its bare bones in our quick round-by-round summary of everything that has happened so far:

Round 1

White: Caruana

Opening: Sicilian Rossolimo

Result: Draw.

Andrey Guryev, Vice President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, CEO of PhosAgro, Woody Harrelson, Arkady Dvorkovich, President of FIDE, Stepahne Escafre, The Chief Arbiter of the Match, Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Chess Champion and Fabiano Caruana, US Challenger during the First Move Ceremony (Round 1) of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 on November 9, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for World Chess ) *** Local Caption *** Andrey Guryev; Woody Harrelson; Arkady Dvorkovich; Stepahne Escafre; Ilya Merenzon; Magnus Carlsen; Fabiano Caruana
Woody Harrelson makes the first move, or tries to

Moves: 115

Length of game: Seven hours

Flash verdict: A marathon grind leaves Carlsen kicking himself after missing a winning opportunity with 34… Qe5. He nearly became the first champion to win Game 1 of a world title match as black in 37 years.

Thrills from Carlsen, and spills from Woody: Our Round 1 report


Round 2

White: Carlsen

Opening: Queen’s Gambit Declined

Result: Draw.

Carlsen opened with 1.d4
Carlsen opened with 1.d4

Moves: 49

Length of game: Three and a quarter hours

Flash verdict: Caruana comes back faster, more confident and better prepared. He surprises Carlsen in the opening and the champion then has to defend for the entire game and at the end hold a pawn-down rook endgame.

Speedy Caruana can’t break through Carlsen’s defences: Our Round 2 report


Round 3

White: Caruana

Opening: Rossolimo Sicilian

Result: Draw.

Carlsen-Caruana Game 3: a bore draw
Carlsen-Caruana Game 3: a bore draw?

Moves: 49

Length of game: Four and a quarter hours

Flash verdict: Caruana gets a promising position out of the opening but then wavers and has to defend doggedly against Carlsen.

‘Deadlock’ in Carlsen-Caruana match after third draw: Our Round 3 report


Round 4

White: Carlsen

Opening: English Opening

Result: Draw.

Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano shake hands before the start of Round 4
Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano shake hands before the start of Round 4

Moves: 34

Length of game: Less than three hours

Flash verdict: Not much going on here in this 34-move draw, although Carlsen did offer a novelty with 11. b4, played in less than three hours. Much more interesting was what was happening off the board with Caruana’s YouTube controversy.

Fabiano Caruana’s prep accidentally uploaded to YouTube


Round 5

White: Caruana

Opening: Rossolimo Sicilian

Result: Draw.

Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales makes the ceremonial first move
Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales makes the ceremonial first move

Moves: 34

Length of game: Three-and-a-quarter hours

Flash verdict: Carlsen weathers early fireworks from Caruana to negotiate a peaceful result.

Carlsen snuffs out Caruana’s ‘fireworks’: Our Round 5 report


Round 6

White: Carlsen

Opening: The Petroff

Result: Draw.

Sky News anchor Kay Burley makes the first move
Sky News anchor Kay Burley makes the first move

Moves: 80

Length of game: Six-and-a-half-hours

Flash verdict: An epic. Carlsen narrowly avoids a devastating defeat as he saves a miraculous draw.

Sky News host Kay Burley on chess: ‘It’s so glitzy and fabulous’


Round 7

White: Carlsen

Opening: Queen’s Gambit Declined

Result: Draw.

England junior Shreyas Royal made the first move
England junior Shreyas Royal made the first move

Moves: 40

Length of game: Three-and-a-half-hours

Flash verdict: The same as the second game until Caruana’s rare 10. … Qd8!? but that was the only highlight. Carlsen rues his conservative play (castling instead of playing the sharper 15.Nce4) as the match drifts.

Magnus Carlsen isn’t exactly loving all these draws: Our Game 7 report


Round 8

White: Caruana

Opening: Sveshnikov Sicilian

Result: Draw.

World champion Magnus Carlsen
World champion Magnus Carlsen

Moves: 38

Length of game: Three hours and 43 minutes

Flash verdict:  Carlsen escapes with a draw after Caruana plays the slow 24. h3?! to let him off the hook after three hours and 43 minutes.

Magnus Carlsen brands World Chess Championship sound-proofing failure ‘unacceptable’


Round 9

White: Carlsen

Opening: English Opening

Result: Draw.

Magnus Carlsen's black eye
Magnus Carlsen’s black eye

Moves: 58

Length of game: Three hours and 43 minutes

Flash verdict: Carlsen, sporting a bandage over a black-eye, misses a winning chance with an impatient 25. h5 that allows Caruana to hold for a peaceful result.

For Magnus, the time for talking is clearly over: Our Game 9 report


Round 10

White: Caruana

Opening: Sveshnikov Sicilian

Result: Draw.

Magnus Carlsen's net worth is boosted by his partnership with Iskvar bottled water
Magnus Carlsen’s net worth is boosted by his partnership with Iskvar bottled water

Moves: 54

Length of game: Five-hour and 19 minutes

Flash verdict: Carlsen weathers Caruana’s surprise 12.b4 move to hold on for a nervy draw in a marathon game.

A result, at last! #TeamCarlsen triumphs in Chessable blitz as John Bartholomew shows how to win


Round 11

White: Carlsen

Opening: The Petroff

Result: Draw.

Sergey Karjakin made the ceremonial first move
Sergey Karjakin made the ceremonial first move

Moves: 55

Length of game: Two hours 15 minutes

Flash verdict: A quiet draw. Carlsen got surprised in the opening then shut it down. Tie-breaks clearly on the players’ minds as it goes to the final game.

Sergey Karjakin: Magnus needs to invent something new in chess to be the strongest again


Round 12

White:  Caruana

Opening: Sveshnikov Sicilian

Result: Draw.

The post-match press conference at the end of Game 12
The post-match press conference at the end of Game 12

Moves: 31

Length of game:  Two hours and 57 minutes

Flash verdict: Caruana pushed, Carlsen got the advantage. Carlsen declined an opportunity to go for the win in the finale to the classical games and offered a draw while ahead to go to tie-breaks. A tame end.

Squeaky-bum time as World Chess Championship goes to tie-breaks: Our Game 12 report

What happens now? After Carlsen-Caruana Game 12 ends in a draw, here’s the tie-break rules

Squeaky-bum time as World Chess Championship goes to tie-breaks: Our Game 12 report

By Leon Watson / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, Uncategorised, World Chess Championship

Another draw. The final scheduled game, Game 12, of the 2018 World Chess Championship ended in a draw. That’s an incredible TWELVE in a row.

Perhaps this is what we expected, with Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana separated by just three rating points going into the match.

But while for some today’s game had an air of predictability about it – even if the timing of the draw on move 31 caught everybody off-guard – it leaves us firmly in squeaky-bum time.

Carlsen-Caruana Game 12
Carlsen-Caruana Game 12

The match goes to tie-breaks on Wednesday when either the US challenger will become the first champion to have won the crown without winning any classical games in a title match, or Carlsen will be the first to defend it without winning a classical game.

One thing is for sure: Carlsen is the favourite. While Carlsen and Caruana are separated by just a hair’s breadth in classical chess, there is a chasm – at least at the elite level – between them in rapid and blitz: 100 points.

Carlsen is the world’s top-rated rapid player and top-rated blitz player, while Caruana is rated No 8 and 16 respectively. It’s also been 13 years since Carlsen lost a tiebreak.

However, if rapid and blitz aren’t sufficient to separate the champion from the chaff, the match will go down to Armageddon – chess’s version of a penalty shoot-out.

Was it boring?

Hell, no. This was another dynamic game with Caruana pushing – perhaps over pushing – and Carlsen seeing a serious advantage but not taking the opportunity, perhaps because he was satisfied with a draw. There were gasps of surprise when it ended in a draw – Carlsen could have pushed on but chose to be conservative.

But the question is, are all these draws good for chess?

In the post-match press conference, English Grandmaster Daniel King seemed to think so: “I hope it generates a lot of interest because it [the match] has been incredibly close.”

Carlsen Caruana Game 12 post-match press conference
Carlsen Caruana Game 12 post-match press conference

He added that Carlsen “took us all by surprise” when he offered the draw with a small advantage, at least according to the chess computers.

A thrilling end?

Tarjei Svensen, the Norwegian journalist, tweeted: “Well, for the fans, a draw today was great. We get to see a thrilling tiebreak now. Nothing better than that.”

Carlsen also seemed sanguine about the prospect of tie-breaks.

Carlsen revealed afterward that his intention before the game started was to hold the draw and head for the tie-breaks, and therefore he was not in the right mindset to take any risks and play for the win.

“Everybody could see that I wasn’t necessarily going for the maximum, I just wanted a position that was completely safe where I could put some pressure. If a draw hadn’t been a satisfactory result, obviously I would have approached it differently.”

Speaking about the final position, Caruana declared: “I was a bit surprised by the draw offer…I can never be better here and I don’t really have any active ideas. If anything Black is better but I thought I was over the worst of it. It was much more dangerous a few moves ago.”

Later on he admitted: “I’m mainly relieved because I thought it was quite close today, I was very worried during the game.”

Former top 10 player Grandmaster Judit Polgar said afterward that, by deciding to take the safe route and not take advantage of an inaccuracy from Caruana on move 25, Carlsen may have put his title at risk.

“This mistake could cost him the crown,” she said. “He did not try, he did not want to win it in classical chess. This shows something we’ve never seen before by Magnus, and it’s not a good sign necessarily.”

What happens next?

Here’s what happens next as we enter tie-breaks and possible Armageddon situation:

  1. Play will start again on Wednesday at 3pm at The College in Holborn.
  2. Carlsen and Caruana will play a best of four rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.
  3. If still tied, they will play up to five mini-matches of two blitz games (five minutes for each player with a three-second increment).
  4. If all five mini-matches are drawn, one sudden-death ‘Armegeddon’ match will be played where White receives five minutes and Black receives four minutes. Both players will receive a three-second increment after the 60th move. In the case of a draw, Black will be declared the winner.
  5. Around an hour and a half after the result, the ceremony will take place and the winner is crowned.

What happens now? After Carlsen-Caruana Game 12 ends in a draw, here’s the tie-break rules

By Leon Watson / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship

Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana have draw all 12 of their classical World Chess Championship games – and now the match goes to tie-breaks.

The two have been battling away in London for three weeks now and are all-square. We are now entering overtime.

Carlsen Caruana Game 12 post-match press conference
Carlsen Caruana Game 12 post-match press conference

The match has been one of the most fiercely contested in history – never before have so many games ended in a draw.

Here’s what happens next as we enter tie-breaks and possible Armageddon situation:

  1. Play will start again on Wednesday at 3pm at The College in Holborn.
  2. Carlsen and Caruana will play a best of four rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.
  3. Carlsen will start with the White pieces, after the draw was made following Game 12
  4. If still tied, they will play up to five mini-matches of two blitz games (five minutes for each player with a three-second increment).
  5. If all five mini-matches are drawn, one sudden-death ‘Armegeddon’ match will be played where White receives five minutes and Black receives four minutes. Both players will receive a three-second increment after the 60th move. In the case of a draw, Black will be declared the winner.
  6. Around an hour and a half after the result, the ceremony will take place and the winner is crowned.

Sergey Karjakin: Magnus needs to invent something new in chess to be the strongest again

By Leon Watson / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship

Sergey Karjakin, the former World Chess Championship challenger, has said Magnus Carlsen is weaker now than he was at the last title match and needs to reinvent himself to be the strongest again.

Speaking to Chessable during Game 11 of Carlsen’s match against Fabiano Caruana, Karjakin said:

  1. Carlsen was stronger when I played him in 2016
  2. Carlsen is still recovering from a chess crisis
  3. Caruana has a better team around him than Carlsen
  4. Both players should be unhappy with the quality of games
  5. The format for the championship should be changed to 13 games
  6. Carlsen needs to invent something new in chess to be the strongest again

 

The Russian star, who lost to Carlsen in tie-breaks in 2016, was interviewed at the venue in London shortly after he made the ceremonial first move 1.b4. Unsurprisingly, that was taken back by Carlsen and replaced with 1.e4.

Sergey Karjakin made the ceremonial first move
Sergey Karjakin made the ceremonial first move

The match stands all-square at 5.5-5.5 after 11 games. There is one game left before it goes down to tie-breaks.

Here is the interview:

Sergey Karjakin in full

You made the first move today, 1.b4, Magnus laughed and then you exchanged some words. What was said?

Sergey Karjakin: Yes, we had a chat, I played 1.b4 and he started to laugh. I told him that he had people to advise him what to play, but that was my advise and he found it funny. He has a good sense of humour.

>> For Magnus, the time for talking is clearly over: Our Game 9 report

How do you think Magnus has approached this match? He seems to have been out-prepared by Fabiano, do you think he has been too, relaxed, too casual?

Sergey Karjakin: Yes, but basically I think Caruana has a better team and more people working for him, and he works more on the openings than Magnus does, so it is not a big surprise.

Sergey Karjakin spoke to Chessable
Sergey Karjakin spoke to Chessable

But he has a bigger team, is that because of the American money he has behind him. Does he have an advantage?

Sergey Karjakin: No, I think it is not a question of money, it is a question of how do you feel, what are you more comfortable with because I know from my experience if you work with five coaches all together it may be too much information. You are just not able to remember so many things. Normally, Magnus is like, he doesn’t need too many people near him and he feels more comfortable that way.

Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana shake hands to start Game 11
Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana shake hands to start Game 11

Do you think he has made an error there, that if Caruana has a big team that Magnus has made an error in the way he has approached this tournament.

Sergey Karjakin: It is difficult to say. I think this match is not about the openings, but mistakes later and Magnus is clearly very unhappy with his first game when he was winning and he didn’t win and also in one of the other games when he was much as White. It was a big shock for Magnus, I would say, he is missing some opportunities.

>> Magnus Carlsen brands World Chess Championship sound-proofing failure ‘unacceptable’

But also at the same time, Caruana has also been missing things. He was much better in one game as black, the computer even said it was mate in 30.  And also he was much better in one game as white but he also spoiled that in one move. So the quality of the games, for both players they can be unhappy with it.

When you played him in New York, do you think Magnus was a different player then? In one of the press conferences, where he said his favourite player was himself three or four years ago. When he played you was he stronger then?

Sergey Karjakin: Well, yes, his rating was higher, his results were better and probably at that time he was stronger. But let’s be honest, he didn’t play that great. And then probably he got into some kind of chess crisis during the match and that is still with him two years later.

But at the same time, it’s not something very serious and I feel like he can still recover and play his best chess, he’s good enough to do that.

So do you think you knocked his confidence a little bit back then in the New York match, that you set this off?

Sergey Karjakin: Well, I don’t know maybe just a little bit. He was unhappy how the match was going and it was clear it was very difficult for him for a very long time. Yes, I think he took a long time to repair but now after two years it is not only about that match it is about the players getting used to how he plays. They know he has his best chances in the endgames and they are much more prepared for the seven-hour games against him. He needs to invent something new in chess to be the strongest again.

We’ve had 10 draws and there is now a possibility that Caruana could become the first player to win a classical World Chess Championship match without winning a classical game. Magnus could also become the first to defend it without winning a classical game. If that happens would it in some way devalue the title?

Sergey Karjakin: Yes, I think actually the system should be changed. I think matches like this are possible but my suggestion is if you want to see a very big fight then we should play something like 13 games with one player plays seven games with White and the other player plays six, but the player who is playing White he needs to score +1 and if he doesn’t the player who plays more games with Black wins.

Carlsen Vs Caruana
Carlsen Vs Caruana

 

For Magnus, the time for talking is clearly over: Our Game 9 report

By Leon Watson / On / In Chess news, Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship

A head injury sustained playing football wasn’t enough to put world chess champion Magnus Carlsen off in Game 9 as London’s big title match was left teetering on a knife-edge.

Norway’s 27-year-old rock star of chess tersely denied he was bothered by the very obvious black-eye as the latest round of his three-week-long contest with US challenger Fabiano Caruana ended all-square.

Magnus Carlsen's black eye
Magnus Carlsen’s black eye

It was the ninth game in a row that finished in a draw – a record for the 130-year-old competition, surpassing the eight-game run in 1995 match between Garry Kasparov and Vishy Anand.

>> Magnus Carlsen brands World Chess Championship sound-proofing failure ‘unacceptable’

It was also Carlsen’s 14th draw in a row – the longest of his career – and the first time a world champion has appeared at the board sporting a shiner.

Magnus Carlsen’s black eye

Carlsen sustained the injury when he collided with a member of the Norwegian media while playing football on his rest day.

The culprit was later named as NRK reporter, Emil Gukild, who also sported a plaster on his head.

Carlsen was assessed by his team doctor who passed him fit to play.

Asked afterward if he suffered any pain during Wednesday’s three-and-a-half hour game, Carlsen replied: “No.”

Clearly disappointed, he said: “I felt like I had a comfortable advantage and then I just blew it,. I was poor.”

>> Eurosport plots chess move: Game to be broadcast across Europe and Asia

Going into the game Carlsen had appeared to make light of the incident, saying on social media that “the match is heating up”.

But in the post-match press conference, the champion appeared annoyed and frustrated giving one-word answers to several questions.

Magnus Carlsen had the white pieces
Magnus Carlsen had the white pieces

Carlsen and Caruana’s game lasted 56 moves but neither player could find a breakthrough.

>> Sky News host Kay Burley on chess: ‘It’s so glitzy and fabulous’

The match, held at The College, Holborn, now enters game 10 of 12 on Thursday. In the event of a tie, the match will go to speed chess play-offs – the chess equivalent of penalties.

Australian Grandmaster Ian Rogers said: “It’s been friendly fire on both sides but no real breakthrough.”

See and train the game with our FREE Carlsen Vs Caruana course below:

Carlsen Vs Caruana
Carlsen Vs Caruana

A result, at last! #TeamCarlsen triumphs in Chessable blitz as John Bartholomew shows how to win

By Leon Watson / On / In Chessable reviews, Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship

After eight straight draws, the omens are finally looking good for Magnus Carlsen after #TeamCarlsen won Chessable’s big Carlsen Vs Caruana blitz tournament in London last night.

With the Norwegian’s World Chess Championship match with Fabiano Caruana locked 4-4, Chessable’s co-founder IM John Bartholomew showed the big boys how to get a result by topping a super-strong field.

IM happy: Eric Rosen, Anna Rudolf, John Bartholomew and Christof Sielecki
IM happy: Eric Rosen, Anna Rudolf, John Bartholomew and Christof Sielecki

Around 120 people turned out for our World Championship-themed event at Battersea Chess Club in London and Chessable members mixed with some of the most recognisable faces in chess, all behind masks of the two most recognisable – Carlsen and Caruana.

But in the final reckoning, it was Team Carlsen who won the day with IM Bartholomew toppling IM Kostya Kavutskiy – representing Team Caruana – in the play-off. Well done John!

John and Kostya won through above a stellar field that included former English champion GM David Howell as top seed for Team Carlsen (“Magnus 1”) and the Russian GM Alexander Cherniaev for Team Caruana (“Caruana 1”).

Argentine Chess Olympiad player WIM Ayelén Martínez won the top women’s prize of £100.

The legendary Ginger GM Simon Williams, Chessable author GM Alex Colovic and the English GM Stephen Gordon were also in the mix along with the popular streamer IM Eric Rosen.

In total, there were five GMs and 12 IMs taking part in the event, held on a World Chess Championship match rest day. In no particular order, these included:

      1. IM Christof Sielecki, aka ChessExplained
      2. IM Sophie Milliet
      3. IM Mike Basman, the legend of English chess
      4. IM Tom Rendle
      5. IM Peter Roberson
      6. IM Bogdan Vioreanu
      7. IM Richard Bates
      8. IM Gavin Wall
      9. IM Alex Lopez

Several names from the chess media also featured, including chess.com’s Peter Doggers, the Norwegian journalist Tarjei Svensen and the photographer and “The Thinkers” author David Llada.

IM Anna Rudolf, who hosts the official World Chess Championship commentary, also made it – but was unable to play.

The prizes were almost a clean sweep for Team Carlsen with only late entrant IM Bogdan Vioreanu, a member of Battersea, in the placings for Team Caruana.

The prize winners

1st          £300       Carlsen 4  (IM John Bartholomew)

2nd        £150       Carlsen 5  (IM Kostya Kavutskiy)

3rd =      £75         Carlsen 1  (GM David Howell)

3rd =      £75         Caruana 7  (IM Bogdan Vioreanu)

Women’s   £100       Carlsen 14  (WIM Ayelén Martínez)

Magnus Carlsen brands World Chess Championship sound-proofing failure ‘unacceptable’

By Leon Watson / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship

The World Chess Championship in London was overshadowed by a bizarre incident in round 8 when the playing arena’s unique sound-proofing failed.

The game between Norway’s chess “rock-star” Magnus Carlsen and US challenger Fabiano Caruana was apparently interrupted by irritating chatter despite the players being sat in a double-layered, glass-enclosed “fish-tank”.

>> Eurosport plots chess move: Game to be broadcast across Europe and Asia

Game 8 had been on a knife-edge with Caruana, 27, considering a key move. But while Caruana was in the middle of a 20-minute think, radio feedback and words, believed to in Russian, were heard.

World champion Magnus Carlsen
World champion Magnus Carlsen

Caruana, who is battling Carlsen to become the first US champion since the legendary Bobby Fischer, then made an error which lost him a clear game-winning advantage. However, both players denied the noise had put them off.

Yet that didn’t stop Carlsen – who hung on for a draw after the blunder – branding the distraction “unacceptable” after the game.

>> Magnus Carlsen isn’t exactly loving all these draws: Our Game 7 report

“There were the noises of people talking, but it was not very clear,” he said. “The organisers, they will fix it I’m sure because it was not ok.”

The setting at The College in Holborn resembles a large museum display case with unidirectional glass so spectators can see in, while the players can’t see out.

The post-match press conference
The post-match press conference

It is designed to prevent the players from being distracted.

Deputy arbiter Nana Alexandria apologised and said the words weren’t chess-related and so gave no advantage to either player.

>> Sky News host Kay Burley on chess: ‘It’s so glitzy and fabulous’

Asked if the players were disturbed, she said: “There wasn’t time trouble at that point, but it’s not nice when you are in your thoughts sometimes if you hear even one word then it’s not good, not good of course.”

She said she had never experienced anything like it in her career and an investigation would take place to find out what happened.

Last night’s game went on to end in another draw – the eighth in a row – to leave the 12-round match all-square at 4-4.

The players will enjoy a rest day on Tuesday before round 9 kicks off at 3pm on Wednesday.

Magnus Carlsen isn’t exactly loving all these draws: Our Game 7 report

By Leon Watson / On / In Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship

Pacifists will be delighted – Carlsen-Caruana Game 7 ended in yet another peaceful outcome.

But the rest of us who want blood and guts spilled before us could be forgiven being slightly disappointed as the World Chess Championship remained deadlocked and without a win.

>> Who is world chess champion Magnus Carlsen’s favourite player? Himself, of course

The position is not quite stalemate – because they match hasn’t ended – but it feels like it.

Carlsen-Caruana Game 7 press conference
Carlsen-Caruana Game 7 press conference

The latest installment of this now epic draw saga followed a dramatic end to Game 6, in which Magnus Carlsen escaped with his life – or “murder” as he put it – in a tough endgame.

According to the computer, Fabiano Caruana missed a 30-move forced checkmate – how could he possibly be so blind, the chess world refrained from asking. It was, of course, impossible for a human to achieve.

That game though led to a tense atmosphere at the start of Game 7 with chief commentator Judit Polgar declaring “Magnus is in trouble” before the start of play.

>> Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales on chess: ‘It really excites people’

But you can never rule Carlsen out, this is the kind of situation he thrives in – perhaps needs in order to motivate himself.

“I don’t know what will shake-up Magnus, to be a lion today,” Polgar said.

English prodigy Shreyas Royal made the first move
English prodigy Shreyas Royal made the first move

And if you were looking for fire on the board it came on move 10 as Carlsen retreated his queen and then Caruana wheeled out a stone-cold novelty.

Until that point the opening had followed Game 2, the Queen’s Gambit Declined Harrwitz Attack, but Caruana’s deviation 11…Bb6 took the game into new territory and theory was being made.

Carlsen: ‘I’m not loving it’

Unfortunately, this only served to slow the game to a saunter as both Carlsen and Caruana fumbled around looking for a chink in their opponent’s armour.

On move 40, after three-and-a-half hours, the pair agreed the seventh draw in a row. So much for fire on the board – at least we had theory.

>> Carlsen and Caruana could face lie-detector tests if found cheating, World Chess says

Carlsen has failed to profit from his double White, now it is up to Caruana to turn moving first into an advantage. So far neither player has managed it, and in fact have been more dangerous as Black.

In the post-match press conference, Carlsen said: “After the last game it kind of felt like I got away with murder.

Magnus Carlsen Vs Fabiano Caruana, Game 7
Magnus Carlsen Vs Fabiano Caruana, Game 7

“In that sense, it’s easier to be calm about a draw today. I’m not loving it, but I’m not in any sort of panic mode either.

“Could have been worse. The match is still equal and with black, it’s been going OK. I’m not at all thrilled about my play today.

Carlsen has now drawn 12 games in a row – his longest run of draws ever.  GM Anish Giri, who Carlsen has ribbed mercilously on Twitter for his drawish tendencies, may be enjoying this:

Speaking of the novelty, Carlsen said: “I knew that the move existed, I just didn’t expect it. It wasn’t too much of an unpleasant surprise since I felt like there should be many safe options for white.

“There must have been chances to play for something. But what I did was just way too soft. Then I had one chance to play actively but I didn’t entirely believe in it. … (15. Nce4) instead of (15. O-O). Castling is essentially just an admission that the position is equal.”

Caruana added: “It was always a draw. And overall a solid draw without too many problems is always a good result.”

Carlsen Vs Caruana
Carlsen Vs Caruana