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    Entries in 2018 World Championship (14)

    Tuesday
    Nov132018

    World Championship, Game 3: Caruana Squanders an Advantage, Draws

    The subject line is a little harsh, but Fabiano Caruana did miss out on a moderate chance in game 3 of his world championship match with Magnus Carlsen. The opening went very successfully for him in another Rossolimo Sicilian - much better than it did in the first game - and Carlsen was headed for a long, unpleasant, and not necessarily successful defensive outing. Unluckily for Caruana, his 15th move was a serious inaccuracy, and after several further, smaller infelicities Carlsen even managed to take a slight edge. Caruana had to defend and did a good enough job of it, and the players split the point shortly after the first time control.

    The match thus remains tied, now 1.5-1.5, and Carlsen will have game 4 tomorrow. Here is today's game, with my comments (which are abbreviated relative to those received by subscribers).

    Saturday
    Nov102018

    World Championship, Game 2: Caruana Presses, Draws Comfortably with Black

    It was a bit of turnabout is fair play in game 2 of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and his challenger, Fabiano Caruana. In game 1 Caruana was surprised in the opening and soon on the defense, despite having the white pieces, and had to hold the draw a pawn down in a rook ending. That same scenario characterized game 2, changing only "Caruana" to "Carlsen" and "1" to "2".

    There were several disanalogies, however, that come out in a fuller account. First, Carlsen had the first opening surprise in game 2 - a mild one - in that he started with 1.d4 rather than 1.e4. Second and more significantly, Carlsen was never in serious trouble, while Caruana was completely lost for a time in the first game. And third, while Carlsen played the drawn pawn-up rook ending for a very, very long time, Caruana's "effort" was perfunctory at best, and the entire game went fewer moves than the portion of game 1 that consisted of Carlsen's flogging a dead (or at least mostly dead) horse.

    It was a successful day for Caruana, who has probably vanquished any psychological scars from the first part of game 1, and can spend tomorrow's rest day worrying about his openings. He got nothing with White in the first game, and it remains to be seen if today's 10...Rd8 is a serious move that can stand the test of time or just a clever one-off.

    Here's game 2, with light notes; the more detailed subscriber version (and video) will be sent out later.

    Saturday
    Nov102018

    Carlsen-Caruana in the Wall Street Journal

    While you wait for game two to finish in a speedy draw, have a look at this article in the Wall Street Journal or, better, send it to your "civilian" friends. It's a bit too pop psychology-ish for my taste, but thankfully it's not too far over the top.

    HT: Howard Sample

    Saturday
    Nov102018

    Carlsen-Caruana, Game 2 About to Start

    Game two gets underway within a minute or so. Enjoy, and by the way it's not too late to sign up for my coverage of the match! (I am covering the match, it's not merely hypothetical.)

    Saturday
    Nov102018

    World Championship, Game 1: A Very Fortunate Draw for Caruana

    The match got off to an exciting start. Often game 1 of a world championship match is a tepid affair, with the players testing the water, getting acclimated, checking their form and so on. Not this time! Magnus Carlsen played combatively from the get-go, eschewing his usual 1...e5 (vs. 1.e4) for a Sicilian, and then not a Dragon but 2...Nc6. Fabiano Caruana went for a Rossolimo, and it turned out that it was Carlsen who was better prepared. Caruana burned a ton of time, got outplayed, and was lost.

    So far so good for Carlsen, but then he started playing poorly - rashly - in Caruana's time trouble and let him escape. Caruana couldn't maintain the level needed to assure his escape, and soon he was lost again. But once again, Carlsen played poorly once he had a winning advantage, and on move 40 - the last move of the first time control - he made a very big error that allowed Caruana to escape into a drawn ending.

    Carlsen kept playing...and playing...and playing. The game went 115 moves and took seven hours in all, but the last 60 moves were mostly unnecessary from a purely chess-related perspective. Will the long game tire Caruana out for tomorrow (Saturday)? That's probably Carlsen's hope, and we'll see. Meanwhile, you can replay the game here, with a greatly abbreviated version of the notes I worked up for subscribers. (It's not too late to sign up! - go here for further details.)

    Friday
    Nov092018

    The World Championship Begins in 10 Minutes!

    The match begins any minute now: be sure to watch on your favorite chess site!

    The rules are the same as usual: 12 classical games, followed by increasingly rapid tiebreaks, as needed. Unlike the old days, the champion has no built-in advantage of draw odds: to win the match, he must outscore his opponent.

    The match schedule is also as it has been: play two days, take a day off, play two days, etc. The one exception is that after game 11, there's an additional day off. If the match is tied after 12 games, there's a day off before the playoff. (All this has been standard for several matches as well.)

    So who will win? Magnus Carlsen, the champion, or his challenger, Fabiano Caruana. Both out of patriotism and because his overall results have been better for quite a while now, I'm going with Caruana. What say all of you?

    Thursday
    Nov082018

    My World Championship Coverage: An Update

    I'm probably going to cover the match, but it's a bit on the border between being worth the significant amount of time and effort required to analyze the games deeply, record videos, handle all the mailings and so on and not being worth it. So please, if you're considering signing up for my coverage at a cost of $30 (more is of course welcome if you'd like to make a donation), drop me a note, ASAP, via the Contact Me form just above the list of tags on the right sidebar.

    Thanks, and please spread the word.

    Monday
    Nov052018

    How Will I Cover the Carlsen-Caruana Match? You Decide

    [N.B. For the next few days I will repost this to the top of the page, to make sure everyone sees it and has a chance to sign up, if they're so inclined. By the same token, be sure to check below this - there may well be new posts there.]

    A few people have written asking if I will cover the upcoming Magnus Carlsen-Fabiano Caruana match in a way similar to my coverage of the Anand-Carlsen matches in 2013 and 2014, and the Anand-Gelfand match in 2012. I covered those matches on the blog to some extent, but worked up some deep analysis and videos for subscribers, sending both to them by email.

    If there is sufficient interest, I'm willing to do it again. If you're willing to pay $30 (or more) for this, please drop me a note via the "Contact Me" box in the right sidebar along with your email address, and if enough people have signed up by the end of Wednesday, Eastern time, I'll send out a note requesting that you go ahead and send that amount to me via PayPal. (The match begins next Friday.) If not enough people are interested, then I won't, and no one will have committed any money.

    The feedback I received on my coverage of the earlier matches was very positive, and it's also a way of helping keep this blog going.

    Order now, operators are standing by...

    Monday
    Nov052018

    The NY Times on Caruana

    Here's some good press from the "civilian" press, a profile article published this past weekend about Fabiano Caruana. Worth a read, and worth sharing on social media for the benefit of our non-chess-playing friends and family.

    HT: Howard Sample

    Wednesday
    Aug082018

    And Speaking of London...The World Championship Venue has been Set

    While the 2018 World Chess Championship had already been set for London this November, there was some speculation (as is often the case when Agon is involved) that the event would be moved to the United States - perhaps to St. Louis. This did not happen, and the particular venue in London has been determined: the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and his challenger, Fabiano Caruana, will be played at The College in Holborn, in central London. Congrats to my English readers and those of you on the Continent able to make the trip; maybe we in the U.S. will have better luck when Caruana defends his title in 2020.