Thursday 22 November 2018

2018 World Championship - rising tension

While the 2018 World Championship Match has seen 9 drawn games in a row, I get the sense that the tension is starting to build for both players. Games 8 and 9 have both seen slightly more adventurous openings, and both games also saw missed chances for both the challenger and champion.
Game 8 saw Carlsen try and rush the kingside with a pawn push, but this gave Caruana chance for a decisive invasion with his queen (24.Qh5!). However he chose the timid 24.h3 and Carlsen was able to quickly steer the game into safer waters. Game 9 saw Carlsen gain a slight advantage in the middle games, but this time an overly aggressive pawn push enabled Caruana to exchange into a drawn position. A clearly frustrated Carlsen then probably played more moves than he needed to, before another draw was agreed.
With 3 games to play, Caruana's chances of taking the title have somewhat improved. He has the white pieces in 2 of the final 3 games, and a 6-6 result gives him a moral victory over the pre-match favourite. While Carlsen is considered superior at faster time limits, Caruana has shown that he has handled the pressure of matchplay at least as well as Carlsen, and this may the deciding factor.

Caruana,Fabiano (2832) - Carlsen,Magnus (2835) [B33]
WCh 2018 London ENG (8), 19.11.2018

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