Sunday, 11 November 2018

2018 World Championship - A tough draw

The 2018 World Championship began with a marathon 115 move draw. After 1.e4 (and not 1.d4 as played by Woody Harrelson), Carlsen chose to play a Sicilian Defence, which was a little surprising. He managed to get an advantage in the middlegame, but in time trouble missed a couple of stronger ideas. He did realise this by trying one of them just after the first time control, but by this stage it was too late. Nonetheless, it seems part of the match strategy is to wear Caruana down, and so a drawn out rook and pawn ending was played, before the players split the point.
Despite the result, Carlsen should be happy with the first game. He took the initiative with Black (both in his opening choice, and play), and showed he was prepared to grind in an equal position. The positive for Caruana is that he managed to hold on, and was able to match Carlsen in the latter stages of the game.
The next game is in a few hours (it is 2 games, then a rest day schedule), so it will be interesting to see whether Carlsen chooses something mainline, or goes for an opening that creates an early middlegame.

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