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Rueful Magnus Carlsen ‘way too soft’ in Game 7 draw with Fabiano Caruana

first_img Since you’re here… The playersNorway’s Magnus Carlsen is defending the world chess championship against Fabiano Caruana of the United States. The best-of-12-games match is taking place at the College in Holborn between 9 and 28 November, with the winner earning a 60% share of the €1m ($1.14m) prize fund if the match ends in regulation (or 55% if it’s decided by tie-break games).Carlsen, 27, has been ranked No 1 for eight straight years and was considered the world’s best player even before he defeated Viswanathan Anand for the title in 2013. Caruana, 26, is ranked No 2, having earned his place at the table by winning the candidates tournament in March. No American-born player has won or even competed for the world title since Bobby Fischer in 1972. It marks the first title match between the world’s top two players since 1990, when Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov faced off for a fifth and final time.  The Norwegian champion, playing with the white pieces, kicked off with the same Queen’s Gambit as the second game (1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3) and the parallel lines extended for the first nine moves (2. … d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Qc2 Nc6 9. a3 Qa5) before Caruana deviated with the incredibly rare 10. … Qd8!?, a queen retreat that left Carlsen with no shortage of responses. Hide Quick guide World Chess Championship 2018 Show “I knew that the move existed, I just didn’t expect it,” Carlsen said afterward. “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.”Carlsen opted for 11. Nb3 after nearly 10 minutes and Caruana took care before answering with another novelty in 11. … Bb6. He continued to opt for simple development (12. Be2 Qe7 13. Bg5 dxc4 14. Nd2 Ne5), but afterward bemoaned the missed chance to be more aggressive in the second of two successive games as white, the opportunity to strike he’d confessed days earlier he’d been looking forward to since the start of the match. US sports Read more Share on WhatsApp … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. 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Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn Thank you for your feedback. Game 7 was a draw after 40 moves and three and a half hours. Chess Share on Messenger Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana remain deadlocked after taut Game 7 – as it happenedcenter_img Support The Guardian Share on Facebook A rueful Magnus Carlsen lamented his gun-shy, conservative play after Sunday’s draw in the seventh game of his world championship title defense against Fabiano Caruana in London, which left the best-of-12-games match in 3½-all deadlock. Share on Twitter Topics Was this helpful? World Chess Championship 2018 Fabiano Caruana The formatThe match will consist of 12 classical games with each player awarded one point for a win and a half-point for a draw. Whoever reaches six and a half points first will be declared the champion.The time control for each game is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1. Players cannot agree to a draw before Black’s 30th move. If the match is tied after 12 games, tie-breaks will be played on the final day in the following order:  • Best of four rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.  • 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). • 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. Share on Pinterest “I had one chance to play actively but I didn’t entirely believe in it,” said Carlsen, referring to his choice to castle (15. O-O) instead of Nce4. “Castling is essentially just an admission that the position is equal. I was also looking at f4, which is interesting but probably nonsensical.”Carlsen next deployed his bishop to chase away black’s knight to capture a c-pawn without an exchange (14. … Ne5 15. O-O Bd7 16. Bf4 Ng6 17. Bg3 Bc6 18. Nxc4 Bc7). The players each brought their rooks into the mix with 19. Rfd1 Rfd8 before exchanging them with 20. Rxd8+ Rxd8. A second rook trade (21. … Rxd1+ 22. Qxd1 Nd5) and the further simplifications that followed (23. Qd4 Nxc3 24. Qxc3 Bxg3 25. hxg3 Qd7) steered the proceedings toward a draw that only a blunder might have derailed. “We both make mistakes,” the 27-year-old champion said. “But they’re small and they’re quite hard to exploit.”Winning chances over the final hour were practically non-existent with either side avoiding inaccuracies and a peaceful result was agreed upon with a repetition just before the three-and-a-half-hour mark (37. Ke3 Bf1 38. Kf2 Ba6 39. Ke3 Bf1 40. Kf2), keeping the €1m ($1.14m) match on level terms with five games to go.“After the last game it kind of felt like I got away with murder,” said Carlsen, who extended a career-high streak of 12 straight draws stretching back to last month’s European Club Cup in Porto Carras, Greece. “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. It could have been worse. The match is still equal and with black, it’s been going OK.”Last week, the world No 1 had offered a glib response to a reporter who asked if he had a favorite player from history: “Probably myself like three or four years ago”.The punch line brought the house down, yet Carlsen’s suggestion that he is diminished player relative to the dizzying heights of his mid-decade peak informed it with a certain pathos and the champion revisited the theme in more sober tones amid Sunday’s aftermath.“I feel like I could possibly have gotten something today but I don’t really know how, I just knew that there were many possibilities,” he said. “I didn’t know what to go for. I don’t feel like I missed something huge. Maybe on another day in another year, I could have found some way.”Caruana, the world No 2, didn’t take the bait when asked whether Carlsen’s alleged loss of edge and inability to win from positions he might have converted years ago influenced or altered his approach to the most important match of his life.“I mean, what can I say?” the 26-year-old challenger said. “If I get a chance then I’ll try to take it but I’m not thinking about (Carlsen’s form) like that exactly. I had some kind of chance in the previous game and I did my best to make the most of it, but I’m also not going to go crazy or anything.”He added: “After the first game, the games have been pretty tight. We haven’t really given many chances to one another, so it’s kind of natural that a lot of the games will end peacefully. Things could have happened in (Game 6) and the first game. There could have been decisive results, but none so far.”The unfolding saga at the College in Holborn bears an uncanny resemblance to Carlsen’s last world title defense against Russia’s Sergey Karjakin two years ago in New York, which also opened with seven consecutive draws amid the champion’s mounting frustrations.In that match, Carlsen’s gamble for a win with white in the eighth game backfired and he was made to resign under time pressure, only to hit back with a six-and-a-half-hour grind on Thanksgiving Day that forced the tie-breaker where he retained his title for a second time.Whether a decisive result is in the offing when Monday’s eighth game kicks off with Caruana as white remains to be seen, but it’s become clear Carlsen will need to elevate his level if he expects to see off another unruffled and well-drilled challenger in regulation play.“I’m not at all thrilled about my play today,” he said. Magnus Carlsen The scheduleThu 8 Nov – Opening ceremony Fri 9 Nov – Game 1 Sat 10 Nov – Game 2 Sun 11 Nov – Rest day Mon 12 Nov – Game 3 Tue 13 Nov – Game 4 Wed 14 Nov – Rest day Thu 15 Nov – Game 5 Fri 16 Nov – Game 6 Sat 17 Nov – Rest day Sun 18 Nov – Game 7 Mon 19 Nov – Game 8 Tue 20 Nov – Rest day Wed 21 Nov – Game 9 Thu 22 Nov – Game 10 Fri 23 Nov – Rest day Sat 24 Nov – Game 11 Sun 25 Nov – Rest day Mon 26 Nov – Game 12 Tue 27 Nov – Rest day Wed 28 Nov – Tie-break games/Awards and closingThe games commence each day at 3pm in London. Share via Email Reuse this contentlast_img

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