Game nine of the World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana ended in another draw. This time, it was Carlsen who pressed in the middlegame with a huge advantage on the clock and a small edge on the board. Yet, Fabiano once again showed extreme precision when defending the position and secured a draw with Black.
Before the game started, it was not clear which opening Magnus would choose. So far, Caruana and his seconds had done an excellent job preparing with Black and Magnus had not managed to get any real advantage at all with White from the opening.
Carlsen went for 1.c4 (the English Opening) once again. We saw the same first eight moves as in game four, before Magnus deviated first with 9.Bg5 (see the diagram on the right – 9.Bd2 was played in game four).
This time, Magnus really managed to put Fabiano under pressure in the opening. It was not that Magnus obtained a better position, but he managed to play very quickly and bring Fabiano out of book. While Magnus blitzed out all his moves until move 17, Fabiano spent way more time and was significantly behind on the clock in the middlegame.
As the character of the position was very unforced and several sensible continuations were available for both players on every move, Magnus could have been quite happy with the outcome of the opening and early middlegame. He got a solid position with an unbalanced pawn structure and a lot of scope left for play.
As Fabiano didn’t want to play this type of position, he went for an interesting practical decision which forced matters somehow and left him with a slightly worse but defendable position.
Here, he defended accurately against Magnus’ winning tries and finally managed to transpose into an opposite-colored bishop ending which was eventually drawn after 56 moves.
Let’s take a closer look at the ninth game between the two players:
Carlsen, Magnus (2835) – Caruana, Fabiano (2832): World Chess Championship – Game 9 (London 2018)
Round ten starts on Thursday. Fabiano will have the White pieces this time. With only three rounds remaining, the pressure will be extremely high for both players.
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