The World Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana is just three days away. The 12-game match will be held from November 9 to 28 at The College in Holborn, London.
The opening ceremony takes place on Thursday with the first game to be played the following day at 15:00 local time in London (10am EST).
There is a lot of debate among chess players as to who will have the upper hand. Magnus Carlsen himself has said he considers Fabiano Caruana to be the toughest of his World Championship opponents (the other 2 being Viswanathan Anand and Sergey Karjakin). But will the challenger really able to oust Magnus from the chess throne?
Magnus Carlsen vs. Fabiano Caruana – Who Has The Upper Hand?
Looking at their head-to-head record, Magnus Carlsen is the clear favorite. So far, they have contested 17 classical games with the score 10.5 to 6.5 in Magnus’ favor. Still, there are many other factors which need to be considered.
It’s often claimed that Fabiano Caruana is better in the opening phase than Magnus. But Carlsen hasn’t had any problems whatsoever in their most recent duels.
One key factor in the match will be the psychological strength of the two players. Who has the better nerves?
On the one hand, Magnus has more experience in playing long matches against a single opponent as he already faced off twice against Vishy Anand and once against Sergey Karjakin for the title. In his first match against Vishy Anand, Carlsen was clearly nervous during the first four games, appearing calmer after the rest day. How will Fabiano Caruana deal with this new experience?
On the other hand, Fabiano Caruana might have a psychological advantage in terms of motivation. While Magnus plays for something he already owns (the chess crown), Fabiano can get it for the first time in his life. Usually, it’s harder for the reigning World Champion to be 100% motivated than it is for the challenger.
Finally, it also has to be said that the recent form of the two players might favor Fabiano Caruana. Over the last couple of months, Fabiano has been in excellent shape with crushing tournament results. He almost caught Magnus in the FIDE rating list (Caruana is only 3 Elo points behind Carlsen, making this the closest ever World Championship in terms of Elo rating!).
In any event, it promises to be an extremely close match with an unpredictable outcome. We at ichess.net will analyze the games played in the match for you on our blog. Stay tuned!
Start Of The Women’s World Chess Championship 2018
November will be a huge chess month with plenty of interesting events.
Apart from the aforementioned World Championship Match, there are the Shenzhen Masters, a supertournament in China from November 4-14, involving Ding Liren, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Yu Yangyi, Radek Wojtaszek and Nikita Vitiugov and India’s first supertournament, the Tata Steel Chess India from November 9-14, featuring Mamedyarov, Aronian, So, Nakamura and Karjakin plus India’s Anand, Harikrishna, Vidit, Ganguly, Sarin and prodigy Praggnanandhaa.
On top of all that, the Women’s Knockout World Championship is currently taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk in Russia.
Not even half a year ago, in May 2018, Ju Wenjun became Women’s World Chess Champion by defeating Tan Zhongyi in a 10-game match.
Yet, Ju Wenjun’s title is at stake already as the Women’s World Championship takes place again with a different format. This time, a 64-player knockout tournament (running from November 3-23) is being held to determine the new Women’s World Champion.
The early rounds feature mini-matches of two games and – if necessary – a tiebreak. In the final, four games are played.
Apart from the world’s highest rated woman, Hou Yifan (2658), all the Top 15 players are participating. Top favorites for the title are Ju Wenjun (2569), Anna Muzychuk (2565), Kateryna Lagno (2556), Humpy Koneru (2548), Mariya Muzychuk (2545) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (2543).
Blog Article of The Week
Our blog article of the week is about the best female chess player ever – Judit Polgar. Nowadays, Judit Polgar’s name is known well beyond the chess world. Throughout her exceptional chess career, she disproved the notion that women aren’t able to compete with men at the top level.
She is the first and, to date, only, woman to achieve an Elo rating above 2700, setting a peak rating of 2735 and a peak world ranking of No. 8 in 2005. She was also the youngest chess player ever to make her way into the FIDE Top 100 players rating list in 1989, aged 12 and ranked No. 55.
In our blog article of the week, we retrace Judit Polgar’s chess career from an early age to when she retired from competitive chess in 2014.
This Week’s Exclusive FREE Video
In this week’s exclusive free video, IM Valeri Lilov takes a closer look at the 2000 World Chess Championship in which the challenger, Vladimir Kramnik, beat the reigning Champion and living legend Garry Kasparov.
When the 2000 World Chess Championship rolled around, Garry Kasparov was the strong favorite. Yet, Vladimir Kramnik won the match with two wins, 13 draws, and no losses, becoming the new Champion.
In this video, IM Valeri Lilov takes a look at a number of games between the two great players in the match, showing how Kramnik approached the match and how he deployed certain strategies to take down a player of such talent as Kasparov.
For example, Kramnik popularized the Berlin Defense in the Ruy Lopez as a good weapon to get a draw. In many of their games, Kramnik used the Berlin to take the bite out of Kasparov’s 1. e4 openings.
Last Week’s Puzzle:
Here’s the solution to last week’s puzzle:
This Week’s Puzzle:
It is White to move. What should he play?
Answer next week.