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Fabiano Caruana vs Magnus Carlsen
Carlsen - Caruana World Championship Match (2018), London ENG, rd 8, Nov-19
Sicilian Defense: Lasker-Pelikan. Sveshnikov Variation (B33)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Nov-20-18  nok: <Turn the Candidates into the World Championship. Current Champion gets that silly wild card spot, he ( or indeed she) does not have to qualify for it.> Good post.

<If some thought the current Champion having draw odds was unfair, what will they think about the Challenger having draw odds> If anyone should have odds, it's the guy who won the candidates.

Nov-20-18  Cheapo by the Dozen: Debate about match formats has been intense at least since Fischer. Ultimate, there are two main possibilities: Either the match is limited to a fixed number of games, or it isn't. Organizers don't seem to think they can deal well with unlimited-length formats, so we're stuck with fixed-length.

If the match is fixed-length, the three main options for dealing with a tie are:

-- Draw odds for the champion. Boo!
-- Random winner. (E.g. coin flip). Boo!
-- Competitive tiebreak.

Speed chess is the obvious and natural idea for a tiebreaker. So I don't think there's much room for quibbling except about:

-- What form the speed-chess tiebreaker takes.
-- What advantages the match loser has future championship competitions, such as a guaranteed rematch or just a favorable seeding in the next regular championship cycle.

For the record, my choice for final tiebreaker would be an unlimited-length blitz match, first player to a two-wins advantage wins the match. I think organizers COULD handle an unlimited match length on that basis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Nok,

"If anyone should have odds, it's the guy who won the candidates."

A valid point but the current champion never played in the candidates so never a chance to get this bonus and should they not also reward the current champion with this option for winning the title and possibly successfully defending it.

It's either draw odds for the current champion or these tie breaks and everyone agrees either way is not satisfactory.

Let's hope we have an odd number of positive results in the next four games.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Random thoughts:

- I think if <anyone> is to have draw odds, it should be the reigning champion.

- Heck, the world champion should (could?) have draw odds, but in a longer match, and the money is split in that case.

- I like the idea of loser of this match gets to play in the next Candidates match.

- If speed chess is used to decide the WCC (in the event of a tie), should classical games be used in the event of a tie at the World Blitz Championship?

- Imagine if the WCC was a round-robin. Hmm, how would that complicate things? What tiebreakers to use? Draw odds? ...

Nov-20-18  Vladimir Zukhar: interesting how all the commentors can critical of caruana and all his errors and inexact moves. this one said this. namakura say that... how come then they not playing against carlsen intead for WC match??? they must themselves be inferior opponent ;-)
Nov-20-18  Cybert: Shades of the Lasker-Schlechter title match, 1910: Four draws, Lasker lost game five, then four draws. Schlechter, nicknamed the "Drawing Master", tried to win the final game ten because he thought it was "unworthy" to win the title with one win in ten games. He lost, and Lasker kept the title with draw odds. I think if Carlsen or Caruana wins a game he will hang on like a junkyard dog.

I like draw odds, on the theory that the challenger should be required to take the title from the champion. A rapid playoff is okay, but I don't think important chess should be played at blitz. I also like the idea of a world championship tournament, ala 1948.

Nov-20-18  Mendrys: <how come then they not playing against carlsen intead for WC match??? they must themselves be inferior opponent ;-)>

They are not as good as either Carlsen or Caruana to be sure but that doesn't disqualify them from making critical comments about the game. Their insight is sought after during these matches and it's good to hear their commentary.

Nov-20-18  MichaelJHuman: They could joust for the tiebreak.

Robotic horses to avoid cruelty to animals.

NERF(tm) lances

Premium Chessgames Member
  guenther42: These are fighting games, exciting draws. Disappointed? So what? These guys are the two highest rated players in the world--and they show why. Look how frequently that the lesser GM commentators fail to anticipate what either player is going to do. Caruana and Carlsen repeatedly play lines beyond the scope of the commentators. Can folks just enjoy great chess? It just doesn't get any better than this. No other player in the world would have avoided a loss on either side of the board by this time. Just Enjoy!
Nov-20-18  ForkedAgain: When will we just admit that chess has become a game of draws? I think Capa said that like 90 years ago.
Nov-20-18  lopium: I disagree with you guenther42. There is a much higher level chess one can witness on the web or on a personal computer, at any time. It's called chess engine vs chess engine chess.

Note that higher level (i.e. less blunders) does not necessarily mean more entertaining.

Nov-20-18  RookFile: The players took more risks in this game. I think that's why I like it more. It's not exactly a poisoned pawn Sicilian, like Spassky vs. Fischer, but it was a very sharp game, chances for both sides.
Nov-20-18  Raul Montanari: So far, this match is confirming that, at top GM level, 1. e4 is not the best way to play for a win. History, you know, is made of course and recourse. In the Nottingham Chess Tournament of 1936 there was a special prize for the player who scored most wins with 1. e4 - this was because 1. e4 was thought to be an audacious opening, discarded by most GM in favor of 1. d4 and the QDG. In these games, 1. e4 was played in most of the cases and constantly neutralized with the Petroff Defense, the Sicilian Rossolimo, now the most awaited-for open Sicilian turned into aa variation once dubbed "Lasker Pilnik" and though of as vaguely atrocious, now renamed "Svesnikov"... Maybe my beloved Alekhine's Defense or the Pirc Defense would get some excitement, but at the cost of unbearable risks for the Black side.
Nov-20-18  Saniyat24: Rooks & Bishops...!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

"When will we just admit that chess has become a game of draws? I think Capa said that like 90 years ago."

....and he was wrong.


Nov-30-18  PJs Studio: How about shorter time controls that aren’t G/25? I assume most of you play competitively, g/90 is fast.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Here's <Rustam Kasimdzanov's> view on Fabiano's <24.h3>:

"Fabiano stood very well, but during the game he didn't notice how well he really stood. The black position with the pawns in front [of his ♔] is full of holes and black has nothing for it. Then Fabiano played <24.h3> at the decisive position, without long thinking.

But there was a <disturbance shortly before>, you could see it in the video of the live broadcast. <There was some noise, a radio voice or something. <Both players suddenly look up. Maybe that distracted him.>>

Instead of thinking about his possibilities and calculating, he suddenly moves <24.h3>. That's the kind of move you make when you have to go to the toilet. You're not fully concentrated and then just quickly pull a nearby move."

My translation of the Interview in German @

Can someone find the corresponding video??

Dec-09-18  qqdos: <whiteshark> Raymond Keene in the London Spectator (1:December:2018) takes Caruana to task for meekness in this game. His failure to strike (and not to wound) is linked to moves 23.Rad1 (he prefers Rae1) and 24.h3 (he prefers 24.Qh5). In both cases I do not think either alternative gives White a materially improved advantage, despite the advocacy of Nigel Short for 23.Rae1. Apparently Nigel was demonstrating "that this move is far stronger. White has ideas of h4, Qh5 and Nc4 and Black will struggle to defend". I have not found Nigel's analysis but I wonder what our resident analysts think.
Apr-05-19  rcs784: This game reminds me of another classic World Championship game in which the challenger also pressed hard on the white side of a Sicilian, achieved what should have been a winning attack, then chickened out at the critical movement and let the game peter out into a meek draw:

Anand vs Kasparov, 1995

Apr-05-19  RookFile: It's tough. You make a mistake in front of the whole world and lose, you'll live with that the rest of your life.

On the other hand, you don't get to be champ without taking risks.

Remember Fischer, down 0-2 to Spassky, he comes out and wins with a crazy looking attack in the Benoni.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: 24.h3 was simply horrible.
Sep-04-21  DouglasGomes: Current SF is a complete silicon monstrosity:
<+3.50 d42> 23. Rad1 Bd6 [these moves were in the PV but are also the game continuation] 24. Qh5! Qe8 25. Qxg5+ Qg6 26. Qxg6+ hxg6 27. Nc4 Rbd8 28. Nxd6 Rxd6 29. Rxf4 Bc2 30. Rxf8+ Kxf8 31. Be5 Rd7 32. Rd2 (...)

click for larger view

However the beginning of the line is quite sad for Black and not critical. The resulting endgames seem to be winning though under further analysis (from the end of the line).

If however 24. Qh5 Bf7 25. Qh3:
<+5.04 d42> 26... Rf7 26. Nc4 [24. Nc4 is of interest, but this seems to be a improvement] Qf8 27. Rfe1 [White has a very aesthetic position from which he should profit a lot] f3 28.Re6 Bf5 29.Qh5 Bf4 30.g3 Bxe6 [allowing Qxg5+ would be lights out] 31.dxe6 Re7 32.Qg4 Rd8 33.Rf1 h5 34.Qxf3 Rxe6 35.gxf4 gxf4 36.Qxh5 Qh6 37.Qxh6 Rxh6 38.Rxf4 [with winning endgame for White]

click for larger view

Sep-04-21  DouglasGomes: By Bf7 I meant Bg6
Sep-29-21  RookFile: The funny thing is I think a chess hustler would have bashed out 24. Qh5 in about 2 seconds.
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