By Torbjørn Ringdal Hansen
Ten draws in a row, but the games are getting sharper and sharper. We have a few exciting days ahead of us!
In the first half of the match, the players struggled to achieve anything with the white pieces. People even started saying that Black is the new White, which of course is not true. I am glad to see things have returned to normal; the last three games have shown White getting the initiative.
Originally, I wanted everything to happen in this match: one win each and then lots of drama in the playoff. Now, anything can happen, and I guess that we will see a playoff, probably without a single win in the ordinary games. Another possibility is that the increasing sharpness of the games will end in a victory for the two players and that it will end within the next two games. One thing is for sure; sharp games combined with a lot at stake is thrilling both for the players and us watching.
The use of engines has helped the spectators understand what's going on in the games. This also means that the player's mistakes are immediately visible to the audience, but I want to illustrate that things usually are much more complicated than they might seem. It's not like Magnus didn't know 25.h5 in game nine was rushing things, but to me, it looks likes like he didn't believe the slower alternatives would give enough, probably rightly so. And of course, Caruana saw the possibility of playing 24.Bxb5 in game 10, but his sense of danger told him to avoid giving Magnus a free hand on the kingside.
Let's take a closer look — first a much-discussed moment from game 9.
Magnus Carlsen - Fabiano Caruana 2018 World Championship, Game 9
During the whole match, I have been doing live commentary at The Good Knight in Oslo, and game 10 was no exception. The situation after Black’s 23rd move was fascinating. The audience was discussing enthusiastically, but I could also hear people say that the computer Sesse indicated White’s advantage to be 1.4, which means an almost decisive advantage for Caruana. I was trying to explain and figure out what was going on without the aid of an engine.
Fabiano Caruana - Magnus Carlsen 2018 World Championship, Game 10
I usually don't like Novembers, but this one has been pretty good with the championship. Now I don't like rest days - I want to see them play instead!
Do you think defending is difficult? Check out the lesson The King's Protector in the Magnus Trainer!
Photo by World Chess