World Chess Championship, Game 11: “Chess is 90% mental and the other half is physical”

Posted: November 24, 2018 in chess
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Today’s game between defending champion Magnus Carlsen, playing white, and Fabiano Caruana was a draw, the 11th straight. There’s one game left before the tie-breaker round (if necessary).

I’m not going to discuss today’s game except to say the champ didn’t show us much. I’ve seen more action from our dog after another pitched battle with his bed.

This is how we roll
This is how he rolls.

What I will mention are two moments from the postgame press conference. Mag Wheels, who is normally gregarious with the press, was restrained. I’ll bet he’s unhappy with his play, especially in the games where he had white. You can’t change the past. Fabio was his usual nerdy, laid-back self. He hasn’t changed by one complex carbon molecule from the first game, which they played three weeks ago.

Question to Carlsen: The Ukrainian Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin, whom Carlsen defeated in his championship defense in 2016, said it would be “better for chess” if Carlsen won this match because “people like to see a dominant champion.” Do you think that, if you won, it would be better for chess?

The journalists and officials laughed, but Carlsen, who can be witty in Norwegian and his second language, English, didn’t take advantage of this easy opening. He grimaced, shook his head, and said, “I can’t answer that.”

The moderator, English Grandmaster Daniel King, put the question to Caruana. Would it be better for chess if you won?

Fabio, looking confident, smiled and tossed it right back. “Oh, I don’t think chess would change much,” he said.

The other moment was when the players were asked what they would do on Sunday, their last off-day.

Fabio: “I’m going to rest.”

Mag Wheels: “I need to find some energy.”

The 12th game is on Monday. Fabio will have white. They’re still the two highest-rated players in the world, but if 90% of this game is mental, Fabio has the advantage. All he has to do to claim the crown is win. Imagine being 26 years old and having the power to turn your life inside-out in one day.

Yogi Berra, the ultimate chess fan, said it best. It ain’t over till it’s over.



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