World Chess Championship, the playoffs: Like I really care

Posted: November 28, 2018 in chess
Tags: , , ,

Magnus Carlsen defeated Fabiano Caruana in the lightning round of the championship today, winning the first three games of the four-game rapid series (25 minutes per side) and thus the title. Ho. Hum.

Caruana played well in the first game, but he was overpowered finally by Carlsen, the best player at speed chess since the invention of clocks. Caruana’s performance in the next two games got worse. Carlsen was never seriously threatened.

At the postgame press conference, Carlsen was his usual effervescent self, which we haven’t seen since the match started, which seems like about a year ago. Caruana was quiet, but he’s always quiet. They sat next to each other, but despite having spent weeks with Caruana inside a soundproof booth, Carlsen never looked at or acknowledged him.

After Carlsen’s decision in the 12th and final game of the regulation match to offer a draw even though he had the superior position, a strategy that would minimize his risk and send the match into extra innings at the faster speeds at which he excels, today’s events were kind of depressing.

“Magnus needs to get rid of this fear of losing the title,” former world champion Vladimir Kramnik said after the 12th game. “I cannot imagine him doing this a few years ago.”

Whatever will be the result of the match he should start to think a little bit, to ask himself a few questions: Why does he play chess? Does he really enjoy it? What does he want in chess?

It seems like he just wants to keep his title and to get rid of this match somehow.

“They should put an asterisk after Carlsen’s name,” my wife said.

I’ll think of something happier to write about next time. Maybe my list of the most depressing albums of the 21st century. (I’m up to four.) Until then, one of the last questions at the press conference came from a reporter who said that Donald Trump wanted to meet the players. Would they accept an invitation to the White House?

Both players basically said, “No comment.”

Kramnik’s comments courtesy

  1. Mr. Seaside says:

    Should he ask himself: “Chess…will it ever catch on?”

  2. Accused of Lurking says:

    This is the way the World (Chess Championship) ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

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