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World Chess Championship

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World Chess Championship

Courtesy of World Chess

Courtesy of World Chess

Courtesy of World Chess

Courtesy of World Chess

Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

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 The World Chess Championship is a series of games that are played every other year to determine the World Champion in chess. Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen, representing Norway, is the current World Champion after earning the title in 2013 when he won against Viswanathan Anand, another grandmaster.

  Since then, Carlsen has been able to successfully defend his title in following Championships. This year, he is playing Fabiano Caruana, a chess prodigy from America, marking the first time that a U.S. player has competed since 1972.

  Thursday, November 8th, was the official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship of 2018. The red-carpet event was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. George Lamb, British television presenter, hosted the occasion, which many guests attended, including Hou Yifan, a three-time Women’s World Chess Champion.

  Entertainment was also provided through a variety of performances, such as a modern contemporary dance and a song from Stephen Ridley, a composer, accompanied by the piano.

  Erin Schneider (9), who watched the ceremony, said, “Although there was not much news on the performances, I definitely think that they were the highlight of the ceremony. I especially enjoyed how the dance was based on the unity and conflict between two strong characters because it is closely related to the game of chess itself.”

  Carlsen was chosen to have the black pieces in the first game, which was on Friday, November 9th.

  According to World Chess, “The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw worth half a point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner.”

  Carlsen had a close win, but let his guard down during multiple critical moments, which allowed Caruana to fare a draw. He started the first round off by taking a risky move, but as the round progressed, this move paid off as he began to gain control over Caruana’s pawns. He ignored a possible strategy that would have given him an advantage over Caruana. Instead, Carlsen continued to focus on the kingside.

  Later on, Carlsen exchanged one of his pawns, retaining a slight advantage. After another sixty moves, he agreed to a draw after his chances of winning started to dwindle. The game had been prolonged for 115 moves and six hours, making it one of the longest games in World Championship history.

  Carlsen opened game two the next day and used a signature and successful move of his. Despite this move, Caruana soon obtained an edge by separating his opponent’s queen pawns. After a sequence of exchanges and an additional pawn in possession, Caruana settled on a draw after 49 moves, not wishing to repeat the last game.

  Jasmin Tafolla (10), who enjoys playing chess in her free time, said, “I expected a little bit more action and was surprised to hear that they drew twice in a row. I am still curious though to hear how the rest of the rounds turn out like, especially since they are both very talented and brilliant players.”

  Caruana opened game three and the pair repeated the same first five moves from before. Unlike the first game, the players carefully placed their pawns and no one made a mistake. The game concluded with Caruana eliminating Carlsen’s last pawn to promote to a queen with his knight. Caruana and Carlsen agreed on a draw following another 49 moves. The match was tied at 1.5 points on both sides after three games.

  Similarly to the previous game, there were no significant errors and it could have been anyone’s win. The fourth game ended at 34 moves and three hours, the shortest game of the match so far. The match is now tied at 2 points each.

  The match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana will resume on Thursday, November 15 with game five.

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Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

Christine Nguyen is a sophomore staff writer for Smoke Signals. She enjoys listening to music, reading, and dancing. She plays tennis as well as the piano...

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