Raymond Keene

Beneath the surface

After 12 games of classical chess, the world championship between the incumbent, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, and his American challenger, Fabiano Caruana, ended in a record-breaking twelve draws. My initial impression was that both contestants were willing to wound, yet somehow afraid to strike at the climactic moment. The more Machiavellian explanation for such overt lack of ambition was that Carlsen was so confident of his superiority at speed chess that he was content to keep things level and just wait for the speed chess tie-breaks.

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