2018 World Chess Championship: Game #2

2018 World Chess Championship
Holborn, London, England (November 9th-28th)

Magnus Carlsen (Norway) vs. Fabiano Caruana (USA)
Game 2
Match Score: 1-1
Official Site: https://worldchess.com/

2018 World Chess Championship: Game 2
Saturday, 10 November 2018

Carlsen struggles, but holds draw

Grinding chess. That may be the new term to describe what’s going on in Holburn. Both Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana fought to another hard draw today after the world champion got in a bit of trouble in the middlegame. In a Queen’s Gambit Declined, Caruana threw a novelty on the board with 10…Rd8!? This move has not been tested at the top level and may have caught Carlsen off guard.

Magnus Carlsen (Norway) vs. Fabiano Caruana (USA)

Carlsen “groveling” after Caruana played the speculative 10…Rd8!?

The American appeared to be bearing down after 11.Ne4! and Carlsen was forced to chew up time on the clock. Right after a response Caruana played instantly. GM Alexander Grischuk explained that when a player is in “prep” it doesn’t mean they have to play like a robot, but they have a guideline by which to follow an idea. There was a bit of buzz after 16.cxd5 Nxd5.

Several broadcasts pondered the move 17.Nxf7. GM Robert Hess of chess.com was high on the move and showed some lines leading to danger for black, but there were also salvageable lines if black played perfectly. Grischuk, who has gained a reputation for his quick wit, weighed in.

Carlsen didn’t play it.

GM Sam Shankland thought it may have been worth a try given that Carlsen got nothing in the opening. In his annotations for chess.com, Shankland gave 17.Nxf7 Kxf7 18. Bxd6 Rxd6 19. Bh5+ Kg8 20. e4 Nf4 21. Rxd6 Qxh5 22. Rd8+ Kf7 23. Rfd1 b6 with a “dynamically-balanced position.”

A crucial moment occurred when Carlsen played 24.Qd6 to the shock of Hess and IM Danny Rensch. The idea was to get a position whereby his weakened structure is easier to defend than the mounting pressure. Play carried on and while Carlsen was made to work for the draw, the result was never in doubt. Here is the press conference.

Video by ChessBase

Annotations by GM Amon Simutowe

IM Amon Simutowe

Photo by Jerry Bibuld

Video by GM Daniel King

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