2018 World Chess Championship: Game #7

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

Magnus Carlsen (Norway) vs. Fabiano Caruana (USA)
Game 7
Carlsen
½-½
Caruana
Match Score: 3½-3½
Official Site: https://worldchess.com/

2018 World Chess Championship: Game 7
Sunday, 18 November 2018

Another draw… black is still good!

Todays’ battle in Holburn, London certainly didn’t create a “Fire on Board,” but there is still a psychological battle going on. In a photo (above) taken by the official photographer, there appears to be an expression of anxiety in the face of Magnus Carlsen. Meanwhile, Fabiano Caruana still appears relaxed. Perhaps that is not what it appears, but was it certain is that pressure is being ratcheted up gradually and Carlsen is feeling it.

Magnus Carlsen stated that he’s not worrid,
but his expressions say otherwise.
Photo by Mike Klein

Caruana has successfully held both back-to-back black games which many consider to be an accomplishment. It is ironic that black has had the most chances in this match. In fact, Carlsen characterized his play as “soft” and seemed to be a bit unnerved. In the press conference he mentioned not being pleased. Former world champion Viswanathan Anand made a serious observation about Carlsen…

“What is striking is the number of [good] positions he doesn’t convert [nowadays]. He used to win equal positions!”

This may have been in reference to Carlsen’s tongue-in-cheek comment that his favorite player of the past was “him four years ago.” Anand’s comment is very telling because it comes from an elite player who played Carlsen two championship matches and countless of other times in different formats. One could argue, however, that the field is simply getting stronger and offering more resistance.

Today’s game was another Queen’s Gambit that yielded white no appreciable advantage. There was an interesting lesson given by commentator Maurice Ashley on the subject of finding an imbalance in the position. He cited imbalance as “lack of proportion or relation between corresponding things” and related that to the lack of imbalances in game 7. Draw?

After 24.Bxg3 hxg3, Ashley perked up since the game was no longer symmetrical. A few moves later white played 28.Bxg6 hxg6. This game was destined to be drawn if there are moves like 26…Be4 and 32.Qd2 both leading to perpetual checks. The game actually ended in a three-fold repetition instead.

Annotations by GM Amon Simutowe

Video by GM Daniel King

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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