World Chess Championship: Magnus Carlsen retains title


World number one Norwegian Magnus Carlsen has retained his World Chess Championship title, beating US opponent Fabiano Caruana in a tie-breaker event.

He beat Caruana in three time-limited games, ending the American’s hopes of becoming the first US champion since Bobby Fischer won in 1972.

This showdown followed a record-breaking streak of 12 drawn games of regular chess.

Carlsen told the BBC that the win was “huge for me”.

“Fabiano played very well and he’s an extremely strong player so it’s very special,” he said.

“It was very tense for these whole three weeks and there was no point in particular where I felt I was going to win the match. I didn’t particularly feel that I was losing it either. It was always hanging in the balance.”

Caruana, however, told Norway’s NRK TV that he had had a “bad day”.

“I didn’t even put up a fight,” he said.

Carlsen, who has won the championship three times before and was the favourite to win the game, took a two-match lead and needed only a draw in the third tie-breaker to seal his victory.

But Caruana resigned in the third as it became increasingly clear the Norwegian would win.

Players needed to win the best of four of these shortened games to take the title.

Carlsen’s victory came after he seemed to play for the tie-breaker event in the 12th and final regular game – drawing criticism from former world champion Garry Kasparov, who said the “shocking draw offer” showed he was “losing his nerve” and no longer favourite to win.

Vladimir Kramnik, another Russian chess grandmaster, said: “He might be tired of tension, fighting; maybe even of chess itself to a certain degree.”

However, the Norwegian is ranked number one worldwide for fast-paced games, whereas Caruana is ranked at number 18.

“I’m a bit surprised that it’s never occurred to anybody that I might know what’s best for me,” Carlsen told the BBC.

“It was a purely sporting decision and regardless of the result today I would have felt that it was the right one.

After Carlsen’s victory, Kasparov tweeted that his consistency was “phenomenal”.


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