Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the current world chess champion and Fabiano Caruana the current world chess championship challenger from the United States of America find themselves in a 12 game deadlock which has seen all 12 games drawn, a World Championship Record.
This means we now move into the Playoffs to break the tie. The playoffs will see the players play with significantly less time until a winner is decided. The first section of the playoffs is 4 games of rapid where players will have 25 minutes with 10 seconds added each move made to finish the game. Then it moves to a best of 2 blitz match of 5 minutes with 3 seconds added per move which can happen 5 times and if no winner is decided a final Armageddon match will be played to declare a winner. The Armageddon match sees white having 5 minutes vs blacks 4 minutes and a draw results in a black win. Players will draw lots to decide who picks the colour in the unlikely case of an Armageddon match.
With much less time on the clock an increased amount of pressure will be on the players and they’ll surely be looking too produce the best chess they possibly can. The match is likely to be decided in the rapid games with Magnus Carlsen holding a rapid rating of 2880 being considered by most a huge favourite over Fabiano Caruana who holds a rapid rating of 2789. Given the recent improvements of Fabiano in the shorter time controls the match will still prove very tight but it’s hard to bet against the reigning world champion retaining his title.
Whatever happens there are millions following the match and it’s sure to have an exciting finish. Given the plague of draws we received this world championship however we are in for some big changes in the world of chess in the coming years. There is a general trend towards shorter time controls and chess variants in modern day chess so perhaps this is the way things will go? Others argue that deciding a world classic chess championship by playing a rapid match is criminal. Whatever happens the chess world is buzzing with excitement and it’s great to see the great game growing as such.
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