World Chess Championship

Game 12 is shortest ever

From Donald Duff in New York

Tie breaks will decide the 2016 International Chess Federation (FIDE) World Chess Championship, after the 12th and final game of the series between defending champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Russian challenger Serjey Karjakin, ended in yet another draw, at the Fulton Market Building, South Street Seaport, Manhattan, New York, yesterday.

The game was over in 36 minutes, the shortest ever in a world championship match, according to the organisers of the event.

After 12 games, some intriguing, some boring, and at least two exciting if not dramatic, the two players will have a rest day today before making the final, definitive push to secure the coveted title tomorrow in what will be a test of not only wills, but of concentration and stamina.

First, it will be rapid play, then blitz, and then finally an Armgeddon match to determine who will walk away with 60 per cent of the US$1.1M first prize and the accolade of best chess player on Planet Earth.

 Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen
 Serjey Karjakin
Serjey Karjakin

All told, the two players have battled to 10 draws and one victory each in the classical time control games, with Karjakin drawing first blood with victory in the eighth game after the first seven were drawn, and Carlsen drawing even in the tenth game, Karjakin’s worst of the match.

The two players will use the rest day today to recharge their batteries for what promises to be a gruelling day tomorrow, which is, ironically, Carlsen’s 26th birthday.

A win for Carlsen will give him the best birthday present possible, while a defeat will leave him ruing the day.

Tomorrow the action will get underway at 2.30pm, with four rapid play games, where each player will have 25 minutes on his clock, with 10 seconds added after every move.

Should the rapid games fail to break the deadlock, two blitz games will be played, until a total of 10 games are held, and if there is still no result, the Armageddon game will be contested.

When play began yesterday, Carlsen as he has done so often in the series played e4, to which Karjakin replied e5, but instead of the furious battle that was anticipated, with the title on the line, the game quickly petered out into an anticlimatic draw.

To his credit once again, Carlsen tried to play attacking chess, for instead of defending the e4 pawn on his fourth move of the Ruy Lopez, he castled kingside, but later recovered the pawn by playing Re1on his fifth move.

By the 11th move, the two players had traded off a rook and a bishop, and further exchanges were in store, as the players exchanged Queens and a pair of knights.

By the 21st move, it was a rook, bishop and seven pawns endgame, and by move 30, the players had complied with the Sofia Rules which are in effect, and a draw was declared.

Neither player seemed to be too upset with the result, although fans had hoped that the final game of the classical time control match would have produced a match for the ages, and ultimately a winner of the 12 match series.

As it is, the series ended with the two players tied on six points each, and still undecided, after a game that promised so much, but in the end, turned out to be nothing more than a damp squib.


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