Carlsen vs Caruana: Getting ready for a swashbuckling contest

Carlsen vs Caruana: Getting ready for a swashbuckling contest

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The two greatest active chess players are getting ready to lock horns and engage in a daring, dauntless, audacious contest. We are just a few days away from the first World Chess Championship in history which features two 2800+ players.

Never has there been so much noise before a WCC match. It has been so heavily anticipating that people from all over the world are eager to share their thoughts. And it is a privilege that I can do this on Stay tuned for my analysis on the games!


Tense situations as always in the clash of these titans!

Previous blogs in the series:


The making of an age-old clash


Read also about The inside story of Fabiano Caruana

Young geniuses

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Every champion was once a beginner!

From the time they were very small kids, tiny specks Carlsen and Caruana began to make headlines, stunning the world with their excellent performances. 

The talent was immediately visible in both of these players, and they achieved many laurels in the game.

While 10 year old Fabiano beat a 2683 GM, 13 year old Carlsen managed to draw in rapid the then World Champion: Garry Kasparov.


"This time it's the real deal." 

The aforementioned words of Carlsen make it clear that his respect for Caruana's strength is pretty high compared to his previous opponents. During the 2016 World Championship, there was a lot of talk of him almost getting dethroned due to his over-confidence. Although Magnus never agreed to this, it is evidently the case.

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What a brilliant capture by the photographer! Caruana and Carlsen seem completely animated!

This time though, there is no such issue. He knows that Caruana has the skill, and if he is not careful, he could easily get stumped.

"I would like to give you some boring, politically correct answer, but the truth is, yeah, it does bother me! I’ve been the number one in the rankings every single day for about seven years and it is unpleasant to have him and, I suppose, Shakhriyar [Mamedyarov] as well, breathing down my neck. So well, I’m hoping he’s not going to catch me, that’s for sure! It doesn’t look like he’s going to win today, but who knows."

These lines by Carlsen displays the great importance he gives to psychological factors. Now that this is past the line, though, he need not worry, but the gap has shortened a little bit too much, such that if Fabiano manages to draw first blood, he will be no.1.

A couple very important pyschological questions:

  • Does Caruana really believe in himself to win this match?
  • Will we see a slightly insecure and nervous version of Magnus or a supremely confident one?

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The customary handshake! We are going to see a lot of that from now onwards!

Considering the form of Fabiano currently, and the way he seems hyped up, it is going to be a very interesting match. However, if doubts are creeping in at any stage in either of the players- we might see immediate results.

One very important thing to note here- Carlsen would most likely be the happier man if a tiebreak takes place.

It is well known that Caruana's speed chess skills are not up to the level of other top players.

When writing about psychology in the upcoming match, @ddt_ru in his blog mentioned about Carlsen being similar to Fischer and Kasparov in the regard that they were practically invincible in their time, and the mental edge alone was enough to win many a matches. But when they lost- their winning mental state were also prone to breakdowns. He writes:

"What unites all these cases is the champion's sudden realization of his own mortality. Once it happens, the finely tuned mechanism of a player starts to falter, the doubts are creeping in, and the psychological initiative changes hands, which is especially dangerous in a match."

These matches are so much psychological. In fact, the player who gave greatest importance to psychological factors, Emanuel Lasker, held the chess crown for 27 years straight.

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Chess can be stressful, even for the best players. And at the WCC 2018, the psychology is going to be intensified to the highest level.

Personalities and Style

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The frightening stare!

Magnus has a positional approach to the game, and has high endgame skills and squeezes out many victories out of nowhere. He is also known for his attitude personality and how much he hates losing.

He has stated that the middlegame is his favourite part as it "comes down to pure chess". His style of play has made comparisons to those of former World Champions Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, and Jose Raul Capablanca.

He is well known for being very flexible with his openings, and he just likes to play any playable position.

Anand said of Carlsen in 2012: "Magnus has an incredible innate sense... The majority of ideas occur to him absolutely naturally. He's also very flexible, he knows all the structures and he can play almost any position."

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Magnus is known for his never-give-up and fighting skills.

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Cool but focused!

Caruana has a very universal style, and is known for his strong opening preparation and deep calculation. He is a good fighter, and enjoys playing different types of positions. Personality-wise, he is known to be calm and organised.

He is known as a confident player, who is ready to take upon anyone. His style of play has drawn comparisons with former World Champion Garry Kasparov.

He says: "I enjoy playing different types of positions, both tactical and strategic, I can't say there's anything I avoid. I can attack on a board full of pieces or manoeuvre in a roughly even position, and I've got nothing against the endgame."

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Fabiano is known as a very hard working player, once saying, "You need to analyse, find new trends, keep trying to find new ideas to use against specific opponents."

All this sets up for a classic WCC. Whatever the result, it's going to be one for the ages. Get ready for a swashbuckling contest!

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Will the Champion be dethroned? Or will he prove his dominance once again? Shoot your thoughts in the comments section below!