WCC 2018 Rd 11: Fabiano neutralizes Magnus' final White with another Petroff
Sergey Karjakin played the first move in Round 11. Photo: Mike Klein/Chess.com

WCC 2018 Rd 11: Fabiano neutralizes Magnus' final White with another Petroff

IM vinniethepooh

In the penultimate round of the World Chess Championship 2018 Magnus could not make his last White count thanks to some excellent preparation by Fabiano. In the shortest game of the match so far, the players signed peace treaty for the 11th consecutive time in an opposite colour bishop endgame.

Heading into the final round, the score is still tied in a deadlock of 5.5-5.5. Both the players have created their chances but have failed to find the knockout blow. A playoff is the most likely outcome now, but if anyone is to win in the final round, he takes the title.

The handshake before game 11 World Chess Championship 2018

The media gather up to see what does Magnus have in store for his final White. Photo: Mike Klein/Chess.com (All the images in this blog are from this article: https://www.chess.com/news/view/world-chess-championship-game-11-good-preparation-gives-caruana-easy-draw-in-petroff)

"He’s been very well prepared so far and I haven’t gotten much, those are the cold, hard facts." (Magnus) In his six games with White, the Norwegian has opened with 1.c4, 1.d4 and 1.e4 a couple of times each but has failed to get anything serious. In today's petroff, Magnus was once again into the tank right from the starting moves, whereas Fabiano was enjoying the engine at his disposal.

Now we have the big question of whether Fabiano will go all out in the final round and go for a full-blooded fight, or he will prefer taking it slow and let it go to the tiebreaks. In the 2016 WCC, Magnus in the final round with the White pieces went for a quick draw against Sergey being confident in his speed chess skills.

Speaking of Sergey Karjakin, today the 2016 World Championship contender was there at the venue! He also made the first move of game 11. Without asking Magnus, he opened with the Orangutan. And whom did he get the inspiration from? None other than Vishy Anand!

1.b4 Karjakin World Chess Championship 2018

Sergey making the ceremonial first move.. and opening with 1.b4 on the advice of Vishy! Photo: Mike Klein/Chess.com

That evoked a lot of laughter and was a very big fun moment. That must have given a heart attack to those who were already watching. Luckily, I wasn't there..

Anyways, the champion took it back, and played 1.e4. The challenger replied with his now trusty defense, the Petroff. This time, Magnus decided to go for the more tense 5.Nc3 main line.

10...c5 caught him by surprise though, and as the game proceeded, pieces got exchanged at regular intervals before it finally came down to an opposite colour bishop endgame, where Magnus got a pawn, but a simply impenetrable fortress was setup by the American.

Fabiano Caruana Game 11 World Chess Championship 2018

He has White in the final round. Why will he not be happy? Photo: Mike Klein/Chess.com

Analysis by @vinniethepooh


So, at the end of the day, it is another game and another draw. Today, 26th November is the final classical game. If we have a decisive result, the championship is decided immediately. What if there is a draw? Here are the playoff rules:

If the scores are level after the regular 12 games, four tie-break games will be played. These are rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.
If it's still equal, two blitz games will be played (5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment). If it's still equal, a second pair of two blitz games will be played. If there is still no winner after five such matches, one sudden-death game will be played. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes, the player with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds starting from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.