Carlsen crushed Caruana in the decider

Magnus Carlsen Fabiano Caruana Chess LondonMagnus Carlsen looks at a dejected Fabiano Caruana after his win in Classic Chess in London. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

Carlsen crushed Caruana in the decider to retain the title

Magnus Carlsen defended his World Champion title with bravado against the challenger Fabiano Caruana. Wednesday’s games were decided with three straight victories in Rapid Chess.


After the triumph, Carlsen spent a relatively long time together with his strategist Peter Heine Nielsen (Denmark) and his father Henrik before appearing in the interview zone.

– I am very happy. It was a very, very good day at the office, Magnus Carlsen tells NRK.

– The first party was even and exciting, but I managed to trick him when we were short on time. The second game was complicated, but I had faith even though I did not feel that my position was strong. The last game was a bit more nerve-racking. My Rapid Chess form is at least good, Carlsen states.

– He is the strongest player I’ve met because I did not win a single party in classic chess. I never felt like I was close to winning the match before today.  Fortunately, I was the best today, Carlsen continues.


Caruana feels quite differently.

– I had a bad day and did not play well. In the first and third game, I was at least in with a chance, but the game where I played white turned into a disaster. It was obviously disappointing, but I was not near his level today and he won deservedly, Caruana tells NRK.

– We have never experienced this before in a World Championship, the broadcaster’s chess expert, Atle Grønn exclaims after the crushing victory.

While the two opponents drew in the 12 classical encounters, the ruling champion annihilated his American challenger when the thinking time was reduced to 25 minutes. A small mistake in each of the first two games by the American was enough for Carlsen to rejoice.

In the third battle, Carlsen thwarted a desperate offensive from Caruana and prevailed even though two draws would have sufficed.

This is the third time Carlsen has retained the title he captured from Vishy Anand (India) in Chennai, India in 2013. He beat Anand once more in Sochi, Russia in 2014, Sergey Karjakin in New York in 2016 and now Caruana closer to home in London.

Carlsen last week celebrated seven years as the World Champion and has surpassed the Cuban legend José Raoul Capablanca. Capablanca ruled supreme for six years from 1921 to 27.

It’s the fourth time that Carlsen has won the World Championships, two less than Emanuel Lasker and Garry Kasparov.

To wins with the white pieces

Magnus Carlsen used 55 moves with the white pieces to win the first game of the day, followed by back to back wins with black and white.

– He has played incredibly well. He has managed to let himself go for it. He said he looked forward to the deciders. It is looking good, but there are two games left to play, Carlsen’s manager, Espen Agdestein, cautioned NRK after win number two.

Carlsen only needed a remis (draw) in the third game with the white pieces to decide. He played safely and did not take any big risks, while Caruana risked everything in the quest for the win he desperately needed. Eventually, Carlsen gained a winning position. Caruana fought not to throw the towel in, but after 51 moves, he saw no alternative but to congratulate Carlsen with the victory.

Won Castle end game

In the first game, Caruana was behind on time early on after spending much more time on his opening moves than Carlsen. He sacrificed a pawn to gain the initiative, a so-called gambit game.

Just as previously in the match, Caruana was good at defending when Carlsen tried to go on the offensive. However, he made a bad move with his horse after spending more than five minutes of thinking time. The chess computers gave Carlsen a clear advantage in the resulting position. In a Caste end-game with an extra pawn for Carlsen, the world champion managed to decide in his favour.

In game two, the first moves were rapid. Caruana had prepared particularly well and the first 16 moves went more or less on auto-pilot. After a further six moves, the 26-years-old American’s white advantage was evened out, and eventually, Carlsen gained a decisive upper hand.

In Rapid Chess, each player receives 25 minutes of thinking time, plus 10 seconds for every move.

Facts about Fabiano Caruana(26)

  • Born: July 30th, 1992
  • Sport: Chess
  • Nationality: USA and Italy
  • Title: Grand Master (2007)
  • Ranking: 2832 (November 2018)
  • Highest ranking: 2844 (October 2014)

Facts about Magnus Carlsen(27)

Born: November 30th, 1990 (27 år)

Sport: Chess

Nationality: Norwegian

Title: Grand Master (2004), World Champion, Classic Chess (2013->)

Ranking: 2835 (November 2018)

Highest ranking: 2882 (May 2014)


  • 2004: Grand Master
  • 2009: World Champion Lightning Chess (youngest ever)
  • 2010: Ranked as the best player in the world
  • 2013: 2872 ranking points (best ever)
  • 2013: World Champion Classical Chess
  • 2014: World Champion Classical, Rapid and Lightning Chess
  • 2016: World Champion Classical Chess
  • 2017: World Champion Lightning Chess
  • 2018: World Champion Classical Chess


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today