Carlsen – Caruana 2018 live blog

caruana-wijk-aan-zeeLive analysis: Caruana – Carlsen game 1 with Lc0 and SF lines here!

Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 World Chess Championship match between the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA). In this live blog from WCC 2018 we will be covering the event Carlsen – Caruana with the latest news, developments, interviews, and in-game details.

Parallel to the live blog, to power the insights of the game, Chessdom brings onboard a 128 cores Super Computer equipped with the current TCEC champion Stockfish and a neural network based on Alpha Zero- Lc0 – on Google Tesla V100 infrastructure. You read correctly, this is the strongest EVER analysis provided for a chess game. The best lines suggested by the computer (principle variation) and the current evaluation of the position can be followed here

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2:00 CET

All the recent success and steady career growth of Fabiano Caruana led to one major question. Has America found its new Bobby Fischer? US media jumped on the topic right away. The NY Times published an article by Pia Peterson “Searching for the Next Bobby Fischer, the U.S. Finds Fabi”, followed by Sean Gregory’s article in Time, “This Kid From Brooklyn Could Return America to Chess Dominance for the First Time Since Bobby Fischer”.

One of the best sum-ups of the coming match is by Edouard Guihaire (AFP, Yahoo), who says, “Norway’s Magnus Carlsen will seek to cement his reputation as history’s greatest chess player on Friday when he launches a defence of his crown against the first US title contender since Bobby Fischer in 1972. [...] Americans have not had a chess hero since Fischer stunned Soviet champion Boris Spassky in an epic series in 1972 that epitomised the Cold War rivalry between the two superpowers. Now, US media is fascinated with the possibility of the chess title coming home nearly 50 years later.”

1:45 CET

Exactly the small length of the match is Carlsen’s biggest concern at the moment. He repeatedly admitted that he is not in his best form and that a wrong step could throw the match in any direction. At the same time Fabiano Caruana is at his best ever – with 2832 ELO he is just 3 points behind Carlsen, while this year’s chess performance of the US player, excluding his first tournament of the year, is only eclipsed by Ding Liren’s amazing record run.

In January, Caruana finished 11th with a score of 5/13 at the Tata Steel Masters tournament, which was a disaster by any standard for a player of his rank. But already in March he won the Candidates Tournament 2018 with a score of 9/14, thus winning the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship 2018 in London in November 2018. From 31 March to 9 April, Caruana competed in the Grenke Chess Classic 2018 where he won the event with a score of 6½/9, a point ahead of runner-up and future WCC oponent Carlsen. With this result he moved to No. 2 in the live world rankings, a position that he defended and solidified in future events even getting a chance for a shot at the first place before the match. From 17 to 30 April, he competed in 2018 U.S. Chess Championship, placing second with 8/11. In June, he won the sixth edition of Norway Chess 2018, finishing clear first with a score of 5/8 (+3–1=4), despite having lost to Carlsen in the first round. In August, he jointly won the Sinquefield Cup 2018 with Carlsen and Aronian.

1:35 CET

Carlsen – Caruana 2018 is a short match, maximum 12 classical games. The time control for the games is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1. If the match is tied after 12 games, tie breaks will be played starting with best of 4 rapid games (25 minutes + 10 seconds), followed by up to five pairs of blitz games and if needed an Armageddon

1:15 CET

Just a reminder that today the Carlsen – Caruana match first game is not the only major chess event going on. You can follow Tata Steel Chess India first edition with Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura, Pentala Harikrishna, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Nihal Sarin, and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu here with analysis and the World Women Chess Championship knockouts here with analysis

0:30 CET

So far Magnus Carlsen has played in 3 World Championships, in all of them successfully. In all opening games of the matches, the score was a draw. The only time Carlsen started with the black pieces was against Anand in 2014. The game finished in a 48 moves draw. You can replay the game with commentary by GM Chritian Bauer here

0:00 CET

Today was the official drawing of lots for the match. Carlsen drew the black pieces at the opening ceremony and Fabiano Caruana will start with the white pieces in game 1. The draw rate in head to head games where Caruana is white vs Carlsen is relatively low, only 50%. From the 16 official classical games they played 8 finished in a draw, with 5 wins for Carlsen and 3 wins for Caruana.