Newsflash: Magnus Carlsen Retains World Championship Title


Photo Max Avdeev

In November 30th, in New York City, Magnus Carlsen turned 26 and successfully defended his World Championship title against ferocious challenger Sergey Karjakin. The classical portion of the match was split 6-6, all draws except for a big win by Karjakin in round eight, and a Thanksgiving counter-punch by Magnus in round ten.

The rapid portion of the match began with no huge surprises, a Ruy Lopez with few fireworks.

In the second rapid game, Magnus Carlsen had a winning edge, but the challenger held for as long as he could, finally finding a stalemate defense that shocked chess fans all the way up to Anish Giri.

After a short ten minute break, a surely dissapointed Carlsen found himself in a double-edged Ruy Lopez, and won a thriller, highlighted by…30 e4 and finally the crushing 38…Ra1 after 38. Rxc7?

This put Carlsen in a great position in the fourth game of the rapid: Draw odds to retain the World Championship title, and the white pieces to boot. Karjakin responded to the grave spot with the Sicilian, much to the excitement of chess fans. But it turned into a Maroczy type position favoring Carlsen. He won the game and defended his title with a lovely tactic, leaving us with a grand impression of his title defense.

White to Move and Win

Look for more analysis and reflections from our onsite reporter, GM Cristian Chirila, later this week. 


  1. that’s no classic championships. they should have hange it to rapid championships instead.. playing with one opening..(ruy lopez???) is no good.. they should change the order not to be boring..

    • Require each player to play a different half dozen or so openings (French, Caro Kann, Reti, Benoni, etc.) This will result in more exciting chess and fewer draws.

  2. I’m sorry but ,I do not like the World Championship be decided by a rapid chess match. Chess is art and as an art should be allowed to take the time needed to complete what is supposed to be a masterpiece.The champion should be allowed to retein the tittle in case of a tied match.

  3. I like the idea of making the players use a half dozen opening to play for the championship makes for better chess

  4. They have championships for quick chess and blitz chess to prove who is the best . I thought this championship was about who the classic or real chess champion is supposed to be . This should have been a 24 game classic chess championship . Like they used to play ( tougher people ).

  5. I think it is good that everyone has an opinion but chess is a game and the players should be allowed to play as they see fit. No player wants to be told what plays to call or what openings to play. Draws are draws, soccer fans see them all the time and after regulation they have tie breakers like shoot outs so why can’t chess players have speed chess.

    • They already have speed chess tournaments . This tournament was supposed to establish classic chess tournament champion . This is chess not soccer .

  6. I believe at the top levels of checkers they draw for openings. Perhaps someone familiar with the procedure can explain here.

  7. How significant is the title of “champion” if the edge of performance advantage is microscopic?
    On another day with more/less of sleep, exercise, food, or sex the result goes the other way. Previous comments suggest a sort of chess “decathlon”, one that would measure the performance of a player in many areas (excepting bullet chess 🙂 would not only spice up the celebrity and interest of the event, but add the missing significance. And if the contestants were still within some range of each other, declare a shared title.

  8. In my opinion the World Championship match ended in a draw. All we learned from it’s conclusion was who the better quick chess player was, and even that very inconclusively due to a very limited number of quick chess games played. In my humble opinion ending a world championship match in this way was a disgrace. Lets be honest, we never got a winner. At the very least additional games should have been played under normal conditions until the tie was broken. Only then would we have a champion. Now we will never know. Very sad.

  9. This championship is proof that quality of chess is more and more deteriorating today
    specially in the World Championship Match and Major Tournaments playoff games, because FIDE maintains rules such as rapid tie-breaks and blitz playoffs. In rapid games, physical and healthy conditions are unfair detriments to some players such as eye problems, nervessness, blood pressure etc. Besides, speed causes errors just like in cars causing accidents.

    I strongly suggest that “only” SLOW STANDARD TIME control be used in all Major Tournaments. In the World Championship, games limited to around 21 games. 12 games is too short If a tie occurs, the Champion retains is title since the challenger could not beat him.

Leave a Comment

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Announcements

  • US Chess Press