Magnus Carlsen vs Fabiano Caruana

10/05/2018 - Chess World Championship Matches are fraught with stress, and danger for both champion and challenger. For the challenger its match inexperience and inability to control nervous energy. Match inexperience impacted Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Nigel Short, Veselin Topalov. All 4 of these top players fell behind early in their matches. Fischer and Kasparov were able to overcome their inexperience. For the world champion there is the stress of defending their title another time and the stress of being champion. Mikhail Botvinnik, the 5th World Champion, believed each world championship match takes a year off the end of your life. He may be right, but wrong about the number of years. Botvinnik lived to the ripe old age of 83. However other world champions haven't faired so well in the longevity department. Of the first 11 world champions, 6 died before age 65.

    Many champions who survive the first few title defenses, seem to develop a third title defense itch. Many seasoned champions failed in their third title defense. The following champions lost a third title defense: Alexander Alekhine lost to Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik lost to Vasily Smyslov, Anatoly Karpov lost to Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik lost to Vishy Anand, and Anand lost to Magnus Carlsen.

   Will this current match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana be decided by match inexperience or third title defense itch or with both players playing up to their ratings in a hard fought battle to the last game? To determine who is going to win a world championship match, I always look to the past to see how similar matches played out. We have an established world champion, still on top of his game, against a rising new star. Will this match play out like Karpov vs Kasparov 1? They were the two top players of their generation. But n Karpov was 33 and his weaknesses in world championship matches were known: Loss of stamina and near collapse in long protracted battles. Karpov nearly collapsed during his 1978 match against Victor Kortchnoi. Karpov lost a 5-2 lead and allowed Kortchnoi to tie the match 5-5. Karpov finally found enough reserves to starve off defeat. Kasparov's weakness would become known during his first match against Karpov. Kasparov world championship match inexperience would leave him down 0-4 in the first 9 games. This match would be stopped after 59 games with a well mentored Kasparov surging and a weaken Karpov fading, but still leading 5-3. Karpov was 12 years Kasparov senior. Both players were from different generations.

    Will this match resemble the 2000 brain games match between Kasparov vs Kramnik. The two top players of their day. In terms of playing styles, this was Karpov vs Kasparov in reverse. Kramnik dominated this match from the start and defanged Kasparov with the Berlin Wall defense. Both players were from different generations. Kramnik was just 25, but was well mentored in terms of world championship match experience for having been Kasparov 2nd in Kasparov successful defense against Anand in 1995, and Kasparov was 37. Kasparov failed to bring the 9th pawn to this match. He conceded this point in a chess life interview prior to the match, saying he could lose this match, and he did.

   Will this match resemble the 1993 match that pitted Kasparov vs Short. Short came into this match having defeated Karpov and Timman in candidate matches. These were the two best players of the prior generation. Both Kasparov and Short were similar in age and Kasparov was the number one player in the world and the current champion at that time. Short's match inexperience got him in trouble early and match victory was beyond his grasp by game 10, when Short trailed by 5 games. Short would go on to lose six games, and winning only one.


  For  Caruana, he has to watch his nervous energy early on in this match. For Carlsen, he has to find away to avoid third title defense itch. This is Carlsen 4 title match since 2013. He is already on record stating he prefers KO Format for world championships. I believe Carlsen is still in top form and confident and will bring the 9th pawn with him and show his dominance.


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