Carlsen v Karjakin: it’s sudden death in World Chess Championship

“We’re not at the penalty stage yet. We’re at extra time,” Carlsen said after Monday’s match, making a football analogy. “I understand if sometimes both teams are not trying to score in the last minute of regulation that can be frustrating but also having extra time is exciting.”

 

Their last match on Monday ended with a draw after just 35 minutes and 30 moves, an outcome that disappointed fans and experts alike. The grandmaster Susan Polgar observed that it was “as exciting as watching clothes dry”, while the British grandmaster Nigel Short tweeted: “If the 12th game … were a restaurant dish, I would send it back to the chef.”

 

The match has invited comparisons with the 1972 clash between the American Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, the Soviet Union’s defending world champion. Fischer famously won, dealing a blow to the Kremlin’s use of chess as an ideological weapon and its belief in communist superiority over capitalism.

 

On Wednesday the World Chess Championship in New York reaches its conclusion when Carlsen plays a series of quickfire games against his challenger Sergey Karjakin. The sudden death denouement comes after a series of sometimes lacklustre draws and a single win each, with the players tantalisingly tied on Monday with six points.

 

It’s not quite the cold war revisited. But over the past two weeks the world chess No 1, Norwegian , has been doing battle against a Kremlin-backed Russian grandmaster who fervently supports Crimea’s annexation and the man who did it, Vladimir Putin.

 

 

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