- Magnus Carlsen has won his fourth World Chess Championship, defeating Fabiano Caruana in London.
- After an unprecedented 12 draws in longer time controls, the classic chess gave way to rapid tiebreaks.
- Carlsen is the stronger rapid player and crushed Caruana 3-0.
It’s a four-peat for Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, who defeated American Fabiano Caruana in London on Wednesday to win the 2018 World Chess Championship.
As in Carlsen’s 2016 title defence, against Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, Carlsen needed rounds of rapid chess, 25-minutes games.
Carlsen is the world’s best at this so-called “rapid” chess. After 11 consecutive draws in the classical time controls over the first two weeks of the championship, Carlsen, 27, offered a controversial draw in Game 12, betting that he could retain his title by beating Caruana, 26, a less accomplished fast player.
The World Chess Championship had never seen a deadlocked result with no decisive wins for either player. But the clear victories came quickly in rapid, as Carlsen dashed to a 2-0 lead, needing just a draw to secure another half point and claim the crown for the fourth time.
Carlson locked up the win in the third rapid game, posting a 3-0 final result after Caruana’s position with black collapsed and a second Carlsen white queen appeared on the board.
In the end, it was a wipeout, ending America’s best chance at a World Champion since Bobby Fischer in 1972. And the result decisively cemented Carlsen’s position as not just the number-one player on the planet, but also one of the most tenacious champions of the modern era.
To Caruana’s credit, however, the young challenger was Carlsen’s equal in the classical rounds, proving that his number-two world ranking is well-deserved.