Video released during the World Chess Championships has many wondering if it was a terrible blunder or crafty a bit of gamesmanship

Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen are battling for the title of best chess player in the world, but there might be other mind games in play. Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for World Chess
  • Reigning champion Magnus Carlsen and American challenger Fabiano Caruana have played to four draws at the World Chess Championships.
  • On Tuesday, video of Caruana’s preparations for the match was posted to YouTube before being quickly deleted.
  • If real, the clips could be a giveaway as to Caruana’s strategy in taking on the top-ranked player in the world.
  • But some believe that the footage was leaked intentionally, as a next-level mind game.

After four matches, reigning champion Magnus Carlsen and American challenger Fabiano Caruana are tied 2-2 almost a week into the 2018 World Chess Championships.

While all four matches thus far have been played to a draw, they have still been thrilling, with both players trading turns working themselves out of unfavorable positions to keep the match level.

But on Tuesday, the biggest development of the match might have taken place, and it occurred far away from any of the action on the chess board.

The Saint Louis Chess Clubs, essentially the home of American chess, posted, and soon-after, deleted a video on YouTube that appeared to show some of Caruana’s preparation for his match against Carlsen.

While the video might have looked harmless enough to the untrained eye, to many in the chess world, the bits of information revealed could potentially be like giving an opposing team a peek at your playbook. Just glimpses of previous games Caruana and his team had been studying could give away ideas towards his plans for the rest of the match.

But though some saw the video as a huge mistake on the part of Caruana’s team, others suggested it’s possible that the challenger was taking part in a next-level mind game in order to trick Carlsen into a certain line of thinking.

When asked about the video after their fourth game of the match, Caruana declined to comment, while Carlsen earned laughs from the media by admitting, yes, he’d be looking at the video.

As things stand, we don’t yet know if the clips of the video were an elaborate attempt at getting inside Carlsen’s head or a costly mistake that gave away Caruana’s game plan.

The result of Game 5 on Thursday will be telling.