November 26, 2018
Magnus Carlsen, left, and Fabiano Caruana are extremely good at drawing. CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press
By VICTOR MATHER The New York Times
The 12th and final game of the world chess championship ended the same way as the first 11. It was a draw.
Commentators and chess computers seemed to give a slight advantage to the champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, for much of the match on Monday in London, since he was ahead on the board and had more time available for his remaining moves. But Carlsen nonetheless offered a draw after a paltry 31 moves. The challenger, Fabiano Caruana of the United States, accepted, making it the shortest of the 12 games in the championship.
The result means that, after a day off on Tuesday, this year’s championship — which began Nov. 9 — finally will be decided on Wednesday. After three weeks of hourslong daily games, Carlsen and Caruana will first face off in four speed chess games, with each player limited to only 25 minutes to play all their moves.
Should the match still be tied after the speed games, the players would begin a series of two-game blitz matches, in which they would be given only five minutes to make all their moves. If either player takes the lead after any of these two-game matches, he would win the title.
Carlsen is considered the favorite in this format; he is the No. 1 blitz player in the world, while Caruana ranks only 18th.
If the match is still tied after 10 blitz games, it would proceed to a so-called Armageddon Game. By random draw, one player would get white and five minutes to play; the other would get black and only four minutes. If that game also ends in a draw, the black player — who starts at a disadvantage — is simply chosen as the champion.
It could be a long and arduous day. Maybe no one will actually win a game of chess.
But at least there will be, finally, a champion.