Battle for world chess crown heads to final tiebreaker

Neither reigning champ Magnus Carlsen of Norway nor Russian grandmaster Sergei Karyakin has claimed the world chess crown after 12 matches, throwing the tournament to four tie-break games scheduled for Wednesday.

Battle for world chess crown heads to final tiebreaker
Magnus Carlsen and Sergei Karyakin ended their 12-game tournament even. Photo: Pontus Höök / NTB scanpix
Almost three weeks after the chess World Championship began, the last scheduled game ended Monday in a draw — just like nine of the previous 11 games — with spectators left hungry for decisive action in the forthcoming tiebreaker.
“I'm not proud of the game today, but I think there's a tradeoff” for the spectators, said Carlsen, alluding to the extra chess to be played.
Regulations stipulate that the two players will now participate in four rapid games, which the World Chess Federation says will be played “at the rate of 25 minutes per player per game, with 10 seconds added after each move.”
All previous games allowed for more than three hours of play.
In the event of a draw at the end of those four games, the players will participate in two blitz games, a fast format played at the rate of five minutes per player at the start, with three seconds added after each move.
Should there still be a tie at this point, they will play up to four more sets of blitz games.
“If there is still no winner, Carlsen and Karyakin will play an Armageddon game in which white has five minutes and black has four, but black only has to draw to win the match,” the World Chess Federation said.
The eventual accelerated games leave plenty of opportunity for harried mistakes.
But in the meantime, Carlsen said “25 minutes and 10 seconds per move is a lot of time so we're still playing normal chess.”
“We're not at the penalty stage yet. We're at extra time,” he said, making a soccer 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.”
The winner will be declared world champion and will take home €600,000 (5.5 million kroner, $637,000). The loser will walk away with a consolation prize of 400,000 euros.
At the end of the eighth game, which ended in a victory for Karyakin, Carlsen left the premises in a state of fury before participating in a press conference, which earned him a penalty equal to five percent of his earnings, whether he wins or loses.
More than six million people have checked in on the World Chess Championships via its official website since the start of the competition, a spokesman said Monday, without specifying how many had paid to watch the live video.

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Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has suffered his first defeat in more than two years and a record 125 games, while playing a tournament in his native Norway.

Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years
Magnus Carlsen at the Energy Denmark Champions in Copenhagen in May 2019. Photo: Claus Bech / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP
The world number one resigned after when he was a bishop down in the endgame against Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who is ranked a relatively humble number 15 in the world.
But on Saturday evening, 22-year-old Duda managed to do what no one — including the world's top 10 players — had managed to do since July 2018.   
It was Duda's only win of the tournament in Stavanger so far and, as he told Chess 24 afterwards, “I didn't expect to win this game.”
But he was, he said “extremely happy, obviously”.
Carlsen, who is often tough on himself in post-game analysis, offered no excuses. “Extremely disappointing”, he said: “Completely unforgivable”.
Carlsen's undefeated run stretches all the way back to July 31, 2018, when Azerbaijani grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated him. During that time, Carlsen scored 44 wins and 81 draws against his opponents.