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CHESS

Carlsen still favourite to win chess tiebreaker but Kasparov losing faith

The big chess showdown between three-time defending champion Magnus Carlsen and his US challenger Fabiano Caruana will be decided by a series of rapid-play tiebreakers on Wednesday.

Carlsen still favourite to win chess tiebreaker but Kasparov losing faith
Magnus Carlsen (L), and challenger US Fabiano Caruana attend a press conference in London on November 8, 2018. Photo: AFP

Norway's Carlsen and Caruana wrapped up their 12-match World Chess Championship series in London with their 12th successive draw on Monday.

It was an anti-climactic finish to a showdown between 27-year old Carlsen — a former child prodigy now regarded by many as the greatest ever chess player — and the first American contender to the crown since the legendary Bobby Fischer in 1972.

The result means the players will have a day off on Tuesday before getting together for an intense session of chess played in a completely different format.

They will try to settle things first in a four-game series in which each player will have 25 minutes. An extra 10 seconds of time are added for each move they make.

Things will go to an even faster-paced format if there is still no winner.

The final tiebreaker is a single winner-take-all game played in a lightning three minutes.

Carlsen will be viewed as the favourite on Wednesday. He excels at rapid chess and defended his title through tiebreakers against the Russian Sergey Karjakin in 2016.

“I think I have very good chances,” the Norwegian told reporters after Monday's game.

But chess legend Garry Kasparov said he was losing faith in Carlsen.

The former Soviet and Russian world champion said Carlsen had the upper hand in Monday's encounter but agreed to settle on a draw because he had lost his nerve.

“In light of this shocking draw offer from Magnus in a superior position with more time, I reconsider my evaluation of him being the favorite in rapids,” Kasparov tweeted.

“Tiebreaks require tremendous nerves and he seems to be losing his.”

CHESS

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.
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