Norwegian Magnus Carlsen Breaks 12-Game Tie to Retain World Chess Champion Title

World Championship Ends in High-Drama Tie Breaker After Hard Fight from American Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana

SAINT LOUIS (November 28, 2018) — In a historic showdown between Grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, Carlsen clinched his fourth World Championship title against his American challenger. Caruana was the first American to play for the undisputed World Champion title since Bobby Fischer in 1972 and went into the match ranked second in the world. After a never before seen 12 draws, the match went to tiebreaks where Carlsen emerged as the victor. The match garnered extensive worldwide attention as Caruana catapulted American chess into the mainstream with his exciting, white-knuckle challenge to the reigning World Champion. 

Going into the match, Caruana was just three rating points behind Carlsen who has held the number one spot since 2011 making it the closest match Carlsen has played yet. As expected, both players showed their equality by drawing all 12 games — which has never happened in the history of the World Chess Championship. 

The first decisive result of the match came in the first tiebreak rapid game, as Carlsen bested Caruana with White followed by another win with Black. Even though Caruana pressed for a necessary win in the third game, he was unable to pull out the win and the match ended. In the post-event press conference, Magnus Carlsen reflected on his decision to try to take the match into the tiebreaks saying, “Fabiano is a very strong player and in classical there really isn’t much difference between us.”

With an American on the main stage of the World Chess Championship for the first time since 1972, interest in chess and the event spiked considerably during the match. A World Chess representative revealed that more American media than ever before showed up to cover the event. 

“We are tremendously proud of Fabiano,” said Rex Sinquefield, Saint Louis Chess Club founder. “He has been instrumental in capturing the world’s attention and fostering renewed interest in American chess. We hope seeing one of our very own compete at the highest level will inspire a new generation of chess players in America and beyond to fall in love with the game and make their very first move.”

When asked by CBS news about the pressure of the match and his feelings directly following, Caruana responded, “Right now I’m disappointed. It’s still so fresh, but I hope I can look back at the match and learn something from it. It’s also a great privilege to play with Magnus and it’s a great learning experience. Hopefully I can draw the right conclusion from it.” 

A post-match tweet from Caruana congratulated Carlsen and revealed his hope to make another bid for the title: “Throughout the championship, I’ve heard from fans around the world and want to thank them for their support. I feel that we put this beautiful game back on the map in America and hope it will inspire a new generation of players. I look forward to the opportunity to make another bid for the title.” 

About the Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit saintlouischessclub.org.

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