The 12th game of the World Chess Championship between defending champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Sergej Karjakin has ended in another draw. At six games each, the match will decided by a rapid chess tie-break.
It was all over after just half-an-hour. The eagerly anticipated 12th game of the World Chess Championship in New York will ultimately go down as among the most boring in the competition's history.
But as fans expressed their anger over the lackluster performance on social media, Magnus Carlsen and Sergej Karjakin appeared calm and somewhat relieved during the subsequent press conference. "It's not easy not to get through 12 rounds with Magnus," the challenger Karjakin said, seemingly content with his performance.
"I'm not exactly proud of this last round," Carlsen conceded, "but we still have four important games to play." The winner will be decided on Wednesday in a match of rapid chess.
'Berlin Defense' makes for a boring game
World champion Carlsen once again opened the 12th round by moving the pawn two spaces, and once again it led to his challenger playing the "Berlin Defense." Decried for being one of the games' most defensive moves, it lived up to its reputation. Sergej Karjakin was well-drilled, able to even-out the game and rapidly exchanged pieces. Both players made their moves extremely quickly, a sign that they and their respective teams had carefully analyzed their opponent's likely strategy ahead of the game. After 30 moves, it appeared that Carlsen and Karjakin no longer cared to continue and both men opted for a draw.
"This was essentially anti-chess," Hungarian commentator Judit Polgar decried after the uninspired display. However, the world's strongest ever female chess player explained why the game played out the way it did: "Carlsen believes that he has the better chance of winning at rapid chess, which is why he didn't want to risk this tie." In the upcoming tie-break, the players will compete over four rounds of 25 minutes each, where each player receives 10 seconds increment per move. If the match is still tied, then it will be decided by a five minutes round of blitz chess.
Carlsen: rapid chess specialist
Magnus Carlsen seemed to look forward to the upcoming rounds of rapid chess. "Playing rapid chess is a lot of fun," the Norwegian said, looking ahead to the tie. When it comes to playing under a constrained time period, Carlsen is widely considered the world's best player and is the current official world champion in the discipline.
Rapid chess requires gut instinct and strong nerves. However, Karjakin showed in the last round that his defensive prowess can be a cause for despair. For all his confidence, don't rule out the reigning champion leaving the board a defeated man.