WCC R6: Caruana Presses Carlsen to the Brink--Game 6 Drawn

11.16.18 Game 6 was the most exciting and fascinating game of the Match. From a sterile middlegame position, Caruana created some imbalances with 21...c5. At that point, both players and fans were in for a wild ride. A forced sequence later resulted in Carlsen giving up a piece for three pawns and opposite colored bishops. The position was very good for Caruana but Carlsen managed a fortress to hang on to a draw on move 80.



During Game 6, Fabiano Caruana (right) was oh so close to taking the lead in the Match.images: worldchess.com

As the Match progresses and the draws rack up, the tension continues to mount and factors other than pure chess skill become more and more important. Factors such as psychological issues, fatigue, and nerves start to play a more significant role in determining the course of the Match.

Other than the first game of the Match when Carlsen was seriously pressing, this game was both the most exciting and the one with the most persistent pressing. The opening was a Petrov and Carlsen fell into Caruana's wheelhouse and had to fight for good moves and equality. The openings so far in this Match have been rich and varied. In an equal, balanced position Caruana played 21...c5 again showing his willingness to fight and unbalance the position for winning chances. Maurice Ashley, commenting on the Match for the St. Louis Chess Club, called 21...c5 an "attitude" move and said Caruana's was thinking, I don't care that you are the best player in the world, I'm playing chess! Carlsen called this move "an attempt to break out." After the time control on move 40 it was black for choice.

When 42...Nd2 happened, the forced sequence of moves resulted in white trading a minor piece for three pawns with bishops of opposite colors. This position was judged as a draw by both GM Peter Svidler and GM Yasser Seirawan but what turned out was a position in which Caruana had very good winning chances. After 50...Nc3 black was in control of the position.

When Caruana played 56...Be1 Judit Polgar's comment was, "This is brutal." and, "He's (Carlsen) in real trouble."

On the desperado move 58.a5, the Twittersphere exploded. It was all on the line.

Although black had a sizable advantage, Magnus set up a fortress that Caruana could not break. For twenty moves Caruana looked for a way to win that just was not there. On move 80, the players shook hands for a draw. An incredible fight.

During the press conference Caruana said he was lucky to get winning chances out of a completely sterile middlegame; he called it a bit of an accident.

Alexander Grischuk commented that Fabiano is playing at his best. He thought Caruana, playing very concretely in this game, outplayed Carlsen in the middlegame and endgame..

In the Match thus far, black has gotten not only equality but has played for advantage. Has white pressed in this Match yet? The answer is a resounding No! It's a very different World Championship Match because in each game black has been ok and sometimes better. The tagline might be: Black is the new white!

Tomorrow is a rest day. Game 7 will take place on Sunday, November 18th.


The World Champion was feeling the heat in Game 6.




The Challenger pressed...


...and pressed but in the end could not find a way to convert his very promising position.


In this Match, fans are treated to a bonanza of viewing options with commentary from top grandmasters. Chess24 featured Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, and Sopiko Guramishvili.


Chess.com had Danny Rensch, Robert Hess and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.


The St. Louis Chess Club featured Maurice Ashley, Yasser Seirawan, and Jennifer Shahade.


And WorldChess.com, the host of the event, had Judit Polgar and Anna Rudolph providing expert commentary.

Official Site of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018

Official site of the venue for the Match: The College

Match Schedule
All games will be played at 10:00 a.m. eastern U.S. time (3:00 p.m. GMT.)

Game 1 Friday, November 9

Game 2 Saturday, November 10

Rest Day Sunday, November 11

Game 3 Monday, November 12

Game 4 Tuesday, November 13

Rest Day Wednesday, November 14

Game 5 Thursday, November 15

Game 6 Friday, November 16

Rest Day Saturday, November 17

Game 7 Sunday, November 18

Game 8 Monday, November 19

Rest Day Tuesday, November 20

Game 9 Wednesday, November 21

Game 10 Thursday, November 22

Rest Day Friday, November 23

Game 11 Saturday, November 24

Rest Day Sunday, November 25

Game 12 Monday, November 26

Tie Break/Awards Ceremony Tuesday, November 27

Tie Break/Awards Ceremony Wednesday, November 28


Comments

It needs to be mentioned that Fabiano missed a problem-like win after 68...Bh4! 70.Bc4 Nf3 71.Be2 Ng1! 72.Bg4 Kg8 when both sides are in Zugzwang but Black wins by temporizing with the bishop.

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