Game 7 began with an opening move from chess prodigy Shreyas Royal after Carlsen had indicated which move he wanted to play. This was followed by a high five from the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, before the serious business of playing the moves commenced. The game was opened with 1. d4 and it soon settled into something familiar, a Queen’s Gambit Declined – Harwitz attack being played, which had already been seen in Game 2.
The question was whether Magnus Carlsen had prepared something special in this line, which was a repeat of game 2 and the answer was “YES”. Magnus deviated on move 10 from his previous move Rd1 to Nd2 with Caruana replying almost immediately, which prompted a bit of a thinking from Carlsen. However, after Caruana retreated his queen with the move Qd8, which was a departure from the moves in the databases, there was slight discomfort for him in the opening to middle game.
The improvement from Carlsen was enough to give him a slight edge in the game, but unfortunately not enough for the win. While in Game 2, Caruana had equalized without much difficulty, the improvement from Carlsen in Game 7 meant that black did not have the advantage at any point in the game. Carlsen was the one dictating play, but with similar pawn structures and no pawn majorities, a draw was never really in doubt.
In the press conference, Carlsen seemed quite relaxed even though 2 consecutive games with white had not given him any wins.
The players agreed to a draw on move 41 and the score is now tied at 3.5 points each after 7 games. Each win is worth a point and each draw, half a point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner.
Many people are wondering who will be the first to crack in this match or who would be the first to break forth. The pressure so far has been intense, but the players have handled it very well. Caruana, playing in his first World Chess Championship Match, has taken it in his stride, while Carlsen does seem to be having more fun in the press conferences that follow the games, than during his match with GM Sergey Karjakin.
Apart from Game 1 and game 5, where there were real chances, which was thwarted by brilliant defenses, there has really not been too much to go for either player and fans, even the players themselves, would definitely be wondering when or if one of either player will crack or give way. And this is yet to be seen, because the stakes rise even more as the games go by. Strength and Stamina will be key going into the next 5 rounds of the tournament and whoever would take it either has to score in the next 4 games or Caruana would be forced to whip up a major surprise in the last round of the classical match, considering the fact that Carlsen remains a beast in both Rapid and Blitz time controls.
Caruana will have white in the next game. Will he stick to 1. e4? Chances are that Carlsen would stick to the Sicilian Defence, which has served him very well in the match so far. But if Caruana is to switch opening, what opening would you thin he would open with?
Here is the game:
Video of the game, as created by Africa Chess Media:
The Press Conference for the game: