Home Championships Game 12, Shocking end to game which unexpectedly ends in draw

Game 12, Shocking end to game which unexpectedly ends in draw

by Tendai Mubayiwa
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Game 12 ended unexpectedly after a shocking draw offer from Magnus Carlsen from a position where he clearly had an advantage. Many fans and spectators could not believe the end of Game 12. Some even thought that Caruana might have resigned in the position. However, it was the World Champion Magnus Carlsen who had uncharacteristically offered a draw offer. This was very unusual because Carlsen had a significant advantage in the position and could have continued playing the game with little risk to himself. While the moves for Black were more natural, white was quite hard pressed to find the most accurate moves in the position,


Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen getting ready to play Game 12

Here was the online reaction after the draw:









And now for the actual game:

Here is the press conference


Now let’s to go back to the situation after Game 11 and the situation before Game 12

After the rest day, it was time for the keenly anticipated Game 12, the final classical game of the FIDE World Chess championship 2018 London Match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana.It had been 11 draws so far and many people were asking if Monday would be the final day of the World Chess Championship. Would we have a decisive game for the first time in the first or it would be yet another draw, more of the same? Though all the games had been drawn so far there was a good deal of fighting chess in the match so far.

While Carlsen has been very dominant over the past decade as the Top rated player, yours truly felt that he’s not in peak form. He seemed to be lacking that crispness and sharpness in his game.

At his peak Carlsen was completely unstoppable. However, I feel Carlsen was also able to win his match against Sergey Karjakin in 2016 despite not being at his peak. So Carlsen can win matches when he is not playing at his best! This is worrying for his opponents.

So we have a situation of a player who is not in top form can still win matches. This would be very difficult to achieve in other games and sports. It just shows how strong Carlsen is.

If the classical game today was a draw them we will head to the tie-break which will be made up of the Rapid games, Blitz or dreaded Armageddon. Carlsen has played in 9 play-offs or tie-breaks so far in his life and never lost. He’s won every one of them. A perfect 9!

So on paper Carlsen would appear to be a big favourite to win this match if it goes to a tie-break. Caruana has shown great maturity, resilience and very importantly a will to win. He’s not afraid of Carlsen. I was curious about what an American world chess champion would mean for our game.

Here are the results of I held earlier among my friends. Most people who took part in the poll expected Magnus Carlsen to win.

Now to Game 12

Game 12 was an open Sveshnikov which followed the same lines as the previous game until Carlsen varied on move 8 with Ne7 instead of Nb8 that he used in the previous games.

Such was the excitement around game 12 that the press room was absolutely packed as you can see from the tweets below from journalists Tarjei Svensen and Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum:



There was some panic online when there was an possibility of a repeat in the game.  USChess on Twitter silently pleaded for him not to repeat positions and have an early draw. They wanted their man to continue and that is what he did when played Be3 instead of repeated moves with Qa4.



Caruana was the slower player early on in Game 12. Could this mean that Carlsen had caught him by surprise.  By move 17 Caruana was already 20 minutes behind on the clock which was certainly cause for some concern among fans. Carlsen was moving incredibly fast.

Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall of Norways reckoned from Game 1 and 12 were Carlsen’s best games in terms of preparation and in both games Carlsen had black.


Some people had predicted a draw but no one expected the game to end in such a fashion. It is unthinkable that Magnus Carlsen would offer a draw when he not only enjoys an advantage on the board but has a good time advantage a well. Let’s see what happens with the tie-breaks on Wednesday!

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