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The €1m world title match at Holborn, London, was locked at 2-2 after four games (of 12) in mid-week. Earlier, Norway’s global No1 Magnus Carlsen missed good chances to take an immediate lead with the black pieces against his US challenger Fabiano Caruana.
The next three games were drawn, so with more halves in prospect Carlsen’s errors could prove expensive.
Carlsen won the toss at the opening ceremony and chose Black in game one. His thinking was that at the mid-point, Friday’s game six and Sunday’s seven, the colours switch so that with two Whites in a row he can maximise the pressure.
Caruana began game one solidly against the Sicilian, then made some passive decisions. Stage fright, probably, like Tigran Petrosian and Bobby Fischer in their 1963 and 1972 debuts.
Carlsen dominated the middle game, computer evaluations rose to -2 and -3 indicating Black was winning, Caruana became acutely short of time, but there was no finishing punch. Frustrated, Carlsen played on for seven hours to move 115, the third longest game in championship history, before conceding the draw.
The tension will build this weekend and as the match moves into its closing games next week. It is free and live to watch online, with grandmaster and computer move by move commentaries.
White to play and mate in three moves. White has a crushing material lead and the black king has nowhere to go, but can you spot the mate in three?
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