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Third draw in world chess title match as Magnus Carlsen presses Fabiano Caruana again

November 12, 2018

It’s three draws in three games to open the world chess championship title match in London, as world champ Magnus Carlsen of Norway pressed once again with the Black pieces Monday but could not break through against American challenger Fabiano Caruana.

Carlsen will again have the advantage of the White pieces in Tuesday’s Game 4 of the scheduled 12-game match.

Caruana as White did better against the champion’s Sicilian Defense than he had in Friday’s Game 1, where the American came very close to losing in an epic 110-move fight. This time, White held a slight space advantage out of the opening, although Black never appeared to be in serious danger.

After a queen trade on Move 23, however, it was Black who appeared to have a tiny edge in the minor-piece ending and Carlsen probed on both flanks hoping to crack White’s defenses.

But Caruana proved up to the defensive challenge, trading down to a dead-drawn ending by sacrificing his knight. The two players agreed to split the point after 49 moves.

A cautious, feeling-out period is par for the course in elite chess matches, and despite the absence of decisive results, both players can take some satisfaction from the play so far.

Carlsen has obtained good play with his Sicilian Defense in Games 1 and 3, and came very close to taking an early lead in his third title defense. For his part, Caruana has passed two challenging defensive tests against one of the best grinders in this history of the game.

The moves of Game 3 were:

Caruana-Carlsen, Game 3, World Championship Match, London, November 2018

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. O-O Qc7 7. Re1 e5 8. a3 Nf6 9. b4 O-O 10. Nbd2 Bg4 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Nxf3 cxb4 13. axb4 a5 14. bxa5 Rxa5 15. Bd2 Raa8 16. Qb1 Nd7 17. Qb4 Rfe8 18. Bc3 b5 19. Rxa8 Rxa8 20. Ra1 Rxa1+ 21. Bxa1 Qa7 22. Bc3 Qa2 23. Qb2 Qxb2 24. Bxb2 f6 25. Kf1 Kf7 26. Ke2 Nc5 27. Bc3 Ne6 28. g3 Bf8 29. Nd2 Ng5 30. h4 Ne6 31. Nb3 h5 32. Bd2 Bd6 33. c3 c5 34. Be3 Ke7 35. Kd1 Kd7 36. Kc2 f5 37. Kd1 fxe4 38. dxe4 c4 39. Nd2 Nc5 40. Bxc5 Bxc5 41. Ke2 Kc6 42. Nf1 b4 43. cxb4 Bxb4 44. Ne3 Kc5 45. f4 exf4 46. gxf4 Ba5 47. f5 gxf5 48. Nxc4 Kxc4 49. exf5 Draw agreed.

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