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Fabiano Caruana just misses win against champ in world chess title fight

November 16, 2018

American challenger Fabiano Caruana pressed hard but came up just short as his title match with world chess champion Magnus Carlsen as Norway saw its sixth draw in the first six games Friday in London.

Playing with the disadvantage of the Black piece, the U.S. grandmaster nevertheless managed to neutralize White’s advantage in a Petroff’s Defense, and even nearly pulled out a victory in the minor-piece ending. Although there have been some long, taut struggles in the match so far, neither player has yet to score a victory.

Carlsen’s risky decision with 43. Bf3 Nd2 44. Bxd5!? (44. Nd1 was a safer choice) Bxe3 45. Bxc6 Bxf4 46. Bxb7 Bd6 47. Bxa6 gave him three pawns for the lost piece, but he was soon forced to give up two of those pawns and seemed at times on the brink of losing.

Caruana tried to cash in his endgame advantage, but never found a way to break down White’s fortress without simplifying down to a position where checkmate was impossible. Black finally conceded the draw after 80 moves.

The result nevertheless was a moral victory for Caruana, who must play the Black pieces two games in a row at the midpoint of the 12-game match. Carlsen again will have the White pieces and the advantage of the first move in Sunday’s Game 7.

If the match is tied after 12 games, the two grandmasters will play a series of games at accelerated time controls to determine the winner.

The moves of Game 6 were:

Carlsen-Caruana, Game 6, World Championshhip Match, London, November 2018

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nd3 Nxe4 5. Qe2 Qe7 6. Nf4 Nc6 7. Nd5 Nd4 8. Nxe7 Nxe2 9. Nd5 Nd4 10. Na3 Ne6 11. f3 N4c5 12. d4 Nd7 13. c3 c6 14. Nf4 Nb6 15. Bd3 d5 16. Nc2 Bd6 17. Nxe6 Bxe6 18. Kf2 h5 19. h4 Nc8 20. Ne3 Ne7 21. g3 c5 22. Bc2 O-O 23. Rd1 Rfd8 24. Ng2 cxd4 25. cxd4 Rac8 26. Bb3 Nc6 27. Bf4 Na5 28. Rdc1 Bb4 29. Bd1 Nc4 30. b3 Na3 31. Rxc8 Rxc8 32. Rc1 Nb5 33. Rxc8+ Bxc8 34. Ne3 Nc3 35. Bc2 Ba3 36. Bb8 a6 37. f4 Bd7 38. f5 Bc6 39. Bd1 Bb2 40. Bxh5 Ne4+ 41. Kg2 Bxd4 42. Bf4 Bc5 43. Bf3 Nd2 44. Bxd5 Bxe3 45. Bxc6 Bxf4 46. Bxb7 Bd6 47. Bxa6 Ne4 48. g4 Ba3 49. Bc4 Kf8 50. g5 Nc3 51. b4 Bxb4 52. Kf3 Na4 53. Bb5 Nc5 54. a4 f6 55. Kg4 Ne4 56. Kh5 Be1 57. Bd3 Nd6 58. a5 Bxa5 59. gxf6 gxf6 60. Kg6 Bd8 61. Kh7 Nf7 62. Bc4 Ne5 63. Bd5 Ba5 64. h5 Bd2 65. Ba2 Nf3 66. Bd5 Nd4 67. Kg6 Bg5 68. Bc4 Nf3 69. Kh7 Ne5 70. Bb3 Ng4 71. Bc4 Ne3 72. Bd3 Ng4 73. Bc4 Nh6 74. Kg6 Ke7 75. Bb3 Kd6 76. Bc2 Ke5 77. Bd3 Kf4 78. Bc2 Ng4 79. Bb3 Ne3 80. h6 Bxh6 Draw agreed

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