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Novel opening produces another draw in Carlsen-Caruana world chess match

November 15, 2018

Game 5 of the chess world championship match in London between titleholder Magnus Carlsen of Norway and American challenger Fabiano Caruana took a highly offbeat path in the opening, but the result was yet another draw in a 12-game match that has yet to produce a decisive result.

Playing White once again against Carlsen’s Sicilian Defense, Caruana offered an unusual gambit of his b-pawn on Move 6, leading to an unbalanced position with complicated play.

At one point, after 14. cxd6 Be6 15. Qc7, White was threatening mate on the move or advancing his passed pawn, but Black coolly neutralized the threat with 15...Qxc7 16. dxc7 Nc6 17. c3 Kd7, eventually capturing the pawn one step short of the queening square.

Black briefly was even up a pawn, but by 31. Ng5+ Kf5 32. Nxf7 Nxf7 33. Rxf7+ Bf6, material equality had been restored and the two players agreed to a draw.

With the score tied 2-2 just before the match’s mid-point, Carlsen may have an edge in that he will have the advantage of the White pieces and the first move in the next two games.

If the score is tied after 12 games, the two grandmasters will have a playoff at accelerated time controls to determine the winner. The Florida-born Caruana, 26, is looking to become the first American to hold the world chess crown since Bobby Fischer was stripped of his title in 1975.

Caruana-Carlsen, Game 5, World Championship Match, London, November 2018

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. Re1 e5 6. b4 Nxb4 7. Bb2 a6 8. a3 axb5 9. axb4 Rxa1 10. Bxa1 d6 11. bxc5 Ne7 12. Qe2 b4 13. Qc4 Qa5 14. cxd6 Be6 15. Qc7 Qxc7 16. dxc7 Nc6 17. c3 Kd7 18. cxb4 Ra8 19. Bc3 Kxc7 20. d3 Kb6 21. Bd2 Rd8 22. Be3+ Kb5 23. Nc3+ Kxb4 24. Nd5+ Bxd5 25. exd5 Rxd5 26. Rb1+ Kc3 27. Rxb7 Nd8 28. Rc7+ Kxd3 29. Kf1 h5 30. h3 Ke4 31. Ng5+ Kf5 32. Nxf7 Nxf7 33. Rxf7+ Bf6 Draw agreed.

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