|Carlsen and Karjakin smile on the day before Game 1. (credit: Chess24)|
The World Chess Championship 2016 begins today at 11AM Pacific time. Defending champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway faces challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia, but born in Ukraine. The venue is the Fulton Market Building in the South Street Seaport of Manhattan, New York. This will be the first title bout featuring two players of the Computer Age. Karjakin is 26 and Carlsen turns 26 on November 30, the day of the tiebreaker, if necessary. Both grew up analyzing with computers, studying databases, and playing blitz on the internet.
|When they were kids.... (credit: Chess Daily News)|
Most experts have tabbed Carlsen as the favorite. They cite his higher rating and greater experience in title matches. His universal style has few known weaknesses, and his ability to grind out a win from a seemingly drawn endgame is second to none. Carlsen could play almost any opening imaginable, and sometimes chooses to avoid mainstream theory simply to obtain the middlegame he prefers. For someone who enjoys marathon games, he is fit as an athlete, an advantage that may be less significant against an opponent his own age.
|This is the board they will play on. The glass window|
is a special mirror that spectators can see through, but
the players cannot. (credit: Dan Lucas of US Chess)
The match lasts just 12 games, short by historical standards. For example, the famous encounter between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in 1972 went 24 rounds. And the first match between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in 1984 was controversially aborted after 48 games over nearly five months! As a result, the subsequent four Kasparov-Karpov matches were capped at 24 games. In spite of historical precedent, 12 games became the modern standard in 2008, when Viswanathan Anand soundly defeated Vladimir Kramnik.
The World Chess Championship 2016 runs from November 11 to 30. Games are scheduled one per day starting at 11AM Pacific time, with a rest day after every two games (plus an extra day off before the final game). Carlsen has the white pieces in rounds 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12. Once either player reaches 6.5 or 7.0 points, the match terminates immediately. On the other hand, if they finish tied 6 to 6, then a 4 game rapid time control tiebreaker will occur on November 30.
|Carlsen won in Bilbao just 4 months ago. (credit: Chessbase)|
Who will win? These two combatants have battled 21 times in classical chess, with the Norwegian scoring 4 wins against only 1 for the Russian. Karjakin’s lone win came in 2012, while Carlsen has won three straight (not counting draws), most recently this July in Bilbao, Spain. No doubt, the defending champion remains the clear favorite. My prediction is +2, which translates to Carlsen scoring 2 wins more than losses (e.g. 6.5-4.5 with 3 wins, 1 loss and 7 draws). Let the show begin!
- Official site with LIVE coverage: https://worldchess.com/nyc2016/
- Other LIVE coverage: https://www.chessclub.com/live (paid account required)
- Other LIVE coverage: https://www.chess.com/tv
- Other LIVE coverage: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/
- LIVE Twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/CarlsenKarjakin?src=hash
- Preview at US Chess: https://new.uschess.org/news/the-couch-potatos-guide
- Preview at Chessbase: http://en.chessbase.com/post/what-the-experts
- Preview from AP: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/more-sports/
- Post game analysis: http://en.chessbase.com/tagged?tag=WCC2016