|World Champion Magnus Carlsen|
Credit: Maria Emelianova and Chess.com
The first two games of the rapid playoff also ended drawn. As the pressure mounted, Carlsen sacrificed a pawn in the third rapid game and finally crashed through. The fourth and final tiebreak game also ended in favor of the Norwegian after a spectacular queen sacrifice 50. Qh6+ forced checkmate in one. A battle that many observers criticized as being dull and uninteresting concluded with perhaps one of the most memorable checkmates in chess history!
The first chess title bout between two players born after 1980 has concluded in favor of the defending champion. For Carlsen, this was his third successful championship match, the first two coming against Viswanathan Anand in 2013 and 2015. He can expect to face another challenger in late 2018. For now, the champ can enjoy a vacation to celebrate his 26th birthday, which coincidentally was the day of the playoff.