This year’s World Chess Championship in London was expected to be an exciting one, where, for the first time since the 1960s, an American player was in the running to become champion. Norway’s Magnus Carlsen was up against the United States’ Fabiano Caruana. Unexpectedly, for almost three weeks, the two players ended every single one of their twelve games in a draw (or simply put when neither player has any moves left that will result in a win), disappointing an eager set of fans who were excitedly watching every game.
As two of the best players in the world, Caruana and Carlsen have different styles of playing chess, which was supposed to make the 2018 championship worth waiting for. Some of the twelve games lasted as long as seven hours, and others finished in a draw rather quickly. The final match—the one that rendered Norway’s Carlsen the champion—picked up the pace as the sudden-death portion of the chess series kicked in. This is where players play four rapid games, but when games move more quickly, the likelihood of mistakes is higher, thus increasing the chance of a winner rather than a draw again. As it turned out, Carlsen won two games and then finished off swiftly to beat Caruana.
If you’re curious like us, you might want to know what would have happened if the four rapid games had ended in a tie. Well, in that case, the players would have moved to a blitz round of games where they would have only five minutes each to make their moves! Congratulations, Magnus Carlsen!