With the Chess World Championship Match on the horizon, World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Challenger Fabiano Caruana are making final preparations for one of the most important moments of their chess careers. The Carlsen-Caruana Championship Match will take place from November 9th to November 28th in London, England, and will consist of 12 matches, under classical time controls, to determine the World Chess Champion.
Carlsen won the Chess World Championship from Viswanathan Anand in 2013, making him the 16th Undisputed World Champion in chess history, dating back to 1886. Carlsen has successfully defended his title on two previous occasions, against Anand in a rematch in 2014, and against Russian Sergey Karjakin in 2016.
Caruana earned the right to challenge Carlsen for the Chess World Championship by winning the 2018 Candidates Tournament in March of this year, finishing with a score of 9/14 (5 wins, 8 draws, 1 loss), ahead of top GM’s Shak Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Ding Liren, Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk, Wesley So, and Levon Aronian.
Head-to-head, Carlsen and Caruana have played each other a total of 33 times in classical format, with Carlsen winning 10, Caruana 5, and the other 18 drawn. Carlsen and Caruana are the consensus two best chess players in the world, as evident by them having the two highest ratings currently (2839 and 2827 respectively), so it should come as no surprise that they are playing for the top chess prize.
Carlsen and Caruana last played competitive chess against each other as recently as August of this year, at the Sinquefield Cup 2018 in St. Louis, with their round seven match ending in a hard-fought draw. Both Carlsen and Caruana ended that tournament in a tie for first place and they were crowned co-champions. Caruana was leading the event for the majority of the event, but a last-round win by Carlsen saw them draw level in the standings.
Caruana has been in top form since winning the Candidates tournament in Berlin. He won the GRENKE Chess Classic in April with a +4 score of 6.5/9, a full point ahead of World Champion Carlsen, followed by another first-place tournament win at the Altibox Norway event in late May, and lastly, a first-place tie at the Sinquefield Cup in August, with a +2 score.
The Carlsen vs. Caruana World Championship has put chess back into the spotlight and it has been getting constant attention, both in America and around the world. Caruana has the chance to become the first American Chess World Champion since Bobby Fischer accomplished the feat back in 1972 against Russian Boris Spassky in the Match of the Century.
Carlsen will undoubtedly be the favorite going into this match-up in November because of his undefeated history in World Championship matches and being the undisputed best chess player in the world but Caruana will be the toughest challenger of Carlsen’s title reign and will be a live underdog due to his recent great tournament successes.