After three weeks of play and 12 consecutive draws, the World Chess Championship ended Wednesday during a tiebreaker round.
St. Louis resident Fabiano Caruana lost three straight tiebreaker games to defending world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway. Caruana had hoped to become the first American champion since Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky in 1972.
“The main goal is not to play a world championship match but to actually become world champion,” Caruana said at a news conference Wednesday, after the final match.
Unlike the first 12 games, some of which lasted as long as seven hours, each rapid tiebreaker match was no more than 25 minutes. The pace of the matches forced the players to make moves more quickly, thereby increasing the chances of making fatal errors.
Carlsen, the reigning world champion since 2013, won three tiebreaker games against Caruana, ultimately retaining his title.
FiveThirtyEight's Oliver Roeder created this animation of the final match, with Carlsen shown in white:
— Oliver Roeder (@ollie) November 28, 2018
“Fabiano was the strongest opponent that I’ve played so far in the World Championship match,” Carlsen said.
Caruana noted afterwards he hadn’t played his best game during the final rounds and said he views it as a learning experience.
“I hope that I can look back at the match and learn a lot from it,” Caruana said. “Hopefully, I can draw the right conclusions from it.”
In addition to the title of world chess champion, Carlsen will receive roughly $605,000 or 55 percent of the $1.1 million prize fund.
As runner-up, Caruana walks away with $495,000 in prize money.
The 26-year-old will have to wait at least two years for his next shot at the World Chess Championship.
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