|Carlsen (left) vs Caruana, tiebreakers (Image from chess.com)|
Not surprisingly, the 12 straight draws faced loads of criticism from chess fans, generating the usual complaints about how top-level chess has too many draws. Just look at the comments taken from a chess.com article:
Yeah I'm not kidding you, someone actually called the World No. 1 and 2 "p*ssies".
True, Carlsen's decision to back out of a winning position in Round 12 might have been questionable. But to label both players as "boring" and not putting in their effort does them no justice at all. I did not follow every single round, but the games which I saw were more than enough to show that both sides were giving it their all in the fight.
Look at Round 1, where Caruana defended a gruelling endgame that lasted 7 hours. Then look at Round 6, where it was the American's turn to press the advantage but ended up missing a near-impossible winning variation. Finally, who can forget the fireworks that emerged during Game 10, despite it ending with both players splitting the point?
In fact, it is the fact that both sides are so evenly matched, that makes the draws all the more interesting. The following comment on the same chess.com page sums up the response to the draw criticisms:
It's amazing how people keep silent when a tournament sees loads of action, like what happened in the Candidates 2018. But the momenet the frequency of draws go up (e.g. Shamkir 2018; look at the comments on this page :o), they start baying for blood and demand that the drawing rules be revised o.o
Just because a draw occurs doesn't always mean that it is a dull game. Why must chess end with a decisive result before it can be called "exciting"? The words of Tigran Petrosian, who was frequently criticised for his rock-solid defensive play, resonate well here:
"Yes, perhaps I like defending more than attacking, but who has demonstrated that defence is a less risky and dangerous occupation than attack? And are there so few games that have found their way into the treasury of chess thanks to a virtuoso defence?"
-- Tigran Petrosian
“They knock me for my draws, for my style, they knock me for everything I do.”
-- Tigran Petrosian
Regardless of the sentiments, the event is over, and Carlsen is once again the World Champion. Congratulations to him (and Happy Birthday!), and kudos to both players for the tough battles over the past 3 weeks! I'll get around to analyzing the actual games once finals are over (:
|All smiles after a successful defense!|