After a nail-bitingly intense set of 12 matches with no winner, Magnus Carlsen of Norway has defeated American Fabiano Caruana in a tie-breaker round and defended his title for a third time to become the 2018 FIDE World Chess Champion on November 28th. Carlsen won the tournament in spectacular fashion in the third and final tiebreaker round by securing a second queen to force Caruana to concede the game.
The tournament, which lasted from November 9th to the 28th drew record-breaking viewership according to a FIDE. In a press release, the organizers stated that over 10,000 people attended the tournament in London. The Twitch live stream of the final tie-breaker match drew an audience of approximately 128,000.
Social Media posts show many younger people flocking to watch professional chess than ever before thanks in large to the increasing fame of players like Magnus Carlsen who also does modeling in addition to his chess and Fabiano Caruana who has risen to celebrity status through his chess game. Both are young, exceptionally talented, and very handsome players who are able to draw younger audiences and raise interest in chess among the next generations.
Fabiano Caruana was the first American contender to the title since Bobby Fischer in 1972 and battled against Carlsen through 12 rounds of nerve-shattering chess which wasn’t over until the last minute of the tie-breakers.
At the post-match press conference, Carlsen said of his rival: “Fabiano is the strongest opponent that I’ve played so far in a World Championship match… he has just as much a right as mine to call himself the best in the world, so I’m very happy to have overcome this great challenge.”
Gary Kasparov, former world number one Grandmaster tweeted during the tournament that Carlsen had lost his nerve. When asked about this during the press conference, Carlsen said that Kasparov and his other detractors were “entitled to their stupid opinions”.
The FIDE World Chess Championship was held at The College in Holborn with a set designed by Daniel Weil, Partner at Pentagram Design Studio. FIDE also announced a partnership with global risk management specialist Pinkerton to be the Official Anti-Cheating Partner to World Chess Championship.
During the tournament, the media were invited to try out World Chess’ new dating app called “Mates” which is a new dating app for chess lovers which they hope will motivate people to play chess offline. The app allows people to set up a profile and look for someone with whom to play chess in a real-life setting.
During the Championship, the honored guests who participated in the First Move Ceremony included Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson, founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, and the daughter of Stephen Hawking Lucy Hawking, and Shreyas Royal a nine-year-old chess prodigy.