Magnus Carlsen has retained his World Chess Championship against Sergey Karjakin after 12 gruelling and closely fought games. Carlsen, who won his first title against Viswanathan Anand, had to wait for three weeks and a series of tiebreakers before being named Champion again.
After 12 rounds, Carlsen and Karjakin found themselves tied and a final phase of four quickfire games was required to separate the two. The four-game tiebreakers were high-speed chess games, where each player was given 25 minutes to complete his moves, with 10 seconds added on for every move made.
Karjakin started the first game with white and began with the Ruy Lopez opening. Both players played aggressively, but after exchanging major pieces both agreed to a draw. In the second game, Carlsen heaped enormous pressure on Karjakin, whose clock almost ran down to zero at one point during the game, but the Russian's knack for eking out draws came into effect as he was able to escape with a stalemate.
In the third game, however, "the Mozart of Chess" showed the Russian why he had earned that title as he won it while playing with black. The fourth round was a mere formality for the Norwegian as he continued pressuring his opponent into a mistake and ended up with the win.
“Maybe it would be better to have a fresh head and not repeat so much,” the Russian said analysing his defeat.
“I’m very happy that at the end of the match I managed to find joy in playing. That’s the most important thing,” Carlsen said after the event.
The prize money of $1.1m will be divided between the two players with Carlsen taking home 60%. The Championships attracted a lot of attention with organisers claiming that it was followed by about six million fans across the globe.