There had been a lot of speculation about Magnus Carlsen’s choice of opening for the first game against Sergey Karjakin in the final of the World Chess Championship in New York.
The two-time World champion from Norway came up with a big surprise at Fulton Market Building on Friday. And a funny one at that.
He opened with Trompowsky Attack, which is also sometimes called the Tromp. It is an opening which is not played often at the highest level and he chose it at a time when Donald Trump has won a hard-fought election to become the new President of the United States.
Carlsen’s father Henrik, who taught him the game, said that he was fairly sure that Magnus must have played it as a practical joke. “He’s been in good mood lately,” he said.
Later, the World champion, expectedly, had to face a question about his opening. “So the opening had nothing to do with Donald Trump?” he was asked.
"A little bit,” Carlsen said.
When he was asked the same question at the press meet, he said, smiling, that he would not have played the opening if he knew there would be too many questions about it.
His Russian opponent did not have too much trouble in the game, though. The game was drawn in 42 moves, after reaching a rook-and-minor-piece ending.
Since Karjakin was playing with black pieces, he would not have minded getting a draw in the first game of what is the biggest match of his life.
Eleven more games, in the classical time control, remain. If it is a tie after all those games, the crown will be decided using a tie-breaker featuring rapid and blitz games, on November 30.
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