World Chess C'ship: Quiet draw in game two

Carlsen avoided the Berlin Defence, which was the theme of a majority of his games in his first two World title matches, both against India’s Viswanathan Anand, in 2013 and 2014.

Challenger Sergey Karjakin, right, of Russia, makes a move against chess world champion Magnus Carlsen, of Norway, at the World Chess Championship.   -  AP

After what seemed to have been a practical joke by Magnus Carlsen, who chose Trompowsky Opening (as a tribute to United States President-elect Donald Trump) on day one, things were pretty normal in the second round of the World chess championship in New York on Saturday.

In the game that saw challenger Sergey Karjakin handling white pieces for the first time in the match, it was a Ruy Lopez opening at Fulton Market Building. Interestingly, Carlsen avoided the Berlin Defence, which was the theme of a majority of his games in his first two World title matches, both against India’s Viswanathan Anand, in 2013 and 2014.

There weren’t a lot of fireworks on the board once again. The queens were exchanged by the 20th move.

The game reached an ending featuring a rook, twin knights and four pawns apiece, on the king-side. With a repetition of moves very much on the cards, the two young men signed a peace treaty after 33 moves.

For the second day in a row, not much blood was spilt on the floor. It wasn’t surprising though, as both the champion from Norway and his Russian challenger decided to play it safer in the early stage of a match that would have 12 games in classical time control.

“We will have fun games at some point,” Karjakin assured, right after the second round game ended. “Two solid draws at the beginning of the match is completely normal.”

Carlsen was pleased with his effort, too. “I had a decent game with black pieces,” he said. “I didn’t experience any difficulty at all. And I thought I was slightly better at some stage.”

After a day’s rest, the battle will resume on Monday.