Carlsen-Caruana, WCh 2018 – Game 4

The shortest game of the match so far and in fact there was only one critical moment in it.

Carlsen opened with 1 c4, adding more options right from the start. Would Caruana try to go for QGD set-ups with 1…e6 or would he go symmetrical with 1…c5 or would he go for a Reversed Sicilian with 1…e5? Caruana chose the latter and they followed his recent game against So, from the Paris Grand Chess Tour blitz.

Carlsen introduced a novelty, the engine’s first choice and naturally Caruana wasn’t surprised even a bit, so he continued to blitz out his moves. Carlsen declined the invitation to force the game immediately with 12 Nd4 and chose the preparatory 12 Rb1.

After this move Caruana stopped to think for a while and I am not sure whether he was trying to remember his preparation and if he succeeded because after 12…Nf3 (12…Bg4 was interesting) 13 Bf3 his move 13…a6 appeared to give White a promising possibility.

That was the critical moment of the game. After a really long think, “to b5 or not to b5” Carlsen chose the latter and the game quickly lost its edge. In the analysis I found it hard to find a straight-forward way for Black towards equality after 15 b5. Probably there is one, but it is quite certain that playing b5 would have put more pressure on Caruana.

After Carlsen’s choice of 15 Re1 Caruana didn’t have any problems whatsoever. In the ensuing endgame he efficiently solved all his problems.

Another White game went to waste for the players. But things are slowly starting to change – in Game 3 Caruana had an advantage after the opening, while today Carlsen had the promising option of 14 b5. The players still do not make the maximum of their chances, but they will.

The match is also approaching a turning point because after Caruana’s next White game in Game 5 it will be Carlsen with two Whites in a row and it is clear that he will do his utmost to score in at least one of them. Interesting times ahead.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
You may also like
Carlsen-Caruana, WCh 2018 – Game 7
Norway Chess 2015 – Round 7
4 Comments
  • […] returned to the English Opening. I argue that he was hoping for a repeat of Game 4 when he could show a fresh idea. Caruana obliged, a risky decision, but one that shows infinite […]

  • […] narrow margin, most often of only one moment, to pose problems. In this game it was move 20, in Game 4 it was on move 15 (15 b5 instead of 15 Re1), in Game 3 it was move 15 again (15 Ra5 instead of 15 […]

  • Michel d 2200 elo
    Nov 14,2018 at 9:06 pm

    85 pc of the games will end in draw
    I dont waste my time watching live the games
    Veru boring
    tal kasparov korchnoi sax miles … such players are missing

    • Nov 15,2018 at 11:59 pm

      Well, that’s modern top-level chess. Add to the mix months of preparation and you see the result.

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Website

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.