London, England —
The World Chess Championships are tied after 12 games, and will be decided on Wednesday with short, fast games. The Women’s World Chess Championships ended last Friday, also with tie-breaking speed chess.
Chess is a board game with fairly simple rules. There are six kinds of pieces, each with its own way of moving. Players use their pieces to try to trap the other player’s king.
To become great, players must remember a history of thousands of chess games. They must also be ready for moves they’ve never seen before. There are time limits for making moves, so players must think carefully, but not too long.
The World Chess Championships (WCC) is being held in London, England. The contest is held every two years. This year, the contest is between Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana, who was born in the US, but is part Italian.
Mr. Carlsen, 27, has been the world champion since 2013. He started playing chess as a child, and became the world’s highest ranking chess player when he was just 19. Mr. Carlsen has also been the world champion at two faster kinds of chess called “Rapid” and “Blitz” chess. These games must be played much more quickly.
Mr. Caruana, who is 26, started playing chess when he was five years old. When he was 14, he became a “grandmaster” – the highest level a chess player can reach. He is currently the number two player in the world.
So far, the championships have been very even. Each of the 12 games played has ended in a draw – a tied game. The two players are now tied 6-6.
Wednesday will be the final day of the contest. To decide the contest, the two men will play four rapid games, where each will get about 25 minutes for their moves. If the contest is still tied after that, they will move on to blitz games, giving the men about 5 minutes each for their moves.
Both men believe they have a good chance of winning. Mr. Carlsen, who played for a draw in the 12th game, instead of a win, seems to think the faster games may help him more.
The moves from the final can be watched live here.
Women’s World Chess Championship
The WCC is open to women, but there is also a special contest just for female players, the Women’s World Chess Championship (WWCC).
Unlike the WCC, which is a match between two people, the women’s contest starts with 64 people. This year people came to Russia from 28 countries to play. The WWCC is a “knockout” contest – people who lose are out of the contest.
On November 23, the contest finally came down to a four-game match between the current champion, Ju Wenjun of China, and Kateryna Lagno of Russia. Like the WCC, the result was tied at the end of the regular match. Each woman won one game and two of the games were draws.
After two rapid games, the contest was still tied. It was only in the last two blitz games that Ms. Ju won twice, giving her the championship.
A complete video of the final women’s championship match can be viewed here.