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Carlsen will push for an early lead. “As the defending champion you have a good chance of hitting early,” he said. “It’s definitely something I’ll try.” Previous cases of first-time challengers that froze include Tigran Petrosian’s disastrous 1963 match against Mikhail Botvinnik and Bobby Fischer’s capture of poisoned pawns against Boris Spassky in 1972.

In the 2018 match, Fabiano Caruana was faltering in the first match of the marathon and should have lost at move 38. Carlsen himself, in his second match against Vishy Anand in 2013, planned the Caro-Kann 1 e4 c6 but nervously knocked over his c7 pawn. However, there are also examples like 1927 and 2000 where the challenger scored early and won the match.

Indian Vishy Anand, who has lost two title games to Carlsen, believes the challenger’s best chance is to find complex and difficult positions where his months of preparation using the Zhores supercomputer will give him chances. “I think Magnus is vulnerable in these circumstances,” he said. “It’s already his fifth title game, so the fire isn’t burning so hard inside.”

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theguardian Gt

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