Magnus Carlsen, frustrated because on Friday he could not execute a great advantage in the first round, he found in the second that Fabiano Caruana is very well prepared. Despite playing with blacks, the American managed a small lead with a laboratory recipe and forced the Norwegian to defend himself with precision for three hours. After the Sunday break, the applicant will lead the white on Monday in the 3rd of the twelve games scheduled in the World of London. After suffering on the eve what is not written for seven hours to start a draw with the white pieces, Caruana needed to show with black that is up to the challenge to challenge Carlsen, despite his inexperience in long duels. And he did, playing at full speed the first fifteen movements after deviating in the tenth of the best known path. It was a subliminal message for the champion: "As you can see, I am very well prepared, and today you will be the one who suffers the pressure of the clock, as I suffered yesterday".
Certainly, it is very rare that the Norwegian does not take advantage of the clock, against anyone. Therefore, the American achieved a psychological victory when, after only fourteen plays, he took 50 minutes to the champion, who had already done something strange, and perhaps significant, after two minutes of play: he made his move and left the stage, leaving hanging to the 30 photographers (they do not fit more) that only have five minutes to carry out their work under strict security measures. Given that Carlsen had plenty of water on the table, and that urinating immediately before the game is part of the routine of every chess player, he probably felt the need to vent his discomfort in some dark corner, outside the cameras; Caruana had hunted him with a variant of unexpected opening.
The genius had to put on the overalls of a defense worker, and concentrate fully to avoid making inaccuracies that enlarged the advantage of the applicant. He did well and, after a massive change of pieces, came to an end of towers with minimal advantage of Caruana. The doubt then was if the American would choose to put pressure on the Norwegian, for psychological reasons, even though the forecast was a clear draw.
But his advantage was so small that continuing to play would have been a lack of courtesy. So the tie was signed after three hours of interesting fight, and balsamic for Caruana, who was relaxed at the subsequent press conference, and even played down Friday's ordeal. Carlsen, with his usual sincerity, admitted the mistake of underestimating Black's position after the opening, and acknowledged that he had to use himself thoroughly in the defense.
The psychological situation has varied a lot in less than 24 hours. After leaving the coffin in the first round, Caruana showed the resilience and excellent preparation the next day. For something is the number two of the world, just three points from Carlsen.