Magnus Carlsen retained the title Print
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 00:00

Magnus Carlsen2016

Magnus Carlsen won two tie-break games and retained the title.


The FWCM 2016 shall be played over a maximum of twelve (12) games and the winner of the match shall be the first player to score 6.5 points or more. If the scores are level after the regular twelve (12) games, after a new drawing of colors, four (4) tie-break games shall be played.

It took everything he had against a gritty opponent — Sergey Karjakin, the Russian challenger — but Magnus Carlsen retained the World Championship by beating Karjakin in a series of tiebreaker games on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

The match, which was held in the South Street Seaport in New York City, had a prize fund of one million euros (about $1.1 million). Carlsen will receive 55 percent of the purse and Karjakin 45 percent.

It was the first World Chess Championship match in New York City since 1995, when Garry Kasparv defeated Viswanathan Anand atop the World Trade Center.

During the match, a global audience of nearly 10 million people tuned in to watch on World Chess, the official site of the match, while 10,000 spectators and VIPs watched the action live at the Fulton Market building in the South Street Seaport.

2016-11-30 23-33-29  65fc52a6-b755-11e6-aa86-0e0329efa989
Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor and founder of Paypal, who is also a chess master, made the ceremonial first move for Game 1 of the tiebreaker series.

The match was sponsored by EG Capital Investors, an institutional money manager, and PhosAgro, a large Russian fertilizer company.

Andrey Guryev, chief executive of PhosAgro, said, “I am convinced we made the right choice when we decided to be the global partner for what was one of the most interesting World Championship matches in history, between two exceptionally talented young grandmasters.”

Michael Stanton, founder of EG Capital Advisors, said, “The World Chess Championship in New York City demonstrated that chess is becoming a unifying platform for the intellectual and business community. We are glad to be a part of it!”

The match between Carlsen, who is from Norway, and Karjakin began on Nov. 11 as a best-of-12 series. Carlsen, who turned 26 on Wednesday, became champion in 2013 by beating Anand. He was a heavy pre-match favorite based on his experience and that he is the No. 1 ranked player in the world. Karjakin, who is also 26 and is known as a defensive specialist, was ranked No. 9 before the match began.

Almost from the start, things did not go according to plan for Carlsen. He missed clear wins in Games 3 and 4 after brilliant defensive efforts by Karjakin. Then, in Game 5, Carlsen made a mistake that Karjakin failed to exploit.

Finally, after seven draws, it was Karjakin who took the lead in Game 8 after Carlsen, clearly frustrated by his inability to break through Karjakin’s defenses, overpressed.

Now on the ropes, Carlsen barely escaped in Game 9. But in Game 10, things finally went Carlsen’s way as Karjakin missed a sure-fire line that would have led to a draw. From there, Carlsen milked a small advantage to wear down Karjakin and finally beat him, levelling the score.

After a tussle in Game 11 ended in a draw, Carlsen had White in the last regulation game. Rather than press again, he seemed content to steer toward a quick draw and take his chances in a series of tiebreaker games. The tiebreakers began with a series of four rapid games, and as the two-time defending World Champion at that time control, Carlsen seemed sure to have an advantage.

In the first game, Karjakin had White but was unable to gain an edge and the game ended in a draw. In Game 2, Carlsen built up a large advantage, but missed a win in the endgame.

In Game 3, Karjakin’s luck finally ran out as he blundered in a difficult position, allowing Carlsen to immediately win a piece and seal the victory.

In the last game, needing a win, Karjakin played the Sicilian Defense as Black. But the opening is not consistent with Karjakin’s style and Carlsen had no trouble seizing control of the game. In the end, he finished up with a stylish queen sacrifice to checkmate Karjakin and retain the title.

Magnus Carlsen2016

In the press conference afterward, Carlsen was relieved and admitted that the match was the most difficult of his career and congratulated Karjakin on how well he played.

Karjakin, asked if he would try to win the Candidates tournament again so that he could again become the challenger for the title, laughed and said, “That’s the plan.”

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R1 R2 R3 R4    Score   
Carlsen  ½ ½  ½ ½  ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½  1 1 9.0
Karjakin ½ ½ ½  ½ ½ ½ ½  1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½  0 0 7.0


Photos are available in the Gallery

More details on worldchess.com


 

World Championship, Game 12: An Anticlimactic Draw

r12move
The FWCM 2016 shall be played over a maximum of twelve (12) games and the winner of the match shall be the first player to score 6.5 points or more. If the scores are level after the regular twelve (12) games, after a new drawing of colors, four (4) tie-break games shall be played.

The twelfth game of World Championship Match finished with a draw.

And on the 12th day, they rested.

Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Champion from Norway, and Sergey Karjakin, the Russian challenger, played a brief, dull draw in the final regulation game of their World Championship match.

The best-of-12 match, which is being held in the South Street Seaport in New York City, is now tied 6-6 and will go to a series of tie-breakers on Wednesday, Nov. 30, to decide who will be World Champion and take home 60 percent of the prize fund of about $1.1 million.
This will be the third time that tie-breaker games have been used to decide a World Championship. The first time was in 2006, when Vladimir Kramnik of Russia beat Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. The second was in 2012, when Viswanathan Anand of India, Carlsen’s predecessor as champion, beat Boris Gelfand of Israel.
 MG 9894
Game 12 was over after only 30 moves and 35 minutes as the players blitzed out their moves, evidently content to decide the match in overtime. They had to play 30 moves to satisfy the Sofia Rules, which are in force for the match and that prohibit a draw before move 30.
Carlsen had White and opened with 1 e4 and after Karjakin replied 1… e5, Carlsen steered for the same line of the Berlin Defense that had brought him so close to success in Game 3. But this time, Karjakin played more cautiously and easily neutralized Carlsen’s minute advantage as most of the pieces were rapidly traded off.

Some spectators, who thought that Carlsen might try to be a bit more ambitious in his final regulation game with White, were disappointed by the somewhat insipid play.

In the press conference afterward, Carlsen apologized to fans and said that he felt no need to risk being too aggressive. For his part, Karjakin said that he was of course satisfied to draw so easily with Black. He also said that there was some potential venom in the line that Carlsen had played, but that he had prepared for it.
 MG 9801
Ilya Merenzon, the chief executive of Agon, the organizer of the championship, announced that, in light of the quick draw, all tickets for Game 12 would be honored for the tie-breakers on Wednesday. The games begin at 2 PM EST and can be viewed live on WorldChess.com, the official site of the match.

The tie-breaker will commence with a series of four rapid games, played at the rate of 25 minutes per player per game, with 10 seconds added after each move. If the players are still tied after the rapid games, they will then play two blitz games. If those blitz games do not produce a winner, they will play another set of two and continue that way up to a total of five sets of blitz games. If there is still no winner, Carlsen and Karjakin will play an Armageddon game in which White has five minutes and Black has four, but Black only has to draw to win the match.
In the previous two matches that were decided by tie-breakers, only the rapid games were needed.

One way or another, the World Championship will be decided Wednesday. Coincidently, it is also Carlsen’s 26th birthday and he is clearly hoping for an extra special gift.

by Dylan Loeb McClain

Tie-break games will be played on November 30th, 2016.




World Championship, Game 11: A Tense Draw Leaves Title Up in the Air

r11move

The eleventh game of World Championship Match finished with a draw.

Game 11 of the World Championship match ended in a draw, leaving Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, and Sergey Karjakin, the Russian challenger, tied in the best-of-12 match at 5.5 points apiece.

 MG 9656
The last regulation game of the match, which is being played in the South Street Seaport in New York City, will be Monday at 2 PM EST. The game can be viewed live on WorldChess.com, the official site of the match. At stake, in addition to the title of World Champion, is 60 percent of the prize fund of about $1.1 million.

If either player wins, he will win the title. If the game is drawn, the match will go to a series of tie-breaker games on Wednesday, starting with four rapid games played at a time control of 25 minutes per player per game, with 10 seconds added after each move. If that does not produce a winner, the players will play four blitz games. And if the players are tied after that, they will play an “Armageddon” game, in which White will have five minutes and Black only four, but Black will only have to draw to win the title.

Two matches, the one between Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Veselin Topalov in 2006, and the one between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Glefand in 2012, have gone to tie-breaker games to decide the title. Both were decided during the rapid games.

 MG 9717
Karjakin had White in Game 11 and, as he had for all but one game in the match, he opened with 1 e4. Carlsen, as he had done throughout the match, avoided the drawish lines of the Berlin Defense (which he used in his 2013 and 2014 title matches with Anand) and chose the classical Ruy Lopez, or Spanish, Defense. Carlsen chose a quiet but solid continuation this time and after 13 moves, the players had exchanged both knights and a pair of bishops.

Carlsen tried to mix things up with 18… c3 and 19… d5, and even seemed to have generated some genuine threats with his passed e-pawn after 24… e3, but with some precise defensive moves, Karjakin was able to force a draw by perpetual check after 34 moves and three-and-a-half hours of play.

 MG 9719
In the press conference afterward, Karjakin was not happy. “I am not impresssed with how I played today,” he said. But he added, “At least I held.”

For his part, Carlsen was not too displeased, particularly after squaring the match in Game 10 by beating Karjakin. Carlsen said, “The match is trending in a positive direction for me and today, I have to say, I was a lot calmer than I was in the last few days.”

Carlsen will have White on Monday in Game 12.

by Dylan Loeb McClain



World Championship, Game 10: Magnus Carlsen Strikes Back, Evens the Score

r10

Magnus Carlsen won the tenth game of World Championship Match.

Though Magnus Carlsen is Norwegian, he celebrated the American holiday of Thanksgiving on Thursday by winning Game 10 of his World Championship match against Sergey Karjakin, the Russian challenger.

By winning the game, Carlsen evened the score at 5 points apiece in the best-of-12 match. The match, which is being held in the South Street Seaport in New York City, has a prize fund of about $1.1 million.

 MG 9546

After losing Game 8 with White, in which he opened 1 d4, Carlsen switched back to 1 e4. Karjakin, who only needed to draw each of the remaining games to win the title, replied 1… e5 and then headed for the Berlin System, which is known to be somewhat drawish. Not surprisingly, Carlsen sidestepped the main lines of that system with 4 d3.

Carlsen did not gain any advantage out of the opening, but he achieved the kind of position in which he is comfortable as it allowed him to maneuver endlessly to try to create inroads in Black’s position.

Nevertheless, Karjakin missed a simple combination that would have forced a draw. After 20 Nd2, Karjakin could have played 20… Nf2, and then after 21 Kg2 Nh4! would have led to a perpetual check as Carlsen could not play 22 gh4 because of 22… Qg6, when White would be checkmated. Carlsen admitted later in the press conference that he saw this possibility and was relieved when Karjakin overlooked it.

Even after 21 Qh5, Karjakin could still have forced a draw by 21… Nf2 22 Kg2 Qf7 23 Kg1 Qf6 24 Kg2 Qf7, etc.

After Karjakin missed those two chances, the players headed for an endgame in which Carlsen had a small but nagging edge. Karjakin defended well until move 56, when instead of playing 56… Rg8, he misplaced his rook with 56… Rhh7. That was all Carlsen needed as he finally broke through Karjakin’s defenses. Though there were still some small errors on both sides in the rest of the game, Carlsen converted his advantage.

Afterward the relief on Carlsen’s face was palpable as he broke into a big smile.

 MG 9485

In the press conference, Carlsen said of the victory, “It is a huge relief. I hadn’t won in 10 games and that hadn’t happened to me before.” He also said that he was feeling the pressure in the match. “Several games have been five, six, seven hours and it is taking its toll,” he said.

Now that the match is tied, there is a greater possibility that the match may go beyond the regulation 12 games and into tie-breakers of rapid and even blitz games. Asked how likely that scenario was, Carlsen replied, “It is more likely than it was before today.”

Game 11 is Saturday at 2 PM EST. The game can be viewed live on WorldChess.com, the official site of the match.

by Dylan Loeb McClain



World Championship, Game 9: Draw

r9

The ninth game of World Championship Match finished with a draw.

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, walked the knife’s edge in Game 9 and survived, but he still trails Sergey Karjakin, the challenger, by a point with only three games to play in the best-of-12 match.

Karjakin, who is from Russia, leads Carlsen, the reigning champion from Norway, 5 points to 4. The match, which is being held at the South Street Seaport in New York City, has a prize fund of about $1.1 million.

Karjakin had White in Game 9. After playing 1 d4 for the first time in the match in Game 7, he switched back to 1 e4 for Game 9. As he had before, Carlsen replied with 1… e5 and again steered for the classical Ruy Lopez to maximize his chances to fight for a win with Black. Given that he was trailing by one point in the match, Carlsen chose one of the most aggressive continuations for Black: 6… Bc5.

2016-11-24 01-05-41  1e516bda-b1e2-11e6-b984-0e0329efa989

The players followed a known path for many moves and Carlsen eventually sacrificed a pawn in order to create an unbalanced position in which he could break up the pawn cover surrounding Karjakin’s king.

Chances seemed about equal, with Karjakin having a very slight advantage. But he managed to improve the placement of his pieces and gradually increased the pressure on Carlsen. As the position became more and more complicated, and as the amount of time on each player’s clock left to make the first time control at move 40 dwindled, both players made some small errors.

At move 39, Karjakin played the sharp 39 Bf7, which seemed to give him a big edge. But Carlsen was able to dodge the worst and survive to a pawn-down ending in which Karjakin had almost no advantage. Commentators and grandmaster spectators believed that if Karjakin had instead played 39 Qb3, Karjakin’s winning chances would have been significant.

The game continued for 74 moves and six hours before Karjakin offered a draw. In part, that seemed to be a psychological ploy by Karjakin – an attempt to make Carlsen “suffer” a bit before letting him off the hook.

In the press conference afterward, Carlsen said, “There were many difficult moments, but I was happy to survive.”

Carlsen still has the task of having to win one more game to square the match, but he will also have White two more times, including in Game 10, which will be Thursday, Nov 24, at 2 PM EST.


World Championship, Game 8: Karjakin Wins and Seizes Lead

r8move

The World Championship match finally has a leader and it is the challenger, Sergey Karjakin. After the first seven games all ended in draws, Karjakin won Game 8 after Magnus Carlsen, the reigning champion, pushed too hard and too far in an effort to win the game.

Karjakin now leads the best-of-12 match by the score of 4.5 to 3.5 points. The match, which is being played at the South Street Seaport in New York City, has a prize fund of about $1.1 million.

Carlsen had White and led off with 1 d4 for the second time in the match. The position quickly became symmetrical and then Carlsen made a somewhat curious decision: on move 8, he traded his d-pawn for Karjakin’s c-pawn, which relieved the tension in the center. Though not an unknown move, it did not seem to be a very ambitious idea. Indeed, after 12 moves, the position was almost perfectly balanced and by move 18, the game seemed to be headed for yet another draw.

On move 24, however, after a series of exchanges, Carlsen intentionally unbalanced the position by taking a piece with a pawn instead of another piece. It was a risky idea and clearly indicated that, after so many draws, Carlsen was anxious to try to win, even if it meant taking some risks.

The position quickly became complicated, with Carlsen pushing forward with his pieces at the cost of creating structural weaknesses in his position. By move 32, Karjakin had won a pawn and then, on move 35, Carlsen sacrificed a second pawn in an increasingly desperate effort to keep his initiative alive.

Both players were now in time trouble as they approached the first time control and, in the scramble, Carlsen was able to win back a pawn and break apart the pawns protecting Karjakin’s king. Though Karjakin now had a powerful passed a-pawn, it seemed increasingly likely to packed house of spectators that Carlsen would be able to draw by some sort of perpetual check.

But Karjakin kept finding the best moves and putting Carlsen under pressure. Carlsen seemed to be up to it until move 49, when he probably should have sacrificed his e-pawn with 49 e5 to give his bishop some breathing room. Instead he stubbornly hung on to the pawn by playing 49 Qa5. He then compounded his error two moves later with 51 Qe6. Suddenly, White was nearly in zugzwang. After 52… a2, Carlsen resigned as he would have had to play 53 Qa2, when he faced a hopeless endgame following 53… Ng4 54 Kh3 Qg1 55 Bf3 Nf2 56 Qf2 Qf2.

Carlsen was clearly furious with himself afterward and bolted the building without attending the press conference, which is required of both players. Meanwhile, Karjakin was understandably happy.

Karjakin said that he did not think that Carlsen played badly. “He really tried and he sacrificed two pawns and he created a really interesting game but somehow he did not manage to make a draw,” said Karjakin. “Thanks to Magnus, it was a really big day.”

Carlsen’s play in Game 8 was altogether curious. He clearly was feeling the pressure prior to the game, perhaps because he felt as if he was expected to easily win the match and had been unable to beat Karjakin, despite coming close in Games 3 and 4. (One indicator that he might have been anxious was that he showed up to the board well before Karjakin, as he had done before Game 7.)

Whatever the reasons for his decision to press so hard in Game 8, Carlsen now finds himself in a hole for the first time in a World Championship match. While he lost a game to Viswanathan Anand in the 2014 match in Sochi, Russia, he had won the previous game in that match, so the loss only brought him to an even score. With four games to play, he has time to even the score, but his back is now against the wall and time is not on his side.

Game 9 will be Wednesday, Nov 23, at 2 PM EST. The game can be viewed live on worldchess.com, the official site of the match. 

by Dylan Loeb McClain



World Championship, Game 7: The World Champion Bends, but Does Not Break

All seven games in the match have now been drawn as neither player been able to break through.

A small miscalculation by Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, in Game 7 of the World Championship match cost him a pawn and nearly got him into serious trouble against Sergey Karjakin, the challenger. But in the end, Karjakin's advantage was too minimal and the players agreed to a draw after 34 moves and two hours of play.

r7actor
The actor Gbenga Akinnagbe making Sergey Karjakin's first move as White. Akinnagbe made sure that Karjakin really wanted to play 1. d4, eliciting a laugh from both players. (Photo by Max Avdeev for World Chess by Agon Limited)

The World Championship, which is being played in the South Street Seaport in New York City, is tied at 3.5 points apiece. The best-of-12 match has a prize fund of about $1.1 million.

Karjakin, who is from Russia, had White and opened with 1 d4 for the first time in the match after having played 1 e4 three times before. Carlsen, who is from Norway, replied 1 d5 and then steered the game into the Slav Defense. Carlsen equalized without difficulty and, after Karjakin played 11 Nd2, Carlsen was even able to grab the initiative.

But he erred with 16... Rc8 (16... Rb8 was better), which seemed to be a simple miscalculation. It led to a forced sequence of moves in which Karjakin won a pawn. But at the end, the players had reached an endgame in which there were opposite-colored bishops in addition to rooks and pawns and Carlsen had a pawn on b4 that effectively blocked Karjakin's pawn majority on the queenside. After a few perfunctory moves, the players agreed to a draw.

All seven games in the match have now been drawn. Despite the inability of either player to score a knockdown so far, enthusiasm for the match has been very high among spectators. Sunday, among the sell-out crowd were celebrities (including Bennett Miller, the two-time Academy Award nominated director; Gbenga Akinnagbe, the actor, who has appeared in many movies and television series, including "The Wire," "The Good Wife," "24" and "The Duce"; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium) and noted grandmasters, including Fabiano Caruana, the player ranked No. 2 in the world; Boris Gulko, the ex-Soviet and United States Champion; and Alexander Khalifman, the former FIDE World Champion from Russia.

In the press conference afterward, Carlsen admitted, "The last two games have not been so interesting." But he added, "Anything can still happen."

Game 8 will be Monday, Nov 21, at 2 PM EST. 

by Dylan Loeb McClain



World Championship, Game 6: The Reign of Draws Continues

To paraphrase a saying often attributed to Sigmund Freud, sometimes a draw is just a draw.

After three tense draws in which Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Champion from Norway, and Sergey Karjakin, the Russian challenger, each missed chances to score a full point, Game 6 of the World Championship match in New York City also ended in a draw. But unlike the three previous games, this game was short and relatively lacking in any real tension or drama.

The best-of-12 match is tied at 3 points apiece, with all six games to this point ending in draws. The match, which has a prize fund of about $1.1 million, is being held in the South Street Seaport in New York City.

In Game 6, Karjakin had White and, as he had in Games 2 and 4, opened with 1 e4. Carlsen replied as he had in those two earlier games by steering for the classical Ruy Lopez, or Spanish, opening. After Carlsen castled on move 7, Karjakin played the canny 8 h3, which avoided the usual path to the Marshall Gambit, which can arise after 8 c3.

But Carlsen nevertheless chose to sacrifice a pawn with 9… d5. His compensation was that he was able to trade off Karjakin’s light-squared bishop and grab space on the queenside.

At this point, the game seemed to be heading in an exciting direction and the possibilities for a decisive result briefly seemed to rise after an aggressive sequence of moves starting on move 16.

But Karjakin’s 22nd move, c3, started a forced series of exchanges and after the last set of rooks were traded by move 26, the remaining pieces (queens, opposite-colored bishops, and weakened pawn structures) left both players with few options to create winning possibilities. Sure enough, after only 32 moves, and barely an hour-and-a-half into the game, the players agreed to a draw.

In the press conference afterward, both players were in a good mood, in marked contrast to the day before when Carlsen had been quite upset with himself. Interestingly, Carlsen, who on previous days had said that he preferred to continue playing without rest days, seemed to welcome a day off, which the players will have Saturday.

Though a series of six draws to open a World Championship match is not unprecedented (as noted in the report for Game 5), it is certainly unexpected. Many experts have predicted that Carlsen will win the match and he remains the favorite. But by this point in his two previous matches, both against Viswanathan Anand, Carlsen had already won two games. Probably no one, including Carlsen most of all, expected him to winless at this point.


 

World Championship, Game 5: Another Draw, but This Time the Challenger Misses His Chance

Game 5 of the World Chess Championship in New York City ended just as the first four did, with a draw. But, as in Games 3 and 4, the tension was high throughout, and this time it was the reigning titleholder from Norway, Magnus Carlsen, who was in trouble, at least briefly. 

Afterward, in the press conference Carlsen was visibly angry, presumably with himself, as the match has not unfolded as he probably thought it would. He finds himself in a dogfight with Sergey Karjakin, the challenger from Russia.

The best-of-12 match, which is being held in the South Street Seaport in New York City, is tied at 2.5 points apiece. The match has a prize fund of about $1.1 million.

Carlsen had White for the third time in the match and, as he had in Game 3, he opened with 1 e4. Karjakin replied 1 e5, as he had before, too. On move 3, Carlsen played 3 Bc4 instead of 3 Bb5, opting for the Italian game, which has become more popular in recent years as players try to avoid some of the very heavily analyzed lines of openings like the Berlin Defense, which Karjakin used in Game 3.

Carlsen expanded rapidly on the queenside and then in the center, but Karjakin was never in any real trouble. After Karjakin exchanged his dark-squared bishop for Carlsen’s knight, the players arrived in a position with opposite-colored bishops in which the likeliest result seemed to be a draw.

But then Carlsen became complacent. Just after the first time control, he erred by playing 41 Kg2, allowing Karjakin to sacrifice a pawn to gain enormous activity for his pieces. After 42 … d4, Carlsen was visibly worried, but Karjakin missed the best follow-up. Instead of 43 … Bd5, if he had played 43 … Rh8, Carlsen would have been in big trouble. Karjakin admitted afterward that he missed how potent that move was.

The players agreed to a draw after 51 moves and more than five hours of play.

It was the first time in the match that Karjakin had Carlsen in real trouble, and Carlsen was clearly not happy with his performance. He grimaced and scowled in the press conference, giving short and curt answers. As soon as the press conference was over, he bolted the stage.

Not surprisingly, Karjakin, who was a 3-to-1 betting underdog prior to the start of the match, was in a much better mood. Though he was in deep trouble in Games 3 and 4, he has managed to avoid any losses thus far.

Five draws to start a World Championship match is far from unprecedented. The first six games of the 2012 title match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand were also draws. And the first eight games of the 1995 match between Anand and Garry Kasparov – the last World Championship match to be held in New York City – were also drawn. That match, however, was a best-of-20, not best-of-12.




World Championship: Game 4, Draw

The fourth game of World Championship Match finished with a draw.

It has been said that chess can be a cruel game. Game 4 of the World Championship served as a reminder of how true that is.

As he had done in Game 3, Magnus Carlsen, the reigning titleholder from Norway, gained an enormous advantage against Sergey Karjakin, the Russian challenger. But, just as in Game 3, he was unable to convert his edge into a win as Karjakin found a way to build an impregnable fortress.

All four games in the match have now been drawn and the score is level at two points apiece. The best-of-12 match is being held in the South Street Seaport in New York City. The prize fund is about $1.1 million.

Karjakin had White in Game 4 and, as he had in Game 2, he opened with 1 e4. As he had in Game 2, Carlsen answered with the classical Ruy Lopez, avoiding the Berlin Defense that has become so popular in recent years.

The classical Ruy Lopez was an interesting choice. It requires a great deal of preparation and, like the Berlin, it often requires patient defense. (Indeed, one nickname of the classical Ruy Lopez is the Spanish torture.) Unlike the Berlin Defense, however, the classical Ruy Lopez has many more latent dynamic possibilities. In short, it potentially offers Black more opportunities to turn the tables and win than does the Berlin, even if it is a bit riskier. In choosing the classical Ruy Lopez, Carlsen was signaling that he wants to try to maximize his chance to win each and every game.

The opening went smoothly for Karjakin until move 18 when he erred and took a pawn on h6. Somehow, he overlooked Carlsen’s reply (18… Qc6). He then compounded his mistake by playing 19 Bc4 instead of 19 Bc1, when he would have had not had a significantly worse position. (In the press conference after the game, Karjakin admitted he was a bit rattled by his first mistake and that led to his second.)

Carlsen gained the advantage of having a bishop pair and the game headed for an endgame in which Carlsen had a distinct edge. Indeed, after White’s 43rd move (g4), it seemed that Black had a clear path to victory and two equally good choices on how to get there. One was to force an exchange of pawns on the kingside and then try to advance his remaining passed pawn, supported by the bishops. The second was to create a protected passed pawn. Carlsen chose the second option and it turned out to be incorrect as Karjakin was able to build a fortress.

2016-11-16 03-08-45  fc6da332-aba9-11e6-8cf6-0e0329efa989
Many attendees have played blitz chess in the cafeteria's venue.

Carlsen tried for another 50 moves to break Karjakin’s resistance, but Karjakin, who is noted for his defensive prowess, held once again. After 94 moves, and about six-and-a-half hours of play, Carlsen reluctantly agreed to a draw.

Afterward, in the press conference, Carlsen was visibly annoyed with himself. He said that he had not carefully calculated the possibilities when he made his decision to create a protected passed pawn. On the other hand, Karjakin was clearly relieved and happy. When he was asked what he thought about the game, he replied, “Fantastic.” Peter Doggers of Chess.com read out a tweet that someone had posted saying that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, had announced that he was going to make Karjakin Russia’s new Secretary of Defense.

After the first two games, Carlsen had complained about the schedule, which has a rest day after each pair of games. He said then that he would have preferred to continue playing and not take any breaks. After Game 4, despite having played 13 hours of chess over the previous two days, Carlsen said once again that he wanted to continue. Why not play another six-hour game? “Chess is a hard game,” he said.

Since he could not play, Carlsen was asked what he would do. “Probably stick to my routines,” he said.

Anastasia Karlovich, the World Chess Federation’s press officer, then turned to Karjakin and asked if he had any plans for his rest day. “I’ll probably go to Central Park,” he said. And would he play any chess? “No!” he said, shaking his head vigorously.

Photos are available in the Gallery

More details on worldchess.com


World Championship: Game 3, Draw

The FWCM 2016 shall be played over a maximum of twelve (12) games and the winner of the match shall be the first player to score 6.5 points or more. If the scores are level after the regular twelve (12) games, after a new drawing of colors, four (4) tie-break games shall be played.

The third game of World Championship Match finished with a draw.

Game 3 of the 2016 World Chess Championship ended in a draw, but it was an epic battle. If Sergey Karjakin, the Russian challenger, goes on to beat Magnus Carlsen, the reigning champion from Norway, and win the title, Game 3 may go down as the turning point in the match as Karjakin found a nearly miraculous way to force a draw.

The match, which is being held in the South Street Seaport in New York City, is now tied at 1.5 points apiece. The first player to 6.5 points will become champion. The prize fund is about $1.1 million.

Carlsen had White for the second time and played 1 e4 instead of 1 d4 as he had in Game 1. Karjakin replied 1 e5 and the players soon entered the Berlin System of the Ruy Lopez, which has become very popular at the elite level in recent years. Instead of playing what is considered the most testing line – 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bc6 dc6 7 de5 Nf5 8 Qd8 Kd8, etc. — Carlsen opted for 5 Re1 Nd6 6 Ne5.

After nine moves, the game had reached a quite well known position. Then Carlsen played a curious move – 10 Re2 – that placed his rook on an awkward square and blocked one of his bishops. Even more curious was that he then played 11 Re1 a move later. (In the press conference afterward, Carlsen joked that the rook had slipped out of his hand on move 10, so he corrected his error a move later. Karjakin said, however, that 10 Re2 had been played before and was a known idea.)

As in Games 1 and 2, by move 20, most of the pieces had been traded off, but whereas that led to early draws in the first two games, things were just getting started in Game 3.

After the exchanges, Carlen had a knight, rook and pawns vs. bishop, rook and pawns for Karjakin. Though the pawn structures were symmetrical, an early advance on the kingside of one of Karjakin’s pawns had left holes that the knight could potentially exploit. It was the type of situation and position in which Carlsen thrives and he went to work, patiently maneuvering to try to create more weaknesses and inroads. He succeeded.

2016-11-15 07-13-46  0c568e8c-ab03-11e6-933e-0e0329efa989
Sergey Karjakin, right, had to use all his skill to avoid losing to the champion, Magnus Carlsen, in Game 3.

By move 25, Carlsen had fixed one of Karjakin’s weak pawns on f5, where it could easily be attacked. Karjakin hunkered down for a long, tortuous defense. Defending difficult positions is a skill for which Karjakin is known and it was clear he would have to do it again if he were to survive. By move 35, Karjakin had to give up a pawn, but, in winning the material, Carlsen’s pawn structure was fractured making it easier for Karjakin to potentially find counterplay.

Carlsen continued to improve the coordination and placement of his pieces up through the first time control at move 40. At that point, his king had taken an advance position and Karjakin, in addition to being down a pawn, was dangerously passive.

But Carlsen could not find a knockout blow. As Karjakin continued to stubbornly resist, Carlsen’s advantage seemed to ebb. By move 55, it seemed that his winning chances had all by disappeared.

He found a new regrouping maneuver, however, and as Karjakin’s time ticked down to the final seconds for the second time-control at move 60, it was clear that Karjakin was again in trouble. Carlsen slowly closed in and it again seemed that Karjakin would fold.

2016-11-15 07-09-24  70300ace-ab02-11e6-b737-0e0329efa989
After Game 3, Magnus Carlsen could not hide his disappointment.

Then Karjakin found the most surprising idea of all. Faced with losing his bishop, he simply let Carlsen take it and then sidled his king up to Carlsen’s remaining pieces. Carlsen had to lose one of his two remaining pawns, while Karjakin was able to hold on to his remaining pawn on the h-file, which was far advanced. Grandmasters and amateurs feverishly analyzed the position at tables around the venue trying to figure out if there was still a path to victory for Carlsen. There was not and Carlsen soon acquiesced to a draw by forcing a repetition of the position after 78 moves and more than 6 hours of play.

In the press conference afterward, Karjakin was noticeably relieved. While Carlsen cracked some jokes, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was disappointed and perhaps even angry with himself.

The game will probably be analyzed for years to come, but Karjakin proved how resilient he is. It is also clear that this match is going to be a fight and perhaps a war of attrition.

2016-11-15 07-15-08  3d40d4d0-ab03-11e6-933e-0e0329efa989
A large chess board was set up on the street outside the venue.

More details on worldchess.com


World Championship: Game 2, Draw

The second game of the World Championship match in New York City ended in a draw and that was perhaps not a surprise. A World Championship is a marathon, not a sprint, so the early stages of the match are often a feeling-out process in which each player is unwilling to take too many chances, or to reveal too much about his pre-match preparations. 

Sergey Karjakin, the challenger from Russia, had White for the first time and opened with 1 e4, the move that Bobby Fischer, the former World Champion, once said was “best by test.” Magnus Carlsen, the defending champion from Norway, replied 1 e5. After a couple more moves, Carlsen had the chance to play the Berlin Defense, an opening that had appeared repeatedly in Carlsen’s previous two World Championship matches in 2013 and 2014.

2016-11-12 23-58-40  ef676682-a933-11e6-b204-0e0329efa989

The venue of the World Championship was packed for Game 2

Instead of the Berlin, which has gained a reputation for being notoriously difficult to crack, but which also often leads to draws, Carlsen continued with the Ruy Lopez, or Spanish, opening. Karjakin adopted one of the quieter, less ambitious systems in reply.

Though Karjakin made an attempt to take control of the center with 11 d4, Carlsen was able to ignore it.

As in Game 1, there was a fairly early trade of queens, but more pieces stayed on the board this time and by move 25, Karjakin had managed to penetrate with his rook along the a-file and to create a bit of pressure.

2016-11-13 00-00-32  32063090-a934-11e6-a17c-0e0329efa989
Sergey Karjakin, left, had White, but was unable to pose any big problems for Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, during Game 2

But as has happened so many times in the past, the World Champion defended dynamically and, with the thrust 27 c5 forced a liquidation of the remaining pawns on the queenside. A few moves later, he forced a repetition of position and the players agreed to a draw after three hours and 33 moves.

The following videos are of the Day 2 broadcast in regular video and 360° virtual reality.

The score in the best-of-12 match now stands at one point apiece; 6.5 points are needed to win the title. The match has a prize fund of about $1.1 million and it is being organized by World Chess by Agon Limited.

2016-11-12 23-59-48  17eda7c4-a934-11e6-a17c-0e0329efa989
Both players were in a good mood in the press conference after Game 2

In the press conference after the game, Karjakin said that for a moment he thought that he had a small advantage, but admitted that it was a mirage.

The players now have a rest day on Sunday before the match resumes on Monday at 2 PM EST, when Carlsen will have White for the second time.

More details on worldchess.com


World Championship: Game 1, Draw

The World Chess Championship in New York City got off to a relatively quiet start on Friday with a draw in Game 1 that was tense at times, but lacked pyrotechnics.

harrelson
Magnus Carlsen, the defending champion, had White. After a ceremonial first move by the actor Woody Harrelson, Carlsen surprised Sergey Karjakin, the challenger from Russia, and also many of the grandmasters watching the game in the venue in the Fulton Market building in the South Street Seaport, by essaying the Trompowsky Attack. Though the opening sounds dangerous, it is slightly off-beat and is not thought to pose great difficulties for Black.

WCCM2016

Carlsen played quickly during the opening, indicating that he had prepared the Trompowsky for the match, while Karjakin took more time, clearly proceeding cautiously in his first World Championship game. With a couple of precise maneuvers, Karjakin avoided any problems and, after only 19 moves, most of the major pieces for both sides had already been exchanged.

Carlsen, who had a slightly better pawn structure, continued to press on – something that he is noted for and that has brought him success in the past. He may have also continued to play because he wanted to test Karjakin and try to put some psychological pressure on him. But Karjakin is noted for his defensive ability and he had no trouble.

The game lasted four hours and was drawn after 42 moves.

In the press conference afterward, both Carlsen and Karjakin agreed that if Carlsen had any chances to win, they ended when he played 27 f4, allowing Karjakin to shut down any opportunities for Carlsen to penetrate on the kingside.

Game 2 is on Saturday and begins at 2 PM EST. Karjakin will have White.

More details on worldchess.com

The Reign of Draws Continues
 
banner_president_200
banner_ratings_200
banner gallery
banner arrears
ethics
banner comm events
banner comm rules2
banner comm pairings
banner_fidecis195
facebook twitter gplus rss
banner_bids50
 
©  World Chess Federation   |  FIDE News RSS Feed