D, But Still for Draw in World Chess Championship

magnusrd7press2 Magnus Carlsen, Photo Brian Glover

Today in New York City, spectators packed the house lining up around the corner in near freezing weather to get a glimpse at the World Chess Championship. The 3-3 deadlocked match has tickets sold out through round 10. With all draws so far in the first six rounds, spectators hoped for high drama, theoretical novelties and more celebrities. Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe known for roles in The Wire (Chris Partlow) and Taking of Pelham 123 played the ceremonial first move,  1.d4. Talking to GM Judit Polgar as the game progressed, which featured 1.d4 by Karjakin as well, Akinnagbe said, “The whole time it is psychological, if you know someone well enough you can predict how they play.” In the opening, Carlsen surprised Karjakin with a novelty 10… Nc6. This move was the computer’s 3rd move and Karjakin spent a considerable time looking for the best response. But, then in a strange turn of events, Carlsen missed a move deep in a combination and lost a pawn! This was not end of the game however as it was quite hard for Karjakin to prove any advantage and a draw was agreed on move 33.

unnamed-3Gbenga Akinnagbe at the 2016 World Championship, Photo Brian Glover

[pgn] [Event "Carlsen-Karjakin World Chess Championshi"] [Date "2016.11.20"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D27"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2853"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Norway"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "NOR"] [WhiteClock "0:56:12"] [BlackClock "1:05:41"] 1. d4 {The world was surprised to see this as Karjakin had been playing 1. e4 in the previous White games.} d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 {Carlsen already used a little time thinking here.} Nf6 4. e3 a6 5. Bd3 {A slightly unusual line that leads to quick equality for Black. Nf3 is the usual move.} dxc4 6. Bxc4 e6 7. Nf3 c5 8. O-O b5 9. Be2 Bb7 10. dxc5 Nc6 {This a novelty and the computer's 3rd best choice. Karjakin thought for quite a while on the next move.} 11. Nd2 {This move shocked all of the comentators. GM Polgar had no idea why Karjakin would play it this way. Karjakin said he thought next 12.Nb3 but then he realized 12. ..Bd6 is good for Black.} Bxc5 12. Nde4 Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Be7 {Black's position is very solid and there is no danger in the position.} 14. b3 Nb4 15. Bf3 O-O 16. Ba3 Rc8 {Probably inaccurate because of...} 17. Nf6+ $1 {This seems exciting but it leads to mass trades and the game is closer to a draw.} Bxf6 18. Bxb7 Bxa1 19. Bxb4 {Carlsen said he missed this move. Black now drops a pawn but it's not dire. He said he had a little resources in the resulting position.} Bf6 20. Bxf8 Qxd1 21. Rxd1 Rxf8 22. Bxa6 b4 {Black has a pawn but the Backward a2 pawn is not worth much and the players could agree to draw here. But, that is not allowed! They must play 30 moves first.} 23. Rc1 g6 24. Rc2 Ra8 25. Bd3 Rd8 26. Be2 Kf8 27. Kf1 Ra8 28. Bc4 Rc8 29. Ke2 Ke7 30. f4 {The pawn expansion looks dangerous but...} h6 31. Kf3 Rc7 32. g4 g5 {A fortress! The tables have turned from game 3 & 4 and now Carlsen sets up a fortress for the easy draw.} 33. Ke4 Rc8 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

melekinaPhoto Brain Glover

When asked what she thought of the game FM Alisa Melekhina said, “At least there was a material imbalance. At this level most games are going to be drawn.” She stressed the finesse in playing this type of match and playing games that cannot always be won by brute force. At the press conference for his part Carlsen said, “It is unusual that every single game have been a draw. But, I don’t think this will happen from now on…” With White in Game 8, will Carlsen score the first win? Stay tuned as GM Cristian Chirila takes over for US Chess reporting tomorrow!

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