Sixth Draw as World Champs Reach Halfway Point

magnusgm5press1Magnus in round six, Photo Brian C Glover

Entering into today’s game the World Championship match was tied 2.5-2.5 with all games ending in a draw. Again the world was wondering if either player would break through. FIDE Senior Trainer and FM Aviv Friedman said, “I am hoping for a decisive game.” Today was not the day as Karjakin with the White pieces failed to prove any advantage in a quick 32 move draw. Karjakin opened with the Spanish again and Carlsen played a nice pawn sacrifice in the opening which led to equality. Carlsen’s preparation seemed to be one step deeper than Karjakin’s.

[pgn] [Event "Carlsen-Karjakin World Chess Championship"] [Date "2016.11.18"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2853"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Norway"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "NOR"] [WhiteClock "0:57:24"] [BlackClock "1:16:43"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 {Another Spanish: Ruy Lopez mainline. Carlsen wants to avoid any preparation that Karjakin has in the Berlin} Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 {This move is designed to avoid the Marshall gambit.} Bb7 9. d3 d5 {He plays d5 anyway! This will lead to a slightly more developed version of the Marshall. In return for the pawn, Carlsen will have a large space advantage and the initiative.} 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxe5 Nd4 12. Nc3 Nb4 {White is up a pawn but the b3 Bishop will be removed soon giving Black the bishop pair.} 13. Bf4 Nxb3 14. axb3 c5 15. Ne4 f6 16. Nf3 f5 17. Neg5 Bxg5 {With this move Karjakin said that they had prepared this position but he could not quite remember the lines. He also said that the lines are very forcing.} 18. Nxg5 h6 19. Ne6 Qd5 {Threatening mate on h2.} 20. f3 Rfe8 21. Re5 (21. Nc7 {This move is not good because...} Rxe1+ 22. Qxe1 Qd4+ 23. Qf2 (23. Be3 Qxb2 24. Nxa8 Nxc2 $17) 23... Qxf4 24. Nxa8 Bxa8 $17) 21... Qd6 22. c3 Rxe6 23. Rxe6 Qxe6 24. cxb4 cxb4 {This leaves White still up the pawn but he cannot hold onto them as the queenside pawns are weak.} 25. Rc1 Rc8 26. Rxc8+ Qxc8 27. Qe1 Qd7 28. Kh2 a5 29. Qe3 Bd5 30. Qb6 Bxb3 31. Qxa5 Qxd3 32. Qxb4 Be6 {A draw was agreed as Carlsen is happy to get one of the Black games out of the way.} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

sergeymovesgm5dPhoto Brian C Glover

Despite the quick draw, there was quite a buzz in the tournament hall as a few celebrities were on hand. Murray Campbell, one of the creators of Deep Blue, the computer that beat Kasparov ushering in the dominance of the computer age, held a small press conference. He talked about the experience of programming Deep Blue and how the team was not quite sure if it could win the match. He said, “We were confident that we had a good shot at drawing the match.” One interesting comment coming from Campbell was, “I think humans and computers working together are better.” Perhaps this is the reason why Carlsen and Karjakin are so good. Their own natural talents and abilities combined with the computer’s brute force calculating strength make them nearly flawless. Fabiano Caruana also posted a photo and witticism upon his arrival in NYC (after the conclusion of the Champions Showdown in Saint Louis):


Tomorrow is a rest day and there is a divide on how the players will use the time. Karjakin said, “I will take a helicopter” and Carlsen countered with the quick, “I will not." Pressed further, Carlsen stressed the importance of using the rest day to take his mind off the pressure of the match. To this Karjakin replied, “It is important to not drink alcohol.” Enjoy your own rest day from the World Championship, and look for the next battle report on Sunday 11/20 with Carlsen getting the second Black in a row.

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