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Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin
Carlsen - Karjakin World Championship Match (2016), New York, NY USA, rd 12, Nov-28
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Rio Gambit Accepted (C67)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-28-16  mistermac: Form one Knucklehead to another, <Oracle>, all these Carlsen vs Karjakin threads are a bit confusing. I know.

Keep posting, bro, we all make mistakes.

Nov-28-16  Knight13: Not exactly a spectator sport, I guess?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: The idea of 12 more games like this makes my flesh crawl.
Nov-28-16  RookFile: Is it too early to submit "Stink Bomb" for a pun for this game?
Nov-28-16  PJs Studio: Richard, you should be embarrassed for saying "of course the players have to keep score" in the rapid section of the tiebreaks. Somehow you found my question foolish. Yet, It specifically states in rule 3.7.1.b of the FIDE world championship handbook that the players DO NOT have to keep score in the tiebreaks and the arbiter will. You sound so sure of yourself in making sweeping edicts that you have no clue about. At least investigate before you try to ridicule or put someone down as a response to a simple question. Then you can feel really mighty shelling out the disrespect.

Game in 25 with 10 second increments added at the end of each move. Not a guess, I read the handbook.

Nov-28-16  Artar1: Well, I can't say that this match was the most exciting I've seen. Carlsen missed a draw in Game 8, as I'm sure you all know, so that means this contest will drag on a little longer.

I miss the days when championship contests seemed to be more exciting and included many more games at the longer time limit. It would seem that the world has changed a bit, and the preference now appears to be for games with shorter time controls.

Nov-28-16  pajaste: Exölent geim pleid ina kantri witsh jyuses ookwood tränskripshön. Well wööth watshing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <beenthere240: The idea of 12 more games like this makes my flesh crawl.>

Today’s game 12 lacked any serious attempt to unbalance the position and create opportunities for a decisive result. Not all of the drawn games in this match were equally banal. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that neither this match nor any of the other WC matches contested in a format of fewer than 24 games has been as exciting as the matches from the mid-XX Century through 1993 (Kasparov vs. Short). IMO, the less exciting character of recent WC matches is primarily due to two factors: (1) the greater propensity of current top-level players to be satisfied with a split point (cf. the fighting spirit of players such as Fischer, Larsen, Taimanov (R.I.P.), etc.); and (2) intrinsic deficiencies of the modern WC match formats.

On point (2), there seem to be two main problems with the modern formats. One problem is that the reduced number of games discourages players from taking major risks. Players with White will play for a win when they can, of course, but they always try to keep the “draw in hand”, rather than play in a style that could be described as “<va banque>” or “casting caution to the winds”.

The second problem is the use of rapids/blitz/Armageddon tie-breaks. Much better was the old rule whereby the reigning champion got draw odds for the match. As long as the number of games played is sufficiently large (e.g., 24), this is not inherently unfair, and it forces the challenger to play for wins from the outset of the match.

Ultimately, it is an unfortunate reality that matches can only be as long as the sponsors are willing to underwrite, and this factor may doom the late and keenly lamented 24-game format to extinction, leaving us forced to come to terms with the inevitably of the lamentable 12-game format, but anyone who fails to acknowledge that the format of this match (12 games with provision for rapids/blitz/Armageddon tie-breaks in the event of a 6.0 – 6.0 score) was a major factor contributing to its comparative lack of exciting play invites the suspicion that he is being willfully obtuse.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MichaelHalliwell: In this half of the tie-breaker material parity is maintained, but converting the bishops to rooks gets around the "wrong color" problem that caused the actual game to be drawn. Soon after the 35th move here, Karjakin's extra bishop will arrive (as a black piece) and after four passes are used to get a doubled pawn, the bishop and rook, plus the back member of the doubled pawn will be used to create a Queen, which will demolish white's position.

21 Pass.1 Pass.1
22 QxQ BxQ
23 Pass.2 Pass.2
24 R-K1 B-B1
25 Pass.3 Pass.3
26 K-B1 P-B3
27 Pass.4 = P(d2) Pass.4 = P (d7)
28 P-KKt4 K-B2
29 Pass.1 Pass.1
30 P-KR3 R-K1
31 Pass.2 Pass.2
32 RxR KxR
33 Pass.3 Pass.3
34 K-K2 K-K2
35 B(f4)=R (d2+Pass.4) B(f8) = R (d7 + Pass.4)

Carlsen wouldn't actually initiate passing, because of the threat of intervention from the eleventh game level, but the lack of offensive potential in the 20th move position would allow black to do a lot of passing anyway, leaving white behind in the race to create a rook.

The strengths of this sort of tie breaker is that it uses higher quality chess (more ingenuity, less following established lines) rather than making it more difficult to find good moves by speeding up the game. It also gets away from a "run out the clock" strategy for a champion who is better (comparatively) in faster versions of chess, because piling up draws only creates an unchallenging position which reduces white's advantage when the first twenty moves are used in a tie-breaker. There doesn't have to be an actual tie in the 12 games to use this, a 6 1/2 vs 5 1/2, single decisive game victory could easily be overturned in tie breakers that could generate up to six points.

Nov-29-16  AlicesKnight: After some tough fighting in earlier games this one was indeed a disappointment. But the format issue reflects 21st-century need for quicker decisive outcomes (cricket goes for ODIs or 20/20 while test-match games seem to have waning support; soccer and hockey use penalty shoot-outs, not so much replays) in sport and games. Perhaps money and economy talk as well. The game suggests both players were willing to 'take their chance' with the "shootout" formats. Personally I would prefer something closer to the 24-game format of 50 years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Btw, this line is habitual for Carlsen when he wants to draw safely with White - he used it twice, in almost identical games, vs. Anand in Carlsen vs Anand, 2013 (when he was leading the match by 2 points) & Carlsen vs Anand, 2014 (final round, when the draw clinched 1st place for him in Zurich), and vs. Kramnik in Carlsen vs Kramnik, 2015 (again final round, this time in Qatar, with the draw clinching 1st place). He deviated from these games with 15.Na3 instead of Nd2 and according to the press conference might have had some tiny idea there in case Karjakin played inaccurately, but Karjakin was prepared for this specific move.>

MVL suggested on that Carlsen's (small) hope was to get the setup he had in Carlsen vs Kramnik, 2016 (a blitz game) a few months ago if Black just keeps exchanging pieces "automatically" with 15... Ng7 16. Nc2 Bf5 17. Bxf5 Nxf5 18. Ne3 Nxe3 19. Qxe3:

click for larger view

And White doubles and takes over the e-file, since 19...Qe7? would lose the c7 pawn after the queen exchange. It's not much, but it's something to play for (in that game Carlsen got a winning position).

However, Karjakin's 15...c6! destroyed any such hope, since now Black can keep exchanging pieces without worrying about his c-pawn.

Nov-29-16  Ulhumbrus: The chessbase site quotes Carlsen saying <I didn't feel today was the day to take major chances.> This suggests that Carlsen offered Karjakin chances to go wrong but was not going to play unsoundly in order to do it, as possibly he had done in game 8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Sometimes in these Super GM games, the "excitement" is in the variations avoided due to the strength of the participants.

In his analysis of this important 12th and last classical game of the current World Chess Championship at, GM Yasser Seirawan observes the first bit of "excitement" occurred after 12 Qxe1 (diagram below) when Carlsen offered Karjakin a slightly "poisoned pawn:"

click for larger view

Here (diagram above) Seriwan points out the dubious pawn grab 12...Bxd4?! is met by 13. Bxd6! (diagram below).

click for larger view

After 12...Bxd4?! 13. Bxd6! (diagram above), Seriwan observes the tempting follow-up pawn grab 13...Bxb2?? (diagram below)

click for larger view

is a blunder which loses to 14. Bxc7!
(diagram below):

click for larger view

From here (diagram above after 12...Bxd4?! 13. Bxd6! Bxb2?? 14. Bxc7! ), Deep Fritz 15 indicates play might continue 14...Qf8 15. Nc3 Bxa1 16. Qxa1 d6 17. Nb5 Be6 18. Bxd6 Qd8 19. Be5 f6 20. Bg3 Qd7 21. Nd6 Rd8 22. Qe1 Bf7 23. Bd3 Kh8 24. h3 b6 25. a4 Bg6 26. Bb5 Qc7 27. Qe6 Qxc2 28. Qe7 Rg8 29. Bc4 Ra8 30. Kh2 Qxa4 31. Bd5 Re8 (31... Rb8 32. Nf5 Rg8 33. Bxg8 Bxf5 34. Bd5 h6 35. Qf8+ Kh7 36. Qg8+ Kg6 37. Bf7+ Kg5 38. Qxg7+ Bg6 39. Qxg6#) 32. Nxe8 Qxe8 33. Qxa7 (+4.27 @ 27 depth, Deep Fritz 15).

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <Sometimes in these Super GM games, the "excitement" is in the variations avoided due to the strength of the participants.>

"The beauty is in the notes."

Nov-29-16  RandomVisitor: <patzer2>compare with my earlier analysis from 2014 in this line:


[+0.20] d=35 12...Bxd4 13.Bxd6 cxd6 14.Nc3 Be5 15.Rd1 b6 16.f4 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 Bb7 18.Rxd6 Bc6 19.Rd2 Qf8 20.a3 Re8 21.Qb4 Re1 22.Qxf8+ Kxf8 23.Kf2 Rb1 24.c3 Ke7 25.g3 f5 26.Bd3 Rh1 27.Ke3 Kf6

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <RV> Thanks! As your analysis indicates, the correct respose after 12...Bxd4 is 13. Bxd6 cxd6 (not 13...Bxb2?? allowing 14. Bxc7! +) when 14. Nc3 Be5 = to suggests "the d4 bait" isn't all that "poisonous."
Nov-29-16  ajile: Wow what a yawner.

I'm glad I missed this one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <<Domdaniel: <Richard Taylor> -- < "Well I pushed up the middle pawn, he made some funny moves, so i moved on of those pointy looking things, then he moved, I moved he moved I think it was a horse, then he moved I moved he moved I moved he moved I moved he moved I moved he moved I moved he moved I moved he moved I moved he moved I moved he moved and then I saw his hand and I shook it I think and the man said it was finished so I came here. Who are you all in any case? Where am I? Where are we all going?"> Magnificent, Richard. Best synopsis of a game I've ever seen. Bravo.>>

Do you think I should be with Peter Svidler commenting?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Why not 17.Ne3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Why not 17.Ne3?>

I'm sure it's not worse than what Carlsen actually played, but maybe 17...Ne6 - "trapping" the White DSB and forcing an exchange of bishops. It does leave more pieces on the board for awhile, but I guess Carlsen didn't see a shred of an advantage after that either, and he wasn't in the mood for "just playing".

Nov-30-16  zanzibar: RE: Carlsen vs Karjakin, 2016 (kibitz #500)

Not only MVL, but I believe Karjakin also mentioned the need for Black to be careful, citing the same game. He mentioned that it was part of his preparations to find the improvement.

Dec-01-16  mistermac: <Richard Taylor: <<Domdaniel: <Richard Taylor> -- < > Magnificent, Richard. Best synopsis of a game I've ever seen. Bravo.>> Do you think I should be with Peter Svidler commenting?>

No, <Richard>, I think Dom was suggesting you should replace the other commentator.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < Edeltalent: <In Carlsen's first 3 WC matches, he dethroned the reigning WC with a win, won the rematch in the second, and ended the third match with a draw after the regulation time control games.

Who else did the same? Not Petrosian. Not Karpov. Not Kasparov. Not Fischer. Not Tal.

No matter the outcome, Carlsen has done very very very well in WC match play so far.>

One could argue that Kasparov actually did exactly that (if the first match with Karpov is counted as a non-result)...>

Yes, of course if we pretend some stuff didn't happen, even though it actually did happen, then sure!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <mistermac: <Richard Taylor: <<Domdaniel: <Richard Taylor> -- < > Magnificent, Richard. Best synopsis of a game I've ever seen. Bravo.>> Do you think I should be with Peter Svidler commenting?> No, <Richard>, I think Dom was suggesting you should replace the other commentator.>

I liked them both. Gustafsson has a clever, understated humour. I didn't like him (I mean his humour) at first but his way "grew on me" as they say. And for a chess GM he is good!

Dec-06-16  RandomVisitor: After 13...d5

click for larger view


<+0.14/50 14.Nd2> Nd6 15.Qe3 Be6 16.Nf3 Nc4 17.Bxc4 dxc4 18.Re1 h6 19.Nd2 b6 20.Be5 Bxe5 21.Qxe5 Qd7 22.Nf1 Kf8 23.h3 Re8 24.Qf4 f6 25.Re4 Qd6 26.Qd2 Qc6 27.Ng3 a5 28.Qe3 Kg8 29.Qf4 Qd7 30.Re3 Re7 31.Re2 Kf8 32.Re4 Qc6 33.Nf5 Bxf5 34.Rxe7 Kxe7 35.Qxf5 Qe6 36.Qg6 Kf8 37.Qg3 Qd7 38.Qf3 c6 39.a4 Kg8 40.Qe4 Qd5 41.Qxd5+ cxd5 42.f4 Kf7

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