30 November 2016

Carlsen - Karjakin, the Third Week

In the previous post, we left Carlsen - Karjakin, the Second Week, with challenger Karjakin having just scored the first win in the match to forge ahead with a +1-0=7 score. In neither of his two previous title matches with GM Anand had World Champion Carlsen fallen behind in the score. How would he handle a must-win situation?

In the ninth game, Carlsen held a difficult position with the Black pieces, then prevailed in the tenth game after a tense endgame. The score was level again. In game 11 Karjakin was unable to make an impression on the Norwegian and game 12 was an insipid draw that ended a little more than 30 minutes after it started. After nearly three weeks of play, the score was +1-1=10, and the match was heading into tiebreak games. Following is an excerpt from the official broadacst.

2016 FIDE World Chess Championship Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game 12 (24:42) • 'Press Conference Uncut'

Question to Karjakin just after the 12th game ended:-

Q: This was an extremely quick draw. Are you happy with that?
A: I played with Black, so maybe this is a question more to Magnus than to me.

Question to Carlsen a minute later:-

Q: Why did you decide to go into this quick draw?
A: I wanted to play a tiebreak. That's all I can say.
Q: Can you try to tell us why you want to do that?
A: We'll see [smiles].

As I write this, the tiebreak session is due to start in a a few hours. Today is also Carlsen's 26th birthday. It's well known that playing on one's birthday is psychologically difficult for most players, but Magnus is not like most players.

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