Carlsen – Karjakin, game nine


Since I am a Magnus fan, I am really happy that I could write that he lives, instead of leaves, after Carlsen - Karjakin game nine.

On the other hand considering the quality of that joke, Karjakin's win would probably be for the greater good.

Anyway, Carlsen - Karjakin game nine almost ended in another bloodshed and another victory for Karjakin. In the critical moment on move 39, he decided to sacrifice the bishop, which looked very strong.

However, Magnus defended brilliantly and managed to enter an endgame where he was only a pawn down. Since all the pawns were on the same wing, a draw was inevitable, and the Champion's hope is still remaining.

It is uncertain whether the match would be virtually over if Karjakin played the quiet 39 Qb3 instead of bishop sacrifice. Some commentators exclaimed it is winning, because Black is virtually forced to enter and endgame with two pawns less.

However, while commentating the game live, grandmasters Svidler and Gustafsson reached  a position where black is two pawns down. And they expressed their doubts about whether that position is winning for White.

Therefore I wouldn't venture to give a clear verdict whether Karjakin's position was totally won. But the fact that Karjakin missed serious practical chances remains.


For the third time in the match the game opened as a Closed Ruy Lopez. And for the third time in the match there was a third variation of the inexhaustible "Queen of Openings."

Therefore, after offering two Marshall gambits in games two and four, Carlsen was the first two deviate. This time he chose the Neo - Arkhangelsk variation of the Ruy Lopez, characterized by the move 6... Bc5. The last time he played this line was back in 2011, but Karjakin wasn't surprised once again.

Therefore, both players blitzed their moves as they were following the recent Nakamura - Kasimdzhanov game from the Tromso 2014 Olympiad.

Furthermore, Magnus proved to be better prepared once again, as he improved on the play of the former FIDE champion on move 21. However, even with such a brilliant preparation he managed only to reach the position which could best be described with the eternal "dynamic equillibrium" evaluation.

Karjakin therefore wasn't rattled at all. With his bishop pair and extra pawn he didn't have any serious problems And when Magnus commited a small inaccuracy on move 33..., he was rather quick to seize the initiative.

With the time trouble approaching, Magnus had some concrete problems to solve. And once again he didn't display his best form, since he commited serious mistake on move 38, leading to the critical choice for Karjakin on move 39, as already mentioned in the introduction.

However, Magnus managed to defend his position tenaciously and treat us with his appearance at the post game press conference.

Which due to the rich chess content of the game turned out to be one of the best chess press conferences in a long time.


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