NOTHING NEW IN THE LAND OF THE DRAW
Finally it has happened. After six games where I have resisted the temptation to call the games boring. However, it seems like Carlsen - Karjakin game seven managed to wither me down and break my composure.
Because, after five very hard fought draws, game six was the first where there was virtually no battle over the board.
And I was quite happy to see Magnus displaying some brilliant preparation. Aditionally, the variation which included an early pawn sacrifice was very pleasant to analyse.
Carlsen - Karjakin game seven repeated the scenario of Magnus being prepared. However, contrary to game six, this time the opening led to a symmetrical and equal position, where there was not alot going on.
While analyzing the game i experienced sudden streams of depression. Therefore, I feel that the perfect moment to share the desktop picture of my good friend and IM Leon Livaic. Who is, as much as me, a fervent opponent of the early draw offers occuring regularly on swiss tournaments and league matches.
It goes without saying that both Leon and me lost two games each while refusing the opponent's draw offers but... Let's stick to better players.
The game seven saw Karjakin switching hands and opening with the d4 move.
Carlsen brought the Slav from his arsenal as a response. And on the move four, he chose the popular Chebanenko line, which was discussed heavily in the Gelfand - Anand match.
Karjakin seemed to be taken by surprise, since he avoided the main move Nf3. Instead, he chose to go for a Queen's Gambit declined - like position, in which chances for opening advantage for White are minimal.
Furthermore, Carlsen was prepared even for that possibility, casting doubts on the well known opinion of him not being an opening expert.
On move 10 he played the great novelty 10... Nc6!? which probably immediately equalizes for Black by best play from White.
Karjakin demonstrated not the best play from White and Magnus found himself fully developed and without weaknesses.
However, here again he casted doubts, but this time it was not in his favour. Because instead of displaying his usual fighting spirit, he opted to go into inferior endgame with opposite coloured bishops. And then he even let Karjakin enjoy an extra pawn which was not strictly neccessary.
However, his position was solid enough and he was never in serious danger (although Karjakin said that he has got "a better endgame" at the post game conference). Therefore, very soon, a draw was agreed.
To be honest, Carlsen's contention with the draw instead of trying for more surprised me a bit. Could it be that he is psychologically aready preparing for the possibility of the tiebreaks?
We can only speculate and wait for the remainder of the match to unfold.
If you have any thoughts about the game or analysis, or don't agree with my rage about the draws, you are welcome to comment and share your opinion 🙂