Carlsen – Karjakin game 3

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0-0 Nxe4 Karjakin was trying to play safe by using the Berlin that served Kramnik so well against Kasparov. However, Carlsen kept the Qs on the board

5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 0-0 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re2 Kasimdzhanov and Vallejo Pons also played this move. Carlsen played 10. Re1 many times before. Karjakin is taking his time after this rare move. Black played 10…b6 or 10…Nf5 in previous games. In those games, 3 were drawn and white won one.

Karjakin spent over 18 minutes so far after 10. Re2. He is obviously surprised by this move. Incredible! Karjakin is still thinking after 26+ minutes. 10…b6 or 10…Nf5 are both OK for black.

The reason for Re2 is if 10…Re8 white can play 11. Bf4 Rxe2 and now 12. Bxe2 White does not lose the d4 pawn.

10…B6 11. Re1 They are following the Kasimdzjanov – Melkumyan game which ended in a draw.

11…Re8 White can now play 12. Bf4 if 12…Rxe1 13. Qxe1 Bxd4 14. Qe4

12. Bf4 Rxe1 13. Qxe1 White is slightly better in this position. His pieces are better coordinated.

13…Qe7 Black has several decent choices: 14. Na3, 14. Nc3, 14. Nd2, 14. Qxe7. This reminds me of two boxers of different style. One, Carlsen, is trying to jab. The other, Karjakin, by employing the Berlin, is happy to keep holding to frustrate his opponent 🙂 Ali – Foreman rope-a-dope!

14. Nc3 Bb7 15. Qxe7 Bxe7 16. a4 White is slightly better but not much happening. Karjakin should be able to hold this. This must be so frustrating for Carlsen.

16…a6 Perhaps just normal development with 17. Bd3 It is tough for white to make to make significant breakthrough here.

17. g3 A move I had not considered. Nothing special. White wants to trade light square bishops so his knight can go to d5. 17…g5 would be a more aggressive response. 17. Re8 is a more quiet response

17…g5 Karjakin chose this one. If 18. Bxd6 Bxd6 19. Bg2 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 It will be knight vs bishop endgame.

18. Bxd6 Bxd6 I think white needs to trade the light square bishops. Otherwise, the bishop pair may become too strong. Remember how much Muhammad Ali in his 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match against George Foreman really frustrated his opponent?  Carlsen cannot be happy getting almost nothing in his two white games.  The question is who will crack first?

19. Bg2 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 Draw is very likely in this position. 20…Re8 21. Nd5 Re2 22. Ne3 Rd2 23. Rd1 = Other option is 20…f5 but also nothing

20…f5 White has to make sure not to over push. His position is not better. In spite of never playing in a world championship before, Karjakin is handling his nerves very well. Big credit to him and his team.

21. Nd5 Kf7 They can repeat with 22. Ne3 Kf6 23. Nd5+ Kf7 🙂 I felt that Karjakin would be most vulnerable in the first few games because of lack of experience in WC play. But he once again defied expectation and played as well as possible. The longer the lack of decisive results go, the more frustrated Carlsen will be.

22. Ne3 Kf6 The question now is will they repeat? 🙂

23. Nc4 Carlsen is not ready to have a short day in the office. 23…Re8 and simply ignoring the threat of Nxd6. Black should draw easily.

23…Bf8 Still pretty much equal. White can put his Rook on e1 to temporarily control the e file.

24. Re1 Rd8 Karjakin is saying you can have the file. Now what. What are you going to do? 🙂 If Chess wants mega sponsors, change the WC format. For every draw, they have one 5 min round of MMA. Big pay-per-view 🙂

25. f4 How many of you are with me? Every draw = one 5 minute round of MMA style battle. You will not see the Berlin much anymore 🙂 Another idea if there’s a draw, you reverse colors and play blitz until there is a decisive result. No more draw 🙂 Fans are tired of draws, especially in World Championship chess.

25…gxf4 26. gxf4 b5 27. axb5 axb5 28. Ne3 Pretty much equal

28…c6 29. Kf3 Ra8 It is hard to image either side can make much progress.

30. Rg1 If black plays Bh6 then 31. b3 =

30…Ra2 This move I do not like so much 30…Bh6 is better. Here Karjakin needs to be careful with the Rg5 threat after 31. b3

31. b3 c5 White has 32. Rg8 threat

32. Rg8 if 32…Kg7 then 33. Rg2 cxd4 34. Nxf5

32…Kf7 33. Rg2 xcd4 34. Nxf5 As expected. White is up a pawn but black should hold because of white’s weak pawn structure.

34…d3 35. cxd3 And now 34…Ra3 and black is OK

35…Ra1 Karjakin continues to make things more difficult for himself. This was self inflicted. Now white has Rc2 then Rc7.

36. Nd4 b4 37. Rg5 Karjakin still has chances to hold. The game is not over. But he made life so difficult for himself, especially with only 8 min left. This mess was self inflicted by Karjakin. 30…Bh6 and he would have been fine. He needed his Rook in the 8th rank.

37…Rb1 38. Rf5+ Ke8 39. Rb5 The plan is to eventually play h4-h5 then march the King up.

39…Rf5 40. Ke4 This is not helping Karjakin at all. It helps Carlsen move his King up. I think Karjakin is freaking out now. He must be screaming at himself: “What did you do to yourself?” 🙂

40…Re1+ Both sides made time control.

41. Kf5 Rd1 Speaking from experience in playing WC match, one must stay focus 100%, even if positions are drawish. One small distraction can cost you the match.

42. Re5+ White could have played 42. Rb8+ Ke7 then 43. Ke4

42…Kf7 43. Rd5 I think this is risky. I prefer 43. Ke4 first. Karjakin could have wrapped this game up earlier for a draw then be having dinner now instead of suffering vs a brutal Viking 🙂

43…Rxd3 Now white must play 44. Ke4 to have a chance. If 44. Rxd7+ Ke8 black has a better chance to hold.

44. Rxd7+ After 44…Ke8 45. Rd5 Rh3 46. Ne6

44… Ke8 45. Rd5 Rh3 White has option 46. Ne6 or 46. Nc6

46. Re5+ This is another surprising move. No harm done.

46…Kf7 Now 47. Rb5

47. Re2 This is to set up a trap. If 47….Bg7 48. Nc6 Rxb3 49. Nd8+ Kf8 50 Ne6+ Kf7 51. Ng5+ Kg8 52. Re8+ Bf8 53. Kf6 +- If Karjakin falls for this trap then we need to call him “Tricky Magnus” 🙂

47… Bg7 OK, Karjakin gave all the fans a big thrill no matter how this game will end. We all thought another boring draw. 🙂

48. Nc6 Carlsen did it! He played 48. Nc6 Will Karjakin fall for this trap or get out with 48..Rh5+ 🙂 The moment of truth!

48…Rh5+ Karjakin did NOT fall for Tricky Magnus 🙂 He smelled a rat and played Rh5+. But white is still better 🙂

49. Kg4 Rc5 Just a reminder, this is the official time control: 100 minutes in 40 moves + 50 minutes in 20 moves + 15 minutes all moves + 30 second increment all moves. Objectively speaking, black can still hold. But in reality, it requires flawless play for that to happen. Karjakin has no margin for error. Otherwise, the brutal Viking will prevail.

50. Nd8+ Kg6 I am not sure I like 50. Nd8+ so much. I would have preferred 50. Nxb4.

51. Ne6 Carlsen sets up another trick. 51…h5+ is the only move. Everything else looks really bad for black.

51…h5+ 52. Kf3 Rc3+ 53. Ke4 Now Karjakin should play 53…Kf6

53…Bf6 Black has somewhat stabilized. But he is still down a pawn 🙂

54. Re3 Black must NOT take on e3. 54…Rc2 is an option.

54…h4 55. h3 Once again, if Karjakin trades rooks, it is game over! Karjakin has about 16 minutes to get to move 60. We are at move 55 now 🙂

55…Rc1 Karjakin left himself unprotected for a second. Carlson threw a big punch. Karjakin is wobbling but still holding on. Carlsen is screaming go down, go down 🙂

56. Nf8+ Kf7 57. Nd7 Ke6 White is still slightly better but not easy to make progress.

58. Nb6 Rd1 59. f5+ Kf7 60. Nc4 Carlsen is still grinding hoping for a mistake by Karjakin. Hard to win but also a lot of pressure to hold. Both 60…Rd4 61. Kf3 Rd5 or 60…Bc3 are fine. There was a similar endgame between Sjugirov v Sasikiran in 2012 Aeroflot. White won that endgame due to black’s inaccuracies. I hope Karjakin realizes that he has one more bonus time of 15 minutes for the entire game. And Carlsen will push until the cow comes home. Karjakin already spent 11 minutes for this 60th move. What is he thinking?

60…Rd4+ But he made this move with 5 seconds left on the clock before forfeiting on time! Now he has only 15 minutes for rest of game.

61. Kf3 Bg5 This is not the most accurate move. The simple 61…Rd5 would make life simpler.  This is now a rapid game. No more bonus time. Carlsen has 22 min, Karjakin 16 min + 30 sec increment.

62. Re4 Rd3+ 63. Kg4 Rg3+ 64. Kh5 Now black has to play 64….Kf8

64…Be7 Now this is more difficult to hold 65. Ne5+ Kg7 66. Ng4

65. Ne5+ Kf6 66. Ng4+ Black has only 1 move, 66…Kf7

66…Kf7 If 67. Re6 White wins the Bishop with 67…Rxh3 68. Ne5+ Kg7 69. Rxe7 Kf6 70. Re8 Kxf5 71. Nc6 +-

67. Re6 Carlsen found the best move. This is his best chance to score! Karjakin is in deep trouble. His position is bad and he mismanaged his time earlier. Time pressure + bad position = disaster!

67…Rxh3 Best chance to hold if Carlsen fails to find the right continuation. Everything else is worse. But if Carlsen finds the right plan, it should be pretty bad for black.

68. Nd5+ Kg7 White has to play 69. Rxd7+ if he wants to have a chance to win.

69. Rxd7+ Kf6 And now 70. Re8 is a must!

70. Nc6? is not so good. 70…Rc3 and Karjakin still has a chance!

70…Kxf5? Karjakin returned the favor with this move. Now Carlsen can win again!

71. Na5 Rh1 72. Rb7? and now 72…Ra1 and draw again

72…Ra1 73. Rb5+ Kf4 74. Rxb4+ Kg3 Now it is a draw. Carlsen blundered to allow the draw.

75. Rg4+ Kf2 Still a dead draw

76. Nc4 h3 77. Rh4 Kg3 78. Rg4+ Kf2 1/2


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