After failing to find a draw on move 20 & 21, Karjakin blundered one more time later on to suffer his first loss. The match is now 5-5. No more room for error. Nerves will play a big role in the final 2 games.

Karjakin – Carlsen (game 11)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3 0-0 9. Nc3 This is just like in game 2. In game 2, In game 2, Carlsen played 9. Na5. He also played the same vs Topalov earlier this year.

9. Be6 10. Nd5 Nd4 Many players have played this, with some big names like Caruana and Svidler on the black side.

11. Nxd4 exd4 Most people play 12. Nxf6 here. As usual, the position is close to equal.

12. Nxf6+ Bxf6 13. Bxe6 fxe6 We are still in theory.

14. f4 The normal move here is 14. Qg4 or 14. a4. However, Gopal did play 14. f4 against Milliet.

14…c5 I cannot find any game with this move.

15. Qg4 We are kind of in new territory here 🙂 White has a comfortable position. This can potentially be another long endgame 🙂

15… Qd7 I found 1 game in my database with this move by Schoppen (about 2200) in an event in Holland last year.

16. f5 A very curious choice by Karjakin. Pieces can potentially come off the board to an easy draw. Best would probably be 16…Rae8.

16…Rae8 Black is fine here. The game will be quite dull the rest of the way. Most likely a draw.

17. Bd2 Many choices for Carlsen. 17…d5, 17…Be5 or 17…exf5 are all OK.

17…c4 This is OK too. Nothing much for either side 🙂 White has several reasonable options: 18. fxe6, 18. a4, 18. b3 All are OK. This is not a position most chess fans can get excited about 🙂

18. h3 I cannot give any reasonable explanation for this move. This would not have been my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or probably 4th choice 🙂

18…c3 19. bxc3 d5 If white plays 20. exd5 dxc3. And white plays 20. fxe6 then Qxe6 21. Qxe6 Rxe6 22. exd5 Re2 23. Rf2 =. If White plays 20. c4 dxe4 21. cxb5 e3 it can be interesting 🙂 This is what happen when one plays h3. Karjakin now allows Carlsen to dictate the game.

20. Bg5 If 20… dxc3 21. Bxf6 Rxf6 22. exd5 exf5 23. Qd4 =

20…Bxg5 21. Qxg5 If 21… dxe4 22. fxe6 Rxf1+ 23. Rxf1 Qxe624. cxd4 exd3 25. cxd3 Qe3+ 26. Qxe3 Rxe3 = 

21…dxe4 I believe this game will end in a draw soon. Very little chance of a decisive result unless someone screws up badly 🙂

22. fxe6 Rxf1+ 23. Rxf1 Qxe6 = Easiest to draw is 24. Re1 dxc3 25. Rxe4 Qb6+ 26. Kh1 Rxe4 27. dxe4 Qd6 28. Qg4. The other option is 24. cxd4 exd3 25. cxd3 Qe3+ 26. Qxe3 Rxe3 27. Rd1 Re2 28. d5 Kf8 = 

24. cxd4 e3 This is also pretty drawish.

25. Re1 It seems that Karjakin is comfortable with the idea of drawing today, holding tomorrow, and let the match be decided by rapid / blitz / Armageddon 🙂

25…h6 Just about any Queen move is equal 🙂 I was hoping for some sizzles today. But we ended up having lots of fizzles 🙁

26. Qh5 e2 White is a pawn up but black should have no problem holding this position.

27. Qf3 Now if 27…Qd6 28. Rxe2 Rxe229. Qxe2 Qxd4+ 30. Kh1 Qa1+ 31. Kh2 Qxa3 =

27…a5 28. c3 Just a few more moves before they can officially call it a day. Not much progress can be made. The strangest thing is they will have a day off again tomorrow. Crazy to keep having Saturday or Sunday off. So ridiculous! Saturday & Sunday are two days which draw the most interests from fans. It is insane to keep schedule the weekends off !

28…Qa2 29. Qc6 Still pretty much a dead draw.

29…Re6 30. Qc8+ Kh7 31. c4 This can lead to a draw 31… Qd2 32. Qxe6 Qxe1+ 33. Kh2 Qf2 34. Qe4+ Kg8 35. Qe8+ Kh7 36. Qe4+ Draw by repetition. 

31… Qd2 32. Qxe6 Qxe1+ 33. Kh2 Qf2 34. Qe4+  1/2 

The score is now 5.5 – 5.5. The 12th game on Monday. Anand did not manage to get to game 12 in either matches. Carlsen obviously will have a slight edge in the match because he will have white. Even if they draw, Carlsen is the slight favorite in rapid and blitz. But do not count Karjakin out.

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