December 1, 2016

Carlsen-Karjakin tiebreaks: Magnus is the World Champion!

  • Grand Master Igor Smirnov, Chess Coach, Author and Publisher.
  • Before going to the tie-break games, let me remind you of the massive 40% discount we’re providing you with on our comprehensive and middlegame courses, in honour of the World Championship Match. Use coupon “40off” while purchasing. Find more details here.
    designMagnus Carlsen has won the World Chess Championship, once again! He defended his title against Sergey Karjakin in a dramatic tie-break full of tension, with the final score of 3-1.
    Magnus Carlsen World Champion 2016

    He’s done it, again! :) (photo: Anastasia Karlovich)


    Carlsen retained his title successfully, dominated in the rapid and made a beautiful combination in the last game. However, confidence in his total domination against the other players is seriously damaged by Karjakin. Carlsen, who played quite ‘badly’ this World Championship, had made many mistakes and lost many opportunities, failing to convert winning positions into win.


    Once again, he’s had problems with creating serious and principle opening repertoire, with White. The eighth game cost too much to his self-confidence. In the rest of the match, he tried to be extra-careful and not take too many risks. In this series of games, one little mistake can be crucial and it could be the last one of the match. This could be the reason for his quick draw in the twelfth game in classical rounds.


    Karjakin gave his best as anybody could imagine in his wildest dreams. He had a good opening preparation, kept his nerves, and achieved some cool draws in difficult situations, with his amazing defending skills. He had a real chance to win the World Championship match, because he was a full point ahead after winning the eighth game. In the tenth game, he had a forcing drawish continuation, but unfortunately for him, he didn’t manage to find it. After that, there was no turning back and Magnus won a marvelous game!
    Sergey Karjakin

    Karjakin’s confession at the end


    Karjakin proved that attack wins the game, but defense saves crucial games. Remote chess Academy is creating a new chess course related to this topic. This course will be ready soon and you should definitely not miss it, because you can learn all of the TOP-secret techniques. Thus, who knows, you may be the next challenger against Magnus Carlsen! :)


    (14) Magnus Carlsen – Sergey Karjakin [C50]
    Carlsen – Karjakin World Championship (Tiebreak-2), 30.11.2016

    Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin WC tiebreak

    White to play


    This is the first interesting moment of the tie-break match. It was the second rapid game, where Carlsen was playing White. He has done everything right and he has the winning combination. Black’s rook is attacking the bishop on b4 and White decides to move it; but he missed a very nice counter-blow, the move Be6! After this move, White can achieve the winning picture.


    73.Be6+! Kh8 74.Bf8 Rc7 75.Bf7

    Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin WC tiebreak

    Black to play


    Black cannot prevent the checkmate on g7. 75…Rb7 76.Bxg7#


    (15) Sergey Karjakin – Magnus Carlsen [C78]
    Carlsen – Karjakin World Championship (Tiebreak-3), 30.11.2016


    Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin WC tiebreak

    White to play


    This is a very interesting moment. Carlsen, who has more active pieces, makes a fantastic breakthrough on the queenside in order to control the d4-square. White would like to exchange the c3-pawn or remove it from its position.


    23.axb5 axb4 24.Bd2 bxc3 25.Bxc3 Ne3 26.Rfc1 Rxa1 27.Rxa1 Qe8 28.Bc4 Kh8 29.Nxf6 Bxf6 30.Ra3 e4!?
    Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin WC tiebreak

    White to play


    This is an amazing fighting move. Black’s intention is to control that open a-file. He sacrifices the pawn in order to control and dominate the dark squares.
    31.dxe4 Bxc3 32.Rxc3 Qe5 33.Rc1 Ra8 34.h3 h6 35.Kh2 Qd4 36.Qe1 Qb2 37.Bf1 Ra2

    Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin WC tiebreak

    White to play


    Black has a fantastic position. All Black pieces are very active and they are attacking the vulnerable g2-pawn. However, White could survive here by hitting the queen with the move Rb1.


    Unfortunately, Karjakin captures the pawn on c7 and this was the final mistake of the game. We could say that this was his biggest mistake in the entire match. Carlsen finished him off with the move Ra1. The Queen on e1 and the Bishop on f1 is attacked, so White can’t do anything, but to resign.


    38.Rxc7 [38.Rb1 Qd4] 38…Ra1 0-1


    (16) Magnus Carlsen – Sergey Karjakin [B54]
    Carlsen – Karjakin World Championship (Tiebreak-4), 30.11.2016

    Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin WC tiebreak

    White to play


    This is the position of the final game. Magnus manages to find a beautiful combination in order to win the game. Can you find the best moves for White? :)
    49.Rc8+ Kh7 50.Qh6+ 1-0


    With this glorious queen sacrifice, Magnus Carlsen has won the World Chess Championship for the third time.


    You can download the PGN of all the tie-break games here.


    I hope you enjoyed the games as I did. :) I hope the games motivate you to play more games, and for that reason, I wish you good luck with your games!


    P.S. What was your favourite game(s) from this World Championship Match? Did you learn anything new or valuable? :) Feel free to write your thoughts in the comments below. 

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    • Dennis

      I am Happy Magnus Carlsen won , but he played not on his best In the wcc, he is a endgame expert he got many good endgame positions , but he not could win them, I think the last game it was really great :)

      Still think Carlsen is much stronger then Karjakin, carlsen just not played well

      • Igor Smirnov

        Hi Dennis,
        Thanks for sharing your impressions!

    • GMessS3c

      great article, issues and complete post about World Chess Championship!!

    • bibleexpert

      My impression of the first tiebreak game. The only thing missing is the giant chessboard.

    • bibleexpert

      Everybody’s raving about the queen sacrifice in the final game, and it is a spectacular move. But – let’s face it – any experienced club player would probably find it if he had at least five minutes on his clock. As I see it, the move of the tiebreaks was 30…e4 in game three. I think you’ll agree that a powerful positional pawn sacrifice is not as easy to spot as a mate in two.

    • bibleexpert

      In tiebreak game three, I don’t understand why Karjakin didn’t play 31.Bxf6, retaining control of the a-file. He might very well have lost anyway, but wouldn’t that have given him a much better chance of holding on?

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