Carlsen-Karjakin Game-10: Magnus Carlsen makes a comeback!

Comments: 9

The tenth game of the World Chess Championship in New York was crucial. Magnus Carlsen scored his first win, after 10 games, so he comes back into the match. The score is equal, 5-5 and anything can happen in the last two games.
Magnus Carlsen beats Sergey Karjakin Game-10

The smile is back on the World Champion’s face! (photo: Vladimir Barsky, Russian Chess Federation)


Carlsen played with the White pieces and started with the move e4. This game really was a marathon. In the opening, Black managed to equalize, but then White established a good advantage and finally managed to convert it into a win.


Magnus Carlsen (2853) – Sergey Karjakin (2772) [C65]
World Chess Championship New York NY USA (10), 24.11.2016


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3
Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

Black to play


This is a try to avoid the long theoretical Berlin variation. White developed the Bishop from f1 and only after that, he is closing the pawn chain. This is not very aggressive opening, but it is very logical. White has a lot of ideas. The main idea is to play c3 and d4. Of course, he will push the pawns only if all the pieces are in good positions and well-coordinated.


Suggestion: Learn about the best chess openings and how to pick one for you now!


4…Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Be7 8.0-0 d6 9.Nbd2 Nh5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Nc4 Nf4 12.Ne3 Qf6
Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

White to play


Black pieces are very actively placed in the Kingside. Something had gone wrong for White. Black equalized in the opening. Carlsen is very creative and a competitive player, and he found a way to make progress in the game. He was able to make a play and create problems for his opponent. On the other hand, it is nice to have good and active opening positions. I think that Magnus should consider changing his team or he should read openings more deeply.


13.g3 Nh3+ 14.Kh1 Ne7 15.Bc4 c6 16.Bb3 Ng6 17.Qe2 a5 18.a4 Be6 19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.Nd2 d5 21.Qh5
Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

Black to play


Here is the critical moment for Black. The only chance which gives equality to Black is Nxf2. Karjakin had about 20 minutes to find it, but he didn’t manage to do it. The idea is to play: 21… Nxf2+ 22. Kg2 Qf7!! Now Black is threatening a discovered check. The Knight can move to f4 and check the King, the Queen on h5 is unprotected.


Another possibility is to make a draw by playing 20…Nxf2+ (instead of 20…d5) 21.Kg2 Nh4+ 22.Kg1

Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

Black to play


22…Nh3+ 23.Kh1 and now Black can force a repe3tition of moves with 23…Nf2+ 24.Kg1 Nh3+.


21…Ng5 22.h4 Nf3 23.Nxf3 Qxf3+ 24.Qxf3 Rxf3 25.Kg2 Rf7 26.Rfe1 h5


This move is necessary because it stopped White from playing h4-h5 himself. The good news for While is the fact that the g5-square can never be covered. This gives a very big positional advantage to White. Black’s e-pawn is weak, so Black should defend in the rest of the game.


26…Raf8 27.Re2 Nf4+!?
Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

White to play


28.gxf4 exf4 29.Nf5


27.Nf1 Kf8 28.Nd2 Ke7 29.Re2 Kd6 30.Nf3 Raf8 31.Ng5 Re7 32.Rae1 Rfe8 33.Nf3 Nh8 34.d4 exd4 35.Nxd4 g6 36.Re3 Nf7 37.e5+ Kd7 38.Rf3 Nh6 39.Rf6 Rg7
Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

White to play


White has a clear and stable advantage. The Knight is in a perfect location in the center, and the Rooks are active; White has two pawn breaks, one on the queenside with b4, and another one on the kingside with g4. White can take time and maneuver his pieces in the best positions. After that, he will be able to make the breakthrough with the pawns. Only White can improve his position.


40.b4 axb4 41.cxb4 Ng8 42.Rf3 Nh6 43.a5 Nf5 44.Nb3 Kc7 45.Nc5 Kb8 46.Rb1 Ka7 47.Rd3 Rc7 48.Ra3 Nd4 49.Rd1 Nf5 50.Kh3 Nh6 51.f3 Rf7 52.Rd4 Nf5 53.Rd2 Rh7 54.Rb3 Ree7 55.Rdd3 Rh8 56.Rb1 Rhh7

Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

Black to play


Carlsen had placed his pieces perfectly, so now it is time for the breakthrough. He felt the moment very well and he went for it.


57.b5! cxb5 58.Rxb5 d4 59.Rb6 Rc7 60.Nxe6
Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

Black to play


Carlsen manages to transfer his positional advantage into material advantage. He has a winning position, but he needs to work hard in order to get the full point, because winning positions cannot win on their own.


60…Rc3 61.Nf4 Rhc7 62.Nd5 Rxd3 63.Nxc7 Kb8 64.Nb5 Kc8 65.Rxg6 Rxf3 66.Kg2 Rb3 67.Nd6+
Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin Game-10

Black to play


White simplified the position to Rook endgame. White has a more advanced passed pawn and more active pieces. Black has a very weak pawn on h5 and after some exchanges, Black should protect it passively with the Rook.


67…Nxd6 68.Rxd6 Re3 69.e6 Kc7 70.Rxd4 Rxe6 71.Rd5 Rh6 72.Kf3 Kb8 73.Kf4 Ka7 74.Kg5 Rh8 75.Kf6 1-0


You can download the PGN of this game here.


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It is very difficult to make predictions on who will win the Match, but it has very much turned into Carlsen’s favour for sure. What do you think? What are your thoughts about the match? You are very welcome to write your comments below. 🙂




Don’t know what to do in a middlegame? Get “Winning the Middlegame” now – it is a clear practical guide to the middlegame play, and you will also learn everything about pawn structures! 

Comments: 9

Comments 9

  1. This match is making me feel a lot better about my own mistakes in critical positions, which I know are, in most cases, caused by psychological issues rather than lack of calculating skill. In Game 8, I was amazed that Carlsen didn’t play 44.Qg6+, with a perpetual or an easy draw after 44…Kh8 45.e5. I may be just a patzer, but I find it incredible that Carlsen thought he would still have winning chances after 44.Qc6.
    Similarly, in game 10, it was mindblowing that Karjakin didn’t take the easy draw with 20…Nxf2, leaving Carlsen still a point behind with only two games and one White to go.

  2. Hi Igor!
    Is there any chance for me to get a blitz game or two against you? It’s my big wish and it would be a great honor for me.

    1. Hi Lovro,
      Thanks for the interest. Lot of students want to play with GM Igor!. We will surely let you know if there is any such opportunity.

      Prasaadh | Support Officer

  3. Hey Igor! I am sorry for questioning your principles, my only problem was not enough practice! You said it yourself that in order to acquire new skill, one needs to train for around 20 days and even more. And after I’ve done such training your principles and system of thinking got automated and my results have become extremely good!!! Even in blitz, on website my rating started to increase for hundreds and hundreds of points! Thank you so much!

  4. Hi Igor I am struggling with middlegame and how to plan in middlegame. Here’s the FEN of position of one of my games: r3r1k1/p1pbqpp1/1npp3p/8/3NPP2/1PNQ3P/P1P3P1/R3R1K1 w – – 3 17 (white to move)
    It’s a typical beginning of the middlegame, both sides developed pieces and now it’s the moment when it gets difficult. How to proceed? All pieces are very well centralized already and, you could try to play Re2 and continue your evergreen middlegame strategy, but computer doesn’t really like this move(it prefers a4) and what is more important, white needs a concrete plan. So what is it? Black has some weaknesses(double c pawns) but it’s pretty much impossible for white to somehow attack them. How would you find plan and continuation for white. This is my, by far biggest problems in chess. Can you please help me?

    1. HI Lovro,
      Thanks for the detailed question. Unfourtunately, GM Igor is busy.
      It is a frequent question on how to play in middlegame and how to construct a plan.

      We will make a note of your question. So GM Igor can review it in his freetime. You can also check out our free and paid courses on middlegame and planning.
      Prasaadh | Support Officer

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