Carlsen-Karjakin Game-3: Over 6-hour long battle!


What a game, what a marathon! 🙂 Magnus tries to give his best on the subject which he knows the best, the endgame. He was firing Karjakin for almost 7 hours, but the latter proves that he is one of the best defenders in the world and he keeps the draw!


After the choice of a rare opening system, Trompowsky, in the first game, Carlsen switched from 1.d4 to 1.e4. Karjakin played for the draw from the first moves by choosing the Berlin defense in the Spanish/Ruy Lopez opening system.
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3Berlin (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6) is a very solid system. Black is not fighting for the advantage but it is very difficult to break it up.


Magnus Carlsen – Sergey Karjakin [A00]
World Chess Championship New York NY USA (3), 14.11.2016


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0-0 9.d4 Bf6 10.Re2
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3

Black to play


This is not the novelty of the year. This move has been played a few times over the classical theoretical line, 5. d4. Carlsen’s intention was to improve his own play from the 8th game against Anand in 2013 WC match. (10. Re1 Re8 11. c3 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 etc. ) In that game, they exchanged all of their pieces and the game ended in a draw.


Suggested: you may like to watch our video analysis of Anand-Carlsen games and most importantly, learn from them here


10…b6 11.Re1 Re8 12.Bf4 Rxe1 13.Qxe1 Qe7 14.Nc3 Bb7 15.Qxe7 Bxe7 16.a4
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3

Black to play


White should be happy with his position. He has a slight positional advantage because White’s Bishops are a little more active than that of Black’s. White has more space because of the a4 and d4 pawns. The Bishop from f4 is pressing the knight and the c7-pawn.


Black should find a way to break the bond. He could maybe play g5 and force f4-bishop to leave its beautiful position.


16…a6 17.g3 g5 18.Bxd6 Bxd6 19.Bg2 Bxg2 20.Kxg2
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3

Black to play


After these trades, White does have something in the position. If he can maneuver his Knight to the f5-square, back it up with his g-pawn from g3 to g4, then he might create serious problems for Black.


The main problem for Black is that he doesn’t have an active counter-play. The Rook cannot do anything on the e-file and the Bishop doesn’t have any good diagonal.


On the other hand, White has a lot of possibilities. He has more space, the Knight is dreaming to jump to f5, and finally he will have more options with the pawns. In the appropriate moment, White can push forward a or h pawn in order to open a line for his Rook.


20…f5 21.Nd5 Kf7 22.Ne3 Kf6 23.Nc4 Bf8 24.Re1 Rd8 25.f4 gxf4 26.gxf4 b5 27.axb5 axb5 28.Ne3 c6 29.Kf3
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3

Black to play


The a-file and the g-file are open for the Rooks and both of the players can place their Rooks there. Black’s major problem is the f5 pawn. This pawn is already being attacked by the Knight and the Rook might go to g5-square, and attack it.


29…Ra8 30.Rg1 Ra2 31.b3 c5 32.Rg8 Kf7 33.Rg2 cxd4 34.Nxf5 d3 35.cxd3
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3

Black to play


Bishops are very strong pieces in general, but in this particular position the pawn is in light-square. Therefore, Bishop cannot protect it. Similarly the Bishop cannot coordinate with the Rook, so Black cannot play actively. Thus, White has a clear strategic plan and an advantage in the position.


35…Ra1 36.Nd4 b4 37.Rg5 Rb1 38.Rf5+ Ke8 39.Rb5 Rf1+ 40.Ke4 Re1+ 41.Kf5 Rd1 42.Re5+ Kf7 43.Rd5 Rxd3 44.Rxd7+ Ke8 45.Rd5 Rh3 46.Re5+ Kf7 47.Re2 Bg7 48.Nc6 Rh5+ 49.Kg4 Rc5 50.Nd8+ Kg6 51.Ne6 h5+ 52.Kf3 Rc3+ 53.Ke4 Bf6 54.Re3 h4 55.h3 Rc1 56.Nf8+ Kf7 57.Nd7 Ke6 58.Nb6 Rd1 59.f5+ Kf7 60.Nc4 Rd4+ 61.Kf3 Bg5 62.Re4 Rd3+ 63.Kg4 Rg3+ 64.Kh5 Be7 65.Ne5+ Kf6 66.Ng4+
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3

Black to play


At this point, Magnus wins Black’s Bishop. There is nothing that Black can do about it. The game is not yet over because Black’s pieces are well-coordinated and they are in the center.


White has a clear advantage, but Black can generate counter-play with the h-pawn and his King may run to the Queenside. If Black King or Rook manages to capture the White’s b-pawn then the game will end in a draw.


66…Kf7 67.Re6 Rxh3 68.Ne5+ Kg7 69.Rxe7+ Kf6 70.Nc6 Kxf5
Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3

White to play


Here Carlsen missed a golden opportunity to win the game. The winning move 71.Re1!! but it is difficult. I should mention that both players were in time pressure and they had been playing for more than 6 hours…


Re1 is the winning move because pushing the h4-pawn is harmless. White is ready to play: Ra1-b1, and then collect the b4-pawn with the Knight. Last but not least, the King on the h5-square is keeping an eye on the h4-pawn. Black is doomed.


In the game Carlsen missed this chance. What do you think about it? Do you think the World Champion has the upper hand right now?


71.Na5 Rh1 72.Rb7 Ra1 73.Rb5+ Kf4 74.Rxb4+ Kg3 75.Rg4+ Kf2 76.Nc4 h3 77.Rh4 Kg3 78.Rg4+ Kf2 ½-½

Carlsen vs Karjakin game-3You can download the PGN of this game here.


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What are your expectations for the fourth game? Feel free to write your thoughts and predictions in the comments below. 🙂 And, don’t forget to watch the game LIVE – click on the image below.


The Grandmaster’s Secrets


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