Carlsen-Karjakin Game-9: Magnus escapes with a draw!

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Just before the start of the ninth game, a chess fan, Bobby Fiske, made a fantastic photo-edit saying….

Karjakin vs Carlsen

The World Champion is fighting for his chess life!


Sergey Karjakin (2772) – Magnus Carlsen (2853) [C78]World Chess Championship New York NY USA (9), 23.11.2016


Karjakin came very close to winning his second game in a row. In the ninth game of the World Championship 2016, just before 40 moves, he didn’t choose the strongest continuation and thus, Carlsen was lucky to escape with a draw. Carlsen was very well-prepared in the opening, but his opponent played both actively and accurately.


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5
Karjakin vs Carlsen Game-9

White to play


This is a very interesting variation. Black sacrifices a pawn in order to have active pieces. The position is sharp and tactical, so we can say this was a good opening choice by Carlsen. Carlsen played this variation only four times in his career – the last time was in 2011 against McShane.


7.a4 Rb8 8.c3 d6 9.d4 Bb6 10.axb5 axb5 11.Na3 0-0 12.Nxb5 Bg4 13.Bc2 exd4 14.Nbxd4 Nxd4 15.cxd4 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Nh5 17.Kh1 Qf6 18.Be3 c5 19.e5 Qe6 20.exd6 c4 21.b3 cxb3
Karjakin vs Carlsen Game-9

White to play


Both players seem to be in their preparation, following a game between Nakamura and Kazimdzhanov from the Tromso Olympiad 2014. In the mentioned game, Black played 21…c3 and White won afterwards. Here Carlsen played a Novelty, a new move, with the intention of improving his game.


21…c3 22.d5 Qxd6 23.Ra6 Nf4 24.Ra4 Ng6 25.Qd3 Bc7 26.f4 Rfd8 27.Rd1 Qf6 28.Rc4 Bd6 29.Qxc3 Qxc3 30.Rxc3 Nxf4 31.Rc6 Be5 32.d6 Ne6 33.Bf5 Rxb3 34.Bb6 Rxb6 35.Rxb6 Nd4 36.f4 Bf6 37.Bh3 Ne2 38.Rb4 g6 39.d7 Kf8 40.Rc4 Nc3 41.Rd3 Ke7 42.Rc8 1-0 Nakamura,H (2787)-Kasimdzhanov,R (2700)/Tromso 2014/CBM 162


22.Bxb3 Qxd6 23.Ra6 Rfd8 24.Rg1 Qd7 25.Rg4 Nf6 26.Rh4 Qb5 27.Ra1 g6 28.Rb1 Qd7 29.Qd3 Nd5 30.Rg1 Bc7 31.Bg5 Re8 32.Qc4 Rb5 33.Qc2
Karjakin vs Carlsen Game-9

Black to play


White can pin the b5-rook and the d7-queen on the a4-e8 diagonal, but Black escapes with a wonderful Rook sacrifice. Black Queen can go to f5 and she will attack the f3 pawn. For instance, 33.Ba4 Qf5 34.Bxb5 Qxf3+ 35.Rg2 Re1+


33…Ra8 34.Bc4


White cannot play Ba4 because Black has the same trick, again. 34.Ba4 Rxa4 35.Qxa4 Qf5 36.Qxb5 Qxf3+ 37.Rg2 Qd1+ 38.Rg1 Qf3+ 39.Rg2 Qd1+=


34…Rba5 35.Bd2 Ra4 36.Qd3 Ra1 37.Rxa1 Rxa1+ 38.Kg2 Ne7
Karjakin vs Carlsen Game-9

White to play


Karjakin trades a pair of Rooks and now he is playing only for two results, win or draw. Carlsen aims to reroute the knight to f5. We should mention that he played with less than two minutes left. By his next move, Karjakin is sacrificing temporarily a piece (39. Bxf7) but he will take it back in the next few moves.


This combination wasn’t the best. The best move was 39.Qb3. He felt that the position was good, but he didn’t manage to play the correct continuation due to time pressure.



39.Bxf7+!? Much better was 39.Qb3! Nf5 40.Bxf7+ Kg7 41.Rh3±
Karjakin vs Carlsen Game-9

Variation with 39.Qb3


39…Kxf7 40.Qc4+ Kg7 41.d5 Nf5 42.Bc3+ Kf8 43.Bxa1 Nxh4+ 44.Qxh4 Qxd5 45.Qf6+ Qf7
Karjakin vs Carlsen Game-9

White to play


Black can make an easy draw because White’s kingside pawn structure is ruined. The game ended in a draw a few moves later.


46.Qd4 Ke8 47.Qe4+ Qe7 48.Qd5 Bd8 49.Kf1 Qf7 50.Qe4+ Qe7 51.Be5 Qe6 52.Kg2 Be7 53.Qa8+ Kf7 54.Qh8 h5 55.Qg7+ Ke8 56.Bf4 Qf7 57.Qh8+ Qf8 58.Qd4 Qf5 59.Qc4 Kd7 60.Bd2 Qe6 61.Qa4+ Qc6 62.Qa7+ Qc7 63.Qa2 Qd6 64.Be3 Qe6 65.Qa7+ Ke8 66.Bc5 Bd8 67.h3 Qd5 68.Be3 Be7 69.Qb8+ Kf7 70.Qh8 Qe6 71.Bf4 Qf6 72.Qb8 Qe6 73.Qb7 Kg8 74.Qb5 Bf6 ½-½


You can download the PGN of this game here.


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P.S. Carlsen will have two Whites in the remaining three games. The tenth game will be played on Thursday, 24 November which you can watch LIVE here. Do you think Magnus can win with White? 🙂 Feel free to comment and discuss below.




Learn how to survive bad positions, playing for a win, art of attack, minority attack, exchange sacrifice and lots more from our collection of premium videos by RCA guest authors, and save $76. Get “Best chess premium videos” now!

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