World Cup 2015 final: Karjakin vs Svidler – highlights Part-2

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If you missed the first part, you can check it out here.


Coming back to Karjakin – Svidler:


White must have entertained a similar thought process and must have decided on the option 23.Rd4 which must have appealed to him in his ‘mind’s-eye’ and which, according to him would pose more problems – even if it is trivial or at times pseudo.

Black to play


23…Re5 24.Ba4 b5 25.Bb3 Rc5 26.Rd5!


Karjakin managed to exchange Black’s ‘active Rook’ and retain all his minute pluses: the ‘d5’ square; pressure on the hemmed ‘d6-pawn’; the Bishop which is definitely superior to Black’s Knight.


The position is in perfect equilibrium, despite the above factors – and here lies the crux of winning any battle: it never was about material or positional superiority which incidentally, was the effect but not the cause. Rather, it is the precursor “the act of creating” which includes creating doubt in the opponent’s mind, as the primary objective, even if it is subliminal!


Now, he needs to take his King to the battlefield in quest of creating a passed pawn – the only way to win any endgame if one’s opponent is not blundering mate or material!


26…Rxc1 27.Kxc1 a6 28.Rd3

Black to play


In a way, putting this Rook on d2 helps White to play h4 to hem the Black’s pawn on light squares, by defending the g2 pawn… case if it is required. But the move played reserves the d2 square for his King to step on and travel to the center of action!


28…g5 The struggle for activating that ‘fianchettoed Rook’ begins!  Black needs to put his pawns on the dark square and then can travel only via h-file – a laborious route!


Rest assured, though this may appear simple and logical, such considerations are never without some nervous feeling for the one who is actually sitting across the board, even if he is an acclaimed grandmaster!


29.Kd2 h4 30.Rc3! Kb6 31.Rd3!

Black to play


White has some little threats which kept Black busy, whilst allowing him to reach the time control! The King move in between is to ensure that he does not blunder out his chance in a unique way – threefold repetition!


31…Kc7 32.Ke3 f6 33.Rc3 Kb6 34.Rd3 Kc7 35.Rc3 Kb6 36.Bd5 Ne7 37.Kd4

Black to play

Some significant improvement has been achieved and a stage in White’s plan has been achieved! But, is this enough…..!?


37…Rh7 The Rook begins his journey back to work after being on vacation to a remote island for 20 days…..moves!


38.Be6 Rh8; Was he not standing here 38 moves back!?


39.a3 Rd8 40.Rc2 Rh8 41.Rf2 Ng6 42.Kd5 Rd8 43.Bf5 Nf4 44.Kd4 Re8

White to play


The decisive moment in this endgame that started disturbing the equilibrium.


It is very difficult for the human mind to consider 44…d5!?…..because, after 45.e5 fxe5 46.Ke5, the proximity of White’s King to Black’s K-side pawns would outweigh his opportunity of counter-play with the d-pawn, supported by the Rook, Knight and possibly the King, in the mind’s eye.


45.g3 Ne6 46.Bxe6 Rxe6 47.Kd5 Re5+ 48.Kxd6


Black to play


48…hxg3 49.hxg3 g4 50.fxg4 Rxe4 51.Rf4 Re3 52.Rxf6 Rxg3 53.Ke5+ Kb7? 


White to play


Were we not taught in Kindergarten that the King should strive to move towards an opponent’s passed pawn and control the ‘Queening’ square?


Yet, in this position, the move 53…Kc7 which is the route to reach the proximity of g-file disowns the a-pawn and the human mind is very attached to the materials!


Don’t be mistaken that Kc7 is a salvation, but if you want to make your opponent miss his track, then it is the only way and not by remaining in that obscure corner instead of taking a walk across the board…..


54.Kf5 Rb3 55.g5 Rxb2 56.g6 Rg2  

chessDid Svidler resign here or after the White King reached f7!?


And International Master V. Saravanan aptly tweeted: “Today is the day Chess History will etch Sergey Karjakin forever as the original comeback Kid


–  Article by Srikanth G, a professional chess player and a friend of the RCA Academy Manager.

P.S. What do you think about the World Cup final games between Karjakin and Svilder? Feel free to comment below. 🙂
Comments: 3

Comments 2

  1. There is a first part to this post.
    Please click on the link on the top of the post to go to the first part.

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