Karjakin Draws Another Marathon Game
By Arvind Aaron
Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway obtained a pair of bishops advantage and had challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia on the mat for most of the fourth match game before ceding a draw in 94 moves.
Karjakin opened with the king pawn and the game followed the Ruy Lopez like in game two. The Russian opted for the anti-Marshall and failed to garner any advantage. With the exchange of the major pieces by move 35, the game featured a bishop and knight for the challenger and two bishops for the champion.
Carlsen pressed in all corners to remove white’s defensive barrier but the Ukraine born challenger defended well. After 94 moves, in a knight v bishop ending the players agreed to share points to keep the match without a decisive game in four matches. Scores are level at 2-2 and eight games remain to be played.
The first four games must have allowed the challenger to feel his foot in world championship water. With a third of the match in the history books already, Carlsen has shown nothing special in this match so far.
On the other hand, Karjakin has not shown great preparation with white that Russian players are known for. He has failed to press Carlsen when the Norwegian is sitting behind the black colour.
Taking a critical look at the match, the last two games has lifted public interest in terms of fighting spirit. Nothing notable, no great opening ideas or middlegame play has been witnessed in these games.
When draws dominate one can remember what Kramnik spoke in favour of draws in Dos Hermanas, Spain in 1999 that chess is an equal mathematical puzzle. In 1995, Anand v Kasparov, World Championship match at New York started with eight record draws!
The last eight games will decide this match. This is the first time Carlsen is facing a younger opponent (Karjakin is a few months older still) in a match. In the four games, four different openings have been played and tried by the players. So, eight more different openings are in store for the opening theoreticians to ponder about.