Karjakin Leads Carlsen 4.5-3.5
By Arvind Aaron
Game eight broke the draws that ruled the match thus far at New York. Challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia won with the black pieces in 52 moves to wrest the lead against Magnus Carlsen of Norway on November 21, 2016.
Down by a game, with two-thirds of the match complete, Carlsen has to cover the one point deficit in the last four games of the match that is taking place in New York.
Carlsen pushed for the non-existent edge in a queen pawn game and paid the price. Karjkakin won the queen rook pawn and used that to promote. This is the first time that Carlsen has trailed in any world championship match. Carlsen had lost to Anand at Sochi with black and never with white in previous games.
Carlsen might come up with more risk and this will be the moment for Karjakin to extend his lead and grasp the match. Avoiding main lines all the time, the Norwegian had to rely on his rook ending skills and had missed one already.
On move 32, white made some pushing knight manoeuvres into the black queen side. Karjakin responded with a queen move to shop the white queen side pawns. On move 44, white had a repetition and on move 49 Carlsen drifted away and black won the game.
Karjakin’s queen and knight were teaming to mate the white king while the while bishop was not participating in the battle. Game was a blow to Carlsen and his known middlegame skills. If he keeps away from the Russian preparation for long, scores will be close.
The chess world is excited to see a new player in the lead. A Karjakin win will make chess popular in Russia again and get Carlsen back to working hard at his game, particularly the openings. Even a close result in this match will check Carlsen’s huge Elo rating edge over the rest of the players.