Karjakin’s Lucky Escape In Third Game

Karjakin’s Lucky Escape In Third Game
By Arvind Aaron

World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway missed his bread and butter game when he let challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia to escape and draw after a marathon 78-move encounter. After three games in the World Chess Championship the score is 1.5-1.5 each with nine games still to be played.

Carlsen shifted from queen pawn to king pawn in game three and met with the Ruy Lopez, Berlin variation. The Berlin defence has been Kramnik’s wall to defend the black games in the 2000 World Championship match at London against Kasparov. Ever since it has caught the attention of the black players facing the king pawn.

Karjakin’s pawn offer on move 31 saw the champion gaining the upperhand. Carlsen wins most of these positions against most opposition. He had a rook and knight against rook and bishop of Karjakin. The five pawns decided the course of an interesting game filled with minor inaccuracies.

At the end, after 78 moves, Carlsen had an extra knight but had to repeat as black’s king rook pawn was in the sixth rank. The inaccuracy in this game was not due to pressure on the board but due to the length of the game that went on for almost seven hours. Although, long games are bound to help the challenger get himself into the match, tiredness can catch on any of them and the more fit player will come good.

Shifting openings against Russian opponents is a good strategy. Karjakin’s opening edge could come through in any of the last nine games. Karjakin’s team also should not be allowing Carlsen to enjoy positions as in game three after 31 moves. All these will make game four crucial. If Karjakin is unable to get the lead at this stage it will be a concern. Nailing the Norwegian in the opening will be important than defending worse rook endings.

The first player to reach 6.5 points will win this best of 12 series that is taking place in New York. World chess has returned to New York after 21 years.