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FWCM 04: Slippery as an Eel

by Sagar Shah - 17/11/2016

Magnus Carlsen botched up another winning position in the fourth game of the World Championship Match. Karjakin keeps proving again and again that he is an amazing defender. The game ended in a draw. The right question to ask at this point is whether Magnus will regret the missed opportunities and see a dip in his level of play or will he rise to the occasion and score a win in the fifth game with the white pieces. Only time will tell. Until then, we have the pictures, analysis and key positions from round four.

Photos by Albert Silver

FWCM 04: Karjakin saves the draw

Getting his forces ready for a long drawn out battle

Once you have a minus position against Magnus Carlsen, you are more often than not doomed. The man is just so accurate that he will grind you in the best possible manner and squeeze out the maximum from the position. However, in the World Championship 2016 Carlsen has been unable to convert not one, but two winning games against Sergey Karjakin. In the fourth game it was even more surprising because Sergey had absolutely no counterplay. The World Champion could have taken his own sweet time to deal the death blow, but instead he hurried and the game ended in a draw.

Karjakin has been slippery as an eel 

Key positions in the game

14.N3h2 by Karjakin was a bad move. He could have just played 14.Ne3 and would have gained a small edge. However, after 14.N3h2 the move d5! by Magnus was extremely strong and Black already had the more comfortable side of the equality.

With 18.Bxh6 it seemed as if the board was on fire. But Carlsen's 18...Qc6! poured water into the fire. The bishop on h6 was now hanging and so was the pawn on e4.

After the queen exchange, Black has absolutely everything going his way. He has the bishop pair, the central pawn majority and a weakness on b2 to attack. All in all this is a completely better position for Magnus.

The rooks came off and Magnus still kept his clear edge. Apart from the bishop pair, Black's advantages include the g2 pawn weakness - the white king is stuck to the defence of the pawn and also his own active king. In order to increase his advantage Black must somehow get in the d5-d4 break.

The winning plan was relatively straightforward. Get your bishop to c6 and then push ahead with d5-d4 with bishop on e5. But Magnus didn't play this way and soon had a crucial decision to make...

What would you play here? ...Be6 keeping the tension in the position or ...f4 getting a protected passed pawn? Well, Be6! was the correct move. In the game Carlsen closed the position with f4 and struggled for the next 50 moves without success.

Oh My God! What have I done? Magnus Carlsen once again let victory escape from his grasp.
That's how you make life difficult for the World Champion! You give your 100%.
[Event "AGON FWCM 2016"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "2016.11.15"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C88"]
[WhiteElo "2769"]
[BlackElo "2857"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "187"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventType "match"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle "playchess.com"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[TimeControl "40/6000+30:20/3000+30:900+30"]
{After playing a fine third game in the match Magnus Carlsen was back on the
board for the fourth encounter. This time with the black pieces. Karjakin had
to make sure that he wouldn't face the same number of problems that he did in
round three.} 1. e4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} e5 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 2. Nf3 {[%emt 0:00:00]
} Nc6 {[%emt 0:00:05]} 3. Bb5 {[%emt 0:00:00] No Giuoco Piano yet. The players
have stuck to the Spanish.} a6 {[%emt 0:00:04] And Magnus has shown no
interest towards the Berlin yet. He clearly thinks that he can outplay Sergey
in the closed variation of the Ruy Lopez, rather than the Berlin.} 4. Ba4 {
[%emt 0:00:00]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:00:05]} 5. O-O {[%emt 0:00:00]} Be7 {[%emt 0:00:
07]} 6. Re1 {[%emt 0:00:00]} (6. d3 {was played by Karjakin in game two.}) 6...
b5 {[%emt 0:00:12]} 7. Bb3 {[%emt 0:00:02]} O-O {[%emt 0:00:11]} 8. h3 {
[%emt 0:00:25]} (8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 {is the
Marshall Gambit and could have been Carlsen's idea had Sergey gone for 8.c3.})
8... Bb7 {[%emt 0:00:17]} 9. d3 {[%emt 0:00:08]} d6 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 10. a3 {
[%emt 0:00:10] Always when d6 is played, the white player should start
thinking about his b3 bishop as Na5 is threatened.} Qd7 {[%emt 0:01:01] This
is the modern treatment of the line. The queen frees up the d8 square for the
knight who can go to e6.} (10... Na5 11. Ba2 c5 {is the main line but the last
game played in it was back in 2013 and it has fallen out of fashion.}) 11. Nbd2
{[%emt 0:00:46]} Rfe8 {[%emt 0:03:52] This was the first real think of the
game by Magnus who thought for nearly four minutes.} 12. c3 {[%emt 0:12:19]} (
12. Ng5 Nd8 $11) 12... Bf8 {[%emt 0:08:23]} 13. Nf1 {[%emt 0:10:28]} h6 {
[%emt 0:01:18]} (13... d5 14. Bg5 {is something that Magnus didn't like.}) 14.
N3h2 $6 {[%emt 0:03:28] This is not particularly a good move because Black can
simply break in the center and get a great position.} (14. Ne3 {looked normal
and good. It prevents d5.}) 14... d5 $1 {[%emt 0:07:19][%cal Gd6d5]} 15. Qf3 {
[%emt 0:00:36]} Na5 {[%emt 0:09:11]} 16. Ba2 {[%emt 0:00:41]} dxe4 {[%emt 0:10:
11]} 17. dxe4 {[%emt 0:00:14] If White can get in the move Ng3, he would be
clearly better. His knights would be on the kingside, the bishops pointing
towards the black king and the queen already in the zone. However, it's Black
to move and Magnus makes sure that nothing of that sort happens.} Nc4 $1 {
[%emt 0:02:36]} (17... Rad8 18. Bxh6 Bxe4 19. Rxe4 Nxe4 20. Qxe4 gxh6 21. Ne3
$44 {White has excellent compensation.}) 18. Bxh6 {[%emt 0:13:07]} (18. Ng3 Qc6
$15) 18... Qc6 $1 {[%emt 0:05:20] With one move Black attacks the e4 pawn and
also defends the f6 knight.} (18... Nxb2 $6 19. Bg5 $14 {White has a great
position.}) 19. Bxc4 $6 {[%emt 0:16:14] After 16 minutes of thought Segey
comes up with a solution that lands him into a poor position.} (19. Bc1 $1 {
This highly anti-intuitive move is the best in the position.} Nxe4 20. Ne3 $13
{The position remains complex.}) 19... bxc4 {[%emt 0:00:38]} 20. Be3 {[%emt 0:
00:10]} Nxe4 {[%emt 0:01:51]} (20... Qxe4 {is also good.} 21. Ng3 (21. Qxe4
Nxe4 $17) 21... Qxf3 22. Nxf3 Bxf3 23. gxf3 Rab8 $15) 21. Ng3 {[%emt 0:00:49]}
Nd6 {[%emt 0:06:27]} (21... Qg6 $5 {was also strong and after} 22. Nxe4 Bxe4
23. Qg4 Qxg4 24. Nxg4 f5 $17 {Black is better.}) 22. Rad1 {[%emt 0:11:57]} (22.
Qxc6 Bxc6 $17 {Let's assess this position. Black gets the central pawn
majority and also the open b-file. At the same time he has the bishop pair and
a completely dominating position. It's not something that Sergey would want to
go into.}) 22... Rab8 $1 {[%emt 0:00:34] This one is not such a mysterious
move by Magnus. The b-file is semi open and he parks the rook there. However,
I like the way he does it. He keeps the tenstion and asks White to take the
queen on c6.} 23. Bc1 {[%emt 0:05:54]} f6 {[%emt 0:04:16]} 24. Qxc6 {[%emt 0:
00:34]} Bxc6 $17 {[%emt 0:00:02] As previously explained, Black is clearly
better because of his bishop pair, central majority and the weak b2 pawn. This
is bread and butter for Magnus. But like in game three he fails to convert his
advantage.} 25. Ng4 {[%emt 0:01:05]} Rb5 $1 {[%emt 0:04:45] An original way to
force through the move f5.} 26. f3 {[%emt 0:07:09]} f5 {[%emt 0:05:34]} 27. Nf2
{[%emt 0:01:52]} (27. a4 Ra5 $19) 27... Be7 {[%emt 0:00:53] The bishop will
stand well on f6 and can also threaten Bh4.} 28. f4 {[%emt 0:07:58]} Bh4 {
[%emt 0:03:15]} 29. fxe5 {[%emt 0:00:28]} (29. Rxd6 $5 cxd6 30. Nxf5 Bxf2+ 31.
Kxf2 Rd5 $17) 29... Bxg3 {[%emt 0:03:43]} 30. exd6 {[%emt 0:00:15]} Rxe1+ {
[%emt 0:00:07]} 31. Rxe1 {[%emt 0:00:04]} cxd6 {[%emt 0:00:59] Many pieces
have been exchanged but Black's advantage still remains intact.} 32. Rd1 {
[%emt 0:03:59]} (32. Re7 Re5 33. Rxe5 dxe5 $17) 32... Kf7 {[%emt 0:08:31]} 33.
Rd4 {[%emt 0:00:57]} Re5 {[%emt 0:02:40]} 34. Kf1 {[%emt 0:00:24]} Rd5 {
[%emt 0:00:36]} 35. Rxd5 {[%emt 0:01:08]} (35. Rxc4 Bb5 $19) 35... Bxd5 {
[%emt 0:00:01] The material is even, but the two bishops are a deadly combo.
The pawn on g2 is permanently weak and it is easy to increase the space
advantage by pushing the pawns.} 36. Bg5 {[%emt 0:04:52]} Kg6 {[%emt 0:07:59]}
(36... Ke6) 37. h4 $6 {[%emt 0:05:19] Now the h4 pawn is weak and the black
king can immediately attack it.} (37. Be3 Kf6 {Followed by g5 is the idea.} 38.
Bd4+ Be5 $17) 37... Kh5 {[%emt 0:03:27]} 38. Nh3 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Bf7 {[%emt 0:
00:41]} (38... Bxh4 39. Nf4+ Kxg5 40. Nxd5 $11) (38... Kg4 39. Nf2+ Kh5 40. Nh3
) (38... Bc6 $1 {was a much better square for the bishop, but what he played
in the game was not bad because he could reach this position again.}) 39. Be7 {
[%emt 0:03:52]} Bxh4 {[%emt 0:01:29]} (39... Bd5 $1 {Accepting the error and
getting the bishop back to the important diagonal was the key. Keeping the
bishops in the position and also maintaining the maximum number of pawns is
the best idea. We are also preparing the move Kg4.} 40. Bg5 Bc6 $1 41. Be7 (41.
Nf4+ Kg4 42. Ne2 Bxh4 43. Bxh4 Kxh4 $17) 41... Be4 {Now White is in a zugzwang.
} 42. Kg1 g6 43. Bd8 d5 44. a4 Bc2 45. a5 Be4 46. Kf1 Be5 $19 {And d4 comes in
and White is in huge trouble.}) (39... Kg4 40. Nf2+ {makes no progress.}) 40.
Bxd6 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Bd8 {[%emt 0:00:31]} 41. Ke2 {[%emt 0:12:12] White can
breathe a bit now, but it goes without saying that Black is better.} g5 {
[%emt 0:04:25]} 42. Nf2 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Kg6 {[%emt 0:04:32]} 43. g4 {[%emt 0:
03:04]} Bb6 {[%emt 0:22:59]} (43... f4 {closing down the position makes less
sense, because although the pawn on f4 is a protected passer, White can hope
to blockade it.}) 44. Be5 {[%emt 0:05:06]} a5 {[%emt 0:04:02]} (44... Bxf2 45.
Kxf2 fxg4 46. Ke3 $11) 45. Nd1 {[%emt 0:04:41]} f4 $6 {[%emt 0:05:48] Closing
the structure with the move f4 was not a good idea. Magnus now finds it really
difficult to breakthrough.} (45... Be6 $1 {is winning.} 46. Ne3 (46. gxf5+ Kxf5
47. Bd6 Bf7 48. Ne3+ Ke4 49. Nc2 (49. Ng4 Bh5 $19) 49... Bh5+ 50. Ke1 Kd3 {
With these two bishops and the active king it seems like White is in huge
trouble.} 51. Nd4 a4 52. Be5 Be8 53. Kf2 (53. Kd1 Bd7 54. Bf6 g4 55. Be5 Bd8 {
Slowly and steadily Black will convert this.}) 53... Kd2 {followed by Kc1 wins.
}) (46. Bd4 Bc7 $19) 46... f4 $19) 46. Bd4 {[%emt 0:01:20]} Bc7 {[%emt 0:00:09]
} 47. Nf2 {[%emt 0:01:30]} Be6 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 48. Kf3 {[%emt 0:01:37]} Bd5+ {
[%emt 0:00:12]} 49. Ke2 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Bg2 {[%emt 0:01:14]} 50. Kd2 {[%emt 0:
01:53]} Kf7 {[%emt 0:03:57] The king begins his journey twoards the b3 square.}
51. Kc2 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Bd5 {[%emt 0:00:27]} 52. Kd2 {[%emt 0:01:18]} Bd8 {
[%emt 0:01:08]} 53. Kc2 {[%emt 0:01:18]} Ke6 {[%emt 0:00:21]} 54. Kd2 {[%emt 0:
00:12]} Kd7 {[%emt 0:00:10]} 55. Kc2 {[%emt 0:00:40]} Kc6 {[%emt 0:00:35]} 56.
Kd2 {[%emt 0:00:20]} Kb5 {[%emt 0:00:37]} 57. Kc1 {[%emt 0:00:12]} Ka4 {
[%emt 0:07:00]} 58. Kc2 {[%emt 0:00:15]} Bf7 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 59. Kc1 {[%emt 0:
00:08]} Bg6 {[%emt 0:01:10]} 60. Kd2 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Kb3 {[%emt 0:00:18]} 61.
Kc1 {[%emt 0:00:28] Black has maximally improved his position and must now
find a way to breakthrough.} Bd3 $6 {[%emt 0:03:33]} (61... a4 62. Ba7 Bf6 63.
Bd4 Be7 64. Ba7) (61... f3 {doesn't really help to win because after} 62. Be3
Be7 63. Nh3 Bd3 64. Nf2 a4 65. Nd1 Be4 66. Nf2 Bc2 67. Nh3 Be4 68. Nf2 {
White just keeps moving his knight and it is impossible to improve.} Bb7 69.
Nh3 Bc8 70. Nf2 Bd6 71. Ne4 $1 Bf4 $4 {I even found a way for Black to lose!}
72. Bxf4 gxf4 73. Kb1 $1 {And there is no way to stop Nd2#}) 62. Nh3 {[%emt 0:
01:04]} (62. Nxd3 cxd3 63. Kd2 Kc4 64. a4 $11 {is a drawn position.}) 62... Ka2
{[%emt 0:06:06]} 63. Bc5 {[%emt 0:01:14]} Be2 {[%emt 0:01:08]} 64. Nf2 {
[%emt 0:00:03]} Bf3 {[%emt 0:00:23]} 65. Kc2 {[%emt 0:00:22]} Bc6 {[%emt 0:00:
31]} 66. Bd4 {[%emt 0:00:09]} Bd7 {[%emt 0:01:14]} 67. Bc5 {[%emt 0:00:14]} Bc7
{[%emt 0:01:03]} 68. Bd4 {[%emt 0:01:08]} Be6 {[%emt 0:04:37]} 69. Bc5 {
[%emt 0:00:26]} f3 {[%emt 0:01:55]} 70. Be3 {[%emt 0:00:33]} Bd7 {[%emt 0:00:
23]} 71. Kc1 {[%emt 0:00:48]} (71. Bxg5 Bb6 $19) 71... Bc8 {[%emt 0:02:06]} 72.
Kc2 {[%emt 0:00:17]} Bd7 {[%emt 0:00:01]} 73. Kc1 {[%emt 0:00:08]} Bf4 {
[%emt 0:02:21]} (73... Bg3 74. Kc2 Bxf2 75. Bxf2 Bxg4 76. Bg3 Bh5 77. Bf2 g4
78. Bg3 Bg6+ 79. Kc1 Kb3 80. Bf2 $11) 74. Bxf4 {[%emt 0:00:19]} gxf4 {[%emt 0:
00:01] The position remains a draw and Black is unable to break through.} 75.
Kc2 {[%emt 0:02:50]} Be6 {[%emt 0:00:01]} 76. Kc1 {[%emt 0:02:21]} Bc8 {
[%emt 0:00:02]} 77. Kc2 {[%emt 0:00:29]} Be6 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 78. Kc1 {[%emt 0:
00:05]} Kb3 {[%emt 0:00:22]} 79. Kb1 {[%emt 0:03:11]} Ka4 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 80.
Kc2 {[%emt 0:00:09]} Kb5 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 81. Kd2 {[%emt 0:00:12]} Kc6 {
[%emt 0:00:17]} 82. Ke1 {[%emt 0:01:34]} Kd5 {[%emt 0:00:18]} 83. Kf1 {[%emt 0:
00:07]} Ke5 {[%emt 0:00:33]} 84. Kg1 {[%emt 0:00:08]} Kf6 {[%emt 0:00:42]} 85.
Ne4+ {[%emt 0:05:20]} Kg6 {[%emt 0:00:15]} 86. Kf2 {[%emt 0:00:10]} Bxg4 {
[%emt 0:00:20]} 87. Nd2 {[%emt 0:00:28]} Be6 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 88. Kxf3 {
[%emt 0:00:07]} Kf5 {[%emt 0:00:01]} 89. a4 {[%emt 0:00:22]} Bd5+ {[%emt 0:01:
22]} 90. Kf2 {[%emt 0:00:06]} Kg4 {[%emt 0:00:36]} 91. Nf1 {[%emt 0:00:09]} Kg5
{[%emt 0:01:59]} 92. Nd2 {[%emt 0:00:07]} Kf5 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 93. Ke2 {
[%emt 0:00:10]} Kg4 {[%emt 0:01:59]} 94. Kf2 {[%emt 0:00:08] A highly
disappointing result for Magnus who, by his standards, should have easily
converted the advantage into a full point.} 1/2-1/2

 

The doors of the team Magnus and team Sergey 

Related:

  1. FWCM 2016 03: A lively Berlin Endgame!
  2. FWCM 2016 02: Carlsen's mysterious rook moves
  3. FWCM 2016 01: Carlsen's benign Trumpowsky!
  4. FWCM 2016: Press Conference and Opening Ceremony