chessbase india logo

FWCM 07: Carlsen's carelessness

by Sagar Shah - 21/11/2016

A promising and new opening idea led to a very comfortable position for Magnus with the black pieces. In fact he had such nice development and structure that it seemed as if he would push for a win throughout the game. However, on the 16th move Carlsen blundered and lost all the chances of an advantage. He lost a pawn, but was able to take the game into an opposite coloured pawn down position. Sergey was a pawn up, but couldn't really push much. In the end the players agreed for a draw. Seventh consecutive draw!

FWCM 07: Seventh consecutive draw!

All lined up, ready for the war to begin!

It was an extremely important game. After the rest day Sergey had the white pieces once again. The players were well rested and ready for the battle. Team Sergey Karjakin made the decision of switching to 1.d4 from 1.e4. This wouldn't have come as a surprise for Team Carlsen as his opponent was getting absolutely nothing with white from 1.e4. The game seemed interesting as it was a fresh position, but after an inaccuracy by Magnus the game quickly ended in a draw. Let's have a look at the critical positions from the game.

Key positions from game seven

Magnus has been very classical in this entire match and has met 1.e4 with 1...e5 and now 1.d4 is met with 1...d5

The game began as a Slav defence but with the move c6-c5, it transposed into the Queen's Gambit Accepted territory. It was not a tempo down for Black because white also had lost a move with Bf1-d3 and Bd3xc4.

 10...Nc6 was Carlsen's big idea in the game. Until then we had mainly seen 10...Qxd1 and 10...Bxc5 in grandmaster praxis. With the move Nc6, Magnus threw his opponent off balance. Karjakin had to think for 18 minutes and even after that he wasn't able to come up with the best possible response.

Black has such a comfortable position out of the opening. All his pieces are developed and he is ready to castle. Effectively Sergey had lost the opening battle.

16...Rc8 was an extremely careless move by Magnus that changed the course of the game. From being slightly better, he landed in an inferior position with no chances to play for a win. 16...Rb8 defending the b7 bishop would have kept his advantage intact. In fact even Ra7 was fine. But after 16...Rc8, Karjakin was alert and went for 17.Nf6+ and with it he won a pawn.

Karjakin was alert to all the possibilities available to him

Karjakin did win a pawn, but the extra pawn was in many ways useless. The b4 pawn clamped down the two queenside pawns and the opposite coloured bishops ensured that White has nothing much to play for. After a few more moves the players agreed to a draw.

[Event "AGON FWCM 2016"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "2016.11.20"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D27"]
[WhiteElo "2772"]
[BlackElo "2853"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventType "match"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle ""]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[TimeControl "40/6000+30:20/3000+30:900+30"]
{After the rest day, both players were back on the board re-energized. And
Sergey Karjakin changed the entire dynamics of the match by going 1.d4!} 1. d4
{[%emt 0:00:00] Unable to find anything against Carlsen's 1...e5, Sergey makes
the shift to the queen pawn opening.} d5 {[%emt 0:00:05]} 2. c4 {[%emt 0:00:00]
} c6 {[%emt 0:00:05] The solid Slav Defence comes as no surprise.} 3. Nc3 {
[%emt 0:00:28]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:02:14]} 4. e3 {[%emt 0:00:06]} a6 {[%emt 0:00:06]
With 12000 odd games 4...e6 is clearly the popular choice but 4...a6 is also
played often. Nearly 5,000 games with it. The last time Carlsen played this
move was back in 2007 against Ruslan Ponomariov.} 5. Bd3 {[%emt 0:03:18] The
third most popular move in the position after 5.Nf3 and 5.Qc2.} dxc4 {[%emt 0:
07:10]} 6. Bxc4 {[%emt 0:00:13]} e6 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 7. Nf3 {[%emt 0:00:08]} c5
{[%emt 0:00:23][%cal Gc6c5] From Slav we have now moved into Queen's Gambit
Accepted territory. But hasn't Black wasted a tempo with c7-c6 and c6-c5. Well,
White also has had to waste time with Bf1-d3 and Bd3xc4. Just to give you an
idea of how versatile Magnus is: this position has never been reached in his
over the board play before.} 8. O-O {[%emt 0:00:35]} (8. a4 {is the other main
line.}) 8... b5 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 9. Be2 {[%emt 0:00:11] This idea of
retreating the bishop back to e2 has become popular recently.} Bb7 {[%emt 0:00:
06]} 10. dxc5 {[%emt 0:00:25]} Nc6 $5 {[%emt 0:00:08][%cal Gb8c6] This was
played in eight seconds by Magnus, so he was clearly prepared. This has never
been played at the top level, and hence it came as a surprise to Karjakin. As
always Magnus comes up with some nice off beat ideas that have never been
tried before.} (10... Bxc5 11. Qxd8+ Kxd8 12. Nd2 $1 {The knight goes to b3
and creates some issues for Black.} Ke7 13. Nb3 Bb6 14. a4 b4 15. a5 $1 $14) (
10... Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Bxc5 12. Nd2 Nbd7 13. Nb3 Bb6 14. a4 b4 15. a5 $14 {
So this idea of Nd2-b3 and a4-a5 is quite common in this opening.}) 11. Nd2 $6
{[%emt 0:18:09] Karjakin knows his way around in this opening. He has studied
that the knight will be well placed on b3. However, in this particular case,
this will not work so well.} (11. Qc2 {If this opening happens again, the
chances of which are pretty miniscule, then Team Sergey will have to look at
an improvement in this direction.} Nb4 12. Qb3 Bxc5 13. Rd1 Qe7 14. a4 $13)
11... Bxc5 {[%emt 0:01:49]} 12. Nde4 {[%emt 0:02:42]} (12. Nb3 Bd6 {is a very
bad opening result for White. He is poorly developed and the knight on b3 does
nothing much as the a5 and c5 squares are clearly controlled. If he had to go
to d4, then why waste two moves!}) 12... Nxe4 {[%emt 0:01:14]} 13. Nxe4 {
[%emt 0:00:02]} Be7 {[%emt 0:00:59] What an excellent opening result for
Carlsen. By just introducing a rarely played move 10...Nc6 he has been able to
achieve a very comfortable position.} 14. b3 {[%emt 0:00:27]} Nb4 $1 {[%emt 0:
09:11] This move not only attacks the guy on e4 but the white knight is also
looking at the juicy squares on c2 and d3.} (14... f5 15. Ng3 (15. Bb2 $2 fxe4
16. Bxg7 Qxd1 17. Rfxd1 Kf7 $1 18. Bxh8 Rxh8 $17) 15... Bf6 16. Rb1 $11 {
Followed by Bb2 and White has a fine position.}) 15. Bf3 {[%emt 0:00:46]} O-O {
[%emt 0:02:07]} (15... f5 $5 {This also would have been pretty strong as there
is no good discovered check at White's disposal.} 16. Nd6+ Qxd6 17. Bxb7 Ra7
18. Qxd6 Bxd6 19. a3 (19. Bf3 Be5 20. Rb1 Nxa2 $17) 19... Be5 20. Rb1 Rxb7 21.
axb4 Bc3 $15) 16. Ba3 {[%emt 0:05:25]} Rc8 $2 {[%emt 0:08:32][%cal Ga8c8] Pure
carelessness by Magnus. In just one move he has spoilt a a very comfortable
opening position into a minus one.} (16... Rb8 $1 $15) 17. Nf6+ $1 {[%emt 0:04:
45]} Bxf6 {[%emt 0:00:39] A very complicated and confusing position with so
many pieces hanging and being attacked. But once you look at it carefully you
will realize that it is forced to pick up the bishop on b7.} (17... gxf6 18.
Bxb7 Rb8 19. Qg4+ Kh8 20. Bxb4 Rxb7 21. Rfd1 $14 {White is better.}) 18. Bxb7 {
[%emt 0:02:21]} (18. Bxb4 $2 Bxf3 19. Qxf3 Bxa1 20. Bxf8 Be5 21. Ba3 (21. Bb4
$2 Qh4 $19) 21... Qa5 $17) 18... Bxa1 {[%emt 0:00:21]} (18... Rc7 19. Bxb4 Bxa1
20. Bxf8 Qxd1 21. Rxd1 Rxb7 22. Bb4 (22. Rd8 f5 $11 {And Black is fine.}) 22...
Bf6 23. Rc1 $14 {White has the initiative here.}) 19. Bxb4 {[%emt 0:01:29]} (
19. Qxa1 $6 Nc2 20. Qc1 Nxa3 21. Bxc8 Qxc8 22. Qxa3 Rd8 $11) 19... Bf6 {
[%emt 0:09:27]} (19... Rc7 {was also possible.} 20. Bxf8 Qxd1 21. Rxd1 Rxb7 22.
Bb4 Bf6 23. Rc1 $14 {is what we just looked at. White is slightly better here
as his rook is penetrating inside the position.}) 20. Bxf8 {[%emt 0:01:52]} (
20. Bxc8 Qxd1 21. Rxd1 Rxc8 $11) 20... Qxd1 {[%emt 0:00:19]} 21. Rxd1 {[%emt 0:
00:03]} Rxf8 {[%emt 0:00:12]} 22. Bxa6 {[%emt 0:12:21] White has won a pawn,
but it will not be enough because the Black pawn will move to b4 and clamp
down the two white pawns.} (22. b4 Rb8 23. Bxa6 Kf8 {is also within the
drawing margin for Black.}) 22... b4 {[%emt 0:00:01][%csl Ra2,Rb3,Gb4][%cal
Gb5b4]} 23. Rc1 {[%emt 0:04:06]} g6 {[%emt 0:00:46]} 24. Rc2 {[%emt 0:03:29]}
Ra8 {[%emt 0:00:15]} 25. Bd3 {[%emt 0:01:16]} Rd8 {[%emt 0:00:18]} 26. Be2 {
[%emt 0:00:07]} Kf8 {[%emt 0:01:40]} 27. Kf1 {[%emt 0:00:38]} Ra8 {[%emt 0:00:
29]} 28. Bc4 {[%emt 0:05:08]} Rc8 {[%emt 0:00:27]} 29. Ke2 {[%emt 0:00:12]} Ke7
{[%emt 0:00:10]} 30. f4 {[%emt 0:00:33]} h6 {[%emt 0:01:18]} 31. Kf3 {[%emt 0:
02:22]} Rc7 {[%emt 0:00:59]} 32. g4 {[%emt 0:04:56]} g5 {[%emt 0:00:20]} 33.
Ke4 {[%emt 0:01:59]} Rc8 {[%emt 0:00:28] The computer shows an edge for White.
But truth be told it is not possible to make much progress. Hence, Sergey
takes the pragmatic decision of accepting the draw and getting prepared for
the next game.} 1/2-1/2 

Magnus is happy that he didn't have too many problems to hold the game in spite of making a mistake, while Karjakin has still held his fort in this match

Gbenga Akinnagbe, an American actor and writer, best known for his role as Chris Partlow on the HBO series The Wire, makes the opening move of the game
The media attention has been quite tangible for the Match

Mike Klein with Gbenga Akinnagbe
A lot of sacrifices on the part of the parents is required for a successful chess champion!

One Sunday after another! You have to make sure that your child's passion for the game keeps going.

Strong chess player, lawyer, and chess writer Alisa Melekhina

Russian chess Federation president Andrey Filatov turns up to show his support for Karjakin

That's the scene from the Virtual Reality Gear

Magnus will have the white pieces in game seven and it will be interesting to see what opening he would go for. With just five games to go, things are heating up!

We thank our man on the ground Albert Silver for some excellent pictures that he sends us



  1. FWCM 2016 06: A heavy theoretical battle
  2. FWCM 2016 05: A perfect draw!
  3. FWCM 2016 04: Slippery as an Eel
  4. FWCM 2016 03: A lively Berlin Endgame!
  5. FWCM 2016 02: Carlsen's mysterious rook moves
  6. FWCM 2016 01: Carlsen's benign Trumpowsky!
  7. FWCM 2016: Press Conference and Opening Ceremony