Magnus Carlsen Retains World Title!

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen won the World Championship match against Sergey Karjakin. After three tie-break games he led with 2-1 and Karjakin had to win the fourth tie-break game with Black. Karjakin drifted into a passive position in the Sicilian defense employed against the reigning World Champion. He desperately tried to create counter play but this allowed Carlsen to mate Black and finish the game and the match with a beautiful queen sacrifice.
Thanks to Chessbase.com for the game annotation.

[Event “AGON FWCM 2016-Tiebreak”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Black “Karjakin, Sergey”]
[Site “New York”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Date “2016.11.30”]
[WhiteElo “2853”]
[BlackElo “2772”]
[PlyCount “99”]
[TimeControl “1500+10”]{Notes by David Navara – It is very hard to win with Black on demand. On the
other hand, it not easy to play such a game with White, either. The
subconscious desire to make a draw might lead to concessions and gradually
deteriorate one’s position. Magnus coped with this task excellently. He played
for the win while not avoiding an eventual move repetition, thus forcing
Sergey to make further concessions.} 1. e4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} c5 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 2. Nf3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} d6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 3. d4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} cxd4 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} 4. Nxd4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 5. f3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} e5 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 6. Nb3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Be7 {[%emt 0:0:0]} (6… d5 {is a decent move, but White should not have too many problems after} 7. Bg5 {The main continuation} Be6 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. exd5 Qxd5 10. Qxd5 Bxd5 11. Nc3 {leads to an equal endgame which is fairly safe for White.} )({There is a nice
trap:} 6… a5 7. c4 $6 (7. Bb5+ Nc6 8. Nc3 )Nxe4 $1 8. fxe4 Qh4+ 9. Kd2 a4 {with Black’s edge. To be honest, I failed to find 7…Nxe4 myself several
years ago. But it would be too naive to expect Magnus to miss it.} )7. c4 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} a5 {[%emt 0:0:0] Now White’s bishop cannot go to b5 anymore.
Both sides have created considerable weaknesses in their camps, viz. the
squares d4 (White) or b5 and d5 (Black).} 8. Be3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} a4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 9. Nc1 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 0-0 {64} 10. Nc3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Qa5 {85} 11. Qd2 {99} Na6 {296} (11… Be6 {might have been a bit more flexible. I would
like to play Be7-d8-b6 to exchange the bad bishop, but White can probably
prevent it. Black should rather play Rc8, attacking the c4-pawn.} 12. b3 $5 axb3 13. Nxb3 {might well be critical from the theoretical point of view.} )12. Be2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Nc5 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 13. 0-0 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Bd7 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} 14. Rb1 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Rfc8 {113} 15. b4 $1 {[%emt 0:0:0]
It is important to protect the c4-pawn. White opens the a-file, but Black’s
rook cannot penetrate.} axb3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 16. axb3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Qd8 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} 17. Nd3 $14 {[%emt 0:0:0] White achieved a pleasant position.
His pawn structure is better and Black has no adequate counterplay.} Ne6 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} 18. Nb4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Bc6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} (18… Nf4 $5 {
might have been an option, the idea being} 19. Bxf4 Qb6+ ({or even} 19… exf4 20. Nbd5 Nxd5 21. Nxd5 g5 {Still, it is hard to imagine Black winning such a
position. The text maintains more tension.} )20. Be3 Qxb4 )19. Rfd1 {[%emt 0:0:0]} h5 $1 {[%emt 0:0:0] I like this decision. Black starts a counterplay
on the dark squares around White’s king.} (19… Ne8 {followed by Bg5 might
have been objectively better, but it lead to a worse endgame after} 20. Nbd5 Bg5 21. Nb6 Qxb6 22. Bxb6 Bxd2 23. Rxd2 {.} )20. Bf1 {258} h4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 21. Qf2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} (21. Nbd5 Bxd5 22. exd5 Nf4 {might objectively be
better for White, but it looks unnecessary to give up the control of the
d5-square.} )Nd7 {[%emt 0:0:0]} (21… Nh5 {allows both} 22. Ncd5 ({and
} 22. Nxc6 bxc6 23. c5 ))22. g3 {136 Computer dislikes this move, but it is
not easy to suggest anything better. Komodo’s suggestion 22.Kh1 is too
mysterious for me and} ({direct continuations like} 22. Nxc6 bxc6 23. b4 {
also have their drawbacks, as the d4-square could eventually become weak after
something like} c5 $5 {.} )Ra3 $6 {286} (22… Bg5 {might have been a
better try. White had better not take the d6-pawn:} 23. Bxg5 (23. Rxd6 $6 Qf8 $1 )Qxg5 24. Rxd6 (24. Nc2 $1 $14 )Qe7 25. Rbd1 Nd4 26. R6xd4 $1 exd4 27. Ncd5 $13 )23. Bh3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Rca8 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 24. Nc2 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} R3a6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 25. Nb4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Ra5 {[%emt 0:0:0] Sergey bravely avoids the repetition, but his position remains worse.} 26. Nc2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} b6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 27. Rd2 {136} Qc7 {383} 28. Rbd1 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} Bf8 {71} 29. gxh4 $5 {A somewhat surprising decision. White
opens the kingside, as Black cannot exploit the weakness of the f4-square.} Nf4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 30. Bxf4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} ({Computer suggests} 30. Bxd7 Qxd7 31. Kh1 {and takes on f4 later, but White’s continuation is also fairly strong.
} )exf4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 31. Bxd7 $1 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Qxd7 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 32. Nb4 {91} Ra3 {80} 33. Nxc6 {239} Qxc6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 34. Nb5 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} Rxb3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} ({Black could hardly play for the win
after} 34… Ra1 {.} )35. Nd4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Qxc4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 36. Nxb3 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} Qxb3 {[%emt 0:0:0] White has a material advantage. It is not
easy to convert, as his king is a bit exposed. On the other hand, Black’s
bishop is passive and his king is not safe, either.} 37. Qe2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Be7 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 38. Kg2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Qe6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 39. h5 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} Ra3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 40. Rd3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Ra2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 41. R3d2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Ra3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 42. Rd3 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Ra7 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 43. Rd5 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Rc7 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 44. Qd2 {[%emt 0:0:0]
} Qf6 {[%emt 0:0:0]} (44… Qh6 45. Rf5 Rc5 46. Qxf4 Qxf4 47. Rxf4 Rg5+ 48. Rg4 Rxh5 {might have been a bit more tenacious, but it would
have been equivalent to a resignation in the match.} )45. Rf5 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Qh4 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 46. Rc1 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Ra7 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 47. Qxf4 {61
} Ra2+ {[%emt 0:0:0]} 48. Kh1 {[%emt 0:0:0]} Qf2 {[%emt 0:0:0]} 49. Rc8+ {[%emt 0:0:0]} Kh7 {[%emt 0:0:0] It looks as if Black were suddenly
winning, but Magnus had foreseen everything and finished the match in style.} 50. Qh6+ $3 {[%emt 0:0:0] and Black resigned before an inevitable mate. It
was a fascinating conclusion of a very tense match. Sergey Karjakin deserves a
credit for his strong play. He and his team prepared for the match excellently
and could have won it. He showed that it is possible to play against Magnus on
equal terms and the Norwegian’s throne isn’t unshakable. But I also believe
that Magnus deserves the title. He has been the world’s number 1 for many
years and he is the strongest player in the world. He did not lose in the
classical part of the match and eventually prevailed in rapid chess.} 1-0

Picture gotten from www.hollywoodreporter.com

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