It was the toughest challenge Magnus Carlsen faced as World Champion. He was up against an adversary, only a few months his senior, otherwise no less talented and as ambitious as he. As the course of the Match showed Sergey Karjakin was a worthy rival. When he gained a brief lead after the 8th game, the chess world was abuzz with excitement and anticipation. Perhaps there was going to be a new world champion after all. That was not to be. Magnus leveled scores in the 10th and asserted himself with two wins in the tie-breaker, retaining his title.
This issue of ChessBase Magazine has all the games with video broadcasts by Danny King. What is more, there is an impressive lineup of annotators, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and David Navara. Veterans, John Nunn and Yasser Seirawan bring up the rear with illuminating commentary. Most of the material here first appeared in the world championship reports on ChessBase. However, it’s good to have it all in one place. Here I would single out the final phase of the third game that was spontaneously commented on by Caruana, Anand, Nakamura and Topalov while they were watching the match.
Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin during their fight for the highest title
Yasser Seirawan has collated their observations in his annotations to game three of the match, a game that Magnus deserved to win and Sergey to draw! One position that had both the spectators and experts bemused in this game arose after 24 moves.
This issue also includes games from other events like Saint Louis Showdown, London Chess Classic, Russian and European Cup Final. It’s also good to see games from the World Rapid Championship (won by Ivanchuk on tie-break ahead of Grischuk and Carlsen). I did miss the games from the World Blitz Championship, though. Here Karjakin had the satisfaction of beating Magnus in their individual encounter and becoming the champion:
This brings me to other sections of the Magazine. There are 11 opening surveys ranging from the Caro-Kann to the Queen’s Gambit. For reasons of space I shall skip a detailed discussion here. Apart from these surveys, there are regular exercises in opening traps, middle game tactics and endgame technique. Here I shall make a special mention of Mihail Marin’s feature on defence and counterattack. As is known, Marin is a connoisseur of chess classics. Here he has illustrations right from Capablanca and Alekhine to Karpov and Korchnoi. The following encounter was annotated by late Paul Keres way back in Chess Life & Review (September, 1974). So I was particularly interested to know what Marin has had to say about the game.
Boris Spassky and Anatoly Karpov during their Candidates’ Match 1974
In all there are 2723 OTB games of which 127 are annotated. Apart from the ones mentioned at the outset, commentators include Adrian Mikhalchishin, Krisztian Szabo and Romain Edouard among others. This time I missed Telechess section. Hopefully, the grandmasters would be back next time to present games from correspondence chess.