Karjakin wins with Black! Game 8 with notes by Fabiano Caruana

11/23/2016 – Karjakin wins with Black! The first decisive game of the match. Carlsen desparately went for a full point, overpressed and lost. After mutual oversights in time-trouble Karjakin reached a favorable endgame which he converted to a win. Karjakin now leads 4.5-3.5 with four games to go. Carlsen was too shocked to attend the press conference. It was a dramatic and crucial game. Fabiano Caruana investigates the scene.

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World Chess Championship News - 2016-11-22

Game No. 8 - Notes by Fabiano Caruana


20.30 Hamburg / 14.30 New York: How many games  do you play a day to practise?.

20.24 Hamburg / 14.24 New York: Here you can see the press conference after game 6.

15.38 / 9.38 am: Norwegian Grandmaster and author Jonathan Tisdall published a noteworthy piece after game eight in mattogpatt.no - food for thought.

13.34 / 7.34 am: Accoring to the Spanish Sports newspaper Marca, Carlsen is threatened to be fined with 60.000 US-Dollars for not attending the press conference after the first decisive game. 

13.09 / 7.09 am: Daniel King did a round up show on playchess.com. Click here to watch it for free.

10.42 / 4.42 am: After the game Judit Polgar, official commentator for the match, offered an explanation why Carlsen risked so much in the game: "Magnus was really determined to have a decisive game today. ... He gave Sergey a lot of opportunities in this game. ... Magnus was so determined to win the game, even when it was hard to understand why he went on. He wanted to have a decisive game. The tension was so high for both players."

She then added: "But Magnus can punch back. But it is going to be extremely difficult. For both players."

10.02 / 4.02 am: The following short clip shows how Carlsen leaves the press conference.

9.19 Hamburg/ 3.19 New York: Daniel King published his analysis game 8. At 10 am /Hamburg time) you can follow his summary on playchess.com (We'll publish the video here as well).

10.15 Mumbai/ 5.45 Hamburg/ 23.45 New York: IM Sagar Shah analyzes the reason why Magnus Carlsen lost game eight. His conclusion was a clear lack of objectivity on the part of the World Champion. Full analysis and key positions explained on the ChessBase India newspage.

Sergey Karjakin is happy

1:34 / 7:34 pm: Carlsen attended the press conference for about a minute, but then got up and stormed off.

1:09 / 7:09 pm: Carlsen resigns!

1:02 / 7:02 pm: After 51...h5 Judit Polgar makes a prediction: Sergey Karjakin will win the game!

0:49 / 6.49 pm: 

Carlsen is making a very unhappy impression now - he has to defend an unpleasant ending

0:45 / 6.45 pm:  Karjakin is now a pawn down, but his strong knight and the passer on a3 give him more than enough compensation. 

0:19 / 6.19 pm: 

NOW: Double Mistake in urgency: - On the border of hazardous

0:09 / 6.09 pm: Stefan Löffler already thinks about the impact of this time trouble blunders on the upcoming games.


0:05 / 6.05 pm:


00.02 / 6.02 pm: To catch up: Carlsen took plenty of risk (35.c5) and seemingly blundered in time trouble - however Karjakin did not find the best defence, still emerges with a pawn up but has a very weak king. What a game we are having?!

23.56 / 5.56 pm:

Carlsen realizes that he has misplayed it

23.48 / 5.48 pm: Ian Nepomniachtchi already advices Carlsen to seek for some perpetual - has the world champion overpushed his luck?

23.40 / 5.40 pm:

Both players are down six minutes, the tension increases as Carlsen takes further risks.

23.18 / 5.18 pm: However, his colleague Daniel King sees it optimistically.

23.04 / 5.04 pm: British Grandmaster Conquest makes a reference to Magnus' opening choice in this game:

Johannes Hermann Zukertort was a 19th century chess player who competed in the 1st official World Championship Match in 1886. He lost it to Wilhelm Steinitz.

23.04 / 5.04 pm: According to world class player Ian Nepomniachtchi the position became very drawish.

22.55 / 4.55 pm: As Polgar and Caruana, Radjabov is not impressed with Karjakin's play in this middlegame.

22.42 / 4.42 pm: Caruana on Sergeys 21...Bxc4: "once you give up the bishop, there is no attack" - Magnus' king is out of danger now and white has a slight advantage.

22.33 / 4.33 pm: Both players only have a bit over 30 minutes for the next 20 moves - time trouble could become an issue.

22.32 / 4.32 pm: 

Current World Nr. 2 Fabiano Caruana joins the commentary team. He is not very impressed by Karjakin's maneuver Bc6 and Bd5.

22.14 / 4.14 pm: 

Sergey is probably trying to get through the variation jungle starting with 20...Qg5

21.55 / 3.55 pm: Magnus does not look very happy. Sergey has more time on the clock and quite promising attacking chances on the kingside. 

21.51 / 3.51 pm: Jonathan Rowson is less impressed by Carlsen's maneuvers:

21.28 / 3.28 pm: Judit's sister Susan ist also puzzled:

21.28 / 3.28 pm: Polgar is surprised by Magnus' choice of putting the Queen to e1: "...but it can be a genius move, it's like Magnus played it"

Carlsen playing 17.Qe1!?

21.02 / 3.02 pm: 

20.42 / 2.42 pm: Btw, today's 1st move was carried out by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

"Sergey, is d4 ok for you as well?" (Foto: Max Avdeev)

20.30 / 2.30 pm: Dutch Grandmaster Erwin l'Ami believes Sergey considers to exchange the strong bishop on d3.

20.21 / 2.21 pm: Team Carlsen continues to try sidelines - this time Zukertort!

20.21 / 2.21 pm: 

Both players seem to be highly concentrated from the beginning.

20.20 / 2.20 pm: As the opening is less forcing than the Spanish mainlines we had so far, both players take their time to figure out the best move orders. Only seven moves played so far.

20.03 / 2.03 pm: Carlsen chooses 1.d4 today, but does not opt for the Trompovsky again, instead he continues rather slow with 2.Nf3 and 3.e3 - a clear sign that he will try to avoid theory and "play a long game" (Polgar).

19.57 Hamburg / 1.57 pm New York:

Magnus Carlsen arrives early at the board

19.53 Hamburg / 1.53 pm New York: Some minutes to go! Magnus Carlsen with the white pieces will try to put as much pressure as possible on his opponent, Judit Polgar expects a long battle.

World Chess Championship 2016 Newsblogs:

21.28 / 3.28 pm:


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imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 11/29/2016 09:01
@Petrarlsen - I should have followed these after commenting... It's just been so busy! Barely had time to follow the games themselves, let alone follow-up comments... I guess you win the argument by default. That's OK, it's not that important. :) I'll reply to your points anyway, more for myself than anything else.

"For me, taking into account all the elements at my disposal, this move is clearly a "blunder", at this level."

I have and know how to use engines too, you know... :) Anyway, I'm not aware of any official definition for the term "blunder" as used in chess commentary/annotations, so this all seems pretty subjective. But if there is one, let me know!

"I remind you that Carlsen has plummeted down from 2882 to 2853, and that, in live rating, he is now only 2839. It is thus obvious that Carlsen is not actually playing at all at his full strength."

So now we're only supposed to be evaluating a player based on his peak form? I guess Fischer IS unquestionably the greatest ever after all!... :) What if Carlsen never rises above 2839 again? How do we know that's not the case?

"Carlsen has only lost one game in this match. How can you affirm, on the basis of one isolated game, that Carlsen isn't so good a defender"

I said 'reminder', not 'singular evidence', or whatever it is you seem to think I said.

Your stat on Carlsen 2010-today is interesting. It's not a stat about defensive skills, though (it's possible, and actually quite probable, that he was much more rarely in trouble in those games than Karjakin was in his however many top level games in that same period, and, thus, not had to defend nearly as often, and as well. You should look into that with an engine before being able to lay claim to being an authority on how good a defender Carlsen is when compared to Karjakin. I, on the other hand, am not making such claims to begin with. Just stating an opinion. Please don't take it for more than that!...)

"Karjakin never created anything for himself (in term of "win chances")"

That's probably because Carlsen is too solid in the opening and it's hard to create chances against him unless he overpresses at some point (which he will...) I never argued against this - and good for him!

"Karjakin didn't lose any game against Carlsen, the Elo number one player and World Champion, in 8 consecutive games. For me, this is sufficient to affirm that he is playing in a quite defensively-oriented style."

Exactly - double standards, like I was saying. You're assuming the weaker player automatically plays conservatively just because he's the weaker player. That's probable, perhaps, in your mind, but you have precisely zero factual evidence of it. I asserted this might not be the case. We're both guessing. You just happen to be guessing the same as the majority, which isn't an actual argument for your being right.

"I don't think it can be an argument to affirm that Karjakin is not playing defensively : if you play in an "overly prudent" style against a player of Carlsen's level"

You're adding the 'overly' part - I never agreed with that. That's just your assumption. (And most other people's.)

"Or is it that, for you, Alekhine isn't a great champion"

Not top 5, no. I'm talking specifically about top 5 world champions of all time when I say Carlsen isn't, in my opinion, a great world champion. Neither was Alekhine. Both are/were fantastic and the best in their day, but not top 5 among all world champions.

"The same can be said of Botvinnik"

My top 5 would include Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Lasker and, I don't know, maybe Kramnik, maybe Vishy... (The latter being clearly past his prime when Carlsen beat him, and even when he drew Gelfand before that - he won his title very late, of course, but was exceptional for many years before that.)
mtm57 mtm57 11/23/2016 10:58
My impression is that you can win a championship always defending and become Champion of the world without showing The beauty of the play, but this is the best way to loose enthusiasm and attention particularly by young people.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/23/2016 11:44
As WildKid said not much time ago, it is really fantastic to have the annotations of Fabiano Caruana on a World Championship game ! In fact, I find it nearly incredible to have such a game commented by a 2800+ player !

Many thanks to ChessBase and Fabiano Caruana for that !
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/23/2016 11:35
@ imdvb8793 (2nd post...) :

- You say also : "I think people are heavily overplaying this whole Karjakin defensive strategy angle". Objectively : 1) Karjakin never created anything for himself (in term of "win chances") in this match (even in the 8th game, which he won when Carlsen blundered), and 2) Karjakin didn't lose any game against Carlsen, the Elo number one player and World Champion, in 8 consecutive games. For me, this is sufficient to affirm that he is playing in a quite defensively-oriented style. And, for me, when you say, for exemple : "I think Karjakin is being prudent, sure, but not overly so", I don't think it can be an argument to affirm that Karjakin is not playing defensively : if you play in an "overly prudent" style against a player of Carlsen's level, you will inevitably lose a game at a moment or at another. You can't be completely passive, at this level, and simply obtain one draw after another. Karjakin is simply playing in the best possible style to have the highest chances of "not losing" against Carlsen, in my opinion.

- Last point : When you affirm : "part of what makes a great champion is the ability to show your top form consistently in the biggest tournaments and matches", what do you make, for exemple, of the first Alekhine - Euwe match ? Or is it that, for you, Alekhine isn't a great champion ? The same can be said of Botvinnik, who lost two matches, against Smyslov and against Tal, and who nonetheless regained each time his crown afterwards. I think that, perhaps out of a certain level of complacency, Carlsen is actually playing at a quite inferior level to his normal level (and his Elo rating tells the same story), but, very probably, he will "take a grip" on himself after this match, and return to his "normal level". And, for me, the fact that a great champion like Carlsen can be much "weaker" (comparatively) at certain periods doesn't mean that he is a lesser player. It just means what is in fact obvious : that (for whatever reason) his level isn't stable through time, in the long run.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/23/2016 11:29
@ imdvb8793 : I disagree with several of your points :

- The "game five blunder" by Carlsen : you affirm that it is not a blunder. But, before 41.Kg2 my Rybka 4 gives "- 0.07" at 21 plies with an "=" ; after, it is : "-0.38", still at 21 plies, with a "=+" (the "Black stands somewhat better" symbol). And GM John Nunn (ex-number nine player in the world, and three-time world champion in chess problem solving) gives in his Chessbase annotations the following comments : "serious error", for 41.Kg2, with a "?", and, in a line after 43.Qxd4, he affirms that "It is unlikely that White will survive in the long run". You say yourself : "I'm nowhere near Karjakin's rating", so I don't see at all on which basis you can say that 41.Kg2 is not a blunder ? For me, taking into account all the elements at my disposal, this move is clearly a "blunder", at this level. So, yes, in fact, Karjakin never created anything for himself in this match, and, yes, the only two moments when he had an advantage (the 5th game and the 8th game) where when he exploited blunders by Carlsen. And it is quite true that Karjakin blundered also with his 19.Bxc4 in game 4 but I don't see at all how the fact that Karjakin can and does blunder could mean that Carlsen's blunders are not blunders anymore. I remind you that my point in my preceding comment was to say that Karjakin doesn't ever create "positive positions" for himself in this match, but rather chooses to content himself with exploiting Carlsen's blunders, so the fact that Karjakin does blunder too is not at all relevant in this case.

- You say : "I think this match serves as a perfect reminder that this is not the case" (to affirm that Carlsen is not so strong a defender as Karjakin). This isn't a proper counter-argument at all : 1) I remind you that Carlsen has plummeted down from 2882 to 2853, and that, in live rating, he is now only 2839. It is thus obvious that Carlsen is not actually playing at all at his full strength. 2) Carlsen has only lost one game in this match. How can you affirm, on the basis of one isolated game, that Carlsen isn't so good a defender ?? Is there one single chess champion who didn't ever lose any game ?? And I have - in my opinion - a rather "spot-on" statistic on this point : at the time of the first Carlsen - Anand match, I had made a research of Carlsen's win/draw/defeat results against all the 2800+ players + the ex-world champions and the ex-"Elo number ones" (the idea being to keep only the very strongest chess players in the world - I don't remember with a complete certainty who where the players in this group, but I think they where Anand - World Champion -, Kramnik - ex-World Champion -, Topalov - ex-Elo number one -, and Aronian - who was at the time above 2800 Elo), and, at that time, against this group of players, in the three or four last years (since 2010, if I remember well), Carlsen had played more than 50 games (keeping only the games played in classical time controls) without losing any single game ! And, in the same period, he won several games against every player of this group (I don't remember the exact number, but it was between 10 and 15 victories against this group of players, globally). So, at least at that time, he was objectively an exceptional defender : to play more than 50 games against such a group of players without losing any game is properly extraordinary, stupendous... and in fact, contrary to what you affirm, Karjakin never demonstrated anything comparable to this in terms of defensive capabilities, for the moment, even if he is nonetheless a very strong defender...
WildKid WildKid 11/23/2016 10:24
A really great set of annotations by Fabiano Caruana. Not only are the lines given really illuminating, but Caruana's insights on the players' psychologies are fascinating. We are so lucky to have someone who, but for the grace of God, could easily be sitting in one of those two chairs, explaining what might be going through the players' minds. Caruana is so friendly, downhome, and accessible that it is easy to forget what a great player he is.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 11/23/2016 06:34
"is 51...h5 so natural to fabiano that he does not give it any credit?"

When you can no longer make obvious progress on the other side without allowing a perpetual, you tend to start thinking about such moves. What other options are there that make any progress (and don't lose allow simple draws?) Karjakin's explanation was very convincing, by the way. And most commentating GM's - I've watched various versions - were looking at it before it happened and didn't think it was unnatural at all. But, yes, an explanation was probably necessary, for those that didn't follow the live coverage. Anyway, I'll admit the move didn't come to my mind during the (chess24) broadcast, because I was trying to make work the direct Qc3-b2, and didn't get to the end in time to consider other moves, as I often do. But, during a game, with limited time available, I may well have afforded each candidate move a more appropriate amount of time and it's not at all inconceivable I might have found it, I would say. It serves various purposes.

As for Qc5, which someone else also asked about - that was the first move that came to my mind, and I'm nowhere near Karjakin's rating. It's by far the most natural attempt, activating the queen. I was, honestly, shocked Carlsen didn't see it, or more likely underestimated it, before playing Qa5.)

"after somebody says something nasty off-camera"

They did? Wow! That's lame!... (Anyway, even without that, I have no problem with Magnus not attending the press conference at all - were I one of the players, I may well do the same, and forfeit the fine money. For people like myself, at least, it's pure torture, and I'm not exaggerating one bit, to have to answer questions, some of which, by the way, are just dumb and offensive, about such a game, mere minutes after it ends, and publicly, no less... I'd never agree to such a clause - being forced to attend press conferences after a defeat - if I had any power to make sure it didn't happen.)

"I thought Carlsen's efforts in a couple of the early games, to grind draw-ish positions into potential wins against a great player like Karjakin, were "impressive"."

He did miss wins in both, though, and in pretty pathetic fashion in the 4th game (the "I don't believe in fortresses" one), and has applied no particular pressure (I would leave out the 'particular', to be honest, but I'll be generous) to Karjakin in all the rest. That's not a good showing at all, in my opinion. Definitely not by the standards of someone certain people think is in the conversation for best player of all time...

"Watch Magnus for next games now. World Champion is going to treat us with absolutely fantastic games. He will unleash his full potential on challenger."

Even though this would prove me wrong in my long-term predictions about Carlsen's career, I probably wouldn't entirely mind seeing something like that - it would be something to behold!... I just hope Karjakin doesn't collapse under the pressure instead, because that would be painful to watch, and a disappointing end to a highly intriguing match. (And I will say I do trust his nerves not to do that...)

Also, on a related note, to the people saying Carlsen isn't in his best form: yes, this is clearly the case, but part of what makes a great champion is the ability to show your top form consistently in the biggest tournaments and matches. Not being in form is simply no excuse for a world championship match. Especially when you have rest days every two games.


@caliche2016 - You make some very interesting points!
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 11/23/2016 06:34
"The fact that it is quite possible that Kasparov was helping Magnus"

Seems highly unlikely, since Garry was in the live St. Louis studio for the Champions Showdown, as the match was going on. But I guess it's possible he only helped before the match... I doubt it, though. He even spoke about his working with Carlsen in the past tense during that broadcast, when he didn't have to, if I remember correctly...

"when, in game five, he had such an opportunity, around move 42, he only exploited a blunder by Carlsen"

Typical double standards... Karjakin's Bxc4 in the previous game, which just gifted Carlsen pretty much the entire advantage he held throughout that game, was much more of an obvious (and atypical, I might add) blunder than Carlsen's Kg2 in game 5, and I don't think you'll be able to find any GM's that would disagree with this point of view.

"They are both extremely strong in defense"

I think this match serves as a perfect reminder that this is not the case. (Well, compared to us mere mortals, sure, but not to the best of the other elite players.) Karjakin is a much better defender (while Carlsen is, of course, a far better presser.)

Also, I think people are heavily overplaying this whole Karjakin defensive strategy angle - he's gone for aggressive continuations multiple times in the match so far when he most definitely wasn't forced to (just remember the 5th game's king-march followed by g5 & h5, in addition to this one, with Ng4 - he didn't see the win after Qg5/Nd6, that's why he didn't play it, not because he was trying hard to be passive.) I think Karjakin is being prudent, sure, but not overly so, not more so than most people would be (and have been) in a title match. He just isn't going for crazy stuff if he can't calculate enough to be sure that it works, which is perfectly normal. Most top-level GM's these days play this way, regardless of the opponent and stakes.

"Expecting to see 1. c4 from Magnus in one of the next two games."

Me too.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/23/2016 01:09
@ mtm57 : I don't agree... Karjakin, in my opinion, is globally weaker than Carlsen, and if he can compensate by conceiving a very efficient match strategy, I really don't see why he wouldn't "have the right" to do it ?? Otherwise, he would very probably simply lose the match... If you where at Karjakin's place, would you really prefer to lose "brilliantly" than to do what he is doing, and to have a clear chance to win the match ? As for me, without any doubt, I would do what Karjakin is doing...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/23/2016 12:55
@ clkauto : I am sorry, but your comment is typically the comment of someone who thinks that an interesting game of chess can only be an attacking game, by a player like Nakamura, with an ultra-agressive opening like the King's Gambit, etc., etc.

As for me, I quite like to study an attacking game by Nakamura or Topalov, for exemple, but games of this type are innumerable since the 19th century, and I clearly prefer to study a Carlsen game (typically trying to "extract" a win from a nearly drawn position), which doesn't really resemble to any other style of game, than those so frequently seen attacking games.

I don't think it is precisely the epitome of broadmindedness to think that absolutely everyone must think exactly as oneself... Chess can lend itself to an extremely wide range of approaches, and this is precisely this that make it so interesting. It isn't because someone doesn't like something that it is an obligation for everyone to do the same...
mtm57 mtm57 11/23/2016 12:34
How happy are you all to see a new Champion that didn't take a risk and obliged a real Champion to make everything to mantain the beauty of chess that means to play well and fight? Did you all forget the lesson of great Bobby Fischer? Boh
clkauto clkauto 11/23/2016 12:19
Carlsen finally found his match in player who is even more boring and dull then him, so even he gets bored our of his tree and makes mistakes. No wonder nobody wants to watch chess.
flachspieler flachspieler 11/22/2016 10:58
After this loss and after the incident at the press conference we should have a good chance to see a supercharged (and superconcentrated) Magnus Carlsen in the remaining games.
genem genem 11/22/2016 10:25
F.Caruana wrote: "Carlsen's unimpressive play throughout the match...".
I thought Carlsen's efforts in a couple of the early games, to grind draw-ish positions into potential wins against a great player like Karjakin, were "impressive".
Psychologically, will Carlsen proceed with cool collected power as Kramnik did in game 12 in his 2004 title match against Leko?
Or will Carlsen get upset about the loss and monetary fine for leaving the press conference, and lose another point as did Kramnik in 2006 against Topalov (the infamous Pottygate forfeit)?
johnmk johnmk 11/22/2016 10:13
Maybe after this game Karjakin will have more self confidence. Maybe he will be overconfident and that might be Magnus' chance to strike back?
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 11/22/2016 09:50
Even though it took time in the game (and maybe the match), we saw impressive offensive skills from Karjakin (we already saw his defensive skill)

48... Nd3 - chooses offensive position rather than possible draw. Not that easy to find.

49...Qc5 - preventing the check that could spoil long winning variations. Also great offensive qualities. Multi-purpose move. Not easy to find. Maybe was already thought of before move 48.

51...h5 - again, preventing a check that could sabotage a long offensive variation. Really not obvious.

But, again, facing Magnus Carlsen in a must-win situation - not easy. 4 games to go.
cptmajormajor cptmajormajor 11/22/2016 09:30
The idea Carlsen could be fined 60000 dollars for leaving press conference ..... What the hell.
Surfer ll Surfer ll 11/22/2016 09:11
Caruana, best chessbase analysis ever
caliche2016 caliche2016 11/22/2016 09:10
I think the analysis of this match has more to do with psychology than with chess itself. Psychology because in my opinion Karjakin and his team are way too realistic, they are fully aware Carlsen is a better player, period. Therefore Karjakin prepared himself to defend difficult positions and accepted the role of the underdog. This explains why he has not been able to get the most of the few positions when he has the initiative but his opponent still has some chances of counterplay, this also explains the weird opening errors, he simply lacks confidence, against other opponent he would never capture on c4 as in game 4 with White. Also, this explains why he has been able to save several lost positions: he was mentally prepared for a masochistic defense before the match!

He is not a Carlsen but also he is not a weak player, a weak player would never have won the Candidates. In the last game he won, he played actively simply because Magnus had zero active counter chances.

On the other hand, Carlsen (not necessarily his team) knows he is objectively the better player and for this reason he underestimates Karjakin, a lot. That is why he played openings that he would never, ever play against a Caruana or Anand for example, that is why he made mistakes in winning positions: he is getting highly impatient, impatient to demonstrate his superiority, to win a game...

Carlsen's worst enemy right now is not Sergey, it is himself, he needs to cool down and to stop underestimating his opponent. On the other hand, Karjakin needs to gain confidence and believe in his own strength!
fightingchess fightingchess 11/22/2016 08:56
is 51...h5 so natural to fabiano that he does not give it any credit?
Miguel Ararat Miguel Ararat 11/22/2016 08:35
Thank you Petrarlsen for your contribution to the discussion of this article. It is refreshing to read an elaborate comment.
Aighearach Aighearach 11/22/2016 08:35
People keep repeating the words "Carlsen didn't attend the press conference," but in English this is what we call a "lie."

It is generally considered bad to lie.

Leaving early after somebody says something nasty off-camera is not the same thing as not showing up.

It shows how weak-minded his haters are, that they have to lie about his behavior in order to pretend that he looks bad.
swaroo swaroo 11/22/2016 07:10
Game 8 notes:
FABulous Caruana!
ketchuplover ketchuplover 11/22/2016 06:50
I think Carlsen shoulder study Fischer v. Petrosian Buenos Aires,1971
kyi kyi 11/22/2016 06:49
It appears most likely that if Karjakin can continue and maintain draws until the 12th game, he will become a new champion. This is possible because the 7 games they played before were all draws.
turok turok 11/22/2016 06:22
I also like how people like to say they want to see new theories hahahaha Lets be honest with computers especially this is rarely gonna happen plus just like in many title games in most sports it tends to be more conservative. Chess is no different.
turok turok 11/22/2016 06:21
I love how the so-called analysts like to criticize the moves yet they havent made it to the championship game before (most of them) and until they do it is nice to talk about what couldve happened but they shouldnt act like they couldve done better or they would be playing in this match.
x_ileon@yahoo.co.uk x_ileon@yahoo.co.uk 11/22/2016 06:20
Does no one else find Karjakin's Qc5 followed by h5 too engine accurately suspect???
libyantiger libyantiger 11/22/2016 06:00
karjakin have to forget his win and to play with extreme confidence focus and determinaton following same strtegy solid moves ..no risk ..slow strategic menuvering while improving his pieces little by little till his oppenent over-pushs that is where he should "sting" ...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/22/2016 04:28
This situation is quite unexpected and very interesting !

Karjakin seems to me to have found a very intelligent and psychologically subtle match strategy.

I would imagine this strategy could have been elaborated on these elements :

1) Carlsen and Karjakin - in my opinion - have a quite similar style, with two important features, for Karjakin's match strategy : a) They are both extremely strong in defense and b) They are globally positionally-oriented players. The result being that, playing each other, they tend necessarily to play for a win in similar positions, that both of them master extremely well, and, as they are very strong in defense, for each of them, it is particularly difficult to beat the other : to beat an ultra-solid player in a position that he nearly masters to perfection is necessarily extremely difficult...

2) At the beginning of the match, Karjakin was the one who had something to prove : that he was able to play at a level comparable with Carlsen's own level. For that, it was only necessary for him to obtain a sufficient number of successive draws (probably around 6 draws - half of the match). As for Carlsen, at this point, he himself had nothing to prove, because he was the nearly undisputed favourite. But after a certain number of draws, it was Carlsen who had to prove something : that he was capable of beating Karjakin !

So I think that, perhaps, anticipating this, Karjakin chose a completely defense-oriented strategy (knowing, too, that to beat Carlsen, it was necessary for him to find a very specific strategy - otherwise, he would simply end up losing the match) : to be able to hold at any cost in every situation, and particularly in the typically Carlsen games, when Carlsen very slowly entices his opponent to fall step by step into the abyss. Doing this, he could hope that, after a certain number of games, Carlsen would begin to take too many risks, and that Karjakin would then be able to exploit this to his advantage.

It seems to be what is happening : In the first half of the match, Karjakin never created any winning chance for himself (when, in game five, he had such an opportunity, around move 42, he only exploited a blunder by Carlsen), but played incredibly solidly, and thus, proved that he can play at a not-too-different level from Carlsen's own level. And the result was that when the second half of the match began, Carlsen felt the urgent necessity to reaffirm his status as the favourite in this match ; his first game with White was the 8th, and he apparently decided that, this time, he would win... and ended up losing this game. And we can note that Karjakin still didn't do anything else than playing ultra-solidly ; he didn't create anything for himself, but "only" exploited very efficiently the "gifts" that where offered to him by Carlsen.

And now, Karjakin has "only" to draw four games against Carlsen. Seeing how solid his play is in this match, it doesn't seem impossible at all that he will succeed. It would be a quite outstanding success, and, probably, the result of a very finely tuned match strategy...
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 11/22/2016 02:37
One of the best annotated games I've seen in a long time.
thlai80 thlai80 11/22/2016 01:46
Apparently, FIDE is ready to take action against Magnus Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen failed to attend the Round 8 post game press conference. FIDE regulations state that every player must attend the post game press conference, otherwise he will be penalised by a deduction of 10% of his prize money.

Following the conclusion of the Round 8 game, Karjakin appeared in the Mixed Zone to give brief interviews with the three official media partners to the Championship.

The procedure for players granting interviews in the Mixed Zone was agreed with the players and their management teams at the Technical Meeting prior to the start of the Championship. Both players have granted brief interviews with the three media partners in each of the preceding 7 rounds and several times one player was waiting on the stage until the other one finished his obligations.

After round 8, Magnus Carlsen arrived at the Mixed Zone one minute later than Sergey Karjakin and declined to give any interview. He was then offered to wait for a while in the Mixed Zone or on the press conference stage and Magnus decided to wait on the stage. The World Champion decided to leave the Stage 95 seconds later, even though he was informed by the FIDE Press Officer, Anastasiya Karlovich, that Karjakin was about to come to the press conference. The FIDE Press Officer tried to persuade him and his manager to come back to the press conference room, but Magnus Carlsen declined to do so.

FIDE official statement
chessstudent007 chessstudent007 11/22/2016 01:36
Watch Magnus for next games now. World Champion is going to treat us with absolutely fantastic games. He will unleash his full potential on challenger.
Muris Muris 11/22/2016 12:41
Sergey’s restrained 19…Bc6 20.a4 Bd5 must also have increased Magnus’ frustration.
benavas3 benavas3 11/22/2016 11:47
Great annotations by Caruana! Surely interesting for the grandmasters, but definitely interesting and helpful for old beginners like me.
weerogue weerogue 11/22/2016 10:31
Fascinating stuff.

Yeah, it's a very interesting clash of strategies, all the more so because it was highly predictable (and, indeed, predicted!):
~ Magnus said himself that Sergey has a knack of finding positions that look bad, but he is able to defend.
~ Additionally, it is well known that Magnus has had a problem with losing objectivity and over-pressing in certain positions (where his strength, of 'fighting on', becomes his weakness).
--> As it turns out, these two factors combine to suggest a natural match strategy for Karjakin (curl up, frustrate Carlsen, wait for him to crack).
The extent to which Karjakin has done this (getting no advantage out of the opening, preferring solid continuations over objectively better active moves) and the extent to which it has worked must be 'dream-land' for him.

As per flachspieler's comments, the parallels with the Kasparov-Kramnik match are undoubted: heavily-fancied, hard-to-dispute 'best player in the world' finds an arch-nemesis with a perfect match strategy and exactly the right type of 'strengths' required to exploit the few soft spots of the champion. The fact that it is quite possible that Kasparov was helping Magnus and Kramnik - Karjakin only adds to the intrigue!

This one is perfectly poised: 4-game match, Karjakin with draw-odds - Magnus has to win at least one!
Expecting to see 1. c4 from Magnus in one of the next two games.

Prediction (albeit not a very brave one!): after the year we've had so far, I'll back Karjakin to hold on and shock (a very small fraction of) the world anew.
flachspieler flachspieler 11/22/2016 09:42
Ark_Angel wrote:
> Remind me of famous Caplabanca vs Alekhine 1927
> championship. No one believed Capa would loose.

Things are a bit different this time. For instance, endgame Guru
Karsten Muller said several times: The chances for a match win
are 60 : 40 in favor of Carlsen, and not 100:0.

Speculation: Kasparov might be in Carlsen's team, and Kramnik in
that of Karjakin. If so, this match would be a proxy duel for the
year 2,000 match between Kasparov and Kramnik...

History in the Making!
ARK_ANGEL ARK_ANGEL 11/22/2016 09:13
Remind me of famous Caplabanca vs Alekhine 1927 championship. No one believed Capa would loose. And just before the tournament Capa defeated Alekhine convincingly in their encounter. And no one in chess world given any chance for Alekhine. Same way I have seen here how good Calsen and bets against Karajakin. Because just like Capa just before the WC Carlsen defeated Karajakin convincingly. So everyone agreed Carlsen will bust Karajakin. See what happens finally. Just like Capa same way Carlsen is naturan genious with exceptional middle and end game skills. But like Alekhine somehow Karajakin managed to exploit some weakness. Amazing....
sharpnova sharpnova 11/22/2016 09:09
genem, what about your format would cause the games to be meaningful?
dalbah dalbah 11/22/2016 08:36
And advan