Carlsen vs Karjakin, Game 11: A fighting draw!

11/26/2016 – With one game to go the the World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin is tied at 5.5-5.5. After 34 moves game 11 ended in a draw. Karjakin had White but could not exert any pressure on Black. Carlsen impressed with the brilliant idea 19...d5 which gave him the initiative but that was not enough to win the game. Game 12 will follow on Monday. Newsblog - Nov. 26 ...

World Chess Championship - Newsblog 2016-11-26

Game No 11 - Notes by Wesley So


Who do you think will win the match? And will there be a tie-break?


12.15 Mumbai / 7.45 Hamburg / 1.47 New York: Peter Svidler has experienced this variation in depth in his own games. ChessBase India reports on the eleventh game with key positions and analysis by 12-year-old prodigy Nihal Sarin: A Tale of Two Pawn Structures.

23.24 / 17.24: Draw - after 34 moves game 11 ended in a draw by perpetual check. With one game to go the score is 5.5-5.5.

23.20 / 17.20: Is there a way for Black to avoid the draw by perpetual?

Position after 31.c4

23.16 / 17.16: Carlsen has a passed pawn on e2, but the exposed position of his king makes perpetual check the most likely result.

23.00 / 17.00: The engines evaluate the position on the board as equal but a pawn down Carlsen is pushing - he might, however, overpress.

22.51 / 16.51: Carlsen has a passed pawn on e2, but White is a pawn up. Judit Polgar predicts that the game will end in a perpetual check - and possibly soon.

Position after 27.Qf3

22.30 / 16.30: Carlsen avoids a drawish line and instead creates a passed pawn to keep tension in the game. However, the engines evaluate the position as completely equal.

Position after 24...e3

21.56 / 15.56: After thinking for more than 27 minutes Karjakin goes for 20.Bg5, after which the position could quickly simplify to a drawish ending.


21.47 / 15.38: With 19...d5!? Carlsen suddenly sets the pace of the game.

21.38 / 15.38: Karjakin after 19...d5.

21.29 / 15.29: Things get exciting. Due to Carlsen's 19...d5!?

Position after 19...d5

"A brilliant idea and I think it's also a very good idea. Moves like these are the reason why Carlsen is World Champion." Judit Polgar

21.20 / 15.20: The computers did not like 18.h3, but Jonathan Rowson did...

... but Anish Giri did not.


Position after 18.h3

21.00 / 15.00: Not enough excitement?

20.45 / 14.45: Judit Polgar: "I have a feeling, Sergey will not be pushing too hard today."

20.39 / 14.39: After 16.f5 by Karjakin Carlsen ponders the possibe pawn structures that might arise.

20.30 / 14.30: Jonathan Rowson likes White's position - intuitively.

20.20 / 14.20: With 14...c5 Carlsen enters new territory - this position has not been seen yet in practice.

Karjakin quickly replied with 15.Qg4 and for the first time in the game Carlsen started thinking.

20.10 / 14.10: After ten moves a position is reached that has already been played in dozens of grandmaster games.

20.07 / 14.07: "This game can become extremely solid. Both sides do not seem to want to take too many risks." Judit Polgar

20.01 / 14.01: It's a Ruy Lopez again and with 6.d3 Karjakin chooses a solid approach.

19.58 / 13. 58: Sergey Karjakin was first at the board.

19.42 / 13.42: Game 11 will begin in a few minutes. Karjakin plays with White. Will he again open with 1.e4? And will Carlsen again go for a Ruy Lopez, sacrificing a pawn to get pressure?

19.27 / 13.27: The twelve participants of the FIDE Women Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysik give the World Champion better chances:

The World Champion has eight supporters...

... but the four Russians Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina, Olga Girya
and Natalija Pogonina support the challenger Sergey Karjakin.

13.00 / 07.00: And that's what the players say - or not say about the possibility of a tie-break.

12.30 / 06.30: Indeed: "Never mind football’s Champions League, the Test match cricket or the Formula 1 - the most exciting sporting event on the planet right now is the World Chess Championship match in New York." Says the Independent.

Zuschauer in New York - Foto: Getty/Agon

12.00 Hamburg / 06.00 New York: Who will better cope with the pressure? Magnus Carlsen or Sergey Karjakin? Carlsen likes to play basketball and here is what basketball legend Michael Jordan has to say about playing under pressure: “I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot… when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result. ... Just play, have fun, enjoy the game.”

Michael Jordan (Photo: Steve Lipofsky, Wikipedia)

World Chess Championship - News 2016-11-25

17.45 / 11.56 am: Our reporter Maxim Dlugy followed game ten live. Grandmasters were electrified after 20.Nd2 and before 20...d5.

Question: Magnus, can you describe the tension and the relief, right now?

Question: What's the strategy for the two last games. Laconic answer by Sergey Karjakin

16.56 Hamburg / 10.56 am New York: Yannick Pelletier did a round up show on game 10 on Watch it here.

13.30 / 7.30: Press conference of game 10: Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin aswer questions from the journalists.

13.09 / 7.09: Press conference of game 10: Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin share their thoughts about the game.

12.13 / 6.13: Daniel King shows in his video analysis the dramtic moments of game 10.

13.14 / 7.14 am: Spanish novelist Fernando Arrabal joins the scene. Using a metaphor by Garry Kasparov, the vegetarian times are obviously over. Arrabal, who is living in Paris, commentates: "Magnus Carlsen is not eating flesh. He gorges himself on flesh."


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Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 11/26/2016 03:14
My proposed translation (from French) of Fernando Arrabal's sentence quoted above:

"Magnus Carlsen does not eat meat; he devours the flesh".

Original text: Magnus Carlsen ne mange pas de viande; il dévore la chair.

"Viande" in this context is better rendered by "meat". Also, in the first part of the French sentence, "de viande" is indefinite whereas in "la chair", "la" is a definite article, which I do put in my proposed translation.

F. Arrabal may have wanted to convey the message that MC is not just consuming some meat, like anyone else, but THE flesh. Also, meat is dead flesh - the author may have wanted to convey the message that MC eats living flesh, while alive, rather than dead meat - to make him look even more ferocious. Of course, this is an image applied to chess: the author may think that, otherwise, Magnus is a nice guy...

Also, "dévorer" is really perfectly rendered by "to devour", defined as follows in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1 : to eat up greedily or ravenously

2 : to use up or destroy as if by eating <we are devouring the world's resources>

3 : to prey upon <devoured by guilt>

4 : to enjoy avidly <devours books>.

Only meaning 1 is here relevant - but even the other meanings correspond also perfectly to the use of the verb in French.

"(,,,) gorges himself with flesh" may render the same idea - but "to devour" is an exact synonymous of "dévorer". Maybe "to devour" is not that used and thus, known, in English, which is why "(...) gorges himself with flesh" was preferred.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 11/26/2016 05:56
Obviously the match is not long enough to determine who the best player is.
Short matches introduce too much luck. Chess is supposed to be a game of skill.
KevinC KevinC 11/26/2016 06:27
The pressure is all back on Karjakin's shoulders. That last game was pretty bad on his part, and finally showed some nerves or fatigue...I'm not sure which.
kyi kyi 11/27/2016 12:05
The world champion is unmarried. I believe 12 girl chess players at Grand Prix want to mate with him.
Hawkman Hawkman 11/27/2016 12:27
12 games is a joke for a WC. Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990 was 24 games.
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 11/27/2016 01:25
We are seeing an epic battle in chess. Both players are giving their best.
vincero vincero 11/27/2016 01:45
magnus has shown himself to be still way to to underestimate the stress of this but much more impressed with the character of sergey.
Griffedours Griffedours 11/27/2016 02:47
From a french reader about Fernando's quote.
When we say of someome he does not eat meat, it means he is a vegetarian.
And when we say of someone he devours the flesh, it means he is someone like gollum in the lord of the ring.
Is is about the same in english?
geraldsky geraldsky 11/27/2016 04:25
Sicilian Defense would be played if one of them is behind in score.But the score still Ruy Lopez or even Italian is expected for the last game.
scoobeedo scoobeedo 11/27/2016 05:04
Magnus is for sure surprised about the power of Sergej.

Sergej is perfect prepared.

That Magnus won this game was ok because the match was a even match.

- - -

I think that Magnus and Sergej like each other, but the current situation block them for a while to smile to each other.

It would be great, and it would be a sensation, if both players write together a book about this match and analyze the games from both sides in the same book. This book would write history ...

Chessbase would for sure very helpful to get this project done!
Aighearach Aighearach 11/27/2016 09:01
@Griffedours: Yes, in English it is exactly the same.

@geraldsky: Some are speculating that Magnus is saving c4 or Nf3 for game 12. It is hard to keep repeating similar openings in a match.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 11/27/2016 09:23
"It would be great, and it would be a sensation, if both players write together a book about this match and analyze the games from both sides in the same book. This book would write history ..."

Like they used to in the old days - yeah, that'd be awesome!... Even just one of them writing a book would be great. :)
scoobeedo scoobeedo 11/27/2016 10:07
The comment from Nostalgiac1972 is very good.

But the problem is somewhere else.
And Carlsen said it in a short comment:
"It is very long time ago that I did not win in 10 games at least 1 game."

Carlsen is in a psychological very difficult situation. Karjakin did destroy the confidence of Carlsen. That is very clever. He just said "Show me what you got.".

And Carlsen lost with every following game more of his superior confidence.

The result was just what was to expect. That he lost this game. It was not Karjakin who won it, Carlsen lost it.

The break day after it was the rescue for Carlsen, because his team could stabilize a knocked on Carlsen.

The game which Carlsen won showed that his team calibrated him.

But Carlsens Psycho Suit is still very fragile.

And Karjakin just play the little innocent school boy.

It is not anymore about chess, it is much more ...

- - -

The picture of the hand shake before the game 11 says a lot. Carlsen do not like to be there.

A tip for him:

Magnus, go to play basketball, 3-4 hours before the next game!
And then go under a cold shower, and enter the cage with a smile!

And then think by yourself, Lets have fun.

Chess is still a great game and not a work, Magnus!!!

Your biggest weapon was always your smile. It was a protection for you. Come on Magnus, lets Rock-n-Roll ...
airo airo 11/27/2016 10:50
@Raymond Labelle / @Griffedours

I'm neither a French nor an English native speaker, however I would translate it as "Magnus does not simply eat meat, he devours it!". Granted, "la chair" is not translated in my rendering but the point the original French text makes is that Magnus does not content himself with eating meat, he positively destroys it! "Simply" is necessary to convey the semantic strength of the juxtaposition between "ne mange pas" and "dévore", in my opinion.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 11/27/2016 02:14
@ scoobeedo : I globally quite agree with your last comment. But not when you say : "Chess (...) is not a work". For a player of Carlsen's (or Karjakin's) level, it is also a "work". And there aren't many jobs where you can have so much at stake in one moment than - sometimes - in a World Championship game in chess : money, obviously, but also invitations for future tournaments, the "automatic" participation at the next World Championship match, sponsors... A victory in one game of a World Championship match can change your whole life at this level. I don't think at all that it is really possible to say, in such circumstances : "don't take this too seriously, it is only a game" ; no, in my opinion, chess is not "only a game" for players of this level...
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 11/27/2016 05:06

"When we say of someone that he does not eat meat, it means he is a vegetarian.
And when we say of someone he devours the flesh, it means he is someone like Gollum in the lord of the ring.
Is it about the same in English?" Griffe d'ours.

It is true that to say that someone does not eat meat generally implies that the person is a vegetarian, but I would say that the context is here different. The same can be said about English I would say.

That being said, it is not forbidden to improve the original text to convey even better the intent of the author and remove any possible remaining ambiguity, which leads to what follows.


Your suggestion is quite good - it addresses the possible ambiguity raised by Griffe d'ours by the addition of "simply" for the reasons you very well explained. However, I did like the meat/flesh opposition found in the original text, and it is also intended by the author – after all, we are translating. I thus propose:

"Magnus does not simply eat meat; he devours living flesh."
airo airo 11/27/2016 08:18
@Raymond Labelle

Your latest version seems spot on! I like the "living flesh" bit!
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 11/28/2016 03:35

Thank you for the feedback and the good words airo. Thanks also to Griffe d'ours for the feedback. Nice team work.