Markus Ragger: Thoughts about Carlsen vs Karjakin

11/21/2016 – Markus Ragger is Austria's number one and with a current rating of 2694 he is also one of the 50 best players in the world. Of course, Ragger follows the World Championship match in New York closely and after seven games he offers some thoughts on the match. He reveals what has surprised him so far and evem dares a prediction who will win the match.

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Markus Ragger: Thoughts about the World Championship Match

Markus Ragger zieht eine Halbzeitbilanz bei der WM 2016

Markus Ragger is sharing thoughts about the fight in New York City

After the first seven games of the World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin, I have to say that I find it surprising that Carlsen dominates in the opening. It is well-known that Carlsen has a knack of getting positions from the opening which suit him. But in this match he also shows concrete preparation - move by move, so to speak. This is particularly well illustrated by game six - and here the sequence that starts with 14...c5.

S. Karjakin - M. Carlsen, World Championship Match 2016, game 6, position after 14...c5

I was expecting Karjakin to exert more pressure with White as Vishy Anand managed to do in Sochi 2014. But in the first seven games Karjakin failed to do so.

Karjakin has a reputation of being a very resourceful and good defender. But I still did not think that any player on this planet would be able to draw the positions Karjakin had in game three (after 36.Nd4) and in game four (after 24...Bc6) against Carlsen.

M. Carlsen - S. Karjakin, World Championship Match 2016, game 3, position after 36.Nd4

S. Karjakin - M. Carlsen, World Championship Match 2016, game 4, position after 24...Bxc6

Of course, one might argue that Carlsen in games three and four missed a number of moves which would have led to positions the engines evaluate as +2 and that Carlsen must be in bad shape because he is unable to win such positions. But that misses the point. The longer a defender manages to hold, to avoid giving the opponent a forced win, the greater the chance for the attacker to make mistakes. When the opponent plays well you often cannot hold a bad position, you can only try to make the win as difficult as possible for your opponent. Here Karjakin is probably better than any other player in the world.

I will also dare a prediction even though most people only remember such predictions if you happen to wrong. For me, Carlsen is still favorite, mainly because Karjakin up to now has not managed to put Carlsen under pressure. In game 5 Carlsen gave Karjakin chances with 41.Kg2 but if Carlsen does not give such chances I cannot imagine that he will lose a game.

What do you think?

In any case, I am looking forward to an exciting finish of this interesting match.

Games 1 to 7




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