Wesley So: How Carlsen tried to spice up game 11

11/27/2016 – Game 11, 5.5-.5.5: Last regular White for Karjakin. What happened? After 1.e4 Carlsen avoided the Berlin and went for a classical system. He later tried to generate some threats, and Karjakin wasn't too impressed by his own play, as he later told after the game. Wesley So shares his perspective in our Newsblog 2016-11-27...

ChessBase 15 - Mega package ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2020 with 8 million games and more than 80,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!


World Chess Championship Carlsen Karjakin, New York - Newsblog 2016-11-27

Game No 11 - Notes by Wesley So


Poll: Who will win the match? And will there be a tie-break?


16.10 Hamburg / 10.10 New York: What we all would like to know: "Who is the favorite to win this thing?"

16.02 Hamburg / 10.02 New York: "What's your main reply after 1.e4 besides e5?" And, ahem..., any novelties prepared?

12.58 Hamburg / 6.58 am New York: Press conference snippets part 1 - analysis

12.58 Hamburg / 6.58 am New York: Press conference snippets part 2 - questions

11.29 Hamburg / 5.29 am New York: Yannick Pelletier did a round up show on game 11 on playchess.com. Watch it here.

11.20 / 5.20 am: Some remarkable pictures by Max Avdeev:

Sergey Karajakin being scrutinized - picture by Max Avdeev

Sergey Karjakin being scrutinized

Last glance before the game - by Max Avdeev

Last glance before the game

Magnus Carlsen arrivig backstage - by Max Avdeev

Magnus Carlsen arriving backstage

Last regular White for Sergey Karjakin - by Max Avdeev

Last regular White for Sergey Karjakin 

A Ruy Lopez unfolds - by Max Avdeev

A Ruy Lopez unfolds 

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.

World Chess Championship 2016 Newsblogs:

Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

caliche2016 caliche2016 11/28/2016 07:44
@ssakom I totally agree with you, also I might be mistaken but maybe the solution is as simple as letting the champ keep his title if the result is even, no tie breaks.

Precisely the tie breaks based on rapid games is what allows the challenger not to risk on the regular time control games, because he knows there is still a chance in the tie breaks...
ssakom ssakom 11/28/2016 11:30
I find that world championship very boring for the moment. I think it is urgent to find a new system, more thrilling pushing the players to risk. The actual configuration is too short in time and games, and encourages the draws. I do not suppose the Americans who like fun and chess for blood, find that duel very exciting except those you adore long finals. Deception! What do young chess players think of those endless positionnal games??? I do not criticize the 2 players, they do what they can according to the system made up by the President, but when all the medias in the world speak positively of our sport, it is sad to see that only 2 games had a positive result! That's not good image at all. In spite of the interest we can feel in a technical and strategical draw, nothing is more beautiful than a win. Chess needs some storm on the 64 cases!
vladivaclav vladivaclav 11/28/2016 11:25
under rapid time controls carlsen is a clear favourite rating-wise. even more than in a classical chess. 12th game will be "all or nothing" for karjakin.
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 11/28/2016 04:06
Both players are in their finest, deep moves only grandmasters can understand like GM So.. Good that GM So makes clarifying commentaries. The final game is being awaited. Although it is suspected a draw and a playoff. prolonging suspense, excitement. In case of draw, playoff rapid transit. Carlsen has definite edge.
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 11/28/2016 03:48
Both players are in their finest, deep moves only grandmasters can understand like GM So.. Good that GM So makes clarifying commentaries. The final game is being awaited. Although it is suspected a draw and a playoff.
geraldsky geraldsky 11/28/2016 03:40
Karjakin achieved for being a strong challenger by scoring 5.5 with only one game remaining.
Aighearach Aighearach 11/28/2016 12:32
Carlsen is current and two-time Rapid Champion, but Karjakin is a former Rapid Champion. Carlsen is also the former Blitz Champion. It may be that they are closest in skill in the rapid. Personally I find WC tiebreaks horrifying and absurd. Call it a draw, have the Champion retain, and have an immediate rematch the following year, even if with a reduced prize fund. Then the following year the next new challenger challenges at the normal time.
caliche2016 caliche2016 11/28/2016 12:15
@imdvb_8793 you might have a point in that one of Nakamura's main reasons for losing against Carlsen was his lack of positional understanding in certain positions a defect that maybe we will not see in Karjakin's rapid play.

But still, it is a very risky match strategy to openly play for a draw even when you are White and wait for your opponent's mistakes. Of course, if somehow Karjakin draws tomorrow's game and somehow wins the tiebreak, I'm sure many people will praise the Russian's strategy... but do not forget that this same strategy could have cost him heavily, he could easily have lost at least two games under regular time control.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 11/27/2016 11:50
"Carlsen has just convincingly beaten Nakamura, who happens to be a monster in rapid and blitz games"

But one who has a very bad overall score against Carlsen. Plus, way, way, way less pressure in that one than in the tie-break to decide a world title match in which you were considered the big favorite, and have just been unable to win in the classical section... But, of course, after coming from behind, the pressure lessens somewhat and Carlsen becomes a favorite for the rapid once more, in this scenario. (Though, in my opinion, still not a very big favorite. But I freely admit I might be overestimating Sergey's rapid capabilities.)
caliche2016 caliche2016 11/27/2016 10:46
Great notes by Wesley. Karjakin's repetition of the utterly meek and unambitious 9.Nc3 line is very strange and hard to explain. In my opinion, Karjakin was ill-advised by his team, basically forcing him to fight for a draw in every single game as White. Did they really expect to get something out of the position after 14.f4??

This is a bad strategy. Apparently his team has pinned their hopes on the tie break games, buy why? Carlsen has just convincingly beaten Nakamura, who happens to be a monster in rapid and blitz games, so why this blind faith in Karjakin's chances in the tie break??
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 11/27/2016 09:54
In the press conference, a journalist asked a question very generally evoking a format change for the world championship tournaments and invoking a great number of draws in these tournaments in support of such a change.

It seems that some people do not understand that a game which ends in a draw can be a very good and exciting game. For example, in this tournament, the fact that SK was able to extract a draw in games 3 and 4 did not make the games less exciting. During the game, there was a lot of suspense: will SK be able to draw despite his bad position? Game 10, won by Magnus, was exciting – winning was not that obvious at the beginning of the endgame, and a draw was possible – if SK would have been able to make that draw, it still would have been an exciting game. And even if SK would have found the draw at move 20 or 21, as he could have, that would also have been spicy – “MC has a better position, but SK found a perpetual right upfront – MC not able to equalize” – would still have been exciting news. Even the quick draw of game 11 was quite interesting – how in a drawish position MC tried to still somewhat trap SK and how SK had to be precise, the fact that the highest level players still play a lot the Spanish in the computer age even though we found documents referring to that opening in 1490. Finally, the more the tournament advances, the higher the tension – which would have been the case if we have had only draws up to date. This tournament is very exciting.

In short, the format should not be changed only because some people who may not even know the rules of chess have no interest in the games themselves, but are only interested in the gross result of the games (who won?). Chess does not have to adapt to such an audience.
Denix Denix 11/27/2016 09:08
Great analysis gave lots of life to a somewhat uneventful game.
megadad1 megadad1 11/27/2016 03:11
app for windows mobile 10 please....