Game 12 draw / Showdown on Wednesday / Notes by Yasser Seirawan

11/28/2016 – Game 12 ended in a short draw - we will witness tiebreaks on Wednesday. Carlsen's 26th birthday. Carlsen chose to avoid a fight and settled for a quick draw by playing one of the most solid variations against the Berlin Defence. Karjakin also seemed to be happy with the draw. Maybe the press conference after the game was harder than the game itself. Yasser Seirawan shows mixed emotions. Newsblog 2016-11-29...

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World Chess Championship Carlsen Karjakin, New York - Newsblog 2016-11-28

Game No 12 - Notes by Yasser Seirawan


16.15 / 10.15: Okay, game 12 was short and maybe disappointing. But it raised questions:

Routine questions...

What can you say about game 12?

Questions of self-confidence...

Do you think you are stronger on tie-break?

Questions one should perhaps not answer truthfully...

Which color would you choose for the Armageddon game?

Questions about the opponent...

What do you think about Karjakin's nervous system?

Questions about the match in general...

Is that your toughest match so far?

And questions about some particular moves...

In the game you played h3, were you also thinking of f3?

16.00 / 10.00: A lot of people were disappointed by game 12. On his website chessintweets Eric van Reem gathers tweets about the match. Here's a sample of three tweets about game 12: @reachvsara: “Frankly, it was one of the worst games ever in a worldchess championship”; @benjamin_bok: “What an anti-climax”, @willtomford: “Is anyone else enjoying Carlsen-Karjakin as a soothing, meditative thing to fall asleep to? “

14.05 / 8.05 am: Tie-breaks are played on Wednesday - we can expect up to 15 games, the last one being the famous Armageddon or Sudden-Death blitz game.


First, the players start with a match consisting of four rapid games (25 min + 10 sec/move) - Karjakin will have the white pieces in the 1st game. If the score is level after these four games, we enter the 2nd stage.


This consists of a two-game-blitz-match (5 min + 3 sec/move), which will in case of a level score be repeated for four time. So in total this could sum up to ten blitz games.


If the score is level after the 2nd stage, an Armageddon game will be played. This format guarantess a winner, as in case of a draw the player with the black pieces will be declared as the winner. In this format, white has five minutes, black only four. An increment of three secsonds is given from move 61.

13.29 / 7.29: Jonathan Tisdall reports there is an article in Norwegian media that covers Sergey Karjakin helping people who stammer to identify theirselves with a new role model: 

+ + + 13.10 Hamburg / 7.10 am New York: What the players had to say about the game (analysis) + + +

+ + + The players on the perspective to play a tiebreak Carlsen: "Having a tiebreak is an achievement in itself" + + + 

6.30 Hamburg time: Tweet by World Chess is surprisingly harsh.

20.50 / 2.50 pm: "I didn't feel today was the day to take major chances." (Magnus Carlsen)

20.45 / 2.45 pm: Tiebreaks will start on Wednesday at 2 pm and last until they are over. Magnus will have black in the first game.

20.35 / 2.35 pm: Draw agreed after 30 moves.

20.34 / 2.34 pm: 

Caruana shows himself surprised that Carlsen does not even try to capitalize his white game and goes directly for the tiebreaks.

20.28 / 2.28 pm:

Magnus Carlsen seemingly goes for a draw and the tie-breaks. (Foto: Max Avdeev)

20.28 / 2.28 pm: Simon Williams takes it with humour:

20.20 / 2.20 pm: "This game might be a very short one" - Judit Polgar

20.12 / 2.12 pm: Magnus coach Peter Heine Nielsen explains their quite careful opening choice for today's game.

"Magnus is extremely good at getting a lot from very small things"


20.08 / 2.08 pm: Magnus tries a quiet opening this time - but as we saw in game three, the possiblities to outplay Sergey in such positions are still given.


20.02 / 2.02 pm: Magnus repeats the variation from game three: 5.Re1 in the Berlin Defense.

20.00 / 2.00 pm:

1.e4 was the kickoff of the shortest game in the match (Foto: Max Avdeev)

19.14 / 1.14 pm: We eagerly look forward to game twelve, which starts in less than an hour from now. The last two World Championship matches were already decided sooner. 2013 in Chennai Carlsen won after ten games (+3), while in Sotchi 2014 the match was over after eleven games (+2). The last time we saw a 12th game was in the 2012 match between Anand and Gelfand. Its last game was drawn then and we saw a tiebreak, where Gelfand missed a lot of chances and Anand retained his title.

19.03 / 1.04 pm: Chess fever rolls over Norway: according to Norway's TV station NRK a quarter of a million people in Norway stayed up late to watch game ten on Thursday night till they saw Carlsen winning. A quarter of million, that's 7 percent of Norway's population.

18.40 / 12.40 pm: Should today's game end in draw, rapid and, if necessary, blitz tie-breaks will follow on Wednesday. If you trust the live ratings Carlsen is a slight favorite in both disciplines - but far from being a clear favorite. Not to mention that nerves might play a role - to put it mildly.

Live Ratings: Top Ten Rapid

1 Carlsen 2894.0
2 Nakamura 2839.0
3 Karjakin 2818 i
4 Nepomniachtchi 2812.0
5 Mamedyarov 2805.0
6 Dominguez Perez 2803.0
7 Anand 2802.0
8 Vachier-Lagrave 2795.0
9 Radjabov 2788 i
10 Kramnik 2778.0

Live Ratings: Top Ten Blitz

1 Ding Liren 2875.0
2 Carlsen 2873.0
3 Nakamura 2842.0
4 Nepomniachtchi 2830.0
5 Aronian 2830.0
6 Vachier-Lagrave 2823.0
7 Mamedyarov 2813.0
8 Radjabov 2800 i
9 Karjakin 2800.0
10 Caruana 2800.0

16.30 / 10.30: Game 12 is thrilling and might decide the World Championship. Another interesting question is what Carlsen wants to play with White. 1.e4 or 1.d4 are the most likely first moves but a search in the ChessBase database reveals that Carlsen in the past has also opened with moves such as 1.a4, 1.a3, 1.b3 or 1.g3. Admittedly, he mainly tried these moves in blitz games. But maybe Carlsen also opts for 1.c4 or 1.Nf3. In a few hours we will know!

11.39 Hamburg / 5.39 am New York: The last bullet today. If the game has a winner we will have a World Champion. White smoke above Pier 16. If not: the tiebreak shall decide.

Last year, in Berlin, Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin playing in the Rapid- and Blitz-World Championships in Berlin , a fascinating show. Carlsen was always playing at the top but Karjakin also showed his class. And we know that he is calm under pressure. One day, Sergey Karjakin was playing bullet on when his opponent blundered in a tense situation. With with 12 seconds or less on the clock  Karjakin found the time to type "lol".

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


Game No 11 - Notes by Wesley So


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 Watch it here.

+ + +

World Chess Championship 2016 Newsblogs:

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Kpawn Kpawn 11/29/2016 12:42
I must agree with @ Kazimirovich. Thank God I didn't pay anything to watch that. And before the"let's get rid of classical time controls" group trots out their argument, allow me argue that most of the hope for fighting chess in this match was sabotaged by the scheduling of rapid and blitz chess tiebreaks, as this gave both players the strategical route by which they could wait till after the main match to fully engage. I don't know what the solution is but what we've seen here obviously isn't it. God forbid that the champion is chosen by armageddon. Chess is a thinking game. Blitz, bullet, rapid, armageddon are not chess!
megadad1 megadad1 11/29/2016 12:13
Sorry to make another boxing analogy but team MC on the ropes now, MC sister did an interview where she told of MC winning the match, I think she made her comments around game 8 or 9, now look, Tie-Break. This to me IMHO is a terrible way to end such a match, the Carlsen camp are on battle damage survive mode, taking it to tie breaks is an insult to all spectators and to chess itself as a sport, RIP. I cant think of another "sport" where an obvious draw would be tolerated, almost as bad as match fixing.
romualdo romualdo 11/28/2016 11:54
The rules must be changed in the classic games. Back to old rule that after a complete draw in points in classical games the champion retains the title. To have a WCC decided in rapid and blitz games is a shame for chess.
koko48 koko48 11/28/2016 11:42
Yasser I usually like and appreciate your commentary, but now I have to wonder if you're losing your marbles.....What was that long, rambling, random introduction? Including that totally inappropriate definition of 'drama' including a profanity (you know kids read this site too, right Yasser? And how many women do you think appreciate that definition, even if it's tongue in cheek?)

Obviously you realized that "In this preamble I got myself all wrong entangling myself in knots"....So I give you the credit for having at least that bit of self awareness, perhaps you are not as insane as your preamble was....But then you print it anyway?

Review and edit, GM Seirawan. Review and Edit! Less is More.
handikap handikap 11/28/2016 11:23
Did Carlsen managed to prove that he is better than the challenger?
genem genem 11/28/2016 11:04
Now 4 of the latest 8 WCChamp matches (from 2004 to 2016) have failed to end decisively in regulation. One of the failed matches (V.Kramnik - P.Leko 2004) ended in the ugly and outdated convention of tie-goes-to-the-current-champion (Botvinnik's favorite convention). The other 3 failed matches devolved into using speed chess to determine the serious WCChamp title.
Conclusion: Maybe 12 games is too short. Or maybe draws should not count, and the first player to win 3 games is thereby victorious in the match (up to 18 games).
At the level of elite grandmasters, chess has a raging draw problem, 83% in this match. This despite Carlsen's extra efforts to play on against Karjakin in endgames which other players would have accepted a draw.
geraldsky geraldsky 11/28/2016 11:01
Karjakin proves that he is a very strong challenger.
vincero vincero 11/28/2016 10:47
junk chess.
would any of the great champions of the past played this way?
jarreth22 jarreth22 11/28/2016 10:39
I find it interesting that Magnus doesn't feel confident enough to push with white on the last classic game of the match and is happy to go to tie-break. Losing that game 8 was a real blow to him. He has barely recovered. He said in an interview that "losing wasn't normal". He is shocked that Karjakin resists and never even envisaged he could lose. Let's see how he copes with rapid games where obviously he'll be the favourite. If he loses first maybe he won't recover!
sidbis sidbis 11/28/2016 10:28
tom fox tom fox 11/28/2016 10:24
Today's game was a disgrace. A tiebreak formula should have been used instead of a playoff mini-match: this would have favoured Karjakin as he was the less strong player with a game a piece. Knowing this, Carlsen would have been forced to play for a win.
Petrosianic Petrosianic 11/28/2016 10:09
A huge missed opportunity here. Had they played for 3 more moves, they could have set a new record for longest games in a world championship match. As it is, Botvinnik-Tal 1961 retains the record of 52.52 moves/game.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 11/28/2016 09:53
Bring back the Fischer format. Draws don't count. First to 6 wins is winner. Tiebreaks is not chess.
cherokeexj cherokeexj 11/28/2016 09:14
Magnus is a great strategist. He drew today, but he knows that he has a better chance of winning in Rapid/Blitz. Go Magnus! :)
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 11/28/2016 09:11
Just very disappointing. Somehow the match needs to be more than 12 games, that's the root cause of all of this. Wonder how the fans feel who paid 75 bucks today. I can make an educated guess. In 'the 95 championship in NY Kasparov and Anand agreed to a draw in an exciting endgame position. The crowd roundly booed.... I know because I was there, and I groaned too...
Cyric Renner Cyric Renner 11/28/2016 09:10
This WC has been a farce. Why not just determine the winner by coin toss, seeing as both players are so timid and afraid to take any risk.

The Classical game is dead, buried and the stench of its decomposition permeates everywhere. Time to switch to chess960.
fons fons 11/28/2016 09:07
It could be that Carlsen had a bad night's sleep, but going straight for the rapids is in favor of (lower rated) Karjakin because the faster the time control, the more random the result. (Karjakin's odds are improving.)

Karjakin was aiming for tie-breaks from day one it seemed to me.

Maybe Carlsen out-skills Karjakin _more_ in rapid than in classical, but that's very hard to judge. (Also rapid and blitz ratings are a lot more unreliable.)

If the rapid games are drawn it will become a total lottery.
JackCrabb JackCrabb 11/28/2016 08:45
Why do Carlsen and Karjakin despise their audience so much ?
Those who paid entrance fee today should demand their money back - and compensation for the wasted time.
Kazimirovich Kazimirovich 11/28/2016 08:44
Thank God I didn't pay anything to watch that.
caliche2016 caliche2016 11/28/2016 08:34
And we have another draw in game 12th, both players seem to be happy with the tie breaks.... What a sad result for a WCCh match! Let the rapid and blitz games decide the result of a World Championship Match, are you serious?? Come on! That type of chess circus is OK for a regular tournament or chess festival only.

They should let the Champion keep his title, after all the challenger is the one that must demonstrate he is the better player. The tie break system actually allows the challenger not to take any risks, look for a draw even as White and pin his hopes on "fishing in the muddy river" of rapid and blitz games, which is exactly what happened in this match.
megadad1 megadad1 11/28/2016 08:20
MC been over doing the smiles and very obvious, smiles = confidence, oldest trick in the book, Boxers in the ring who are almost spent and about to drop do the very same thing, smile and drop their guard, its human nature, MC smiles show more than just happy at winning a game they show a need to smile to soften his opponent.
flachspieler flachspieler 11/28/2016 07:56
Hi Scoobeedo: I have a better idea.
Take the nice comments on the (twelve) games from the chessbase website - and let Carlsen and Karjakin add their comments to that skeleton.
That would be THE BOOK.
scoobeedo scoobeedo 11/28/2016 06:45
It is so nice to watch both geniuses at the press conferences.

Sergej is always smiling. And Magnus also.

The are both very great ambassadors for chess.

And I repeat my request on both of you players.

Please make the chess world happy by writing together a book about this world championship.

If both of you work together and know each others idea for certain moves, this could be the best ever analyzed games. Because you will find together the correct ideas.

This book will write history! It will make both of you immortal!