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World Chess Championship 2016 (3)

Karjakin escapes after marathon game three against Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen will be cursing himself after allowing Sergey Karjakin to escape with a draw in game three after a nearly 7 hours of play.

Carlsen found an unusual idea on the white side in a noramlly drawish variation of the Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez. His 10.Re2 (rather than the notmal Re1) led to a queenless middlegame where Carlsen clearly felt he would be more at home than his opponent. Karjakin initially reacted well but starting with 30...Ra2 he started to play inaccurately and 31...c5 lost a pawn although he clearly retained drawing chances.

White was winning after move 40 but the position remained difficult to calculate. 42.Rb8+ was one possible improvement and 44.Ke4 was definitely better than 44.Rxd7+ after which Karjakin definitely had drawing chances with best play.

The next phase saw errors from both sides. 64...Be7? (64...Kf8), 70.Nc6 (70.Re8!) 70...Kxf5? (70.Rc3!), 71.Na5 (winning but 71.Re1 or 71.Re2 was clearer) and the final mistake 72.Rb7? after which Karjakin found the only drawing idea with 72...Ra1! and the game was drawn on move 78.

I'm not qualified to assess the extended complex endgame but it was terribly difficult for both sides and the errors especially near the end when tiredness set in were understandable. This draw has to be a boost for Karjakin, the consequences of losing this might have been serious. Will the knowledge that he missed several wins affect Carlsen?

Score Carlsen 1.5 - Karjakin 1.5

Game 4 Tuesday 15th November 2pm New York time, 7pm UK time.

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