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World Chess Championship 2016 (8)

Karjakin leads World Championship after 8 games following loss of objectivity from Carlsen

Sergey Karjakin became favourite to become the new World Chess Champion after defeating Magnus Carlsen with the black pieces in game 8 and took a 4.5-3.5 lead with just four games to go.

Carlsen chose the Zuckertort Colle which didn't produce any advantage but had the merit of avoiding detailed opening preparation and kept many pieces on the board.

For most of the game Carlsen seemed to be trying to provoke Karjakin to action and this became more and more extreme as the game approached first time control. Carlsen has played with such abandon before, especially in a couple of Olympiads, but it hasn't led to good results. He is a much weaker player when in this mindset and today his aggression was brave but again ended poorly. Carlsen seemed to play the entire game with an attitude of someone who felt he had to win. There were far too many risks for too little upside from Carlsen.

Carlsen complicated things with his 24...bxc4 (if he wanted this structure he'd have been better with more rooks on playing 22...bxc4) and 28.f4 continued the risky play. 31.h3 again put white in more danger for unclear chances. As Carlsen's and Karjakin's clocks ticked down (they had 30 seconds a move at least) 35.c5 was a clear losing blunder from Carlsen, but 37...Qd3? returned the favour allowing 38.Nxe6+ and equality at first time control. 44.Qc6 was an attempt by Carlsen to continue his aggression when he could have brought things to a swift, drawing conclusion, with 44.Qg6+. Carlsen probably missed 49...Qc5 in response to his 49. Qa5 but it was only finally with 51.Qe6? that Karjkin found himself in another winning position and after 51...h5! the game ended just a move later.

The dynamics of the match have changed and the final games will have to be more tactical from Carlsen. This might act in Carlsen's favour but Karjakin must have the better chances with just four games to go. It's hard to avoid the impression that Carlsen went a little crazy today for no good reason.

Score Karjakin 4.5 Carlsen 3.5

Game 9 Karjakin vs Carlsen Wednesday 24th November 2016.

WCh New York
Carlsen, Magnus - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 42 A45 Trompowsky
Karjakin, Sergey - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 33 C84 Ruy Lopez Centre Attack
Carlsen, Magnus - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 78 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Karjakin, Sergey - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 94 C88 Ruy Lopez Closed
Carlsen, Magnus - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 51 C50 Giuoco Piano
Karjakin, Sergey - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 32 C88 Ruy Lopez Closed
Karjakin, Sergey - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 33 D10 Slav Defence
Carlsen, Magnus - Karjakin, Sergey 0-1 52 D05 Colle System

WCh New York (USA), 11-30 xi 2016
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total Perf
Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2772 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 . . . . 2896
Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2853 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 . . . . 2729

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