From Donald Duff in New York
The second game of the Agon sponsored FIDE World Chess Championship match between defending champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Serjey Karjakin ended in a draw yesterday, at the Fulton Market Building, Fulton Street, Manhattan, after only 32 moves.
Playing with the white pieces Karjakin opted for the Ruy Lopez (Spanish Opening) and managed to achieve a seemingly stronger position after the opening salvoes, with Carlsen having a `bad’ black bishop on e2.
Karjakin had a better pawn structure and more space, although his black bishop was yet to be developed. He later solved that particular dilemma by having the bishop fianchettoed on b2.
Evidence that Karjakin had the better position came from the fact that Carlsen took some 25 minutes to make his 13th move, when he opted to move the poorly situated knight on a5 to c4, instead of, to the more passive Nc6.
Carlsen subsequently chose to remove his weak bishop on e7, moving it to f1, possibly with the aim of fianchettoing the bishop on g2, which would have strengthened his kingside, as well as neutralise white’s bishop on the a8-h8 diagonal.
However, those moves failed to materialize, as Karjakin surprisingly opted to open up the centre by capturing the e5 pawn, and after a series of exchanges, Black appeared to have nullified his opponent’s attack, and the positions appeared equal, with white’s rook controlling the a file, while black’s rook took charge of the open d file, previously controlled by White. After 31 moves the game appeared drawn, despite the fact that Black had double pawns on the e file.
The two players arrived early at the venue, and after the customary security check, Carlsen went straight to the board and began to rehearse his moves.
Following the match Karjakin refused to answer questions about the opening, saying that some of the openings might be repeated.
“I just want to say that I will not comment about the opening games, because some of the openings can be repeated later on.”
Carlsen agreed, “Well, I mean his answer about not revealing anything about the opening was really nice, so I’m just going to copy that.”
Saturday’s match was sold out even before the opening match, and both players thanked the spectators who showed up yesterday, and asked them to be patient after the draws from the first two matches.
Karjakin said that despite the two draws he did believe that there was a possibility of a few fun games later on, while Carlsen said that it was important for the spectators to realise that it was a long match, and not every day there was going to be fireworks.
The players are competing in a 12 match series, with the winner being the first person to score six and one half points.