Defending champion Magnus Carlsen last night survived a series of checks from the challenger Sergey Karjakin, in a long drawn out ninth game of the FIDE World Chess Championship title match, which mercifully for Carlsen ended in a draw after 74 nerve wracking moves.
The game, played at the Fulton Market Building, South Street, Seaport, Manhattan, saw Carlsen, who lost the previous game after the first seven were drawn, for the second successive game being outplayed.
Karjakin, playing white, and seeming full of confidence following his game eight triumph, had Carlsen on the ropes for much of the match, but just could not secure the win which might have effectively ended the contest. As it is, Carlsen secured the face saving draw, but needs to win one of the three remaining games without suffering another defeat, if he is to send the match into the tie break.
Early on in the championship, it was evident that Carlsen wanted to prolong the games, hoping for the challenger to make a mistake.
Yesterday, the game was on the other foot and despite what seemed to be a drawn position, Karjakin prolonged the inevitable with numerous checks against the black King which was caught in the centre.
Once again, the Ruy Lopez was the opening, and the players made the opening moves rather quickly, but Carlsen who strangely played Rb8 on move seven, quickly lost a pawn after White played Nxb5 on move 12.
White’s capture of the black bishop on c3 with the pawn instead of the Queen which was needed to protect the d4 pawn, saw him having double pawns on the f file. It was to be Carlsen’s saving grace.
With Black ceding control of the centre to White, Carlsen tried to find a counter play, but Karjakin was equal to the task, finding the right moves again and again, and setting a few traps of his own which the defending World Champion skillfully avoided.
A confident Karjakin on move 30 played Bxf7+sacking the bishop. After Black played Kxf7, Karjakin played Qc4+ hoping for Nd5, to which White would have then played Rxh7+ winning the black Queen, but Carlsen saw through the ruse and played Kg7 on his 40th move.
However, despite the loss of the bishop, Black had tremendous compensation and soon won back the piece when he forked the black King and Rook on a1 by playing Bc3+ on his 42nd move.
Thereafter, it was onto the endgame, where White’s pawn island structure and double pawns on the f file proved counterproductive. Nonetheless, Karjakin, a pawn up, tried to milk whatever advantage he could out of the position with a series of checks, which forced Black to move his King at times, and intervene with his Queen on other occasions, before finally, after 74 energy sapping moves the players agreed to call a truce.
Karjakin leads the 12 match series by five points to four.
The winner will be the first person to score six and one half points.
Meanwhile FIDE announced that Carlsen, who failed to show up for the press conference after he lost the eighth game will be fined 10 per cent of his prize money.
Following is the statement by FIDE.
Magnus Carlsen failed to attend the Round 8 post game press conference. FIDE regulations state that every player must attend the post game press conference, otherwise he will be penalised by a deduction of 10% of his prize money.
Following the conclusion of the Round 8 game, Karjakin appeared in the Mixed Zone to give brief interviews with the three official media partners to the Championship.
The procedure for players granting interviews in the Mixed Zone was agreed with the players and their management teams at the Technical Meeting prior to the start of the Championship. Both players have granted brief interviews with the three media partners in each of the preceding 7 rounds and several times one player was waiting on the stage until the other one finished his obligations.
After round 8, Magnus Carlsen arrived at the Mixed Zone one minute later than Sergey Karjakin and declined to give any interview. He was then offered to wait for a while in the Mixed Zone or on the press conference stage and Magnus decided to wait on the stage. The World Champion decided to leave the Stage 95 seconds later, even though he was informed by the FIDE Press Officer, Anastasiya Karlovich, that Karjakin was about to come to the press conference. The FIDE Press Officer tried to persuade him and his manager to come back to the press conference room, but Magnus Carlsen declined to do so.
Carlsen said afterwards that he has appealed the decision.
Karjakin speaking after the match said although his position was much better he did not see a forced win.
“It was a very interesting game. I think I was much better at some point, but I didn’t find anything direct,” he said.
Carlen said,” In general, it was a very difficult game. There were many difficult parts for sure and I’m just happy to survive.”
Game Nine of the World Chess Championship
White: Sergey Karjakin
Black: Magnus Carlsen
e4 e5 Nf3 Nc5 Bb5 a6 Ba4 Nf6 0-0 b5 Bb3 Bc5 a4 Rb8 c3 d6 d4 Bb6 axb5 axb5 Na3 0-0 Nxb5 Bg4 Bc2 exd4 Nbxd4 Nxd4 cxd4 Bxf3 gxf3 Nh5 Kh1 Qf6 Be3 c5 e5 Qe6 exd6 c4 b3 cxb3 Bxb3 Qxd6 Ra6 Rfd8 Rg1 Qd7 Rg4 Nf6 Rh4 Qb5 Ra1 g6 Rb1 Qd7 Qd3 Nd5 Rg1 Bc7 Bg5 Re8 Qc4 Rb5 Qc2 Ra8 Bc4 Rba5 Bd2 Ra4 Qd3 Ra1 Rxa1 Rxa1+ Kg2 Ne7 Bxf7+ Kxf7 Qc4+ Kg7 d5 Nf5 Bc3+ Kf8 Bxa1 Nxh4+ Qxh4 Qxd5 Qf6+ Qf7 Qd4 Ke8 Qe4+ Qc7 Qd5 Bd8 Kf1 Qf7 Qe4+ Qe7 Be5 Qe6 Kg2 Be7 Qa8+ Kf7 Qh8 h5 Qg7+ Ke8 Bf4 Qf7 Qh8+ Qf8 Qd4 Qf5 Qc4 Kd7 Bd2 Qe6 Qa4+ Qc6 Qa7+ Qc7 Qa2 Qd6 Be3 Qe6 Qa7+ Ke8 Bc5 Bd8 h3 Qd5 Be3 Be7 Qb8+ Kf7 Qh8 Qe6 Bf4 Qf6 Qb8 Qe6 Qb7 Kg8 Qb5 Bf6 draw