Magnus Carlsen put the final nail in the coffin for the 2016 World Chess Championship with a spectacular finish in the 25 | 10 rapid tiebreaker. Carlsen had been frustrated throughout the event and fell behind before managing to equalize the standings in Game 10. He went on to win the last two games of the rapid event, which finally put an end to his challengers efforts and solidified his place as World Chess Champion for the next two years. As the main portion of the event drew to its conclusion, many in the chess world began taking note of the precarious position Sergey Karjakin could find himself in against one of the strongest rapid and blitz players in the world.
The first two tiebreaker games were drawn with Karjakin narrowly escaping a loss in the second game but unable to stop the onslaught that ultimately allowed Carlsen to retain his title.
Carlsen’s incredible finish to the rapid tiebreaker event.
The position above is stunning and reaffirms why Magnus Carlsen is the best chess player in the world. With Qh6+, Magnus brought his opponent’s bid to become the next world champion to his stunning halt. There were moments throughout the event where it seemed that Sergey Karjakin was poised to overtake Carlsen, but never found a way to convert his opportunities into solid wins. Of course, there were moments throughout the event were Magnus seemed to struggle both with his chess abilities and his ability to keep his emotions in check (no pun intended). Magnus took a little bit of criticism on social media for his outburst following his loss in the classical round, but I have to say that him storming out of the press conference is the kind of stuff that chess needs if it wants to become a popular, respectable, and marketable activity in the United States.
Agon, which has become a four letter word In the chess community has refused to release (at least for now) the exact number of people who purchased their premium package for viewing the event, but initial estimates project that less than 10,000 people paid for the premium streaming and commentary package. Personally, I was pleased to be able to follow the games as a premium member of Chessbase, on ChessBomb, and to watch the exceptional commentary and analysis from some of my favorite people over on chess24.com. Still, just a long way to go if it wants to build an American audience to the point where corporations like Pepsi, Red Bull, or other major corporations are willing to sponsor the events. As mentioned in an excellent news article published shortly after Carlsen’s victory, chess needs a series of dramatic stories in order to sell itself to the American people. Bobby Fischer made history as the lone genius who challenged the world’s greatest chess power, the Soviet Union, during the Cold War which allowed the American people to relate what was happening on the board to what was happening every day in their news. When professional chess can find a way to bring the drama and excitement of playing the game to people in a way that relates to their everyday struggles and experiences, then it will find itself at a buffet of sponsors and fans. Compelling drama and personal connection sells products, not frivolous litigation.
The World Chess Championship ended its standard round series yesterday with a whimper as Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin drew the final game after a mere 30 moves.
So, what happens now? As Magnus celebrates his birthday on Wednesday, he will face Karjakin in a series of rapid and blitz games to determine who will be the overall champion. For those games, the will be four rapid games at 25 | 10 with blitz games scheduled if the rapid games end in a tie. In the unlikely event that all of those games are tied then there will be a 5 minute for white, 4 minute for black game where the winner will take all.
The 2016 World Chess Championship in New York City has been nothing short of a nail biter and will at least come down to determination in the final round scheduled to be played Monday at 1400 EST. Games 7 and 8 offered some tense moments in which Magnus missed opportunities to turn the tide of the tournament against his opponent. However, his over aggressiveness prevented him from capitalizing on these positions as he would normally be able to.
But everything changed in Game 8 when that over aggressiveness finally backfired and awarded a powerful win to challenger Sergey Karjakin.
Some believed that Magnus would be unable to recover from the loss but managed to pull out a win shortly thereafter in Game 10 to even things up.
The tournament remains tied and goes into Monday’s final round with the very real possibility of a rapid or blitz playoff being needed to decide the overall winner.
All eyes are on New York City as Magnus Carlsen defends his World Chess Champion title against Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin. Carlsen is the heavy favorite to win the tournament but if the first few games are any indication of what to expect from the whole tournament, we might be in for a long ride. As the name of the post suggests, its too early to draw any conclusions from these games, but there are many conclusions in these games that end in draws…
Game 3: Bending Space and Time
Hopes were high after the first two games that there would be some dramatics appearing in the third game and they came…in a sense. Reminding players, commentators, and fans alike that chess requires mental and physical resilience, the players battled it out in a 7-hour, 78-move nightmare that ended…you guessed it..in a draw.
Game 4: Drawing Up A New Strategy?
After the marathon of Game 3, I was very impressed that the players were able to squeeze out the next game, which went 94 moves before ending in another draw. It was apparent in this game, however, that Magnus was becoming frustrated with Karjakin and that a draw was certainly not on his list of game ideas for the day.
Game 5: Drawn of the Dead
Game 5 was played earlier today and felt like a blitz game at times. The moves were fast in some areas deep into the position with Magnus finding himself in trouble against his challenger for the first time in the match. There were certain moments in the game when Karjakin had clear advantage on the board, but Magnus was able to bring these situations back into balance and force a draw on move 51.
The showdown for the title of World Chess Champion between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin is tied at 1 point each after rounds one and two ended in a draw. Carlsen drew white for Game One and opened with a homage to recently elected President of the United States Donald Trump with a combination called the Trompowsky Attack, which some have re-branded as the Trumpowsky Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5). An unusual opening at this level of play, the response from Karjakin neutralized the attack and led to a draw between the two.
Game One also had its share of American celebrities on hand as Actor Woody Harrelson made the ceremonial first move to begin the match.
Woody Harrelson makes the first move in Game One! (Credit: FIDE)
Game Two had some interesting twists and turns throughout, with Chess24 demonstrating throughout why it is a revolutionary medium for watching high-level games. Guest commentary by various Grandmasters and assertions that Game Two was boring led to some interesting and entertaining social media exchanges.
Often one of the best indicators that a chess game is interesting is that amateurs think it isn't! https://t.co/cfjVfsDe09
Chessdom and Susan Polgar have posted a series of responses from the tournament organizers that explain in clear terms that Karjakin’s withdrawal from the tournament is disrespectful:
Karjakin has a signed contract with us and it does not state that he can withdraw from the tournament if he qualifies for the World Championship in November, states Jøran Aulin-Jansson.
This action feels disrespectful to us as the organizers of the event as well as the other players in the tournament, not to mention the entire chess world that were looking forward to the dress rehearsal for the World Championship match between Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen, says Aulin-Jansson.
Sergey Karjakin is a great chess player and he is still welcome as a participant in Altibox Norway Chess 2016. He has, after all, won both times he has participated, says Aulin-Jansson.
Karjakin obviously has a lot of nerves before his first World Championship match, however, we truly wish Karjakin and his advisors understand that one can not just run away from agreements because it suddenly does not fit in preparation for a match that does not start until about half a year later.
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The 2016 Candidates Tournament, which has been mined in controversy, is finally over. In a triumphant return to the world chess stage, Sergey Karjakin of Russia has earned the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World Chess Championship in New York City. Karjakin finished the tournament with a solid win over American GM Fabiano Caruana. After holding a relatively balanced position for most of the game, Caruana blundered a critical rook move:
Carlsen remains a clear favorite to retain his title, but Karjakin has an opportunity to snatch it away from Norway and bring it back to Mother Russia, whose state-funded system dominated world chess for almost a century. Congratulations and praise poured out from the community following the win.
Vishy Anand, who challenged Carlsen in 2014 and looked poised to return to the championship at certain points in the tournament, showed an amazing depth of class by symbolically passing the torch on to Karjakin via Twitter.
As if this tournament did not already have enough oddities and challenges associated with it, Anish Giri managed to draw every one of his games in the tournament, a staggering 14/14 drawn games! Family, friends, and fans watched as Giri went from a theoretical challenger to the world champion to the subject of memes and jokes spread across the blogosphere.
Perhaps nothing besides Agon’s coverage policy was as disappointing as Hikaru Nakamura’s performance in the tournament. The American GM, who was among the candidates high on the list to challenge Magnus Carlsen, literally imploded. He regained some ground in the later rounds, but it was not enough to catch Karjakin, Caruana, and Anand who had pulled well ahead of their competitors.
GM Hikaru Nakamura will have to wait another cycle. (Image Credit: FIDE)
Final Standings Crosstable (Image Credit: Chessbase)
Now the chess world turns its attention to Norway Chess as the next major tournament gets set to begin in just a few short months. Check out the entire collection of games from the 2016 Candidates Tournament below: