Carlsen – Karjakin, game ten



I would like to start this post with the good old Latin saying, that goes “Errare humanum est,  perservare diabolicum.”

Because, to the endless joy of all the haters of “Dicta et sententiae“, Carlsen – Karjakin game ten confirmed that everything with the “Roman origin” should be taken “cum grano salis”.

If you are not familiar with the translation because you have life, let me explain. The rough translation of the saying above would be : “It is of the human to make mistakes, it is of the devil to continue making them.

And while Karjakin was the one that kept making mistakes,   Carlsen was the one “devilishly” lucky to avoid the draw in the early stages of the game ten. Therefore,  with the simple deduction it is easy to conclude that “There is something rotten in the kingdom of.. Rome?”

Further evidence can be found in the fact that Carlsen can be considered a true master of the chess game.

And also, it is viable to assume that after the game Carlsen couldn’t resist but to dance a victory dance in the solitude of his apartment.

Naturally, I am getting carried away, as usual. So, for the remainder of the post, I will try to stick to chess.


Carlsen – Karjakin game ten saw the 2nd repetition of the Berlin defence in the match.

However, in contrast to game three, Carlsen avoided any sort of symmetry or endgame and opted for the move 4 d3, which was very successful for him in the past.

And already on move six he chose a rather rare continuation, which resulted in a fresh position on the board already around move 10.

Moreover, it was the type of position that suits Carlsen’s style perfectly. And he was indeed accomplishing little positional goals in the initial part of the maneuvering.

However, at the move 19 he commited the first serious error in the game. Due to taking on e6, he allowed Karjakin to snatch an immediate forced draw.

It seems like Karjakin finally got tired and/or nervous, since he decided against the knight capture and advanced in the centre instead.

GM Ivanchuk could probably tell alot about nerves 🙂

Next it was Carlsen’s turn to go wrong and allow another version of the knight sacrifice which would once again lead to a quick draw by repetition.

Luckily for the champion, the Caissa seems to be very fond of him, since Karjakin missed the forced draw once again (although the 2nd time it was rather hard to spot). As a result, he ended up in a slightly inferior endgame where there were only two possible final results. It was expected that Carlsen “The Grinderman” would torture him untill the world’s end. And beyond.

And that is exactly what happened. Magnus obviously enjoyed his position and managed to accumulate small positional gains, creating more and more problems for Karjakin. The latter defened tenaciously, though and for a long time there was nothing tangible for Carlsen.

However, the Champion continued to maneuvre quietly and shuffle his rooks up and down the board, untill finally Karjakin commited a decisive mistake, which allowed the long prepared b5- breakthrough.

In the end, there was nothing left for Karjakin to lay his weapons and admit that he has been outplayed. However, the fact that he appeared at the press conference probably won him some more admirers.

To sum up, despite the strange oversights, the game was a masterpiece by Carlsen. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t understand very much about the subtle maneuvering. I had to spent quite amount of time with the engine comparing  similar positions that could arise to get a more clear picture about all the subtleties of this seemingly, very dry, game.

Therefore, without any false modesty, I think i managed to do a decent job in claryfing some subtle points of the game.


To conclude, game ten once again, after the Kasparov – Anand 1995 match,  proved to be very lucky for the reigning champion.

And I can imagine that many people will say that it is ridiculous to compare this two instances. Because Kasparov crushed Anand after displaying probably the most brilliant piece of preparation in chess history, while Carlsen “simply” exploited Karjakin’s uncharacteristic mistakes.

However, it is important bear in mind the ancient quote that “A good player is always lucky”. Because Kasparov wouldn’t have been able to display his preparation if Anand didn’t naively repeat the variation that already appeared in the match.

And remember also that in the game eleven of the same match Anand blundered horribly in an equal position. After which he nevered recovered and the match was practically decided.

Therefore, trying to criticize Carslen because Karjakin made mistakes would be unfair.

Judging by the play in the match, he didn’t deserve to trail at this moment. And even though Karjakin blundered, the technical play Magnus displayed in the endgame cannot be praised highly enough. The game is a technical masterpiece.

Anyway, there are only two remaining games. The match tension is at its peak and it will be interesting to see whether players will be agressive with White pieces, or opt for safety and head for the tiebreaks.

(Actually, since I am a bit late with this post, it seems that game eleven might finish with a quick draw).

There is no denying that Magnus has the psychological advantage now  though. And we might remember the words of another prominent chess player for the end.

Alexander the Great certainly knew a thing or two about chess

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