The polls are in for next month’s big event in the USA and Magnus Carlsen has emerged the clear favourite in his world title defence against Sergey Karjakin. Indeed, the Norwegian world champion leads by five wins to one in the classical format used in New York. The match is organised by Agon and the prize fund is ‘at least one million euros’. See worldchess.com/nyc2016 for details of new technology to follow the games online, as well as New York travel packages. This week, extracts of play from previous bouts between the pair.
Karjakin-Carlsen; Norway Chess, Stavanger 2013
(see diagram 1)
White had stood well but Carlsen coordinated his forces impressively and now tears into Karjakin’s kingside. 33 … Nxf4 34 Rxd6 If 34 gxf4 Bxf4+ 35 Kh1 Rxe4 gives a murderous attack. 34 … Nxg6 35 Rxe6 Rxe6 36 Bd4 f5 37 e5 Nxe5 This wins a pawn as White is too hamstrung by the threats on the h1-a8 diagonal to organise his forces. 38 Bxe5 Qc6 39 Rg1 39 Bxf5 is met by 39 … Rxe5. 39 … Qd5 40 Bxf5 Rxe5 Black has regained all his material and the white king is far too exposed to survive. 41 Bg4 h5 42 Bd1 c3 43 Qf2 Rf5 44 Qe3 Qf7 45 g4 Re5 An elegant winning move. If 46 Qxe5 Qf2+ mates. 46 Qd4 Qc7 White resigns
Carlsen-Karjakin; Wijk aan Zee 2012
(see diagram 2)
19 … d3 A powerful move based on the variation 20 Bxa8 d2 21 Bc6 Qd4+ 22 Kh1 dxe1Q+ 23 Qxe1 Nd3 24 Qf1 Re6 with a good position for Black. 20 Rc4 Rc8 21 Bf5 Qd5 22 Rc3 Rcd8 23 Qd2 Qd4+ 24 Kh1 a5 The powerful passed pawn gives Black excellent chances. 25 Rb1 a4 26 Rd1 Rd5 27 h4 g6 28 Bxd3 Red8 29 Qe1 Qxf4 30 e6 Nxe6 31 Bc2 b5 32 Rxd5 Rxd5 Carlsen has wriggled well but Black remains a pawn ahead in a strong position and makes no mistake from here on. 33 Re3 Nd4 34 Bd3 Kg7 35 Kg1 Qf6 36 Kh2 Rh5 37 Rh3 Ne6 Winning a further pawn. 38 Rf3 Rxh4+ 39 Kg1 Qd4+ 40 Qf2 Qxf2+ 41 Kxf2 b4 42 Re3 Rd4 43 Bb5 Kf6 44 Rf3+ Ke7 45 Rd3 bxa3 46 bxa3 Rf4+ 47 Ke3 f5 48 Rd7+ Kf6 49 Rd6 Re4+ 50 Kf2 Kg5 51 Be8 Nf4 52 Bb5 Re5 53 Bc4 Nh5 54 Ra6 Nf6 55 Rxa4 Ng4+ 56 Kf1 Kh4 57 Be2 Kg3 58 Bxg4 fxg4 59 Rb4 h5 60 a4 Kh2 White resigns
Karjakin-Carlsen; Moscow 2009
(see diagram 3)
At first sight the position looks good for White, but he is actually in a tactical mess. 21 … Bf5 22 Kh1 22 Bxf5 Nf3+ wins. 22 … Rad8 23 Ra4 23 Rxd8 Bxe4+. 23 … b5 White resigns After 24 Rb4 a5 does the trick.