Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin have played to another draw at the world chess championship in New York. They have tied each of the four games they have played so far in the 12-game series.
Slowly but surely world champion Magnus Carlsen's mood darkened. When he stretched out his hand to congratulate Sergey Karjakin on playing to a draw after more than six hours of play on Tuesday, his displeasure was written all over his face. For the second game in a row he had maneuvered Karjakin to the brink of defeat, and for the second time, the Russian, who had been on the defensive for the entire match, had managed to escape.
"I thought I'd win the match," Carlsen grumbled afterwards, "but somehow it did not work out."
Carlsen seizes the initiative
Carlsen, who played with the black chessmen, got off to a good start and put his opponent, who made a mistake in his opening, under pressure right from the start. As in the previous matches, the queens were exchanged early, something that tends to favor Carlsen. When the queens are off the board, a feel for positioning and tricky sequences of moves become a major factor and these are two of the Norwegian world champion's strengths. He also succeeded in consistently improving his position.
At this point, both the experts gathered in New York and the computers analyzing the match regarded Carlsen as the favorite to win the contest. His two bishops were clearly superior to Karjakin's bishops and knights. But Karjakin, the defensive specialist, once again managed to come up with a way of saving himself. The Russian Grand Master built up a "fortress," which surprisingly, Carlsen's king was incapable of penetrating. Carlsen tried to find a gap until the 91st move, before he conceded to a fourth consecutive draw.
For world champion Magnus Carlsen, the draws in the third and fourth matches were a disappointment. He had two great opportunities but ended up with nothing to show for it.
"Next time I have to do better, but so far Karjakin has simply not collapsed," a contrite Carlsen told the press conference.
The mood of his Russian opponent was the complete opposite. When asked how he felt after the two narrow points, he gave a one-word answer: "Fantastic!"