Despite error, world chess champion Carlsen holds on for another draw | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 21.11.2016
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Despite error, world chess champion Carlsen holds on for another draw

The seventh match at the World Chess Championship ended in a draw - just like all of the previous matches. Challenger Sergey Karjakin was unable to capitalize on a mistake by the champion, Magnus Carlsen.

After Magnus Carlsen, pictured above, had made his 16th move on Sunday, the world champion shook his head slightly, and it was clear to all of the chess experts gathered in New York that something was not going to plan.

"That was a big mistake," Carlsen said later, describing the moment when he had carelessly moved his rook two squares to the side. "I don't know how I overlooked that," he added.

It was a move that even amateurs could easily see through and the perplexed Karjakin was suddenly in a position to force a favorable exchange. "Sloppy play,"  is how former World Chess Championship finalist Nigel Short put it.

Carlsen rescues a draw

But Carlsen was in luck on Sunday. Despite his mistake, all was not lost. The champion from Norway sacrificed a pawn and gained a position that could hardly be lost.

"Nothing had really gone wrong, the position was relatively easy to hold," a relieved Carlsen would say later.

His Russian opponent saw things the same way.

"I just could not improve my position," Sergey Karjakin explained.

 And so the seventh match of this 12-match World Championship ended with the 33rd move.

USA Schach-WM Sergei Karjakin (picture alliance/dpa /P. Foley)

Karjakin: "I will try to take my chance when I get it."

By Sunday, a few of the chess enthusiasts in New York were showing signs of becoming restless. However  Karjakin, the challenger, was unimpressed.

"No one wants to lose a game," was how he explained the seven consecutive draws.

"So many draws are a little unusual," Carlsen said, "but that will not continue."


Moving into the decisive phase

The champion now has a small advantage going into the final five matches.  In three of the games he will be playing as white, meaning that he as the first move and can use this to try to put his opponent under pressure.

"This is a match over five games," Carlsen said confidently. "It will be very interesting." With the two players tied at 3.5 points earch,  Karjakin can be expected to stick to his strategy of biding his time and waiting the always somewhat impatient Carlsen to make an error.

"I will try to take my chance when I get it," Karjakin said.

The players earn one point for a win and half a point for a draw. The first player to 6.5 points wins the title. Further matches will be scheduled if they are still tied after 12 matches.

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