Carlsen missed winning chances in game 3 and 4. He will have white in game 5 but black in game 6 and 7. So he needs to make something happen today.

Carlsen – Karjakin (game 5)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 We have an Italian today!

3…Bc5 4. 0-0 Nf6 5. d3 0-0 6. a4 Aronian defeated Tomashevsky with this line.

6…d6 7. c3 a6 Now we transpose back into a more popular line of the Italian.

8. b4 Ba7 9. Re1 Anand and others played 9. Bg5. Carlsen decided to go into a more obscure line.

9…Ne7 I cannot find any game with this. So we perhaps enter into new territory.

10. Nbd2 Now we transposed back into a position previously played.

10…Ng6 A move played by Hammer before with black.

11. d4 No serious player played this line. Hammer’s opponent played 11. Nf1. Karjakin is thinking for the 1st time. Over 6 minutes so far.

11…c6 12. h3 Just normal logical moves. Carlsen once again chooses to have minimal advantage out of the opening and focus more on middlegame/endgame. Carlsen wants to have success today as he will have black in game 6 & 7 per FIDE regulation. Chess fans watching at home sometimes do not realize how hard these players prepare for a WC match. It is brutal dedication. I prepared for that moment my whole life. But I spent around a year to fully focus on my World Championship match. I prepared not only chess but worked very hard on my physical/mental toughness. You have to give 110% if you want to be WC! Karjakin spent over 17 minutes so far after 12. h3. Key decision on how to proceed with the game.

12…exd4 13. cxd4 I think black may want to play d5. Otherwise, it makes no sense to play 12…exd4.

13…Nxe4 Wow! Unexpected 🙂 Now white has a choice to play 14. Nxe4 allowing the 14…d5 fork or play 14. Bxf7+. I think Carlsen may play 14. Nxe4 d5 15. Bg5 f616. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Bb3. At least this will give white an imbalance position.

14. Bxf7+ Rxf7 15. Nxe4 Carlsen chose the other path. This tells you that it is hard to guess what is in Carlsen’s mind 🙂

15…d5 Best move for Carlsen now is 16. Nc5. After around 15 minutes, Carlsen played this move.

16. Nc5 This will be another loooooooooong grinding fight so be prepared for another marathon 🙂

16…h6 17. Ra3 Even though the advantage is small, I think it is very comfortable for Carlsen to grind out this position. It fits his style. He wants to make Karjakin suffer for another 6-7 hours 🙂

17…Bf5 Now we have to expect Carlsen to double his rooks with 18. Rae3

18. Ne5 After 21+ minutes, Carlsen pulled a surprising move.

18…Nxe5 19. dxe5 = White has passed pawn but black has Bishop pair. Long endgame fight. Interesting counter play for Karjakin with 19…Qh4. I think Carlsen purposely went into an imbalance position hoping to make a dent on the Russian’s defense. The question is will he succeed or will it backfire?

19…Qh4 After around 26 minutes, Karjakin played the suggested move 19..Qh4 This is getting interesting, not so boring after all 🙂 20. Rf3 is the only move which keep an equal position. Everything else and Carlsen is worse. This is a dangerous moment for Carlsen. The Bishop pair and f file can be dangerous. He needs to be careful. In sports, often times superior teams can’t close out games & allow the opponents to hang around. It can be detrimental.  All of a sudden, the other teams get the momentum and win. Carlsen has to be super careful not to let Karjakin hang around. Karjakin can be lethal when given the opportunity as we have seen in the World Cup / Candidates Tournament.

20. Rf3 Carlsen took his time and found the best move. Both sides need to make good moves at this critical moment. One mistake can decide the match. This is why Carlsen wanted an imbalance position.

20…Bxc5 21. bxc5 Re8 This is a safe bet because of opposite colors Bishops. Karjakin is very smart, he doesn’t want to take crazy risks .

22. Rf4 Qe7 23. Qd4 Ref8 This game will likely end in a draw. Bishop opposite colors. Hard to make progress for either side.

24. Rf3 Carlsen has about 34 minutes and Karjakin about 27 minutes until move 40. Karjakin can play Be6 or Be4 and white cannot really make progress. This will be a much easier draw than the last 2 games.

24…Be4 Carlsen can play on until move 100 but there is virtually no chance to win this against a strong opponent like Karjakin. White needs to get rid of at least one rook.

25. Rxf7 Qxf7 26. f3 Bf5 27. Kh2 Be6 28. Re2 Qg6 29. Be3 Pieces coming off the board. The position is equal. However, if Carlsen really wants to push hard, he can try f4, g4 then f5.

29…Rf7 30. Rf2 The idea of f4, g4, f5 is still alive. Of course Karjakin will sign off for a draw here. But it is in Carlsen’ nature to try to push.

30….Qb1 The risk of the plan f4, g4, f5 is it will weaken white’s Kingside.

31. Rb2 Qf5 Karjakin has a solid fortress to stop any progress.

32. a5 Kf8 Both players have about 16-17 minutes to get to move 40.

33. Qc3 Ke8 34. Rb4 If Karjakin can hold the past 2 games, I highly doubt that he would collapse now.

34…g5 How to make progress without endangering your own position? I do not see it it 🙂

35. Rb2 Kd8 36. Rf2 Kc8 Yes, finally progress! No, not really. I am just kidding! 🙂

37. Qd4 Qg6 38. g4 h5 Carlsen better be careful not to go crazy here.

39. Qd2 Karjakin is down to about 4 minutes to get to move 40. 39…Rg7 is a must.

39…Rg7 White still cannot make progress. I still believe that it is 99.99% draw.

40. Kg3 Black now has a dangerous threat with 40…Qh6  Carlsen really needs to be careful here. Black can open h file.

40…Rg8 I think 40…Qh6 is stronger. But Karjakin is down to his final minute so he did not have time to find it. Both players made move 40. Karjakin has less than 1 minute on his clock. Black is solid here. 38. g4 was inexplicable. 38. g4 made his position weaker for no reason. Now white has to be extremely careful as black can do damage.

41. Kg2 For the first time, Carlsen is actually in danger. I am not sure if he senses it. I am afraid that Carlsen is frustrated and he’s provoking Karjakin to break open the position. Is this a smart strategy?

41…hxg4 42. hxg4 =+ Carlsen will be the one defending this for a draw.  Carlsen is the one defending this for a draw.  The table has turned. Carlsen over pushed.

42…d4 Karjakin is sacrificing a pawn to clear the d5 square for his Bishop. This is getting dangerous. Carlsen now needs to defend accurately to hold the game. Carlsen now needs to defend accurately to hold the game. The tide has been turned. This is what I talked about earlier. Carlsen’s frustration went up because of the last two games. So he over pushed and he is being punished now. Karjakin has successfully got under Carlsen’s skin. Carlsen cannot possibly be happy about his position now. He finally realizes the danger. He is not lost yet but must accurate.

43. Qxd4 This is a very dangerous line for white 43..Rh8 44. Qe4 Qh6 45. Kf1 Qh1+ 46. Ke2 This is scary for white. This is such a critical game for Carlsen to hold as Karjakin will have white in the next 2 games. He cannot afford to lose this game.

43…Bd5 I think this is an inferior move to 43…Rh8 which is much more dangerous for white. I think the Norwegian fans are holding their breath now. This is more excitement than they bargained for 🙂

44. e6 Carlsen needed to give back the pawn to control the h8 square.

44….Qxe6 Now 45. Kg3 is probably the best option.

45. Kg3 Qe7 I think Carlsen can hold in this position, thanks to Karjakin not playing 43…Rh8.

46. Rh2 Carlsen wants to trade rooks which will lead to a draw. But if Karjakin plays 46…Qc7+ White must play 47. f4 and not Kg2 because of Bxf3+

46…Qf7 47. f4 gxf4+ 48 Qxf4 If black trades Queens, white is slightly better again. So black must keep Queens on the board.

48…Qe7 Carlsen got out of trouble. He defended well and Karjakin did not find the best continuation.

49. Rh5 The best move under the circumstance. I think the Norwegian fans can breathe again. Carlsen is safe from danger 🙂

49…Rf8 Something is in the water in NY. Both players seem to forget how to convert for wins 🙂

50. Rh7 Rxf4 51 Rxe7 Re4 1/2



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