Sergey Karjakin in war of words with Garry Kasparov after world chess defeat

Sergey Karjakin in war of words with Garry Kasparov after world chess defeat

After Sergey Karjakin v Magnus Carlsen the next bout was Karjakin v Garry Kasparov in a sharp war of words. The legend and former world champion Kasparov, defeated in his bid for president of the global chess body, Fide, lives in New York but did not attend a single session at the match site in Manhattan. At the end of the series Kasparov tweeted: “Congratulations to Magnus! His lack of preparation angered the goddess Caissa, but not enough to drive her into the drab Karjakin’s arms.” Pressed in an interview for an explanation of “drab”, Kasparov went further: “Karjakin as world champion would have been a misunderstanding … The stars would have had to align in an unusual configuration for a chess player of Karjakin’s level to beat a player of Carlsen’s level.”

Karjakin’s response was calmer but definite. Asked who was better, Kasparov in his best years or Carlsen, he replied: “Magnus. It’s not just that I lost to him. It’s simply that the Norwegian is a more universal player. Kasparov had very good openings and tactically he was at a very high level but in positional play and the endgame it seems to me that he was far inferior to the current Carlsen.” Discussing his personal relations with Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, Karjakin revealed that he had visited Karpov before his journey to New York “and he gave me useful tips that I employed” but that “Kasparov and I don’t speak and I have no intention of doing that since I think that he’s doing a lot of bad things, even for chess.”

The critical period in the match was from the eighth game, which Karjakin won when Carlsen overpressed, through the ninth, which Karjakin was close to winning, to the 10th which Carlsen won after Karjakin missed an early and easy almost forced draw. Karjakin says that when his opponent stormed out of the press conference following his defeat, “I had the impression that he had cracked and in the next game I played very sharply. This proved justified and Magnus only escaped by a miracle.”


Sergey Karjakin in war of words with Garry Kasparov after world chess defeat Leonard Barden Friday 9 December 2016 11.07 EST

Karjakin pinpoints the tide- turning moment in game 10: “It didn’t even cross my mind that my opponent could overlook the situation with a possible perpetual check. You might say I fell victim to my own respect for Magnus.”

The post-match debate has also centred on whether Carlsen, at 26 years old, has reached his peak. The Norwegian achieved his peak rating of 2882 in May 2014 when it seemed he would become the first human to reach 2900. But now he is 40 points lower and the No2, the US champion, Fabiano Caruana, has narrowed the gap between them to 17 points.
Critics point to the lack of innovations and new ideas in the match and claim that Carlsen has become too comfortable and less willing to work. However, Carlsen himself expressed concern that when he loses momentum “things fall apart” and says that he will employ a sports psychologist before his next title defence in 2018.

A major change is soon to occur in the women’s championship, which China’s Hou Yifan has dominated for a decade. Hou dislikes the knockout format for this event and has announced that her future will be in play against men. So the next title match will be between the knockout champion and China’s world No2, Ju Wenjun, winner of the just concluded women’s Grand Prix.
This game shows the dark side of f7-f5 and retaking with the bishop, a classic strategic error “known to every Russian schoolboy”. White takes advantage by an h pawn push and a rook sacrifice at h7 which ties the black army in knots.

Nino Batsiashvili v Almira Skripchenko

1 d4 d6 2 c4 e5 3 d5 f5?! 4 e4 Nf6 5 exf5 Bxf5 6 Nc3 Nbd7 7 Nge2 a5 8 Ng3 Bg6 9 h4 Nc5 10 h5 Bf7 11 Be3 Nfd7 12 Nce4 Nxe4 13 Nxe4 Be7 14 Qg4 g6 15 hxg6 Bxg6 16 Rxh7! Rxh7 17 Qxg6+ Rf7 18 Be2 Nf8 19 Qh5 Bf6 20 Bg4 Qe7 21 Ng5 c5 22 Be6 Bxg5 23 Bxg5 Qc7 24 a4 b6 25 Ra3 1-0

3472 1 Qh8+ Rh7 2 R2d7! 1-0 If Rxh8 3 Rxh8 mate. If 2…R6g7 3 Rd6+ Rg6 4 Rxg6+ Kxg6 5 Rg8+ Kh6 6 Qf6 mate.