- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 20, 2016

Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin tried a new opening but got a familiar result as he and world chess champion Magnus Carlsen played their seventh straight draw of their scheduled 12-game world title match in New York City Sunday.

Karjakin, playing White, opened with 1. d4 after three straight king-pawn openings, but failed to generate much of an initiative against the Norwegian champion’s Queen’s Gambit Slav Defense. Just when Black appeared to have equalized comfortably, though, an apparent miscalculation by the champ gave White an opening.

Black’s 16. Ba3 Rc8?! was not the best (more solid was 16…Rb8), as after the tricky series of exchanges 17. Nf6+ Bxf6 18. Bxb7 Bxa1 19. Bxb4 Bf6 20. Bxf8 Qxd1 21. Rxd1 Rxf8 22. Bxa6, Karjakin emerged a pawn ahead.


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But as in several games in the match to date, the simplified position featured bishops of opposite colors, and after 22…b4!, locking down White’s queenside majority, Carlsen encountered little difficulty in holding the ending. In the final position, White has no good way to advance his a-pawn and thus can’t cash in on his material advantage. After 32. g4 g5 33. Ke4 Rc8, the two players agreed to split the point.

Elite-level chess between evenly matched grandmasters can result in a high number of draws, but even the players appear to be getting a little impatient at the lack of decisive games. Although both Carlsen and Karjakin have had chances to break through, “the last two games have not been so interesting,” Carlsen conceded after Sunday’s draw.



The champion will have the advantage of the White pieces in Monday’s Game 8, being played at the Fulton Market atrium in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. If the match remains tied after Nov. 28’s Game 12, a rapid playoff will be held two days later.

The moves of Sunday’s Game 7 were:

Karjakin-Carlsen, FIDE World Championship Match, Game 7, November 2016

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Bd3 dxc4 6.Bxc4 e6 7.Nf3 c5 8.O-O b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.dxc5 Nc6 11.Nd2 Bxc5 12.Nde4 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Be7 14.b3 Nb4 15.Bf3 O-O 16.Ba3 Rc8 17.Nf6+ Bxf6 18.Bxb7 Bxa1 19.Bxb4 Bf6 20.Bxf8 Qxd1 21.Rxd1 Rxf8 22.Bxa6 b4 23.Rc1 g6 24.Rc2 Ra8 25.Bd3 Rd8 26.Be2 Kf8 27.Kf1 Ra8 28.Bc4 Rc8 29.Ke2 Ke7 30.f4 h6 31.Kf3 Rc7 32.g4 g5 33.Ke4 Rc8 Draw agreed

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