Karjakin Completes Classical Comeback, World Cup Final Goes To Tiebreaks

Karjakin Completes Classical Comeback, World Cup Final Goes To Tiebreaks

| 49 | Chess Event Coverage

After GM Peter Svidler won the opening two games of a four-game 2015 World Cup Final, a mere draw from two games would have finished off his nearly four-week journey to the title. In match play golf he would be called "dormie", a corruption of the French "dormir", but there was one problem: GM Sergey Karjakin did not go to sleep.

Instead, Karjakin won both game three yesterday and game four today, pushing the match to chess's version of a "19th hole" -- a Monday tiebreak for the title.

All photos courtesy of FIDE.

"Somehow, I'm still alive," Karjakin said at the post-game press conference.

Unlike the previous two games, today's contest wasn't marred by a large oversight. Instead, Karjakin slowly worked his space advantage, active king and strong bishop against his fellow Russian's weak d-pawn.

GM Sergey Karjakin is now four-for-four in "must-win" games at the 2015 FIDE World Cup.

Svidler's opening choice showed that his plan was to content himself with playing a slighty worse position in exchange for getting the queens off the board in the first five moves. For quite a while the strategy seemed sage, with Karjakin making only a modicum of progress with his reduced army.

But just when Svidler could have switched from passive defense to active, he failed to seize the moment and was overrun by White. A critical alternative was 44...d5, where Black either trades off his major weakness or White allows it to run free after 45. e5 fxe5+ 46. Kxe5 d4 (Karjakin said afterward he thought he was better but was not sure).

Black's actual move, 44...Re8, turned out to slow but not prevent a fatal king invasion. "The game was pretty much equal until the last few end moves," Karjakin said through a translator (some of his quotes were in English, some in Russian).

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov:

So did Karjakin get some last drops of luck? He said Svidler told him after the game that the line he played with 10. f3 was the only line that Svilder did not "refute". Karjakin thought he was "much better" after 13. Nd6+, the move that saddled Black with an eternal isolated pawn.

One top player felt he had an easier route to an advantage:

Note that in the official transmission (as seen here) Svidler resigned on his opponent's move. Due to the DGT technology, which places the white king on e4 for a white victory, some transmissions have Karjakin playing 57. Ke4? which throws away the win. Svidler likely saw that a simple king invasion UP the board is the correct route and hopeless for him.

GM Peter Svidler's lifetime rapid/blitz score against Karjakin is just about even despite being 14 years older.

"I was trying to concentrate on chess and not think about the specific situation," Karjakin said, admitting he was nervous. When asked, he dedicated the game to his wife, because she's "going through lots of emotions right now, she's very anxious, excited for me."

The two men have played their 16th and final classical games in Baku. On Monday they move on to their final tiebreaks too.

There's no special alteration for finals tiebreaks, meaning both players have been through this routine several times already:

  • Two games of G/25+10;
  • If still tied two games of 10+10;
  • If still tied two games of 5+3;
  • If still tied an Armageddon game (five minutes to four minutes, Black has draw odds, three-second increment after move 60).

The "routine" is different of course in that this tiebreak is worth $40,000 USD. The winner takes home $120,000; the loser $80,000.

"I will try to get a very good sleep, that's all for now," Karjakin said.


2015 World Cup | Round 7 Results

Name Name C1 C2 C3 C4 TB Score
Peter Svidler Sergey Karjakin 1-0  1-0  0-1 0-1    2.0-2.0

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