Karjakin Wins Candidates' Tournament, Qualifies For World Title Match
Sergey Karjakin defeated Fabiano Caruana in the final round of the 2016 Candidates' Tournament, making him the new challenger for the world championship. Karjakin will face World Champion Magnus Carlsen in November in New York.
Photo: Lennart Ootes.
More than a hundred spectators on site, including special guests like Olga Girya, Sergey Rublevsky, Evgeny Sveshnikov, Mark Dvoretsky, and hundreds of thousands of chess fans online witnessed a historic day of chess. Sergey Karjakin, the youngest player ever to gain the GM title (at 12 years and 7 months), has reached a new and major peak in his chess career: a world title match.
After Vishy Anand had drawn his game with Peter Svidler, Karjakin only needed a draw in the final round. But he nicely refuted a huge error by Fabiano Caruana to decide the game in his favor, in less than four hours of play, in a game that was worth roughly half a million dollars.
Rather fittingly, all other three games had already finished when the decisive moments took place in the playing hall. The remnants of the other fights, the whole tournament was history, and only one game would decide everything.
his boss Sergey Karjakin good luck. | Photo Lennart Ootes.
If Anand had beaten Svidler a draw would have been enough for Caruana to win the tournament on tiebreak. However, it didn't really make sense to take this into account; it was more important to keep winning chances from the very start. For that, Caruana opted for the Classical Sicilian.
“I basically just studied the games of Li Chao to prepare,” he said.
Karjakin played the Rauzer and then Caruana opted for a topical line: 6...e6, 7...a6, and 8...Bd7. After his 12th move Karjakin started thinking for the first time, because the move order was a bit rare.
focusing on Karjakin-Caruana. | Photo Lennart Ootes.
By move 20 Caruana could be fairly happy: he had managed to reach an unbalanced position with long-term trumps such as his central control and the bishop pair. However, as long as the queens would be on the board, his king would always feel a bit insecure.
Move 30 was the next critical moment, when Karjakin found an excellent, practical pawn sacrifice to create threats against that king in Caruana's time trouble. The main advantage of the sacrifice was that from that moment onwards the position was easier to play for White.
Karjakin was about to win the pawn back when Caruana thought he could consolidate. However, this failed tactically. Karjakin sacrificed his rook in the middle of the board for a winning attack. Without hesitation he decided the game, and the tournament.
The Karjakin-Caruana post-mortem courtesy of WorldChess.
@MagnusCarlsen) March 28, 2016
Karjakin said that he had prepared very well for the tournament, for example during a pleasant training session in Dubai. “I came here very fresh and very motivated, trying to show my best,” he said. “During the tournament I was just trying to stay calm, play well and to concentrate on my play and not to think too much about the overall results.”
A big hug from Karjakin's manager Kirill Zangalis. | Photo Lennart Ootes.
He also mentioned his seconds: Vladimir Potkin, Alexander Motylev, Yuri Dokhoian and “also my secret coach was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov!”
Sometimes in the chaos you can find some beauty... pic.twitter.com/3NPeJV0lh8— David Llada ♔ ( @lladini) March 28, 2016
About the match in New York he said: “Magnus is a nice guy. We're maybe not best friends but we have a good relationship and we speak to each other sometime, by Skype also. If I'm in good form then I will have chances. I should just try to focus on my chess and not think too much about who is the favorite.”
Caruana's comments to Chess.com after the game.
Karjakin also briefly spoke to Chess.com afterward.
For the official channel Karjakin was interviewed as well. There he said: “I'm probably the happiest person in the world at this moment!” To the question what he will do with the prize money (he won 95,000 euros), he replied: “I will give it to my wife; she knows what to do!”
Interview with Karjakin courtesy of WorldChess.
Didn't quite work out at the end, but gave it a shot in a tough situation. Congrats to @SergeyKaryakin on a well deserved victory.— Fabiano Caruana ( @FabianoCaruana) March 28, 2016
@amrutamokal) March 28, 2016
Anand was valiant, but it's a changing of the guard. Champion Carlsen & challenger Karjakin both born in 1990, year of my 5th Karpov match!— Garry Kasparov ( @Kasparov63) March 28, 2016
Few expected Vishy Anand to win his black game against Peter Svidler (and make Karjakin's win relevant). However, the Indian did get a very nice position out of the opening. In yet another English Opening his early knight maneuver to c2 wasn't that challenging.
But Svidler managed to avoid getting worse with well-timed pawn pushes (16.d4! 22.f4!) and then both players headed for the draw. Having spent 14 hours behind the board in the last two rounds, Svidler's lack of energy was understandable.
“On the one hand I'm satisfied, but on the other hand there's a feeling of a wasted opportunity,” said Anand. “I'm aware of my age, which brings certain limitations. but as you can see it doesn't need to stop you.”
The Svidler-Anand post-mortem courtesy of WorldChess.
Anish Giri did end with the memorable score of 14 draws. In his final game with Veselin Topalov the Dutch GM got surprised in the opening, hardly got an advantage and at some point just repeated moves.
He told Chess.com that he went to the tournament with little confidence, having played badly in Wijk and in Zurich. “I was even losing several games to my seconds,” Giri said about his preparation. His confidence grew during the tournament, but somehow he just failed to convert some nice and some winning positions.
Many jokes were made on social media. Giri especially liked the one that goes: if he were a rapper his name would be 50 Percent. “I'm giving people a nice subject. I have no problem with jokes, people can make fun of me, because I do that to. Go ahead, but make sure they're good jokes!”
Topalov admitted that the other players took the tournament much more seriously than he did. “But my main problem was a lack of concentration, many blunders.” The Bulgarian joked: “My new goal should be to end the year above 2700” but added, more seriously: “I don't have a problem to accept that my time is probably gone.”
The Giri-Topalov post-mortem courtesy of WorldChess.
Thanks everyone for your incredible support! Missed far too many chances, now time to draw(?!) some conclusions. Congrats to @SergeyKaryakin— Anish Giri ( @anishgiri) March 28, 2016
Don't be too hard on Giri for his 14/14 drawing record. He was fighting and had several completely winning positions. Just bad psychology.— Garry Kasparov ( @Kasparov63) March 28, 2016
Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian also finished their tournament with a draw, keeping the trend of one decisive game per round (in almost all rounds of the tournament!). Nakamura was reasonably happy with finishing on 50 percent after his bad start. Aronian, who was fighting for first place until the penultimate round, was fairly devastated:
“Honestly I'm heartbroken. The amount of work you put in to get a position where you're playing well and you get good positions, and just to ruin them like this, of course is my own personal tragedy. I'll have to live with that.”
The Nakamura-Aronian post-mortem courtesy of WorldChess.
2016 FIDE Candidates' Tournament | Final Standings
Karjakin was born January 12, 1990; Carlsen November 30 of the same year. As Emil Sutovsky pointed out on Facebook, the forthcoming world title match will be the youngest-ever world championship match by the average age of players.
“Both of them are 26 (52 combined). To remind you, Botvinnik was 52 when he played his last Title Match (1963 vs Petrosian). Steinitz was 61 when he played his last match with Lasker. The previous youngest match was Karpov-Kasparov (1984), Karpov was 33, and Kasparov was 21.”
Still, the two players have played already 45 times against each other. In classical games the score is 3-1 for Carlsen, with 15 draws.
The FIDE Candidates' Tournament took place March 11-29 in the Central Telegraph building in Moscow. The total prize fund was €420,000, sponsored by the Tashir Group. The winner, Sergey Karjakin, has earned the right to play Magnus Carlsen in November in New York.
- Nakamura Beats Topalov, Final Round Candidates' To Decide Everything
- Anand Loses, Karjakin Wins As Candidates' Reaches Decisive Phase
- Anand Back At Top After Grinding Down Karjakin
- Caruana Beats Anand, Now Leads With Karjakin At Candidates'
- Anand Beats Aronian, Catches Karjakin In Moscow Leaderboard
- Caruana Beats Nakamura In Round 8 Candidates' Tournament
- Nakamura Beats Topalov; Aronian & Karjakin Retain Lead At Halfway Point
- Aronian Joins Karjakin As Nakamura Touches King
- Four Draws In Moscow; Karjakin Maintains Lead
- Karjakin Beats Anand, Moves To Clear First At Candidates'
- Second Loss For Topalov, Aronian Joins Leaders At Candidates' Tournament
- Nakamura Blunders In Candidates' Tournament 2nd Round
- Anand Beats Topalov In Candidates' Tournament 1st Round
- Candidates' To Start Friday; Agon Blocks Game Transmission By Chess Sites