I’ve been through 12 press conferences with Carlsen and Karjakin over the past three weeks. Many questions have been answered with: “I just play chess.” It’s a little frustrating trying to understand the mindset of the players, their strategies, their preferences when all we get is: “I just play chess.”
But oversimplified answers aren’t uncommon in chess. I once paid $40 for a chess lesson. The whole lesson consisted of me playing a game with the teacher in silence. At the end of the lesson I said, “what can I do to improve?” The teacher responded, “Make better moves!” He grabbed his money and left. He was simple and right.
I also took a lesson with the hilarious GM Ben Finegold. He said if I wanted to improve I had to “stop making mistakes.” That was his main advice! Again simple, and correct.
Would either player try to end this match today?
So I’m going to stop speculating. I’m going to stop predicting. Let’s watch history unfold.
Game 12 was the shortest draw of the match. Carlsen and Karjakin only played as many moves as they were contractually obligated to. It turns out both players wanted the tie-breaks.
Here’s my key moment of the Game:
Magnus uncorked his most shocking novelty of the match. On move 10, a hush fell over lower Manhattan at the brilliance of the move. Here’s the position. What would you play as white?
In Game 3, Carlsen faced the same mind-bendingly tough decision: Where should I move my rook? Let’s discuss the rook’s options on the e file. e8 seems pretty bad as Karjakin could capture the rook with three of his own pieces. Which piece would be best to capture the rook? I’d say the rook- get that puppy on a open file. e7 doesn’t seem great either, although now Karjakin can capture the rook with only 2 pieces, queen takes rook seems best. e6, TERRIBLE! Black can take with either pawn, fxe6 seems best as it opens the file for black’s rook. e4 is the best option discussed so far, but still seems losing, as black can capture the rook with his knight. e3 seems excellent, although the rook is easily attacked by black’s dark squared bishop. e2! This is the breakthough from Game 3, did Carlsen move the rook to e1 next move? Yes, yes he did? Which is why I’m giving 10.Re1!! Simply brilliant! Carlsen shows us the evolving nature of his opening repertoire. He was able to move the rook to e1 in just one move. What a day to be alive! The only question I have is: Was Re1 found over the board? Or was is prepared at home?
Ok all, see you Wednesday!
About the author
Tyler Schwartz is a passionate chess ambassador. Tyler is the President of Chess at 3, teaching chess to children all over the world at the suprising age of 3. He is the Head of Media at lichess.org. Tyler also manages a chess club on the upper east side of Manhattan.