Game 5 of the World Chess Championship, saw Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin agree a rather lapsy-daisy 51-move draw. It was held in New York City, United States, on Thursday 17th November and saw defending Champion, Carlsen, playing the White pieces.
The game was an Italian Opening, and though it seemed that Carlsen had prepared it, it certainly didn’t appear to go to plan for him. Black would have been quite happy out of the opening one can imagine, with White having arguably the better stance, but not being able to go anywhere with it. Quite the theme of this match so far, it has to be said!
The game would see Sergey Karjakin also get his first aggressive chances of the match, but failing to take them. This was especially the case after Carlsen’s very poor 41.Kg2(?) This gave Karjakin the opportunity to take the h-file, with …44.Qh6, taking advantage of White’s vulnerable King. This could be combined with …d4, …Bc4 and …Qh3 and White would be under pressure. Unfortunately, Karjakin seemed to not be interested and opted for 41…d4 instead, which led to the draw. Very disappointing to be quite honest. No doubt he had his reasons, and I am not sure what the time situation was as I was unable to watch the match due to other commitments — but what chess player does not want to attack a vulnerable King?
After the match both players were critical of their play, especially Carlsen who seemed very downcast and admitted that he was fortunate that his opponent had let him off the hook. This was a very interesting game, psychologically, Karjakin seems to be playing the frustration game rather than coming out with his sleeves rolled up to take it to the World Champion. As for Carlsen, he seems out of sorts and possibly irritated and frustrated by both his own play and Karjakin’s tactics. He is just not getting the positions he needs in order to outright dominate and this must be discomforting.
The scores are level, then, at 2.5-points each, with Karjakin having White for the next game. Interestingly, the Russian now has two Whites on the spin, for game 6 and then to get the second half of the match underway with game 7. One would expect him to try to use that to its fullest and seize some momentum.