The World Chess Championship, between defending Champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger, Sergey Karjakin of Russia, stands balanced at three-points each after the opening six games. The match is taking place in New York City, and so far has not reached its potential. Champion, Carlsen, is known to be one of the sharpest and aggressive players in the game and this coupled with the rumour of a preparation-rich Karjakin, promised great things with regard to attacking chess.
Unfortunately, promises are not always realised and the match-up has barely sizzled, let alone reached boiling point.
In game 6, (if one can call it a ‘game’, I think ‘series of moves’ would be more accurate), Karjakin, played White. He chose the Ruy Lopez, which is not really surprising as it is one of his main openings and he has played it already in this match. However, what is surprising is that he allowed Carlsen to play the Marshall Attack, sacrificing a pawn for piece activity. From here, the game spontaneously combusted and burned itself out within a few moves to where the potential was gone and there was very little left in the position. Draws may not be agreed by the players until move 30 has been reached, and they made a few more exchanges and harmless excursions before splitting the point after 32 moves. There is very little to say about the game to be honest, nothing was threatened or attempted.
I find it a very poor showing for a World Championship.
So, the match is split evenly at 3-points each at the halfway stage. The players have Saturday as a rest day, and will hopefully come out rejuvenated for game seven. With a match that has as much potential as this one, it would be a crime for things to not kick off and show the world what an incredibly exciting game chess is, especially with two of its leading exponents going head-to-head.
Play continues on Sunday 20th November and sees Sergey Karjakin have his second White game on the spin. Let’s hope for a different approach from him than in game 6!