Tie break – Games 1 & 2

Start the day easy, start the day with a tweet: @benaoufa:”It’s playoff day at the world chess championship 2016. It all ends today. Should be a lot of fun.”

We will see. Normally you have fun on your birthday, right?  @lisychess: “Felicidades a Magnus Carlsen en su cumpleaños 26. ? La pregunta del día, será capaz de retener el título en este…  “

@olimpiuurcan has news for us:“Fun fact: Carlsen and Winston Churchill were both born on November 30. Karjakin and Hermann Göring were both born on January 12.”

@anishgiri: “Happy Birthday Magnus Carlsen. Today is the day to do big things!”



@dgriffinchess: “Gary Lineker Did you know you share birthday with World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, who is in playoff for the title in New York tonight?”


And we have a tweet from sister Ellen Carlsen: ellenoec: “Da braker det snart løs med siste dag i årets VM! I dag bør du ikke lure på hva du skal bruke kvelden til..”

Ready for the playoff, or tiebreak, or shootout? Whatever you name it, GM Daniel Gormally is not happy: @elgransenor1: “This world chess championship playoff is messing with my planned Masterchef followed by Westworld viewing schedule”.

What to expect today? Ask @ollie: “What to expect in this afternoon’s Carlsen Karjakin world chess championship tiebreaker”.


@nigelshortchess is in AC/DC mode: “Sergey: it’s a long way to the top. Magnus: highway to hell. If you want blood, you’ve got it. Tie break time”.

…… and Nigel added: “Smoked salmon, white wine and loads of blunders ahead. A perfect evening :)”

@farmergedon: “Red wine here. Plus full engagement of the “Patzer Outraged-Hindsight” ™ function on my chess engine.”

@chessnotes: “Tiebreaks this afternoon; so we’ll have the World Rapid Championship a little earlier than expected this year..”

@AMartinChess: “We face the prospect of the World Championship match being decided by one small mistake in a tough ending, prompted by shortage of time.”

Wise words, did Andrew know what happened in G2? 

@robertris: “Never been that nervous for a chess game! Something wrong with me? 😉 Can’t wait!”

Why wait, let’s go! Game 1

Who plays the first move today? @zachyng:Peter Thiel plays the first move for Sergey Karjakin at the worldchess championship tiebreak round.” 


@USChess: “Space advantage, almost 10 min time advantage & a potential d5 break coming. Black is much more comfortable already”.

@unudurti: “A complex, strategic struggle is unfolding…and will be decided by blundering a piece in about 20 minutes”.

Oh,  and we have some fashion news from @GMAlexColovic: “Magnus wearing white socks and black trousers. Luckily his playing style is much more harmonious.”

@elgransenor1: “Karjakin playing incredibly wimpy chess with all these non-avoidance moves. Does this guy really deserve to be champion”.

Well, the Russians think so and support their Putin pawn, according to this tweet and picture by @imishkuta: “Red Square right now!”


Yes people, they use Photoshop in Russia , too! Nice try, though. 

@olimpiuurcan: “It’s amusing how many are still falling for that Red Square fake image. As it goes these days, we’ll probably see it in a newspaper too.”

@Cazhansen: “OK, draw in game 1, but with the initiative on Carlsen’s side, and now he is White”.

@ChessbaseIndia: “The first rapid game actually lasted longer than the last classical game.”

One down, three to go: Game 2.

Any wishes, after all Christmas is around the corner! @nigelshortchess: “Give us a ridiculous, unsound, perplexing, bewildering Tal-sacrifice please”.

@dzenandautovic: “First game with non Mediterranean-base country opening, will be the crucial one.”

Well, perhaps Magnus likes Italian on his birthday, why not? 

@forwardchess: “Spanish to Italian 🙂 But Sergey has the same time disadvantage slowly creeping up”.




@srikanth_govind: “Greco would be amused to know that people find it ‘more’ interesting to play “Italian” even after 400 yrs….!!”




The players are nervous, so are the viewers: @cengelbrecht: “Karjakin is making me very nervous with his long think times. Magnus is in top form! Seriously good move choices”.

@Robertris: “Magnus putting immense pressure on Karjakin by sac the pawn and play instantly after that! We are going to see blood!”

@GMJtis: “Mags taking the sharpest option. Lots of pressure and a couple of minutes for a pawn.”

@nazipaiki: “This is… ahhhh so exciting!!! Magnus Carlsen close to winning his 1st rapid game! What a match”.

@havanavo: “Perhaps Karjakin would find the best defense here in a classical game. But in time pressure? Don’t see it happen”

Me neither, Hans, what do you think @jakedarmanin: “Black has the kind of position a sadist would long for. “

However, GM Paco Vallejo is not so sure about the outcome and tweeted: @chessidharta “What are we ready to do if Mr Karjak can hold this position?”

@Jonathan_Rowson: “2BvR & 3v3 is probably ‘winning’ in principle, but very hard to prove in practice. Reminded of famous Polugaevsky game.”

@fabianocaruana:”If Magnus wins it’s hard to imagine Karjakin saving the match,so he needs to fight till the bitter end to try and hold this”. @britt_dj: “Proclaiming Karjakin’s doom is premature, no matter how strong a player you are.”

And Magnus was winning,…..@TarjeiJS: “Computer announcing Carlsen with mate in 51 after the 61st move.”


@ollie: Game 2, which was Carlsen’s to win with mate in 51 (lol), is a draw. Holy shit.

Wise words, nuff said! 

@GMAlexColovic: “Amazing… Now Karjakin is 90% World Champion…”d-fence-defense-sign

One last tweet after game 2: @anishgiri: “If you ask me Karjakin has just become World Chess Defense Champion”.

6-6 :Tea break

In 2010, when I was a member of Team Anand,  I was lucky to be in Sofia at the Word Championship to see the dramatic finale in game 12.  After 11 nerve-wrecking games Anand had to play with black against Topalov. You probably remember what happened: Anand won.

From Wikipedia: “This was the only win for Black in the match. Anand’s choice of Lasker’s Defense in the Queen’s Gambit Declined appeared to signal his willingness to accept a draw, which would have tied the match at 6–6 and forced a rapid chess playoff. Most people believed that such a playoff would have greatly favoured Anand, due to his superior rapid chess resume, and Topalov in the postgame press conference noted his desire to avoid a rapid playoff given his loss in the World Chess Championship 2006 playoff to Vladimir Kramnik.”

@unudurti: “Safe to say that this won’t challenge Topalov-Anand, G/12 Sofia 2010 as the most dramatic finale in this format”.

Speaking of Topalov, his manager @silviodanailov tweeted: “I’m not sure if those guys have realized what crime they did. Chess goddess Kaissa is watching and someone will be badly punished tomorrow”.


Harsh words from a man who will always be linked to “Toiletgate”.

I spotted thousands of tweets about the outcome of game 12. The majority of the chess fans was, ahum, not amused: @portisdos: “The damage that Magnus has done to classical chess today may be irreparable. Tiebreaks are a resource not a purpose”.

@nemets18: “I slept in the afternoon in order to not fall asleep in the night and watch this match. You both outsmarted me”.

@DavidHowellGM: “Can’t believe I cancelled my evening’s plans to stay in and watch the World Championship match…”

@danalitman: “This was embarrassing for chess, I’m glad I didn’t pay money to watch that garbage.”

@ChrisBirdIA: “All those people complaining they could make the game on Sunday but not on Monday are probably thanking their lucky stars”.

However, there were some milder comments as well: 

 @GM_Huschenbeth “Smart decision by Carlsen. No need to risk everything in one game when he can play four on Wednesday.  

@philgood2day:“I dont understand people who are upset about the last game More Chess for us & logical approach from Carlsen”.

@chessturf: “Why waste time playing a stressful classic game when you’re the number one rapid player in the world, right?”

@britt_dj:Too early to know if this is good strategy by Carlsen. If he wins the match it will be good. If he loses it will be bad”.

Yes Don, but at least they have a day off to prepare for the tie-break: GM Simon Williams, aka @ginger_gm: “Good to know that they have a day to rest after this epic encounter.”

@nigelshortchess:“I guess the players must be exhausted by their surfeit of rest days”.

@lawrencetrentIM: “My two cents: If final game finishes in under 2 hours, have playoffs the same day. If it’s a long fight, rest day “deserved”.

Yeah, explain that to your wife, Average Joe aka @oziomajnr: “How do I explain to my wife that it’s same World Chess Championship game that kept me till 3AM that’s ended in just 30mins”.

Change the system! 

After the last classical game and many angry tweets, the discussion on Twitter went into a different direction:

Grandmaster Nikita Vitiugov: @n_vitiugov:” Experts and “experts” should first and foremost criticize the people writing the rules, rather than the players playing according to them.”

@RobertRis:  “You can’t blame Magnus, only the system!”


Robert Ris, a Dutch IM, trainer, author and founder of the Amsterdam Chess Acadamy has an idea:” I think it would be better to have a tiebreak before the Classical match determining the winner in case match is 6-6″.

Jon Ludvig Hammer, what do you think: @gmjlh:“This was a fantastic idea two years ago – and still is! Creates brilliant dynamics “

And @outis refines the idea: “And the winner of the tie break gets BLACK in last game of classical time controls!”

Other suggestions? I found a tweet by GM Illescas: @illescasmiguel: “My proposal would be to play 4 classical games, 2 days for rapid (4 games each), 2 days for blitz (8 games each) and 2 days for basque chess”.

Sounds great but……@portisdos: “You forget chess-boxing.”

That would be great. But I think they should do the boxing after the basque thing. 

More ideas please! @stefanloeffler: “Abandon tiebreak. Pay each third of the prize-fund. Keep a third. Let world champion play next in line within six months.”

Others like a tie-break, for different reasons: @itherocky: “A Rapid playoff is like an Uninvited Ex at your wedding. Avoidable and Unnecessary, But Helps you find a Winner!”

Words of wisdom, can you top that @reachvsara? “Actually, Tiebreaks R like the Babe at traditional wedding – U pretend she’s odd to the place, secretly wishing she makes her move :-)”

Come on guys, we have a serious problem here. Tweet me your idea, @gregshahade: “I think there should be no tiebreak in the World Championship and the champ should retain the title on a draw. Forces more interesting play.”

@berlin_endgame:Totally agree with this >> “There should be no rapid tiebreak. If you want the title you need to beat the reigning champion.”


@TarjeiJS:” Can’t believe those who think reigning WC should keep title in case of tie. Challenger should get more not less privileges”. Tarjei added: “A rapid/blitz tiebreak is the ultimate show for fans. Can’t imagine anything more exciting. Ending match if tied is BAD”.

We have another suggestion from @jamesrustock: “Don’t you think Chess960 would be more interesting than always the same openings??”

Not a bad idea at all! If you want to know more about Chess960, go here. It is my first article (from 2001) about FRC/Chess960. And it is time to reveal a little secret: I wrote the rules of Chess960 for the FIDE handbook, together with teh legendary arbiter Geurt Gijssen.

More ideas, suggestions and tweets @ChessClassic are welcome! 

And the last tweet of the day: @Loulasher: “Deciding a classical time control WCC w/rapids is like deciding a powerlifting meet w/50 m dashes. It’s kinda meaningless”


Carlsen – Karjakin Game 12

Before we going to spot the best tweets of the last classical game, let’s have a look what happened on Twitter on the rest day before game 12. A rest day on Sunday. Why? 

 @chessninja: “Wait, so the final game of the world chess championship is on Monday, instead of Sunday?! Who scheduled this, the Pope?”

@chesscomTV: “Why have a rest day & wait until everyone goes back to school and work on Monday, so they can miss G12 of Carlsen Karjakin?”

@stockwellroam:  “Both competitors, chess players in general and spectators expect weekend games. Very amateurish, AGON”

@ygetserJoey: “How To Expand Chess Interest: 1. Charge to watch; 2. Final match on Monday. Brilliant!”

@TarjeiJS: “FIDE’s Carlsen- Karjakin schedule with a rest day in the weekend if one of the worst moves made from a commercial point of view.”

@acepoint: “With a free day at each of the last three weekends the organizers of Carlsen – Karjakin are simply telling: we don’t need spectators”.

@elmaletero: ” My kid’s chess teacher flew out to NY from Utah last weekend, but could only catch one game.”

Let’s help the organizers then, shall we? @pookita: “Chess world. FIDE/Agon can’t schedule the WC so every wknd day has a game. Can we help?”

According to the organisers, we cannot: @worldchess: “HERE IS NO WAY TO AVOID WEEKENDS on REST DAYS. Caps so you would know next time you plan your week.”


You can be the nicest person, writing a perfectly harmless statement, but hit that Caps Lock button, and suddenly you sound like a raging psycho.

@oyvindbrunvoll: “Love their use of CAPS. No argument can beat CAPS!”

I don’t want to post the long list of embarrasing @worldchess tweets on this subject here. If you are interested, you find them on Twitter. Here are a few reactions from professionals and real chess fans:

GM Jon Ludvig Hammer: @gmjlh: “Agon is imploding, judging by this and the last ten tweets from @theworldchess”.

@chessnotes: “Sad. A tiny bit of constructive criticism & personal observation on they’re on full tilt. Hope for better in 2018.”

@heliokostya: “Really strange how @theworldchess responds to constructive criticism. It’s Sunday, what a great day for G12…”

Enough about this subject, or how @worldchess would put it: ENOUGH!!!!

Before we go to the tweets of game 12, two sad tweets: 

@MarkTwic:” GM Urii Eliseev 1996-2016. Sad news of the death of Eliseev at 20 after a fall.”

@ChessBaseIndia: “Legendary Russian GM Mark Taimanov passed away today at the age of 90. RIP”


Ушел из жизни выдающийся гроссмейстер Марк Тайманов (7.02.1926 – 28.11.2016) (Picture courtesy of chess-news.ru)

And now…game 12! Excited? @nigelshortchess: “It would be nice to see a Sicilian Taimanov today”

Actually, all you need to know about this game are these tweets:

@chrisbirdIA:  “I was hoping for something a little more exciting than a Berlin and both players walking on eggshells”

GM Miguel Illescas, @illescasmiguel: “Such a pity to see this symmetrical positions at highest level! When helping Kramnik with the Berlin I didn’t know we were killing the game!”

@jamzero:Why are they broadcasting Leko-Giri?”

@cazhansen: “I can’t get over how bizarre today’s performance is. I don’t get this.

@reachvsara: “Frankly, it was one of the worst games ever in a worldchess championship”.

@benjamin_bok: “What an anti-climax”.

@willtomford: “Is anyone else enjoying Carlsen-Karjakin as a soothing, meditative thing to fall asleep to? “


Nuff said about game 12. In the next edition I will collect some more post-game reactions and suggestions how to reform the world championship. The last tweet goes out to @giddinssteve: “Time to put the world chess championship out of its misery. There is no future in these events “.


Carlsen – Karjakin Game 11

Did you survive Black Friday, aka the day in which no game was played in the Chess World Championship match? It may have been good for at least 7% of the Norwegians to have a day off to get some sleep.

@kristolo:Yesterday 7% of the Norwegian population watched almost seven hours of chess. Yes, seven.”


And since many Norwegians read this blog, here is a tweet in Norwegian: @kristolo: “276 000 seere i snitt på #nrksjakk igår. 500 000 på det høyeste. NRK2 største kanal. Her er grafen for de største kanalene”.

@hemical: “Game 11 today. Another sleepless night”

Not everybody is excited about the match, though: @memesupporter: “watching fucking chess world championship with dad what did magnus carlsen do to this country”.

Many people follow the match live on TV (mainly in Norway, obviously) or the Internet, but there is an old-fashioned way to follow the games, which is still popular. Tell me all about it @christophAzone: “Spannender geht’s kaum: Schach auf Videotext.”


Teletext or Videotext is still popular in many European countries. From Wikipedia:“Teletext is a means of sending text and simple geometric shapes to a properly equipped television screen by use of one of the “vertical blanking interval” lines that together form the dark band dividing pictures horizontally on the television screen.

In The Netherlands, you can follow big events like the Tata Steel Chess Tournament live on “Teletekst” as it is called. Every chess journalist who visits Wijk aan Zee knows Richard de  Weger, who has his own corner in the press room, where he takes care of move updates and writes round reports, exclusively for Teletekst.

Have a look on the (Dutch) website  Teletekst and search for page 691 , 692 and 693 for reports, standings and the games of the world championship. 

A few years ago I had an interview with the tournament director of the Tata Steel Chess tournament, Jeroen van den Berg @jvdbergchess about chess & modern technology. When I asked him for his most-used app on his phone, he answered: “The Teletekst app!” 

Game 11

Marthine Marthinsen us getting ready for the game: @marthinmclaren: “Testing testing: VGTV on 55″.NRK2 on 15,6″.Twitter on 5,7″.Back-up in the toilet 17,3″.Prosecco in the fridge.All is good “.

Some people are ready for the game, but are not allowed to watch:  @ldnhal: “Chess is even more boring than football”. My better half. No chance of watching Carlsen-Karjakin on telly or MOTD”. 

@gmplines has similar problems: “Only a couple more days and I will no longer need to fend off “you love chess more than me” accusations”.

@britt_dj has a tweet for Sergey: “Don’t stare into the abyss tonight Sergey. The abyss is a cocky bastard. Hasn’t lost a staring contest yet”.

@joshfriedel: “Note on match dynamics: Imagine how different the outlook of the match would be had they drawn all ten games.”

And what do we expect today? @Rohan_rk7: “Expecting a sicilian defense. Not another Ruy Lopez , For god’s sake”.

And what did we get on board? Right.


@birdingvicar: “There was a time at school when the only opening people knew was RuyLopez. Seems it’s the same with Carlsen-Karjakin”. @Al_pal_Borealis: “Can we please impose a temporary ban on Spanish opening?”

@britt_dj: “This looks like a Spanish version of the Grand Prix attack. Weird hybrid.”

@acerthecatrun: “Seems like everyone on twitter would draw this. Either colour, either opponent. Eyes closed.”

Let’s ask the Twitter grandmasters then, shall we? 

@anishgiri: “Feels like Black got a better version of what he is supposed to get from this variation. If 18…e5!? I put $ on Carlsen”.

@Jonathan_RowsonFascinated by the positional physics behind Magnus’s decision to play ..c3 & ..d5. Strategy is about energy, not just mass.” 

But the game was not really exciting, @chessknights: “With every move game is heading towards a draw. Unless one of them does an unforced error”.

@telegraphchess: “Carlsen smoothly emerged from what seemed a slightly worse position made easy draw c3! and d5! v well timed score 5.5-5.5”.

ja108f_deskmate_yk_d_mate_merit_stamp_verygood_rd_redTeymur Rajabov had a good tweet after the game ended in a draw: @rajachess: “Good Good! Good game , good draw, good match situation for both, good perspectives, good show. Good”


@EuropeEchecs:Draw is good because I have «Mr. Robot» episode 11 and 12 to see!”


@rajachess:I think Sergey is ok with a draw and he will seek his chances in Carlsen’s last white game. Both shaky, both in bad shape will be exciting!”

The last classical game will be on Monday, because there is another rest day on Sunday:  @CazHansen:” It is indeed odd that none of the three weekends could contain games on both days. For the 12th game, an extra day off is OK”.

One last tweet: @theosladechess: “Scrolling through all the tweets containing #CarlsenKarjakin makes me realize just how many people are following this incredible match.”

Carlsen – Karjakin Game 10 – Part 2

Let’s continue with the tweets of game 10. You can read the first selection here.

So let’s check what happened after the opening,  what do you think @bobbyfiske : “Ah, wife finally went to bed. Now its beer & chess time!”



The 10th game was certainly not the most exciting one and there was enough time to other things: @ebarfoedThe good thing about the game until now…I am getting a lot of work done! 

@cyberella:“I was hoping for a Rocky movie today but this is more Bridget Jones’ Diary :/”

However, strange things happened….

@RobertRis:19.Bxe6 is just a tactical blunder. Instead 19.Nd2 looks very pleasant for White. Karjakin one step closer to WC title!”

@anishgiri called it a night: “Red move. Im outta here, the (other) trolls will do the rest!”

But Sergey obviously missed the best move: @LawrenceTrentIM: “Surprise in NY about Karjakin’s 20…d5. Did he overlook the forced draw with Nxf2… Game on now!”

@brigoslingWhy did Sergey not take the forced draw after 20… Nxf2, 21 Kg2 Nh4! (?) This may be the decision that decides the fate of the match.

Switch off your engines! 

And there was some advice for the armchair grandmasters from a number of real masters and grandmasters;


(Screenshot from the film “Computer Chess” – 2013)

@GMJtis: “People be paying WAY too much attention to engines today. Humans are playing for the highest stakes. Context, please”.

GM Daniel Gormally, @elgransenor1: “Turn off your engines everyone, look at the position, consider the two players. This is 1-0″ 

@RobertRis: “Well, actually time to switch off the engines and think by yourself. Tactics are over and White is clearly better!”

And yes, @silviodanailov is also a Grandmaster:” I am very sorry for the Norwegian fans here in NYC but knowing well the Crimea iron soldier he won’t lose this game. Anyway dreaming is free?”

We will see what happens, Silvio! A long endgame coming up, but not everybody wanted to see the grinding live: Silvio’s special friend @nigelshortchess:  “Down to 5 hrs sleep max. & dropping, so I shall say goodnight to all you beautiful people. Prediction – win for the champ”.

Dutch grandmaster @benjamin_bok: “Time to sleep, predicting (and hoping!) to see 1-0 when waking up.”

@almodiahki: “Give Magnus a slight advantage,and leave him on the board for ten hours! He enjoys every second of it!”

And after a long, six-and-a-half-hour game: @forwardchess: “After another marathon, Carlsen equalizes the score! What a match! Next game will be played after the rest day.”


 @tatav__a: “Yessss!!!! My Thanksgiving wish came true. Thank you King Magnus”.

@johnchess: “Sensation as world chess champion wins a game of chess #aboutbloodytime”

The American top players Caruana and Nakamura tweeted: 

@fabianocaruana: “Karjakin gave Carlsen a plump, juicy Thanksgiving turkey today.” @GMHikaru: “Overall, it looked like we saw a high quality WCH game, although this apparent draw with Nxf2 and Nh4 kind of ruins it a little bit.”

You can watch the video of the press conference at your leisure, and here are a few tweets after the show was over.  Let’s go to our Norwegian correspondent @TarjeiJS, who presents us  this example from the press conference“Are you very disappointed?” Karjakin: “No.” “Why?” “Because…” “I am just thinking about chess and not stupid questions”.


@chessmateandy: “Chess media are like the people knocking on the glass in zoos,thinking the animals are there purely for their entertainment”.

@gatorchess: “No matter who is the world champion, Nastia Karlovich must not run another press conference. It’s painful to watch her.” @CazHansen: “I think it is a matter of her having done it before. However, on previous occasions, it was equally painful to watch.”

@knightofgood: “Magnus is a bigger jerk than Garry and close to Bobby – have some class buddy”.

Calm down people, we have a the rest day on Friday, Black Friday, to be precise. Time to go shopping! 

@asimpereira: “5-5 score doesnt say everything. Momentum /psychological advantage clearly with Magnus. Seeing rapid tie breaks will be worth every penny!”

Spanish top-GM Paco Vallejo tweets: @chessidharta: “I don’t think Karjak should worry too much , he is a wonderful rapid and blitz player and just 2 more games.”

Two more games (+ tiebreak?) to go. This will not only be exciting for 600 million (haha) chess players around the globe.  

One last tweet @terastodon: “I’ve been watching the Chess World Championship for hours and I am unbelievably bad at Chess”.

Carlsen – Karjakin Game 10 – Part 1

Game number 10 in New York already, a very critical game, but why? I found the answer: 

@fireball29de: “Today is really critical, because tomorrow the emotional biorhythms of BOTH players cross zero in opposite directions!!”

Calm down and have some turkey. To celebrate the public holiday “Thanksgiving” in the US,  let’s kick off with a few chess related #Thanksgiving tweets: 


@jtwinner: Just asked someone what his Thanksgiving plans are & he said, “Nothing. I’m just going to play chess on the computer.” #happythanksgiving”.

@cameronhigley:Judson and I just finished an exhilarating game of chess. I was victorious. Thanksgiving has been great!”

@paullbreenturner: “Having a bad day? It could be worse, imagine if you were a Turkey!” 

@kenleyhargettJr: “Family +Turkey + Football= Thanksgiving”.


But today we will change that definition, ok? Replace football by chess and off we go to the tweets of game 10!

@chuckdavie: “Treat yourself this thanksgiving by watching Carlsen-Karjakin. The world’s best chess players.”

@Gurdonark: “American Thanksgiving–sports on television, the Carlsen- Karjakin game on the laptop..”

@ckloote: “Heading out soon for the family Thanksgiving. Hoping the politics stay in the realm of the sane. If not there’s always Carlsen – Karjakin.”

That’s the spirit, young man!

 Tell us more about the match,  @TarjeiJS: Carlsen – Karjakin is an event hosted in NY organized by Russians with all Russian sponsors. Even the vodka in the VIP area is Russian.”

Two questions: how is the turkey in the VIP lounge and tell me something about the opening today? Perhaps Jonathan Bryant with the intriguing Twitter handle @Berlin_Endgame has the answer:” A Berlin – but not a proper one :-(“.  @ejhchess replied: “When will these supergrandmasters accept that 4…d6 is the right move”.

Well, why don’t we ask a super GM? @anishgiri: “Similar concept to game 2 from Sochi match. Worse version of a known position, but still playable. Nice, desperate idea”.

@erwinlami:“I like white after 13.g3 Nh3 14.Kg2. Magnus really getting the type of game he was looking for”.

@ginger_gm: “It seems that Sergei has proven that 1 e4 e5 is basically a dead draw with best play.”

Not all strong players are impressed: 

U-14 world  champ Vidit Gujrathi aka @viditchess from Nasik, India:  “Everyone is praising Carlsen’s opening choice. Looks harmless and more like a bluff. Not impressed!”

@Cazhansen: “Never liked this variation very much for White; the f4-knight always bothered me. Don’t know how much they have prepared”.


If you are confused by the various evaluations of the grandmasters you are not alone: @Berlin_Endgame: “Following strong players on twitter is confusing.”

@nigelshortchess: “We are 25 moves from the time-control. Long thinks. No clear liquidating plans in sight. Magnus can be content”.

Yes, but I wonder how Magnus really feels. @hhajanika: You are running out of time but you have momentum and u know he’ll make you run for it is how Carlsen is feeling right now.”

Thanks. Let’s go back to the biorhythm: @fireball29de: Magnus had a really bad emotional (biorhythm) time since 11/11! Sergey had excactly the opposite! Until tomorrow…

Sergey took some time for his 15th move! @jaspervanpelt:Is Sergey still alive? 34 min for c6″. Or as @kejritrolls puts it drastically:  “30 mins for a pussy move”.

@elgransenor1: “I predict that Karjakin will have a brain freeze, choke and hand Carlsen a win in time trouble”.

@anishgiri: “Sergei fans among my crew are rather concerned about his time management today. Can’t be a good sign.”

@AMartinChess: “If the truth be known ,Game Ten is deadly dull. Might warm up, might not. The symmetrical pawn structure is the killer.”

I started this special Thanksgiving edition with a biorhythm tweet, now let’s close part 1 of the Game 10 section with one more biorhythm tweet: 


@Fireball29deOff course Sergey is emotionally in balance, he leads in WCS and his emotional biorhythm is up since 11/11. But I like him!






Carlsen – Karjakin Game 9

After the flood of tweets about game 8 on Wednesday, the chess twittersphere calmed down a bit. What will we remember most from game 8? The fact that Magnus did not show up at the press conference? Maybe. What we will remember is The Chess Quote Of The  Year.

@rewbeniofrota: “Karjakin has, at least, granted a world champion’s quotation “It is much better to play well than to play white”.

In game 8, Sergey has to play with the white pieces, and he has to play well! Twitter is excited and the predictions are aways fun to read: 

@Britt_dj: “I think it’s back to e4 with an anti Marshall system. Would be overjoyed if Team Karjakin proved me wrong.”

Indian writer Jaideep Unudurti is not impressed with the work of Team Karjakin: @unudurti: “Did Sergey blow all his cash on fast cars & black caviar and didn’t actually hire any seconds?”

There is hope for Magnus, Erle Marki Hansen has the stats for you: 

@sjakkerle: “Stats for Carlsen-fans: Subsequent a loss, C has the last 2yrs struck back with a win 7/10 times – 5 of those with black!”

@sosocullen:Magnus is World Chess Champ for a reason. Just because he’s 1 game down doesn’t mean it’s over. Next 4 games will be great.”

Teymur Rajabov @rajachess thinks that it will be difficult for Magnus to come back: “Will be very hard for Carlsen, he has no opening advantage, no time advantage and no advantage in calculation, at the moment, nervous as well”.

Official World Chess reporter @kajasnare agrees: “So far Sergey Karjakin is the winner on every level. Preparations, points, mentality, public apparance. 3/4 is suprising”

Prophet of the day was Dutch IM @RobertRis: “Expecting a solid draw…No reason for Magnus to push hard yet. Predicting another Ruy Lopez.”

@CazHansen: “I’m somewhat surprised by the choice of line by the Carlsen Team. It can rapidly get dull and boring with a likely draw.”

@anishgiri: “I guess Carlsen’s plan is to go home today as early as possible and go all-in again tomorrow.”


@cyberella: “I can’t believe we’re at move 20 after only 30 minutes in! It might all be over in an hour. Then again, it’s all theory.” Grandmaster Simon Williams @ginger_gm: “This looks more like a memory test then a game. Modern chess, don’t we just love it”.

@joshfriedel: The Archangelsk leads to fascinating positions, but computers beat them to a pulp. Hope there is some tension still left.

@nigelshortchess: It is one of the great ironies of chess that the sharpest variations are often the most boring”.

Jonathan Tisdall agrees, @GMJtis:Call me crazy, but I find long sharp theoretical battles the boring games. (You don’t have to call me crazy)”.

What can you do in 30 minutes? 

@cyberella: “Magnus has been thinking for what now, half an hour? That move better be stellar!”


Not a stellar move, just the solid 23…Rfd8. What do you think @fabionacaruana: “This variation won’t offer Carlsen many (or any) winning chances, but he should be able to hold it without many problems”.

elgransenor1: “Depressing how many engine moves they are playing. Chess is getting slowly strangled and turned into a soulless activity”.

The “hidden matchpoint” (Svidler on Chess24)

@rajachess: “There is a good chance Carlsen will be 0-2 after today”

@kimiyasajjadi: “Guess all the chess players in the world Are holding their breaths? will Karjakin find Qb3!!”


Maybe he is pondering over another move? Let’s ask @erwinlami: “39.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 40.Qc4 Kg7 41.d5! is also not exactly a picknick. Huge moment in the match!”

@skepticalsports: “If Karjakin wins this game, he knows this match is essentially over.” Does he not know this is 2016??”

@GMAlexColovic: “A bold prediction – Carlsen saves this, which lifts his spirits, starts to play excellently and wins the match!”

@frank_snyckers: “If Carlsen pulls this out of the fire, by no means inconceivable, then Qb3 will haunt Karjakin for the rest of his life”

And Sergey played 39.Bxf7…..

@reachvsara: “Finally a sac in dis world chesschampionship! In footsteps of Kasparov & Vishy. Lets continue to have faith in humanity”.

@jumarear:” I think everyone saw a winning position after Bxf7 but no one actually saw the winning combination”.

@jonathan_rowson:I feel sorry and sad to say this, but after all that build up and excitement we may now have a complete anti-climax.”

 @cyberella , are you still awake? “I keep on staying up too late to watch games that lead nowhere. Wrap it up already, guys! Some of us have to work tomorrow”.


“Following Carlsen – Karjakin is becoming a serious obstacle to being able to get out of bed in the morning.”, according to @wordssavant.

And finally, the inevitable happened: TarjeiJS: “OFFICIAL, Karjakin-Carlsen drawn. Magnus keeps his chances alive exactly 2 years after he retained his WC title in Sochi”.

And of course, many armchair psychologists had to tweet something as well: @mmehdikhani70:Another psychological victory for Sergey. He pressed Magnus hard and made him sweat for his draw”. @psedik: “I don’t think this is a psychological win for Sergey. Magnus defended almost lost position.”

@redfoks10: “Instead of saying Carlsen is not on his best, maybe it’s time to say that Karjakin is better than we all thought”.

What to expect for game 10?  eli_1985_mor:Tomorrow we will see either the best game or the worst game of the match in terms of quality”.

20130816-105244One  last tweet: 

@ramnarasimhan:Only 3 games to go. Magnus down by 1, plays with White pieces in Game 10. The whole chess world is expecting a raging bull.”

Game 8 – bonus edition!

Game eight really was a shocker and it was certainly a challenge for your blogger to pick the right tweets to create a comprehensive twitter report. I ended the previous blog post with some Tarjei statistics after the last move was played,  but the tweetflood after the game was over did not stop. I spotted many remarkable and emotional post-game tweets. Here is a selection. 

@Mark_A_Hooper: “You know when couch-potatoes yell at football players on tv? The chess commentary on Twitter makes that look rational.”

The press conference scandal

Magnus failed to attend the press conference after the game. You can watch the post-game videos on several websites to see what happened to conceive an opinion. Twitter was not amused: 


@Sandra_Hohmann:”Magnus doesn’t attend press conf. I understand he’s disappointed and maybe angry with himself, but that’s unprofessional”. @poisondPwnPress: “Carlsen storming off without talking to the press is poor form. Unfortunate, but I can understand emotions running high.”

@nf3nc6:MC with his behaviour, disregard for others & arrogance, probably does not deserve to hold such a Classy Title as Chess WC”.

@reachvsara: “WCh ’12 Moscow. Vishy lost game 7. He stayed back for Press Conf. Answered more questions than oppo. Just saying”. @sirgeorgethomas: “Anand had to suffer at the press conference in a dignified silence after losing but Magnus is too busy crying”.

@Eilert: “Until today I was proud to be Norwegian in the world of chess. Now I feel the urge to apologize to every other nation”.

@sandeeproy1: “With Magnus, are we going back to the old, snooty Grandmaster types?”

But there was some support on Twitter for the reigning champion: @wallaceChessLtd.:“Magnus Carlsen is only human & we are often limited by too many rules. Conferences and press can wait, emotions come first.” 

@kajasnare:“You should know @MagnusCarlsen waited at the press conference for several minutes before he left because it took a long time for it to start“.


Anyway, not appearing at the press conference will cost Magnus some pocket money: @TarjeiJS: “So Carlsen’s failure to appear at the press conference will likely lead to a fine of 60K or 40K Euro depending on who wins”.

@EuropeEchecs: “We talk much more about the press conference because Carlsen did not stay. FIDE should pay Carlsen for it :)”

After the game and some sleep, most tweeters calmed down a bit and evaluated the new situation: @MarkTWIC: “Thinking about it overnight game 8 was likely entirely the kind of emotionally sapping contest Carlsen had in mind. Just not losing it.”

@MartinChess: “Let’s face it: the result yesterday was the best thing that could happen to the match”.

@GMJtis:  “Magnus has the best sporting mentality I have ever seen, absolute world class. He will find his best now.”

@brigosling: “The mark of a great player is in his ability to come back. The great champions have all come back from defeat”.

The last tweet goes out to @normanwhyse who knows why it will be a difficult task for Magnus: “Think Karjakin either has a great psychologist on his team or a witch.”

Carlsen – Karjakin Game 8

I think we all cannot hear the horrible ‘d-word’ anymore, but  @TarjeiJS has some stats for you:  Carlsen’s 8 straight draws (incl Olympiad G11) his longest strreak since 09. Record is 9 draws in a row in Wijk aan Zee ’09”.

In my “behind-the-screen” world championship blog https://mateinmoscow.wordpress.com/, about the World Chess Championship 2012 in Moscow between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand, I posted a number of cartoons by German artist Fränk Stiefel. After the seven-game-draw snoozefest in New York, I remembered that I used this cartoon:

prof-gelfand-prof-anand (cartoon by Fränk Stiefel) 

I think, the cartoon speaks for itself. 

Without further ado, let’s go to the tweets of game 8! The chess world expects, no needs a decisive game and the commentators obviously do not want to analyse another draw. @robertris: “Can’t wait for G8! Tension grows which will not help quality of the games, but expecting a decisive result!”

@GMJtis:“Lot of people (me included) expecting real action today in Carlsen- Karjakin. Think we’re feeling the law of averages, but still…”

@pietropilechi: “After 7 games we understood that they do know how to draw. Now let’s see if one of them knows how to win”.

Can you win a game when you use an opening system from the 19th century? 

@dgriffinchess: “The system with 5.b3 has been played in a World Championship before. Gunsberg-Steinitz, 6th match-game, New York(!) 1890!”

Dutch GM @erwinlami joins the discussion on Twitter:”Don’t dispair chess fans! Despite the slow build-up of today’s game, the Colle contains a lot of underlying dynamism”.

@Cazhansen: “These openings look more and more like what would be played in New York 1924 instead New York 2016… Seriously??”

@nigelshortchess: “This opening will please @stuthefox who dug up Johannes Zukertort one moonlit night from his grave in Brompton Cemetery”.


Back to the game. Any excitement yet? @Joeyryan007: “I used to play this rubbish with White. Never thought I’d see it in a World ch match mind”.

GM Nikita Vitiugov is worried about his blitz rating: @n_vitiugov: “I guess, my blitz repertoire is gonna be completely destroyed after this match – Trompowsky, Kolle… Is 1.b3 coming?”

@MarkTWICI said I felt something may happen today but not in this way. Carlsen’s opening hasn’t worked and he may be digging a hole for himself now.

@jonathan_rowson: “I wonder if Sergey realises he can win the match yet? If he plays 19…Bc6 now it’s a sign that he probably hasn’t.”

Time trouble

However, in time trouble, what started as a boring game suddenly became interesting because of some inaccurate moves by both players, and a tweet and a screenshot of the evaluation by @MadsStostad makes things clear: “Heeeeeerrregud #hjerteattakk”.


I don’t think you need Google Translate for the Norwegian word “hjerteattakk”. 

@CraigoryC: “After a comedy of errors it seems we have arrived at an equal position once again. #DefWasNotABoringDraw”.

@CazHansen: Wow! What a game. Two big blunders in time trouble today. The games may end in draws, but they’re exciting”.

It was amusing to read two completely different opinions about the move c5 by Carlsen:


GM Daniel Gormally: @elgransenor1: “If Karjakin can’t win after the awful c5? Then when can he ever win?”

And what do you think, GM @jonathan_rowson: “Funny how the idea of ‘blunder’ has changed. Magnus’s c4-c5 probably saved his skin in practice, whatever the engines say.”

Exciting? Come on, you see these time trouble scrambles in the club every week, right? We are just happy finally seeing some fireworks after seven dull games. 

@heastoida: “Nothing special, that’s what happens in my games pretty much all the time”.

And the game seemed to end in a draw soon, but let’s ask two experts: Malcom Pein @telegraphchess: “There comes a moment in WCC matches when it’s all about the nerves and not the position on the board. Its arrived”. @nigelshortchess: “OK, I understand this is supposedly a draw, but I would be very nervous with White”.

And ist is interesting to read the opinion of Top GM Teymur Rajabov: @rajachess:  “Well,he (MC) is playing really bad chess here. And he is going to pay huge price for it in this match,if he keeps on going like this.”

@ChrisBirdIA: “Carlsen seems to be doing his darndest to lose this game. What the heck is going on today?”

I don’t know. Maybe we should ask a supercomputer? 

@TarjeiJS:” Norwegian “super computer” saying Karjakin has a mate in 35 after 51…h5.”

@nigelshortchess: “If you keep playing with fire, eventually you get burned”.


@jonathan_rowson: “52…a2! Black wins. A thoroughly impressive game. I admire Magnus all the more. The will to win is also the will to lose.”

@havanavo: “Think it’s safe to say Carlsen is far from his best. But we should not overlook this was very impressive from Karjakin”.

@danielkingchess: “Carlsen forgot that Karjakin could play for a win. But this time, after some provocation, Karjakin remembered he could.”

And one last tweet for today. I started with a tweet by @TarjeiJS with some statistics, we end this one with more stats: “Karjakin-Carlsen 1-0. The Russian leads 4,5-3,5 after game 8. This is Carlsen’s first loss in 28 games.”

Carlsen – Karjakin Game 7

Half time at the world championship in New York. Let’s start all over again in a 6-game-match for the title. 

@samualmaxton: “Excited to travel to NYC tomorrow for the match. I was worried that halfway through it would already be decided. Wrong!”

I hope Sam has a ticket: @stefanloeffler: “Tickets for Carlsen Karjakin sold out until game ten and eventually until the world championship is decided.”

Rest day


There was a rest day on Saturday in New York, but there was plenty of chess to follow all around the world:  the  The FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk, the World Senior Championship in Marianske Lazne, a spa town in the west of the Czech Republic near the German border or the German Bundesliga with many strong 2700+ players. What about the Indian Championship in Lucknow? 

@nigelshortchess:”Utter chaos in the Indian Championship, with 5 of the 14 participants withdrawing due to the lack of a venue”.  

Let’s ask our friends in India what’s up? @konguvelp:Nat Premier Chess – Searching for Accommodation in 2007 to Searching for Venue in 2016. Sad state of affairs.”

Our man in India, @reachsvara, who has ears and eyes everywhere,  is not surprised: “Searching for Toilet in 1991, Searching for Food in 1998, Searching for Tiger (Yes, there was a REAL tiger around!) in 2006… :-)”

@itherocky: “Organizers! Organizers! Yes, Players! Have a Venue? Yes, Players! Telling lies? No, Players! Let’s play Round 4! Ha! ha! ha!”

Game 7



Let’s move a couple of time zones to New York. Press officer Anastasiya Karlovich took the opportunity to go to the movies: @nastialkarlovich: “Magnus” in NYC cinema – could not miss it))! Special thanks to filmmaker @Benjamin_Ree”.



Other officials and players played a couple of chess games on the rest day: @chess24com“: Hard not to feel a bit sad for all the chess hustlers in New York parks now getting hustled by visiting professionals :)”

Now let’s go to the tweets of game number seven. 

@rationalcolonel: “It has been an engrossing match so far with some tremendous games, but what the match needs now is a decisive result in Game 7.”

Do we really need a decisive result? A draw can be exciting as well, what do you think, @tiltchess: “I love watching quality chess and someone winning doesn’t necessarily make it more exciting for me. #keepthedrawscoming”.

No 1.e4 today, no Ruy Lopez, but something completely different! Stuart Conquest aka @stuthefox: “It’s difficult to explain to a non-chessplayer that sometimes the very first move can be exciting!”

@robertrisWho would have guessed it would be a Chebanenko Slav today? 🙂 @unudurti: “PH Nielsen did an insane amount of work for Anand with the Slav, so this makes sense…sort of.”




Top GM Teymur Rajabov is not impressed with the opening of the game@rajachess:Could be just dried out at home, with no blah-blah-blah needed.”



What do you think, @TarjeiJS:“I doubt Carlsen was anywhere close to getting a heart attack by Karjakin’s opening preparation today either”. @Silvio Danailov : “It’s amazing how poor is the opening preparation of Sergey Karyakin with white. What the hell is doing his team of seconds”.

@GiddisnSteve: It’s really great to see Ulfie playing Salo Flohr in a World Championship match. Oh, wait a moment…

Exciment on Twitter: Magnus drops a pawn! 

@nigelshortchessI just knew Magnus was going to play 19…Bf6! He is heading for a crappy but (probably) drawn ending a pawn down

@nf3nc6:Carlsen is getting ready for a Magnus grind now. Just that he will be on the receiving end today..”

@GMlars: “Strange play from both players. From slightly better to slightly worse for Carlsen. Should still be drawish, though”.

@tylervsnyc: Let’s see if Carlsen can pull a Karjakin…

Yes he can! Another draw was agreed: @robertris: “Possibly the worst game so far!”

@sjakkerleCarlsen hasnt had a row of draws this long since 09. Karjakin: July. No question for whom this is most frustrating.”

@danielrensch received a message from Hikaru Nakamura: “Who knows, maybe they’ll draw all 12 games and kill classical chess once and for all.” -@GMHikaru texting me. Had to share.”

@joshfriedel:Carlsen seems to lack his usual precision in this match, which makes me realize just how special a quality it was.”

Perhaps the next world championship will be more exciting. What’s your take, @olympiuurcan: “On the positive side, Karjakin is offering us a pretty good preview of a potential Carlsen v Giri world title match”.

One last tweet for today: what do you think of a future match , anishgiri?” I should stop tweeting”.