The world championship chess match so far

Magnus Carlsen was heavily favored, but after six games with Karjakin — half the match — they are all draws.  The first noteworthy feature of play is that Karjakin has matched what is usually a big stamina advantage for Carlsen.  If Carlsen were playing against Anand again, and creating similar positions, he probably would be two points up, as he was pressing strong endgame advantages for hours in two of the games.  Yet Karjakin held firm and found the necessary defensive resources in both cases and victories fell from Carlsen’s grasp.  Overall we have seen few obvious mistakes in the play.

The second noteworthy feature of the first half of the match is that Carlsen has shown no inferiority of opening preparation, unlike what is usually the case; if anything Carlsen has had slightly better prep.  (And note that Karjakin has Putin and thus an army of seconds on his side; Karjakin has a connection to Crimea and used to play for Ukraine but now plays for Russia and basically endorsed the territory transfer, get the picture?)

I believe one should root for Carlsen.  Yet this is 2016, and I suppose anything could happen at this point…


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