HOW THE CHAMPIONS PLAY AS WHITE: PART 2
Carlsen shared his thoughts: "it goes on and as long as I am not down in the match it is OK. Yesterday I could have lost at some point. It was not forced, but it was a difficult position. I felt that today was not the day that I should be looking to do big things. I am quite satisfied with a short game and now I will go and try and prepare for the next."
When asked, “Is every draw in the match in Karjakin’s favour?” Grischuk replied: “Of course. After all, before the start, Carlsen was the clear favourite, but now the fewer games that remain the less of a favourite he has become.” Short opined that “Karjakin’s great strength — a narrow but very well-analysed repertoire — is a liability when his opponent has months to prepare for it,” and I have to agree. Karjakin has not gained any advantage out of half of his White games, which does not bode well. However, I think that people generally underestimate Carlsen’s openings, and Karjakin expands on this when he states that, “as I said before Carlsen is very good in the openings, so it is not a big surprise also for me.” He went on to give a glimpse into how he thinks about the match when he stated, “basically I have a feeling that the match is interesting and maybe the only game with which I could be really unhappy was yesterday, so it is fine.”
Grischuk also had some interesting things to say about the match thus far: “For now there are no particular grounds to think that Karjakin will win, but the main thing is that he is not losing! And in the fifth game for the first time at some point he outplayed Carlsen, so he has got a chance. I would suggest an analogy with boxing: if you face a stronger opponent you do not think about immediately trying to knock him out. At first, you try not to get knocked out yourself, then you try to box on a level footing, and only then do you try to break through.”
After the game there was plenty of talk about draws, and how “boring” the match was, which I believe is unhealthy for chess: “who knows, maybe they will draw all twelve games and kill classical chess once and for all.” — Nakamura. One person tweeted, “Did I hear Carlsen imply that there would be no more draws? He sounded serious to me.” Whilst others noted that “Karjakin leaps to seventh in live ratings,” since for every draw Carlsen lost 1.1 rating points and Karjakin gained the same amount. Whilst this was not on the forefront of the players’ minds I am sure, it is pretty significant at the top level since a few points here and there could propel you into or out of the top ten or five. Finally, let us finish Karjakin’s White games in this article with some prophetic words from Michal Krasenkow: “Either the World Champion will play some game badly (that has happened more than once even with him), or it will go to tiebreaks, a lottery of nerves, but Karjakin (in contrast to Carlsen, who barely has any such experience) has already emerged victorious from those lotteries in numerous World Cup battles.”