December 31, 2012 10:30

Karjakin stalemated in Armageddon, wins piece of land

Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin won the original Piterenka rapid/blitz tournament on Saturday where the prize was a piece of land in the Moscow region, along the river Piterenka. In the all-decisive Armageddon game Karjakin was a full rook down against Alexander Grischuk, who allowed a stalemate.

Sergey Karjakin | Photo Galina Popova for the Russian Chess Federation

The Piterenka tournament took place on Saturday, December 29th in the Central House of Chess in Moscow. Four strong players participated: Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Dmitry Jakovenko.

The tournament was played in two parts, both double round robins. The first part was played in rapid chess (10 minutes + 5 seconds per move) and the other in blitz (3 minutes + 2 seconds per move). The winner was determined by the amount of points based on the results of all games played.

Grischuk and Karjakin tied for first in the rapid part with 4/6, Nepomniatchtchi scored 3 points and Jakovenko 1. In the blitz Grischuk, Karjakin and Nepomniatchtchi all scored 3.5/6 and Jakovenko 1.5. Below we give first the rapid games and then the blitz games (PGN via TWIC).

Rapid & blitz games

PGN file

Piterenka 2012 | Final standings

This meant that the tournament had to be decided with an Armageddon game. Grischuk got White and 5 minutes on the clock, Karjakin played Black with 4 minutes and draw odds. This game was a real spectacle.

At some point Grischuk was completely winning, being a full rook up, but then he allowed stalemate with just two seconds on the clock against one for Karjakin! You can watch everything in the video below by Eugene Potemkin who posted many videos on YouTube.


PGN string

Later Karjakin posted the following photo at Twitter:

Apparently the end of the Armageddon game led to an unpleasant situation (not the first time this happens after an Armageddon game!) as Ian Nepomniachtchi tweeted:

Alas, the "Armageddon" friendly New Year's tournament was not too over-friendly.

In two more tweets the winner then apologized for "celebrating too emotionally".

Thanks to Jan, Mitya and Sasha for the fight. Grischuk played particularly well.

and added

I basically always fight to the end.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

What happened exactly between the two players ?

monte44's picture

Armageddon games always seems to end in bad blood. I remember at least two cases: Krush vs. Zatonskih and Kramnik vs. Aronian. Anyway, to decide chess event like this is really stupid and only suits our dear FIDE rules driven by aliens:)

Anonymous's picture

Celebrating any undeserved win adds insult to injury to the unfortunate opponent of course...

Thomas's picture

After about 30 seconds in the first video, what did Grischuk say (in Russian) to make Karjakin smile? Otherwise, both players were understandably tense and probably nervous before the game.

At the end of the game, could Grischuk try to flag Karjakin (104.Kb7 Rc7+ 105.Ka6 Rxa7+ 106.Kb5 etc. - as long as it may take and there was no increment)? Or can Karjakin claim a draw? He would have to be very quick, to my knowledge it's no longer possible after running out of time.

Raj's picture

The time on our own clock becomes another opponent to manage while playing the game. Just having a better position against our physical opponent isn't enough but also managing to win in the available time. Time can become a tougher opponent giving us lesser time to think of the best move for the latest position.

S3's picture

Karjakin had 4 seconds on the clock when Grischuk made the draw, not 1. Personally I'd still resign such a position but those guys are pro's and I doubt there is bad blood between the winners after this game.

Felix Kling's picture

Actually Karjakin had 6 seconds ;) so no chance for Grischuk anyway with so little time. Those armageddon wins look quite ugly.

Casaubon's picture

A piece of land! That strikes me as a very Russian prize for some reason. Brilliant.

Alexander's picture
Alexander's picture
Casaubon's picture

Ha, very good

Brian Wall's picture

Maybe Karjakin will let Grischuk plant a cherry tree on his land.

Merlinovich's picture

Congratulations to Karjakin, he showed great fighting spirit!

Fixed time Blitz like this Armageddon game is just crap. There is no reason why you can't play an Armageddon game with an increment, perhaps best with each player betting on how much time they would accept as Black (White has 5 minutes).

RG13's picture

I think Armageddon with an increment is still bad.
Why not just let both players play games of 3 min. with a 2 sec. increment until one of them leads after an even number of games? They can't keep tying the score forever.

Merlinovich's picture


I tend to agree with you. At least 5 matches of 2 games normal increment Blitz has been used before in FIDE qualification, and could have been applied. But if in tennis the Isner-Mahut match (Wimbledon 2010) could reach 183 games before a winner was found, it could happen in chess too.

Para's picture

Karjakin should have resigned. Life is unfair and I feel for Grischuk.

Para's picture

Karjakin should have resigned. Life is unfair and I feel for Grischuk.

RG13's picture

No one ever won land by resigning!

john's picture

wtf.. now the prize will be a sack of grain, two horses etc...??

NN's picture

Why not? It is a good prize. And if Karjakin does not want to use it, he can sell it.

Thomas's picture

Actually there is a Dutch event (Remco Heite) where the winner - this, I mean last year Daniel Fridman - gets a horse and usually donates it to a charity. At the Mainz rapid events, first prize was a jacket (OK, also some prize money). I think (but here my memory isn't perfect and might be wrong) that there is also a chess event where the winner gets a car.

Septimus's picture

What next, will there be a category 21 tournament with a bag of rice as the prize?

RG13's picture

The land can be sold for a much nicer sum than a bag of rice. However whatever an organizer can get super-grandmasters to play for is an acceptable prize.

brock's picture

amazed so many of you think it was unfair or that karjakin shouldve resigned?! Time is part of the game armageddon or not and karjakin was clearly playing way faster toward the end. Also he had a minute less to start and the black pieces so his only real strength lies in drawing by any means which he did. The result speaks for itself, why make it easy on your opponent, he messed up earlier but gris blundered last and sometimes, often, that's all that matters in chess

Anonymous's picture

Besides, he didn't even win on time, he drew on the board, with stalemate!

ShockeR_40's picture

Kinda ridicolous ending.. armageddon games are terrible idea ;(

Ruben's picture

He played 103.a7 one move to late 102.a7 is just over. Or just go back 103.Ra4+ Kb1 104.a7
Strange he did not spot the stalemate.
102.Rb4+ and 103 a7? was almost the only way of not winning.

Latest articles