Level of play increases as finish line gets closer
Game 9 saw another Spanish Opening, this time one of the popular …Bc5 lines. The reputation of this forcing line is quite reasonable, and about 10 years ago it was even more popular, even at the world championship level. However, with the advance of computers, the lines slowly got worked out in greater detail, and today it is still considered playable but riskier than once thought. It is necessary to have an excellent memory if Black wants to venture it.
I am not sure how much of the game saw players simply repeat their preparation, but afterwards Karjakin said that he felt he had a big advantage–but no clear win–and that Carlsen defended brilliantly. The press conference saw a lively analysis and both players showed great respect for each other.