Rare Nepomniachtchi mistake allows Carlsen to escape with another draw

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Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi are no closer to a verdict in their € 2million world championship game after playing a fifth straight draw on Wednesday at the Dubai Exposition Center.

Supercomputers evaluating the movements of the first four games had indicated that it was the most accurate world title game ever played in the history of the event and this fifth competition maintained that standard as players performed remarkably well. combined for inaccuracy between them. Unfortunately for the 31-year-old challenger, the slip-up was the opportunity Carlsen needed to escape from a very awkward position as black and negotiate a draw after 43 strokes.

Competitors blitzed their first shots after the same anti-Marshall variant of Ruy Lopez from the previous two Nepomniachtchi games with the white pieces (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 OO Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 OO ). After 8 a4, Carlsen continued his strategy of being the first to turn away from the familiar, first with the rare (8… Rb8) and soon after with the new (13… d5), but the pace and precision of Nepomniachtchi in response suggested he was prepared for both.

The champion began to exhaust more and more time on his movements, accusing more than three quarters of an hour behind the clock after spending nearly 20 minutes deciding 19… Qe8. But Nepomniachtchi’s decision to play 20 Red1 instead of c4 was, Carlsen admitted, a huge relief.

“I certainly considered [c4] the primary option, ”said Carlsen, who turned 31 on Tuesday. “I thought everything else was somehow manageable. Obviously it’s always a little worse, but I feel like my position is not going to get any worse, it will probably improve gradually as I have very few real weaknesses. [c4] was definitely what worried me the most there. Seeing Rd1, I kind of thought the worst was over.

From there, Carlsen was able to rely on his tactical sense and instinct to simplify the position and come away with a half point after 3:50, leaving Nepomniachtchi to regret his missed chance to take the game by the skin. “Of course I’m disappointed,” said the world No.5. “Today it’s basically not about him defending well, but about me not using all the opportunities I have had. “

Quick guide

World Chess Championship Format


The match consists of 14 classic matches, with each player being awarded one point for a win and half a point for a draw. Whoever reaches seven and a half points first will be declared champion.
The time control for each game is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remainder of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move from move 61.

If the match is tied after 14 matches, tie-breaks will be played on the last day (December 16) in the following order:

• Best of four quick games with 25 minutes for each player with a 10 second increment after each stroke.

• If they are still tied, they will play up to five two-game blitz mini-matches (five minutes for each player with a three-second increment).

• If all five mini-matches are drawn, a Sudden Death Armageddon match will be played where White receives five minutes and Black receives four minutes. Both players will receive a three second increment after the 60th move. In the event of a tie, Black will be declared the winner.

Carlsen’s second and third title defenses both ended in tiebreakers. But many believe that the increased duration of this year’s match (from 12 to 14 matches) and the stylistic match at hand promises a decisive result in the settlement.

Thank you for your opinion.

The bloodless result, which left the Top 14 game at a 2½-2½ stalemate with nine games remaining, extended a streak of 17 straight draws in classic World Championship games. Carlsen drew the last two games with Sergey Karjakin in 2016, all 12 against Fabiano Caruana in 2018, then five in a row to open this year’s draw with Nepomniachtchi.

“I think there’s a magical cutoff point where the draws instead of just being normal they become a problem,” said Carlsen, who will collect the white pieces when play resumes Friday afternoon after a day out. rest Thursday. “But I don’t think we’ve crossed the Rubicon yet. “


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