Nepominikchi’s rare error allows Carlsen to escape with a draw again | World Chess Championship 2021

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, Russia Ian Nepomnyashchi They didn’t even come close to a referee in their €2m World Championship match after playing in the fifth straight draw on Wednesday at the Dubai Exhibition Centre.

Supercomputers that evaluated moves from the opening four matches indicated it was the most accurate worldwide match ever played in the event’s history, and this fifth competition held that standard with players remarkably converging due to a single inaccuracy between them. Unfortunately for the 31-year-old challenger, the gag was the opportunity Carlsen needed to escape a very uncomfortable situation like the Lions and negotiate a tie after 43 moves.

The contestants started their first moves after the same anti-Marshall difference to Roy Lopez from Nepomniachtchi’s previous two matches 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 out of the ordinary, at first with rare (8… Rb8) and soon after with new (13… d5), but Nepomnyakhchi’s speed and accuracy in response suggested he was ready for both. .

The Champion is starting to waste more and more time on his moves, trailing more than three quarters of an hour on the clock after spending nearly 20 minutes deciding on 19…Qe8. But Nepomnyakhchi’s decision to play 20 Red1 instead of c4 was, Carlsen admitted, a huge relief.

“I definitely thought [c4] “The prime choice,” said Carlsen, who turned 31 on Tuesday. “I thought everything else was kind of manageable. It’s obviously always a little worse, but it doesn’t look like my situation will get any worse, it will probably gradually improve my vision because I have very few real weaknesses. [c4] It was definitely my biggest concern there. Seeing 1st Street, I kind of thought the worst was over.”

From there Carlsen was able to rely on his tactical acumen and instinct to simplify the situation and walk away with a half point after 3 hours 50 minutes, leaving Nepomnyakhchi to regret his missed opportunity to take the match by the scruff. “Of course I’m disappointed,” said the number 5 in the world. “Today it’s not about defending well but I’m not taking all the chances that I had.”

Quick guide

World Chess Championship


The match consists of 14 classic matches, and each player is awarded a point for winning and half a point for a tie. Whoever gets seven and a half points first will be declared the champion.

The time control for each game is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds for each move starting at step 61.

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

• Top four quick matches with 25 minutes per player in 10 second increments after each move.

• In the event of a tie, they will play up to five blitzkrieg mini-games (five minutes per player in three-second increments).

• If all five mini-games are tied, then one “Armageddon” match will be played to a sudden death 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 defense both second and third came to the tiebreak. But many believe that the increase in the duration of this year’s match (from 12 to 14 matches) and the current stylistic match promises a decisive outcome in the organization.

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The bloodless result, which left the top 14 games dead at 2½-2½ with nine contests remaining, spanned a streak of 17 straight draws in classic World Championship matches. Carlsen tied his last two games with Sergei Karjakin in 2016, and all 12 against Fabiano Caruana in 2018, then tied five in a row to open this year’s game with Nepomnyasci.

“I think there’s a magical stopping point where a tie becomes an issue rather than a normal,” said Carlsen, who will organize the white pieces when play resumes on Friday afternoon after a rest day on Thursday. “But I don’t think we’ve crossed the Rubicon yet.”

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