Many people thought the match was over after Magnus’ win in the 8th game. But the Russian team came up with a few unexpected moves. First of all, Sergey Karjakin arrived in Dubai to help Ian. Sergey so far is the only person who was leading in a World Championship match against Carlsen. He is also a great fighter and his advice could make a positive impact on Nepomniachtchi.
It seemed that after a quick draw in the 7th game, both players would have time to recover and will come up with another long and interesting fight. Magnus Carlsen had the White pieces in Game 8, so the experts debated whether he will try to increase his lead or avoid any risk. In the first case, it would make sense for him to opt for the aggressive Catalan Opening again. Although taking into account that it gave Black winning chances in both of the games this opening was chosen, it was safe to assume we would see 1.e4 instead.
The sixth game of the match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi was impressive, but the competition is still far from over. It actually got even more interesting since the challenger now is obliged to find a way to shatter the champion’s positions. No more worries about 14 draw in the match.
The sixth game of the match turned out to be one of the most epic and nerve-wracking games in the history of chess. It started with Magnus Carlsen coming up with a fresh concept in the opening. Perhaps he got tired of the challenger’s good preparation and tried to get an unknown position at all costs. Nepomniachtchi also felt courageous and put a lot of pressure on the current world champion.
Ian Nepomniachtchi did quite well in the four previous games of the match. He had a slightly better position as White in the third game; he had chances to win as Black in the second game, and he gave White no chances whatsoever as Black in the fourth game. Magnus, on the other hand, seemed a little bit out of his element. In a way, it is logical: after drawing 18 games in the World Championship matches in a row, it is possible to lose confidence.
It has been 5 years since the last decisive game in the classical games of the World Championship matches – 17 draws till this day. The fourth game of the match against Ian Nepomniachtchi must have felt for Magnus Carlsen like the most symbolic moment to finally strike.
First of all, he would play as White after a rest day, which means more time for his team to prepare a worthy opening idea. Secondly, the game had to be played on Magnus’ birthday! He has had a good experience of playing on such a day: he defeated Sergey Karjakin in a tie-break match to defend his title in 2016.
The third game of the match finished in a seemingly uneventful draw, but actually, the day brought a lot of interesting things to discuss.
First of all, both of Nepomniachtchi’s central pawns happened to move forward on the first move. The guest of honor probably wanted Ian to start with 1.d4, but he brought the pawn back and started with 1.e4 instead.
If many people thought the first game of the World Championship match was interesting and exciting, the second game turned out to be a real thriller! Magnus Carlsen was determined to take the lead in the match with the White pieces, and it was interesting to see which central pawn he would start the game with. Funnily enough, both pawns went forward on move one: FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich made the first ceremonial move and played 1.e4, but once the guests of honor left the stage, Magnus brought the king’s pawn back and played 1.d4 instead. We can only guess what the challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi felt at that moment. Nevertheless, it did not confuse him.
The most awaited chess event of the year, the World Championship match, started today in Dubai. In the first game, the candidate Ian Nepomniachtchi from Russia had White pieces against the current world champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway.
Apart from the results, to most of the viewers, the most interesting part was to see what opening choices both players had prepared. Ian Nepomniachtchi started the game with his usual weapon 1.e4 – no surprises so far. In his previous World Championship match against Fabiano Caruana, Magnus went for the sharp Sicilian Defense.
The World Champion title in chess is different from the same title in the other kinds of sports where usually the holder can be changed every year. This is why the Olympic Gold is more valuable: the event takes place once in 4 years. To become the world champion in chess, one must beat the previous holder in a match. This is why the span can be much bigger. Let’s mention that Emanuel Lasker held the World Champion title for 27 years straight!