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The Week in Chess

Chess News from throughout the World
  1. Nepomniachtchi doesn't make the most of his chances in World Chess Championship game 5 - 5

    The fifth game of the FIDE World Chess Championship in Dubai was drawn in 41 moves. Ian Nepomniachtchi with the white pieces again played the Anti-Marshall with 8.a4. Carlsen deviated from game three with 8...Rb8. While it would be too strong to say Carlsen was in big trouble he was definitely the one under pressure and it was clear that Nepomniachtchi was very well prepared for Rb8. The key moment of the game seemed to be when Nepomniachtchi played 20.Red1 rather than the critical 20.c4 - Carlsen said that he felt after this "the worst was over". Nepomniachtchi seemed disappointed after the game but it does seem that he's getting chances with white so that's something to be happy about. There is a rest day on Thursday followed by three games in a row Friday to Sunday.

    Score 2.5-2.5 (five draws). Game 6 Friday 12:30GMT Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi.

  2. Nepomniachtchi gets an easy draw using the Petroff Defence in World Championship Game 4 - 4

    The FIDE World Chess Championship in Dubai resumed today after its first rest day. Game four took place on Magnus Carlsen's birthday - he has reasonable memories of playing on this day - winning as he did the tie-break match against Sergey Karjakin in 2016.

    Today Carlsen had the white pieces said that he expected the Petroff - Nepomniachtchi had used it in a game in the Candidates and that he was ready for it. "I tried something concrete - it didn't work. That's a normal result. I didn't expect him to have missed the line I played completely but in some other iterations there can be a lot of difficult decisions to make for black. But I think the way that he played there was just - there are some different tries - nothing. The state of modern chess - not much else to say."

    Nepomniachtchi confirmed he knew Carlsen's try - the novelty 18.Nh4 and he supposed many other Petroff experts knew of it. He said he might have liked to try the move himself with the white pieces. His task today was not to mix up his lines and get in trouble in a line that he knew to be safe for black with correct play.

    There was rapid simplification and Carlsen, after a long think on move 30 about the only real try for an advantage 30.d6 decided there was no mileage in it and forced a draw by repetition with 30.Ne8+.

    Score 2-2 after four games. Game five on December 1st 12:30 GMT.

  3. Comfortable hold for Carlsen with black in game 3 of the World Chess Championship - 3

    The FIDE World Chess Championship reached it's first rest day on Monday all square at 1.5 points each after three games. Magnus Carlsen looked very comfortable in defending the Ruy Lopez Anti-Marshall. It's been assumed in commentary that he's prepared the Marshall but it hasn't been allowed yet so we don't know for certain. Carlsen admitted to playing some "ugly" moves but at no point did he seem under pressure. Ian Nepomniachtchi chose 8.a4 rather than the 8.h3 in game one but he didn't achieve very much. Nepomniachtchi thought he might be getting somewhere but his long think after Carlsen's 20...Be6 produced only the move 21.h3 which after 21...c6 22.Bc2 d5 led to complete equality. Carlsen also made the rest of the game look ridiculously easy as he raced to a setup with his King on e5 and pawn on f4 that killed any prospects of a decisive result.

    There is now a rest day on Monday and we'll see if Carlsen can find an advantage with white on Tuesday.

  4. World Chess Championship game 2 - a fighting draw - 2

    The FIDE World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi is tied at 1-1 after the first two games were drawn. In spite of these draws the early games promise a very interesting match which will be settled over the board not by the huge amount of opening preparation both sides have clearly done.

    Carlsen had white in game two and a Catalan appeared on the board. It seemed at first that Carlsen had won the opening battle. Nepomniachtchi's 7... b5 was met by 8. Ne5 - a move that's been played at a high level this year but none the less he didn't seem ready for. Carlsen continued to play quickly for the next few moves and after 16...Na6 had some advantage in a wild position. Then however Carlsen miscalculated - 17.Ne5 was a mistake as after 17...Bxe5 18. dxe5 Nac5 (the move missed by Carlsen) black was suddenly better, after 20.Rb1? Carlsen was much worse (20.Be3 had to be played) perhaps close to losing. Nepomniachtchi was impressed - perhaps a bit too impressed - by 24.Be4 and he became a bit nervous about Carlsen's attacking chances, his 24...c3 let Carlsen right back in the game and then after 26...bxa4 (26...Qg7) the game was back to being balanced. After that there were no big swings in fortune, Carlsen had enough for the exchange and Nepomniachtchi returned it with 37...Rxd6 after which they liquidated to a drawn endgame.

    Nepomniachtchi said that at first he had the impression neither of them had played well but later he thought the game "Very interesting - very chaotic". The truth is somewhere in between no doubt.

    Game 3 Sunday 28th November 2021.

  5. Nepomniachtchi and Carlsen draw the first game of their World Chess Championship match - 1

    The FIDE World Chess Championship got under way in Dubai on Friday 26th November. The match between World Champion Magnus Carlsen and his challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi will be over 14 classical games followed by a day of rapid and blitz tie-breaks if required.

    The first game of the match was a reasonably tense affair with both players surely glad to get started. The pandemic has drastically reduced the amount of face to face chess in the last 18 months and that will surely affect both players but there has also been a revolution in chess preparation using AI and computers. This is generating masses of new ideas - in the recent past it's been hard to remember everything - we may now have gone past that point. This match will no doubt advance our knowledge as to where opening theory is right now. Daniil Dubov is working for Nepomniachtchi and he has been one of the players at the forefront of the new preparation ideas.

    Today's game was a Closed Ruy Lopez - not a Berlin - most likely Carlsen was headed for a Marshall Defence if he'd been allowed, instead Nepomniachtchi avoided this with 8.h3 which was met by 8...Na5. This has been a rare move which has been played recently in correspondence chess it also seems to have been known by at least a few top players as a valid line for black. Carlsen finished his preparation a pawn down but with the two bishops as compensation - he admitted to being slightly concerned, most likely he hoped his opponent didn't find everything to the end. As it was Nepomniachtchi was a little better for the next few moves. 22.Bf4 was a misjudgment after which black equalised and perhaps was the one pressing. 27...Kf8?! was the next turning point (27...g6 is liked by computers much more although it still isn't much for black) then 30.Ne1?! (30.Ke2) and again black has a little edge - not more. It seems 40...Rd7?! (40...Nf4) was the final minor mistake leading to an almost immediate draw by repetition.

    Games two and three will take place on Saturday and Sunday with the first rest day on Monday.

  6. World Chess Championship 2021 - Games and Results

    The FIDE World Chess Championship takes place in Dubai, UAE, 24th November (opening ceremony - game 1 on 26th Nov) until 16th December. The match is between World Champion Magnus Carlsen and his Challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi. The match will be over 14 games rather than the recent 12 and uses an accelerated schedule to accommodate this - a final day of rapid and blitz tie-breaks will take place on 15th December in the event of a 7-7 tie. Nepomniachtchi will not compete under the Russian flag due to WADA sporting sanctions against Russia because of their state sponsored doping program. Both players were born in 1990 - Nepomniachtchi is the slightly older - born 14th July - Carlsen will have his birthday on 30th Nov the same day as game 4 - they have been friends since their junior days. This match should have taken place in 2020 but the Covid-19 crisis caused delays to the qualification process. Each playing session will start at 12:30pm GMT. This page will contain the games and stories on the match.

    Game 1 12:30 GMT Friday 26th Ian Nepomniachtchi vs Magnus Carlsen.

  7. 12th London Chess Classic 2021 - Games and Results

    The 12th London Chess Classic takes place 3rd to 12th December 2021. The event is on a smaller scale due to the continuing coronavirus crisis and in a different venue, the Cavendish Centre. The main event is an England vs the Rest of the World Scheveningen match between England’s Michael Adams, Luke McShane and Gawain Jones and a Rest of the World Team of Boris Gelfand, Nikita Vitiugov and Maxime Lagarde over 6 rounds. Also there are other event including the Pro-Biz and English Rapidplay Championship.
  8. Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz 2021 - Games and Results

    The Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz took place Wed 17th Nov to Sun 21st Nov 2021 in Kolkata, India. 6 players were to compete in both events: Aronian, Vidit, Shankland, Maghsoodloo, Liem and Adhiban but the latter was replaced by Erigaisi for the blitz. 7 players played just one of the two events, Karthikeyan, Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa in the rapid and Harika, Nihal Sarin, Gukesh and Sadhwani complete the blitz field. The event was shockingly dominated by Arjun Erigaisi who won the rapid and only lost out on winning the blitz after a draw tie-break and a loss in a final Armageddon game to Levon Aronian. Although Erigaisi did finish 3rd in the Lindores Abbey Tal Memorial blitz earlier this month.
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