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World chess championship | Ian Nepomniachtchi blunders, Magnus Carlsen pulls away

Striking again: Carlsen won for the second successive time with the white pieces.   | Photo Credit: AFP

An uncharacteristic blunder on the 21st move from Ian Nepomniachtchi was enough for Magnus Carlsen to find a sound winning plan in Game 8 for a 5-3 lead in the World chess championship in Dubai on Sunday.

Two victories for Carlsen, with white pieces in the last three games, left Nepo staring at a premature end to his challenge in the best-of-14-game title-match. In the remaining six games, Carlsen needs only 2.5 points to retain his world crown.

When the action resumes on Tuesday, Nepo will play white in Game 9.

Once Nepo’s error of judgement — with a push of a queenside pawn — occurred in a balanced position following the opening lines of Petroff Defence, he not only lost a pawn but also fell into a streak of passive moves.

Carlsen, getting better with every passing move, simplified the position further and had two extra pawns after the 35th move in the queen-and-pawn ending.

“I think, this game is going to haunt Nepo for the rest of his life,” said Viswanathan Anand once Nepo reached a completely lost position and Carlsen continued to make his rival suffer.

The Norwegian continued to torture Nepo by taking time for the moves while the Russian could do very little to improve his dead-lost position. Eventually, Nepo resigned on the 46th move.

The moves: Game 8: White: Carlsen; Black: Nepomniachtchi

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. Bd3 d5 5. Nxe5 Nd7 6. Nxd7 Bxd7 7. Nd2 Nxd2 8. Bxd2 Bd6 9. O-O h5 10. Qe1+ Kf8 11. Bb4 Qe7 12. Bxd6 Qxd6 13. Qd2 Re8 14. Rae1 Rh6 15. Qg5 c6 16. Rxe8+ Bxe8 17. Re1 Qf6 18. Qe3 Bd7 19. h3 h4 20. c4 dxc4 21. Bxc4 b5

22. Qa3+ Kg8 23. Qxa7 Qd8 24. Bb3 Rd6 25. Re4 Be6 26. Bxe6 Rxe6 27. Rxe6 fxe6 28. Qc5 Qa5 29. Qxc6 Qe1+ 30. Kh2 Qxf2 31. Qxe6+ Kh7 32. Qe4+ Kg8 33. b3 Qxa2 34. Qe8+ Kh7 35. Qxb5 Qf2 36. Qe5 Qb2 37. Qe4+ Kg8 38. Qd3 Qf2 39. Qc3 Qf4+ 40. Kg1 Kh7 41. Qd3+ g6 42. Qd1 Qe3+ 43. Kh1 g5 44. d5 g4 45. hxg4 h3 46. Qf3. Nepo resigns.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 1:27:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/world-chess-championship-ian-nepomniachtchi-blunders-magnus-carlsen-pulls-away/article37858547.ece

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