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World chess championship | Nepo slips, Carlsen punishes him again

Different day, same result: A break did nothing to help Nepo who suffered yet another reverse against Carlsen.   | Photo Credit: AFP

After a day’s rest, a new look and a new opening choice did not change Ian Nepomniachtchi’s fortunes.

His reputation of being prone to committing blunders in the least expected stage of a game came true as he crashed to another confidence-crushing loss in 39 moves.

Playing white, a desperate Nepo blundered on the 27th move with a pawn-push on the queen’s side and eventually lost a bishop to hand over champion Magnus Carlsen a third win in four games for a 6-3 lead in their World chess championship match in Dubai on Tuesday.

With five games to go in this best-of-14-game title-match, Carlsen needs just 1.5 points to keep the title.

Asked about his view on what possibly caused this game-deciding blunder in a world championship game, Carlsen said, “I think it’s the tension for sure. Ian is probably a bit more prone to blundering than some other opponents. It happened to Vishy (Viswanathan Anand) as well (in the 2013 world title match). He also made some uncharacteristic errors at the end. Pressure gets to everybody.”

Nepo turned up for the game having gotten rid of the man bun. He opted for the English opening, where he looked very well prepared and did have Carlsen thinking a bit longer in the initial phase.

In an equal position, at a point where even a possible draw was not being contemplated, Nepo allowed Carlsen to trap his bishop with a gentle pawn-push and capture it on the 31st move to take a firm grip on the game. Eight moves later, Nepo gave up.

On whether the match was almost decided now, Carlsen said, “ It’s not 100% accurate. But it’s obviously looking great now.”

As Nepo put it, “Two one-move blunders in a row is a bit too much... a lack of concentration combined with not the best luck.”

The moves: Game 9: White: Nepo; Black: Carlsen

1. c4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. O-O Bc5 6. d3 Nf6 7. Nbd2 a5 8. Nb3 Be7 9. e3 dxe3 10. Bxe3 Ng4 11. Bc5 O-O 12. d4 a4 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Nc5 a3 15. bxa3 Rd8 16. Nb3 Nf6 17. Re1 Qxa3 18. Qe2 h6 19. h4 Bd7 20. Ne5 Be8 21. Qe3 Qb4 22. Reb1 Nxe5 23. dxe5 Ng4 24. Qe1 Qxe1+ 25. Rxe1 h5 26. Bxb7 Ra4 27. c5

c6 28. f3 Nh6 29. Re4 Ra7 30. Rb4 Rb8 31. a4 Raxb7 32. Rb6 Rxb6 33. cxb6 Rxb6 34. Nc5 Nf5 35. a5 Rb8 36. a6 Nxg3 37. Na4 c5 38. a7 Rd8 39. Nxc5 Ra8. Nepo resigns.


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 5:52:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/world-chess-championship-nepo-slips-carlsen-punishes-him-again/article37889779.ece

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