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World Chess Championship: Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi play fifth draw

The fifth world championship match between Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia on Wednesday in Dubai ended as the first four did. With a draw.

While the games so far have offered Carlsen’s good sacrifice and some minor complications and mistakes to excite die-hard fans, they haven’t come close to delivering what the die-hard fans have come to expect. The normal observation is usually like to see at sporting events: a winner.

“It’s becoming more and more clear that it’s going to be very difficult for either of us to get through,” Carlsen said after the game.

It’s not unusual there are a lot of draws in major chess events. In the previous championship in 2018, Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana of the United States drew 12 times in a row before Carlsen kept his title in tie break games.

But all those draws could make casual and even serious fans want to see someone win a game. Even Carlsen criticized the format of the match.

Carlsen, 31, is considered by many to be the best chess player since at least Garry Kasparov, and perhaps the best of all time. He won the world title in 2013 at the age of 22 and has successfully defended it three times since then.

The game has changed dramatically since Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky captivated viewers around the world in Reykjavik in 1972. The IBM Deep Blue computer was the first computer to make the breakthrough in machines, beating it. Kasparov in 1997. Computers are now significantly better than any human player.

Of course, players at the world championships are not allowed to use computers during the match, but they will give open tactics and analyze each other’s play on the computer before and after the game.

Live commentators also have the advantage of looking smart by saying things like, “Bb3 is the best move here” knowing that the computer told them this is more likely to be true than it is. world championship contenders.

The sport is also becoming more lucrative, at least at the top. The winner of the match will receive $1.2 million and the loser $800,000. In contrast, Fischer and Spassky played for a total of $150,000. Carlsen also build a 100 million dollar business, Play Magnus, featuring online play and teach.

The casual dignified sport had a brief stint at the time of this year’s inaugural game. The flag was displayed by Nepomniachtchi, also 31, reading “Russian Chess Federation.” But the World Anti-Doping Agency stepped in and asserted that because of the two-year ban on Russia for state-sanctioned sports doping, the word “Russia” could not appear. The flag has been changed to “CFR”.

The first 14 games of this match are played at a strict chess-related pace: Players have two hours for the first 40 moves. The outstanding draw rate makes it very likely that the match will end with 14 of them. Carlsen criticized the long format, urging faster games, while Nepomniachtchi favored it more.

Asked about the format on Tuesday, Carlsen said, “There’s a saying that if you don’t have something nice to say you shouldn’t say anything, so I’ll highlight that particular statement right here.”

If each player finishes with an equal number of wins – or if all 14 games end in a tie – then the game progresses to faster games, more likely to end with someone win.

First, they will play four matches, 25 minutes each. If still tied, they move on to a five-minute game.

If the ropes still cannot be broken, a game of sudden death will be played. The player on the white piece will have five minutes and the black piece will have four. If that game also ends in a tie, black will be declared the winner.

If Carlsen sees off Nepomniachtchi – he is a 3-5 favorite to do so – future opponents could be wunderkind Alireza Firouzja, an 18-year-old French-Iranian player who has climbed into the top 10 in the world and is now on the way. generate some like an echo that Carlsen did as a youngster.

Fans were eager to see a Carlsen-Firouzja match. And they will probably enjoy it even more if some games end with a winner.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/01/sports/world-chess-championship-carlsen-nepomniachtchi.html World Chess Championship: Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi play fifth draw

Olly Dawes

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