By clothing-bag, 31/01/2022

Carlsen revalidates the world title after winning the eleventh game against Nepo

Magnus Carlsen, with a point difference on the scoreboard equal to that of Fischer against Spassky in Reykjavik (Iceland) 1972, has retained the world title for the fourth time after overwhelming Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi 7.5-3.5 in the meeting that concluded today in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). The Norwegian's victory with the black pieces in the eleventh game in 49 moves, after the challenger once again made a serious mistake in a balanced position and with more than an hour of time on his clock, has meant that they are no longer needed. play the last three scheduled games. A crown that also means for Carlsen, 31, a prize of 1.2 million euros, while Nepomniachtchi will receive 800,000 for the runner-up.

The loss in game six after 136 moves and eight hours of fighting was the beginning of the end for the Russian, a highly imaginative player with great attacking talent, but psychologically glass-jawed. From then on, the World Cup has been a suffering, almost wanting to soon forget everything and return to Moscow away from a rival who has a rocky style, almost seamless, very experienced, in excellent physical shape and with great mental strength. , produces nightmares.

Today the story of previous days repeated itself. An almost childish mistake by Nepomniachtchi on move 23 was punished by Carlsen without taking any risk, simplifying and reaching a rook ending with a material and positional advantage. The rest until the moment of abandonment was once again kicking with impotence.

The champion gave one of the keys in his appearance before the journalists: "In simple positions I make very few mistakes, unlike my rival in this match, and that helps. On the few occasions that there have been complicated positions, both of us have made mistakes, but I was the penultimate...However, all this changed in the sixth game. My opponent was no longer the same".

Carlsen somewhat compared this match to the one he had with India's Viswanathan Anand when he snatched the crown from him in 2013. "In the beginning there was a lot of tension, a lot of equality, until the duel broke down. When I won the first game everything was much easier ". On the facilities given by Nepomniachtchi from the 6th game, Carlsen declared: "Ian could not show his best chess, but this happens sometimes when you are in a difficult situation. So it does not matter all the previous preparation if you do not know how to face that moment".

Nepomniachtchi, very polite at all times and showing great sportsmanship, had no problem talking about his defeat despite the bulk of it. "I have never made mistakes as serious and continuous as the ones I made in the eighth, ninth and 11th games; in my career I have made them, but never so often," he declared. "I have to rest and analyze what I have done wrong, not only in the chess part but physically and mentally. I have been too tense, but that does not justify mistakes that I would never overlook in a lightning game (5 minutes)," he added.

Congratulations to the champion gave way to considerations about the future. Can it be said that he is the best player in history beating, for example, Kasparov? The undisputed number one was clear: "It's not me who can say it, but I think I still have a way to go." On that path may be the 19-year-old Frenchman of Iranian origin Alireza Firouzja, who is second in the world rankings after qualifying for the Candidates Tournament to be played in May-June 2022. "I have been impressed by his game. in the Grand Prix and in the European Nations Championship. It motivates me more than anything to face him."

Carlsen, far from thinking about a long vacation, intends to play the World Championship of blitz (5+3) and rapid (20+10) games in Warsaw (Poland) from December 25 to 31. And it is that the champion, despite the fact that he climbed to the top of the world lists in 2010, is still very hungry for victories.


World Championship, 11th game.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 d6 6.0-0 a5 7.Re1 Ba7 8.Na3 h6 9.Nc2 0-0 10.Be3 Bxe3 11.Nxe3 Re8 12.a4 Be6 13.Bxe6 Rxe6 14.Qb3 b6 15.Rad1 [New; known was 15.Nd5] 15...Ne7 16.h3 Qd7 17.Nh2 Rd8 18.Nhg4 Nxg4 19.hxg4 d5 20.d4 exd4 21.exd5 Re4 22.Qc2 Rf4 23.g3?? [Losing move of the game and indirectly of the World Cup. He had to play 23.Rxd4 with equality] 23...dxe3! 24.gxf4 Qxg4+ 25.Kf1 Qh3+ 26.Kg1 Nf5 [He won more easily 26...exf2+ 27.Qxf2 Rd6 28.Qg2 Rg6; Carlsen, however, prefers to play an ending...] 27.d6 Nh4 28.fxe3 Qg3+ 29.Kf1 Nf3 30.Qf2 Qh3+ 31.Qg2 Qxg2+ 32.Kxg2 Nxe1+ 33.Rxe1 Rxd6 34.Kf3 Rd2 35.Rb1 g6 36 .b4 axb4 37.Rxb4 Ra2 [The endgame is easy for Carlsen with a pawn up and a very active rook] 38.Ke4 h5 39.Kd5 Rc2 40.Rb3 h4 41.Kc6 h3 42.Kxc7 h2 43.Rb1 Rxc3+ 44. Kxb6 Rb3+ 45.Rxb3 h1Q 46.a5 Qe4 47.Ka7 Qe7+ 48.Ka8 Kg7 49.Rb6 Qc5, they yield. (0-1).