Russia’s FIDE World Championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi has banked all his hopes of an unlikely comeback against Magnus Carlsen on Friday’s Game 11 after accepting a tame draw today.
The 31-year-old appeared in “damage limitation” mode, according to Carlsen afterward, as he opted for a solid Petroff Defence and steered the game towards a 41-move draw.
In his daily analysis sessions, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour commentator David Howell picks over the key instructive moments in his Play of the Day:
Nepo, who has a 3 point gap to close with just 4 to play, will now be hoping to return to the board rested and ready to take on Carlsen again with the White pieces.
Carlsen is now just one point away from defending his title and being crowned World Champion for the fifth time.
Wednesday’s game started with the third Petroff of the match – an opening Carlsen confessed that he had not really expected.
The opening was tame with few chances on either side, although Carlsen said afterward he felt he had a slight edge. But when the Queens came off on move 10 most pundits expected a quick draw.
A series of trades followed and the draw was agreed once they cleared the time control at move 40. The game lasted just 2 hours and was 41 moves in length.
In the Oslo broadcast, IM Lawrence Trent said: “If it was me I wouldn’t have played that way because I don’t like leaving it until the last minute to try and save a match.
“I think Ian is talented enough to put pressure on with the Black pieces if he gets the kind of position.
“But maybe yesterday was so mentally draining for him that he just wanted to refresh for the rest day, come back and go all-in basically for the last four games – and that’s what he needs to do.
“Every game is a must-win game so I expect fireworks in Game 11 now.”
IM Trent added: “Miracles do happen – it’s the festive season!”
Play will resume with Game 11 on Friday with commentary from David and the Tour team broadcast live on chess24.
For more on the day’s events read the match report here.