David’s FIDE World Championship Play of the Day: Game 2

David Howell's Play of the Day

The FIDE World Championship kicked into gear in Game 2 as Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi played out a breath-taking thriller – but it still ended all square.

Commentating on every move from the second day of the €2 million match from the regular Tour studio in Oslo was Grandmaster David Howell.

Here, in the latest in a series of video analysis segments brought to you by the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, David picked out his Play of the Day.

In a game where the momentum swung both ways, Carlsen applied fierce pressure on his opponent out of the opening after opting for a Catalan.

The Norwegian sacrificed a pawn before playing the rare 8.Ne5 which left Nepo with a long think. Carlsen went to sac an exchange leaving him with a strong knight camped in Nepo’s position that appeared to give him the advantage.

It was masterful, risky chess from Carlsen that showed his deep prep. However, in what Carlsen later described as a “blunder”, the defending champion released the tension in the middle of the board and let Nepo back in.

Nepomniachtchi now had the upper hand, but in a position that remained extremely difficult to play.

Carlsen, however, is never easily beaten. The champion took advantage of a few rushed decisions from his rival to claw his way to safety and the game ended in a well-known drawn endgame.

Looking relaxed after the intense four-hour game that lasted 58 moves, Norway’s world number 1 posted this on Twitter afterwards:

Leaving the playing hall, Carlsen told chess24: “At some point I blundered when I allowed Nac5, because I didn’t intend to sac quite as much material as I did! I think a lot of things could have been done differently.”

In the post-match press conference, Nepomniachtchi added: “After Ba8 I thought Black is nearly winning… but I should give huge credit to Magnus because he played in a very interesting way.”

The Russian said it was “in general a very puzzling game” and labelled it “chaotic”.

The match score stands at 1-1 and play will resume with Game 3 on Sunday with commentary from David and the Tour team broadcast live on chess24.

For more on the day’s events read the match report here.

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