David’s FIDE World Championship Play of the Day: Game 5

David Howell's Play of the Day: Game 5

Five games, five draws in the FIDE World Championship so far.

Yet again there was nothing to separate Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi – despite both giving everything to make the breakthrough.

But there were moments when the deadlock could have been broken.

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

Game 5 saw Nepo test Carlsen’s prep again with the Ruy Lopez and again it went down the Anti-Marshall variation.

Carlsen was the first to deviate, choosing a 8…Rb8 compared to …Bb7 in Game 3, but his opponent didn’t flinch and continued to play fast and within his prep.

I think there's some cut-off point after which draws stop being normal and become a problem, but I don't think we've crossed the Rubicon yet!

Nepo, however, then stopped to think on move 20. As David Howell outlines in his Play of the Day, the challenger had a chance to pressure Carlsen with 20. c4.

But the Russian chose 20. Rd1 which was unambitious and proved too slow. A series of trades followed and Carlsen played accurately to steer the game to a draw.

Had Nepo missed his golden opportunity?

“Of course I am disappointed,” he said. “You are not happy, obviously I should have tried harder to use the momentum.”

Watch GM Danny King’s full recap of the game here:

Carlsen said afterward: “The tension is rising and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that it’s going to be hard for either of us to break through … it’s not easy.”

Carlsen, at least outwardly, appeared tired going into the rest day. When he returns, the champion will have the advantage of two Whites in a block of three games.

Play will resume with Game 6 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.

Suggested Articles