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.
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.