David’s FIDE World Championship Play of the Day: Game 9

David Howell's Play of the Day: Game 9

Disaster struck for Ian Nepomniachtchi as he blundered away his second game in a row to leave his FIDE World Championship hopes all but over.

The Russian is now 6-3 behind with a mountain to climb to overhaul reigning champ Magnus Carlsen.

But while Game 9 in Dubai was a huge disappointment for Nepo – it was still a dramatic tussle with plenty to learn from.

And, it will be remembered as the day Nepo appeared at the board without his trademark man-bun having had a haircut on the rest day.

In his daily analysis sessions, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour commentator David Howell picks over what went wrong in his Play of the Day:

I think it’s the tension, for sure. Also that Ian is probably a bit more prone to blundering than some other opponents, but it happened to Vishy as well, that he also made some uncharacteristic errors at the end, so pressure gets to everybody.

Nepo now needs to beat Carlsen at least three times in the next five games just to take the match to tiebreaks. It is a near-impossible task.

Did Carlsen feel sorry for his opponent after the 27.c5 blunder than lost him the game? No.

“It’s the World Championship!” he said. “Basically you prefer to beat an opponent who’s playing at his very best, but if he’s not, you take it, any day of the week.”

Play will resume with Game 10 on Wednesday 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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