Carlsen-Nepo 9: Nepo crashes as Magnus closes on 5th title

Magnus Carlsen now has a 6:3 lead with just five games of the World Chess Championship to go after Ian Nepomniachtchi collapsed in Game 9. A tense, fighting game was suddenly over when Ian blundered a piece in one move, leaving no hope of avoiding a 3rd loss in four games. "Is he nuts, that is insane!" said Anish Giri, who had been showing the possible blunder when it appeared on the board. Ian now needs to win three of the next five games against a player who has lost only two classical games over the course of his eight years as World Champion.
16-year-old Praggnanandhaa, the winner of chess24’s Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour, makes the new move 1.c4. chess24 is represented by VP Operations Ayelen Martinez | photo: Eric Rosen, FIDE

Replay Game 9 below (or check out all the games with computer analysis on our broadcast page).

Check out the day’s live commentary and press conference with Judit Polgar and Anish Giri…

…and with the Champions Chess Tour team of David Howell, Kaja Snare and Jovanka Houska. 

Ian Nepomniachtchi realised that trailing by two points in the match he needed to change something, and he did! On the rest day he not only cut off the man bun that had accompanied his recent rise, but had Sergey Karjakin flown in from Moscow. 

He then opened with the new move 1.c4 and once again we had a sharp, fighting game, but once again it all fell apart for Ian Nepomniachtchi in a single move, when he played 27.c5??, allowing Magnus to trap his bishop.

As you can see above, Magnus instantly understood it was a blunder, and took just under three minutes to make the move on the board. Once again, the only question that remained for Ian was when to resign, and he threw in the towel on move 39.

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