World Chess Championship: Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi Place Fifth

The fifth world championship match between Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi, played in Dubai on Wednesday, ended as the top four did. With the draw.

While games so far have brought in a Carlsen pawn sacrifice and a few minor complications and blunders to excite hard-core enthusiasts, they haven’t come close to providing what more casual observers usually enjoy seeing at sporting events: a winner.

“It’s becoming more and more clear that we’re both going to be tough to handle,” Carlsen said after the game.

not unusual there are many draws at major chess events. In the previous championship in 2018, USA’s Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana drew 12 times before Carlsen defended his title in tiebreak games.

But all these giveaways can be a turning point for casual and even serious fans who want to see someone win. Even Carlsen criticized the format of the match.

Carlsen, 31, is considered the greatest chess player at least since Garry Kasparov, and perhaps the greatest of all time. He became world champion in 2013 at the age of 22 and successfully defended three times since that time.

The game has changed dramatically since Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky wowed audiences around the world in Reykjavik in 1972. The IBM computer Deep Blue was the first computer to achieve the superhuman machine breakthrough, defeating Kasparov in 1997. any human player.

Of course, players in world championships are not allowed to use computers during the match, but they will come up with opening tactics and analyze each other’s games on computers before and after the matches.

Live commentators also have the advantage of appearing smart by saying something like “Bb3 is the best move here,” knowing that the computer that tells them this is more likely than world championship contenders to be right.

Sport also became more lucrative, at least at the top. The winner of the match will receive $1.2 million, and the loser will receive $800,000. In comparison, Fischer and Spassky played a total of $150,000. Carlsen also Started a $100 million business, Play Magnus with online gaming and teaching.

The normally honorable sport had a brief appeal during the opening game this year. The flag unfurled by 31-year-old Nepomniachtchi read “Russian Chess Federation”. But the World Anti-Doping Agency stepped in and insisted that the word “Russia” could not appear due to Russia’s two-year ban on state-sanctioned athletic doping. Instead the flag was changed to “CFR”.

The first 14 games of this match are played at the glorious pace associated with chess: Players are given two hours for the first 40 moves. The dominance of draws makes it quite possible that the match will end with the 14th. Carlsen criticized the long format and encouraged faster games, while Nepomniachtchi supported it more.

Asked about the format on Tuesday, Carlsen said“There is a saying that you should not say anything if you have nothing nice to say, so I will refer to that special word right here.”

If each player wins an equal number of times – or all 14 games end in a draw – the match will move to faster games and someone is much more likely to win in those games.

First, they will play four games of 25 minutes each. If they’re still tied, they’ll move on to five-minute games.

If the tie is still not broken, the game of sudden death is played. The player on the white pieces will receive five minutes, and the black pieces four minutes. If this game also ends in a draw, black will be declared the winner.

If Carlsen accepts Nepomniachtchi—one of the 3-5 favorites to do so—a future contender could be Alireza Firouzja, the great Iranian-born 18-year-old who climbed into the world top 10 and created some new stuff. From the same buzz that Carlsen had when he was younger.

Fans can’t wait to see a Carlsen-Firouzja match. And they’ll probably like it better when some games end with a winner.

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