Ian Nepomniachtchi v Magnus Carlsen, Croatia 2019 (See diagram.)
Many people consider Magnus Carlsen to be the greatest player in the history of the game, but past performance and reputation will not guarantee him victory in his current world championship match.
The Norwegian grandmaster has been world champion since 2013, and he has just begun the defence of his title against Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia in Dubai. The 14-game match is expected to be decided in mid-December.
Although Carlsen is the top-rated player in the world, his challenger is no slouch at the board. Nepo, as his fans call him, is tied for fourth in the world. He convincingly beat all the other top contenders in a gruelling Candidates tournament that was interrupted for a year by the pandemic.
Age won’t be a factor in the match, since Carlsen turns 31 soon and Nepo is just four months older.
“This match is not going to be an easy walk for Carlsen,” says Evgeny Bareev of Toronto, Canada’s top-ranked player. Bareev should know. He has faced both men in international competitions, and he thinks either player is capable of coming out on top.
Apart from the world title, the winner also takes home US$1.2 million.
Carlsen played 28. ... g4 and White had no good response. It continued 29.d4 Qh4+ 30.Ke2 Qh2+ 31.Rf2 gxf3+ White resigned.