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Friday, March 31 2023
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FIDE Dubai, Day 9: “A desperate opponent is a very dangerous opponent”

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Dubai: After the lacklustre draws that marked the opening games, 3 continuous wins by the reigning champion are a titanic blow to the challenger. Requiring 7.5 points from 14 games, once only 1.5 more points from the remaining 5 games go to the defending champ and it is all over.

After nine games, the often invincible champion Magnus Carlsen has taken a 6-3 lead in his 14-game title defence against challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi.

He is now holding an elite record for the longest undefeated streak of 125 championship games, having lost a total of only two games in world title matches since his capture of the crown from the then holder Vishwanathan Anand in 2013.

However, he is very clear about what he expects: “I have to expect that the match will enter a phase that will be a bit different. A desperate opponent is a very dangerous opponent.”

Today the champion was facing serious time trouble at move 23, but an incredibly sloppy move by the challenger shocked even the champion. After taking the challenger’s bishop, and despite his clear lead, Carlsen remained at the board thereafter. “Nepo” however went backstage for a full 19 minutes, mulling the disaster on the backstage monitor.

Once Nepomniachtchi reappeared on stage, he took his seat with a sad smile, and then struggled on with a lost position and vanishing title hopes. After 39 moves, he threw in the towel.

The next game, game 10, takes place today,Wednesday, Dec 9 before a rest day on Dec 10

With inputs from the FIDE World Championship, the official website of the chess championship games.

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