Ding Liren of China held Ian Nepomniachtchi to a draw with black in the 11th game of the World Chess Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Monday.
Nepomniachtchi started the game with 1. e4 with the white pieces, and Ding responded with e5 on his first move. The Russian proceeded with Nf3, and after Nc6 and Bb5, the game saw the Spanish open with a Ruy Lopez on the board.
The Ruy Lopez opening is considered a widely chosen opening sequence for White as it allows the player to develop early and disrupt Black’s pawn structure.
Ian played a3, the third most popular move according to the engine, after a4 and c3 on the eighth move, to preserve his light-squared bishop in order to gain tempo initially.
It was the same line which Nepomniachtchi played in the 2020 Candidates Tournament to beat Ding.
However, the China No. 1 played with caution to exchange pieces in the mid-game and ended up having the opposite coloured rook. Both players mutually decided to draw the game with a three-fold repetition on the 39th move, ending the contest within two hours.
The score favour the Russian at 6-5 at the moment, and the onus remains on Ding to come from behind and chase the 7.5-point mark after 14 games.
With only three games remaining, Ding needs 2.5 points to win the championship, while Nepo needs three draws, or 1.5 points, to claim the title.
- Game 1 - Draw
- Game 2 - Ian Nepomniachtchi
- Game 3 - Draw
- Game 4 - Ding Liren
- Game 5 - Ian Nepomniachtchi
- Game 6 - Ding Liren
- Game 7 - Ian Nepomniachtchi
- Game 8 - Draw
- Game 9 - Draw
- Game 10 - Draw
- Game 11 - Draw
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