World Chess Championship: Fourth win, fifth title for Magnus Carlsen

Norway's Magnus Carlsen beat Ian Nepomniachtchi to take the match score to 7.5 - 3.5 and win his fifth World Championship title.

Norway's World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.   -  AP

As anticipated, Magnus Carlsen ended Ian Nepomniachtchi’s agony with three games to spare after winning the 11th game of their best-of-14 game World chess championship match in Dubai on Friday.

Carlsen punished Nepo’s blunder, committed on the 23rd move, with a tactical plan and eventually finished the job in 49 moves. The champion’s fourth victory - second with black - left the final score reading 7.5-3.5.

This was the fourth time Carlsen defended the world title he first won from Viswanathan Anand in 2013. He overcame the challenges of Anand (2014), Sergey Karjakin (2016) and Fabiano Caruana (2018) before destroying Nepo.

After five drawn games, Carlsen pulled off a 136-move victory in the sixth. Thereafter, it was clear that Nepo was not the same. He committed one pawn-move blunder three times in the next five games and the result was a premature end to the match. “I’m relieved, of course. It’s hard to feel that great joy when the situation was so comfortable to begin with, but I’m happy with a very good performance overall,” was Carlsen’s initial reaction after winning his fifth world title.

READ| World Championship: Carlsen within a point of keeping crown as 10th game drawn

“I didn’t expect it to go quite like this,” said Carlsen during the post-match media conference and continued, “I think it was just a very good professional performance overall. No regrets at all, just very satisfied.

“I guess it’s the most similar to my first match with Anand (in 2013), which was quite even and nervous at the start, When I got my first win, it was kind of the same story: it was relatively clean from there on out."

On Friday, after Nepo employed the Italian opening, the game progressed on expected lines. Once Nepo erred on the 23rd turn, Carlsen took just 79 seconds to spot the precise continuation. He immediately traded his rook for a knight and took it back by force following the exchange of queens. He reached a rook-and-pawn ending with an extra pawn. Carlsen sacrificed the rook to ‘queen’ his pawn and then forced the resignation, four moves later.

On his part Nepo said, "In my career I lost quite some stupid games but not as many in such a (short) time."

Game 11 - The Moves

White - Nepomniachtchi
Black - Carlsen

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 d6 6. O-O a5 7. Re1 Ba7
8. Na3 h6 9. Nc2 O-O 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. Nxe3 Re8 12. a4 Be6 13. Bxe6
Rxe6 14. Qb3 b6 15. Rad1 Ne7 16. h3 Qd7 17. Nh2 Rd8 18. Nhg4 Nxg4 19.
hxg4 d5 20. d4 exd4 21. exd5 Re4 22. Qc2 Rf4 23. g3



dxe3 24. gxf4 Qxg4+ 25. Kf1 Qh3+ 26. Kg1 Nf5 27. d6 Nh4 28. fxe3 Qg3+
29. Kf1 Nf3 30. Qf2 Qh3+ 31. Qg2 Qxg2+ 32. Kxg2 Nxe1+ 33. Rxe1 Rxd6
34. Kf3 Rd2 35. Rb1 g6 36. b4 axb4 37. Rxb4 Ra2 38. Ke4 h5 39. Kd5 Rc2
40. Rb3 h4 41. Kc6 h3 42. Kxc7 h2 43. Rb1 Rxc3+ 44. Kxb6 Rb3+ 45. Rxb3
h1=Q 46. a5 Qe4 47. Ka7 Qe7+ 48. Ka8 Kg7 49. Rb6 Qc5 Nepomniachtchi
resigns

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