Nepo Draws Tenth Game With Impressive Precision, Holds Onto Lead

Please download our printable bulletin of this article, or read along with WGM Katerina Nemcova's annotations embedded below!



GM Ian Nepomniachtchi holds onto his one-game lead after another draw in the tenth game of the 2023 FIDE World Championship. With only four rounds to go, GM Ding Liren will only have two more tries to push for a win with the white pieces.


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courtesy Stev Bonhage


Considering the match situation, Nepomniachtchi was relatively happy with being able to hold a pawn-down game against Ding’s English. The opening resulted in a relatively obscure position that Nepomniachtchi had nevertheless encountered before (albeit from the other side). Ding had some promising chances, and even an extra pawn after the trade of queens, but Nepomniachtchi was able to defend with relative ease.


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All in a day's work as Nepo closes in on the crown (courtesy David Llada)


Indeed, the main takeaway from this game is that Nepomniachtchi is capable of playing precise, accurate defensive moves just as quickly and intuitively as he can attack. At several moments, there were many ways for Black to err with slightly passive or inaccurate play, but Nepomniachtchi did not even seem to take any of these “traps” seriously.


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Ding was in good spirits after the game, and has said he does not feel overly concerned about his one-game deficit (courtesy David Llada)


At some point, Ding is going to have to take more risks to play for a win in order to tie the match, but he is due the white pieces in the last round. So, we might be in for a few more cautious games. Or, Ding might decide to not put all his eggs in one basket, and start playing more ambitiously with the black pieces as early as tomorrow.

Today's annotations come from WGM Katerina Nemcova. Nemcova is a Czech-American women’s grandmaster who has played for the United States since 2013. She was the 2008 European Youth Championship in the Girls U18 division, and the runner-up in the 2007 World Youth Championship. Since then, she has balanced her playing career with education, first at University of Texas Brownsville, then Webster University, and now the University of Arizona where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Communications.



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