The Petroff Holds - Draw in Round 4

The fans are beginning to get restless. And so, perhaps, are the players.

The fourth round of the 2021 World Chess Championship saw World Champion Magnus Carlsen offer a new idea on the 18th move of his game against challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi. But Nepo’s Petroff Defense proved a tough nut to crack, and after a deep think, Carlsen decided to force a repetition of moves on move 33. This leaves the match at two points for each player after four rounds of play.

FM Robert Shlyakhtenko takes his turn in the analysis seat for round four, and offers the following thoughts on the game:

Today's game was a relatively easy draw with which both players can be satisfied. Nepomniachtchi survived another black game without any real problems, boosting confidence in his team's excellent preparation. As for Carlsen, he now has much more information about his opponent's match preparation; with ten games still to be played, he has plenty of time to figure out a way to put pressure on Nepomniachtchi with White.

The most interesting moment of the game itself was, in my opinion, on move 20, where Black could have given rise to some interesting variations with the move 20. ... Nf6. Otherwise, it was a balanced and well-played game.



In the post-game interview, Carlsen admitted that his opening choice was a bit of a probe of Nepomniachtchi's preparation, where the new idea was not ultimately dangerous provided Nepomniachtchi had done his homework. Nepo was up to the task, avoiding the "insanely complicated lines," and as such, the draw was deemed a "normal result."


Play resumes at 07:30 Eastern (16:30 local time) on Wednesday when Nepomniachtchi takes the white pieces in the fifth game of the match. IM John Watson will do the analytical duties for CLO’s coverage.

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