Shocking Collapse by Nepo Gives Carlsen Two Point Lead

It’s Sunday Funday indeed for GM Magnus Carlsen, who has won a second game at the 2021 FIDE World Championship to take a two-point lead (5-3) in the match.

But this victory has as much to do with his challenger’s incomprehensible play as it does with Carlsen’s strength.


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After a relatively quiet opening, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi made a series of stunning decisions, giving up a pawn for nebulous compensation and then eschewing the key tactical variation underpinning the sacrifice, all the while spending almost no time at the board.

The game began calmly enough as a Petroff Defense. Nepo unleased the first surprise with 9. ... h5, a move that the Twitterati liked, as did (apparently) neural net engines.

But almost immediately he seemed to err with 10. Qe1+ Kf8, putting the king on a tough square and burdening himself with poor piece coordination. By move 17 Carlsen already had a very promising position.

After the inexplicable 21. ... b5? 22. Qa3+ Kg8 23. Qxa7 Carlsen had both the pawn and compensation, and when Nepomniachtchi passed up the expected 23. ... Bxh3 — possibly in light of 24. Qxf7+ Qxf7 25. Re8+ Kh7 26. Bxf5 Bf5 and now 27. Bg8+ Kg6 when the h6-rook is a bit stuck — the wheels very quickly came off the black position.

The pain felt by the always demonstrative challenger was all too apparent.


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Soon Nepomniachtchi was reduced to playing for a thankless queen and pawn ending with 25. ... Be6, and the position devolved from there. Soon some commentators — ok, one commentator — were openly wondering why the Russian had not resigned.


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Nepomniachtchi threw in the towel on the 46th move, and one hopes that with the rest day tomorrow, he can steel himself after this collapse and make the remainder of the match competitive.

GM Alexander Shabalov is today’s guest annotator. He does not mince his words!

Monday sees a rest day for the competitors, with the ninth round of the 2021 FIDE World Championship on Tuesday beginning at 7:30 Eastern.

Quick Links:

FIDE match home page live coverage live coverage
Levitov Chess English YouTube page

CLO annotations on

CLO Match Preview
CLO Round 1 article
CLO Round 2 article
CLO Round 3 article
CLO Round 4 article
CLO Round 5 article
CLO Round 6 article
CLO Round 7 article

#CarlsenNepo Twitter hashtag
#FIDEMatch2021 Twitter hashtag



Is it possible to offer every single marvelously annotated game on ONE SHOT permanent instant download at the match conclusion... a free BONUS FOR VISITING US CHESS BEYOND WORDS? You will never beat wild child, wonderful ,
this -is -what- is- happening friends and neighbors notes by So, Shabalov and crew .Just press the button! It would bring world wide attention to this acclerated NO NONSENSE SERIOUS new US Chess web page.No hunting...just go straIght to US Chess and press a button! AN ULTRA SAFE PLACE FOR CHILDREN TO GO OVER THE GAMES RIGHT NOW ONLINE. US CHESS IS ROLLING BIG TIME DADDY-O AND WILL EMERGE WONDERFULLY FROM VERY DIFFICULT TIMES. KEEP AT IT CREW! Oh how sweet is to see this.Soooo wonderful.
Jude Acers/ New Orleans PS also strongly suggest grandmaster A. YERMOLINSKY "the Yerminator " for a match recap if possible. In past decades I have really examined his writing and believe me he really knows what time it is..the Yerminator is delightful scholarly adventure.

Message to our distinguished wild west editor/reviewer/annotator Mr. John Hartmann ... "Sunday Funday.."....?? Oh man.....I truly like what is going on here.
Jude Acers /New Orleans

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