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Magnus Carlsen remains king of the chess world

Gegen Vishy Anand, Magnus Carlsen won his first World Cup match in 2013 when he was highly motivated, three points behind (6.5: 3.5). At 6.5: 4.5 a year later, “it was a job to be done”. Against Sergei Karjakin and Fabiano Caruana, the Norwegian won after a 6: 6 in the regular games only in the jump-off. He has now won his fifth World Cup match against Jan Nepomnyashchi by four points. “And my career is not over yet,” added the 31-year-old Norwegian on Friday evening in Dubai.

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14 games were scheduled, 11 were enough. With 1.2 million euros, Carlsen collects his highest prize money to date. How he won the eleventh and final game was typical of the second half of the match, which was so one-sided. Anyone who hoped that Nepomnyashchi would incite wild complications with a King’s Gambit were disappointed. The Russian switched from Spanish to Italian, but that’s also very solid, has been back in vogue for a few years and of course came as no surprise to Carlsen. It took a little more time to think it over than its challenger, but it solved its problems.

Everything already indicated that the game flattened to a draw when Nepomnyashchi attacked Carlsen’s rook with a pawn on move 23. At first glance, it looked good. If the rook evades, White wins a pawn and is superior. So Nepomnyashchi must have thought that Carlsen had made a mistake. But he simply sacrificed the rook for a knight. Any stronger club player could see that Black could get a dangerous attack for a relatively small price, force at least one draw and probably achieve even more. But Nepomnyashchi did not see it.

Two different halves

“Until then, like many others in this match, the game had run normally,” he said afterwards. “It’s hard to score when you play strange moves that you wouldn’t normally do in a blitz game. Let’s put it this way: Without today’s game, my experience wouldn’t be complete. It is difficult to have new experiences. Okay, it was a bit too difficult here. “

At a loss, powerless, powerless: Jan Nepomnyashchi was without a chance.


At a loss, powerless, powerless: Jan Nepomnyashchi was without a chance.
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Image: EPA

In game eight he ignored a double attack that cost him a pawn. In the ninth game he had his runner locked out and picked up. Now in the eleventh game, he accused the best player in the world of having made a mistake and therefore made a mistake himself. Carlsen had different ways of converting his attack into a profit. He decided on a lengthy but safe route via a technically won rook endgame. After 49 moves, Nepomnyashchi surrendered.

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