2021 World Chess Championship: Carlsen draws first blood in historical Game 6 duel

·Contributor
·2 min read
Norway's Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen (L) competes against Russia's Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi during Game 2 of the FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai 2021, at the Dubai Expo 2020 in the Gulf emirate, on November 27, 2021. (Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Norway's Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen (L) competes against Russia's Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi during Game 2 of the FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai 2021, at the Dubai Expo 2020 in the Gulf emirate, on November 27, 2021. (Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Magnus Carlsen shattered the series deadlock after churning out a breakthrough win over Ian Nepomniachtchi in the historical Game Six of the 2021 FIDE World Chess Championship on Friday (December 3) in Dubai.  

Carlsen, the reigning world champion, displayed unwavering resilience under immense pressure as he survived the tough challenge of Nepomniachtchi in a 136-move duel that lasted for seven hours and 45 minutes.  

The marathon of a match was the longest encounter in the 135-year history of world championship matchplay, eclipsing the 1978 clash between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi held in Baguio City, Philippines, which ran for 124 moves before ending with a draw.

The monumental win for the fancied Norwegian also marked the first triumphant moment in a classical match at the World Chess Championship in over five years, the last of which happened back in 2016 where Carlsen dispatched Sergey Karjakin in the tenth game of his second title defense.

Carlsen's decision to prolong the match as long as possible to eke out a win proved decisive.

“It shouldn’t be easy in a world championship match. You have to try for every chance, no matter how small it is. And part of it was by design at some point. I thought I should make the game as long as possible so that we would both be as tired as possible when the critical moment came. That turned out to be a good strategy,” the defending champion said.

Nepomniachtchi acknowledged that Carlsen was able to convert his chances for the victory.

“I would say that Magnus managed to capitalize on the very few chances he got,” the challenger said.

With Carlsen holding a 3.5-2.5 series lead over the Russian challenger, Game Seven of the 14-game championship bout will be nothing short of crucial for both competitors as action resumes on Saturday (December 4).  

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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