Magnus Carlsen moves a win away from a fourth successful title defense after securing a crucial draw with Ian Nepomniachtchi in Game 10 of the 2021 FIDE World Chess Championship on Wednesday (December 8) in Dubai.
With the peaceful result, Carlsen, the reigning world champion who emerged victorious in three of the last four encounters, preserved his commanding three-point series lead at 6.5-3.5. All he needs now is one point to seize the championship.
Coming off two deflating blunders in the two previous matches, Nepomniachtchi put a premium on safety in the tenth bout, where he once again banked on the Petroff as a defensive measure against Carlsen, who marshalled with the white pieces.
A tactical battle ensued from there, but the two eventually called for a truce in the end.
"Today it was just an idea to play a normal game, try not to blunder something in my moves," Nepomniachtchi bared moments after the 41-move draw.
Carlsen, who was surprised with the Petroff defense of the Russian challenger, then said: “I didn’t particularly think he would do that. But I guess he was in damage-limitation mode at this point.”
Action resumes on Friday (December 11) for Game 11 of the World Chess Championship, where the fancied Norwegian aims to deal the decisive blow on the beleaguered Nepomniachtchi.
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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