Magnus Carlsen bolstered his title-retention bid after securing a crucial win over Ian Nepomniachtchi in Game 8 of the 2021 FIDE World Chess Championship on Sunday (December 5) in Dubai.
This marked the second victory of the defending world champion, who scored a breakthrough over Nepomniachtchi in the historical 136-move Game Six duel.
With the result, Carlsen stretched his series lead to 5-3, a commanding two-point advantage with only six matches remaining.
The opening sequence of Game 8 played out the same way as the early goings of Game Four. The seasoned Norwegian started off with 1.e4 while Nepomniachtchi relied on the Petroff as his defensive approach.
A tense tactical battle ensued from there, until the Russian challenger shot himself in the foot in the endgame, where he blundered a pawn and suffered a massive meltdown.
At this point in the championship series, coming back from a two-point deficit is a tall mountain to climb. Still, Nepomniachtchi has a chance to turn his fortunes around, but he better be prepared to fight for dear life as Carlsen aims to deal another critical blow in Game 9 on Tuesday (December 7).
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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