2021 World Chess Championship: Game #11

2021 World Chess Championship
Dubai, UAE (November 24th-December 16th)

Magnus Carlsen (Norway) vs. Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia)
Game 11
Match Score: 7½-3½
Official Site: https://fideworldchampionship.com/


2021 World Chess Championship: Game 11
Friday, 10 December 2021

Magnus Carlsen retains title
closes match on winning note!

No one would have predicted such an outcome of the world championship match after the first five games. In fact, The Chess Drum arrived 2:30am on Friday morning to witness what would be the last game of the match. Many thought the match would go the distance. However, as Viswanthan Anand stated after today’s game, finished about 5-6 days early. As it were, Magnus Carlsen won his fifth title in Dubai with a dominant performance over Ian Nepomniachtchi.

So why the epic collapse? One can only guess why the second half of the match was so disastrous for Nepo? There were memes of “Finding Nepo” because the player that won the Candidates tournament seemed to be missing. Here are insightful comments of Viswanathan Anand before Game 11.

Video by ChessBase India

So… here we go. Nepo started with the Italian Game or “Guioco Piano” for a change of pace. After 14.Qb3 it appeared the game was fairly tame but after 18.Nhg4 Nxg4 19.hxg4 d5 20.d4 the pace quickened. Carlsen made a couple of provocative rook moves and after 22…Rf4, Nepo spent nine minutes and responded with 23.g3?? Here was Hikaru Nakamura’s reaction.

There were gasps in the commentary room and many stated this was another in the raft of blunders. Nepo had completely become unhinged. There was a post done about the time spent thinking.

The point here is that Nepo spent a lot of time away from the board and seemed to be playing very quickly. Had he already checked out? The first loss in Game 6 was devastating, but a well-played and historic game. After that, it seems he lost his pace. To lose 3/4 games at this level is highly improbable.

The game went into a rook and pawn ending with Carlsen nursing a strong h-pawn down the board. Nepo had run his king all the way to the queenside to gobble pawns while pushing his own a-pawn, but a cute deflection 44…Rb3+ gave black a new queen after 45.Rxb3 h1(Q). After that Nepo could not coordinate his rook and king to advance the pawn and he resigned a few moves later.

Video by GM Daniel King

Videos by FIDE

Video by chess.com


  1. As always, excellent reporting! Glad you arrived in time for what would be the final game. Had stepped out of the room during the post game press conference, when I heard a familiar voice asking the players a question – that sounds like Daaim!

    Seems like game 6, not surprisingly, depleted all of Nepo’s physical and emotional reserves. Carlsen was also exhausted, but his rigorous fitness regimen is well known, and his family was on-site in Dubai providing emotional support. He recovered to a much greater extent than Nepo did for the subsequent games.

    All in all an entertaining and instructive match. And you now have more time to explore the Expo. 🙂

  2. That is the connection I’m making as well. I was just telling Orrin Hudson (who’s here too) that I have taken eight-hour exams (three in one week) and you need time to recover. You can mentally unravel quickly.

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