Dubai, UAE (November 24th-December 16th)
2021 World Chess Championship: Game 11
Friday, 10 December 2021
Magnus Carlsen retains title
closes match on winning note!
Just in Dubai, UAE for #CarlsenNepo at 0230. Regardless of the next four games, I'm glad to be present at the match and to visit the #Expo2020Dubai this week. Lots of booths to visit for possible collaborations with my university! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/3ochPTwKbQ
— Daaim Shabazz (@thechessdrum) December 10, 2021
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.
What happened here?
— Hikaru Nakamura (@GMHikaru) December 10, 2021
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.
Carlsen's total thinking time in this match was 21 hours and 38 minutes vs. 19 hours and 47 minutes for Nepomniachtchi. On average, Carlsen spent two minutes and 17 seconds on a move; Nepo two minutes and five seconds, over a total of 568 moves.#CarlsenNepo #FIDEMatch2021
— Peter Doggers (@peterdoggers) December 10, 2021
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