2023 World Chess Championship
Astana, Kazakhstan (April 7th-May 1st)
2023 World Chess Championship: Game 14
Saturday, 29 April 2023
The match between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren came down to Game 14 of the classical portion. Would the champion be determined today? Who would it be? Ding was playing the white pieces and out of the six decisive games, five came with the white pieces. What would Ding play? It turned out to be 1. d4 going into a Nimzo-Indian.
In the opening, Ding tried to catch Nepo off guard with a provocative 12.Ng5?! Qc7 13.h4
This is more often seen in coffeehouse chess when you’re trying to win games for free. Ding may be thinking of how Nepo had collapsed in the previous loss and was testing the waters. The move turned out to be overly optimistic. Nepo had some wry humor about this attempt.
“Actually, I didn’t buy it. It didn’t seem like it was going to work because I never played any suspicious moves. I’m well-developed. If Ng5 and h4 could win a game, chess would be much easier for White.”~Ian Nepomniachtchi
Ding admitted that he was a bit too optimistic about his attacking chances.
“I thought that I had more tempi in this position. So, I thought that I had some chances to launch an attack. I was very optimistic with the Ng5 move, and even excited playing it. But then suddenly I had to go to defence mode. That was the turning point of the game, I guess.”~Ding Liren
The game settled down, but black seem to wrest the advantage in the middlegame after Ding played 19.Bb4?! Nepo went on to hold the advantage for most of the game.
This was an interesting position because the position shifted quickly from the c-file to the g-file.
The question was whether Ding was running a huge risk, but Nepo actually missed his best chance after 36…e5? Commentators point to 36…Rb3! as giving the best chance to win. The game simplified into a rook ending and for 40 moves there were all types of subtleties. One critical moment for Ding to hold the balance came when he had to sacrifice a pawn to simplify the position. After 38.b6! Rxb6, white simplifies with 39.Rxe8+ Kxe8 40.Bb5+Rxb5 41.Rxc3.
This game went on another 40 moves with Ding defending perfectly with his active rook. Nepo sacrificed his extra pawn and tried to shoulder the white rook away. However, Ding would play another strong reply with 65.f4!
Game 14 (Notes by IM Robert Ris)
The move 65.f4! was Ding’s route to a draw as white has created a passed pawn and both of black’s passed pawns cannot advance due to a misplaced rook. Eventually, Nepo decided to free his rook and gave up the a-pawn for white’s passed e-pawn from moving any further. In the end, the game would simplify to a book draw.
Game 14 – Full Broadcast
Video by FIDE
Press Conference – Game 14
Videos by FIDE Chess
GM Daniel King
Video by GM Daniel King/PowerPlay Chess