All quiet on the eastern front…
Players probe for weakness
Three draws may be how the world sees the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi match after today’s round, but, in truth, a great deal of important information has already been revealed about each other’s openings, psychology and — especially –weaknesses.
The question is now how to put all of that information together and formulate a match strategy for the coming games. The player who best succeeds with this task will likely emerge match winner and with it the World Championship title.
Tomorrow is a rest day, and on Tuesday the players will once more sit down and do battle.
Dubai 26.11.2021 (Draw)
Dubai 27.11.2021 (Draw)
Dubai 28.11.2021 (Draw)
Both players seem confident at the press conferences. Carlsen admits that his principle task with the Black pieces has been to equalize, but that it has not been as simple as it may look.
For instance, he admitted that in the 3rd game he had to play several ‘ugly’ moves (a5, Bb7-e6) to do so, but that they ended up working. Another example: Kasparov had the opinion that Nepo’ should have played on in the final position in Game1.
Carlsen also admits to completely overlooking Nepomniachtchi’s 18…Nc5 in the second game, giving Black winning chances. This kind of unforced error is very serious. Fortunately for Carlsen, he was able to drum up counterplay and eventually equalized.
The impression I have, after these 3 games, is that Carlsen’s play is more shaky in this match than against Caruana. Maybe he is nervous. Maybe he is feeling the effects of the pandemic: too much fun and games online and not enough serious chess.
One can argue that Nepo’ has not made the most of his positions, but his play is regular, sound and error free. Nepo’ has a tendency to slightly understate his chances in any given position.
Carlsen gives the impression of having everything under control, when he does not infact have this. The optimism of a champion? We shall soon see!