The World Chess Championship continued in Dubai for rounds 4-8. The story of the match from rounds 1-3 was Nepo has been more prepared than he has ever been. Every novelty from Magnus has been met with 10 blitzed-out moves of preparation from Nepo. Nepo has achieved slight, marginal pressure in his white Ruy Lopez games while conversely, Magnus was imprecise in a Catalan and was fortunate to split the point.
Round 4 saw Carlsen probe through Nepo’s black 1.e4 preparation. Nepo responded with the ultra-solid Petroff (also ironically known as the Russian) defense. While Carlsen played a original novelty Nh4!?, he achieved nothing out of the opening and middle game and had to settle for a draw. Subsequently, in Game 5, Nepo repeated the Anti-Marshall again to no avail. A pattern of Nepo obtaining slight +0.2-+0.4 edges has emerged from his White games, however practically speaking, it is difficult for a human, especially against Carlsen) to convert. Game 5 saw another peaceful draw until we headed to the longest World Chess Championship game in history.
The players have silenced critics over the supposed, “death of classical chess”, due to the recent high frequency of draws in World Chess Championship matches. To their credit, Carlsen and Nepo have both demonstrated fighting spirit and the will to win; entertaining the new and large online chess audience that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
After another rest day tomorrow, the players will return back to the board on the 7th. The official website for this match can be found here.