Home Chess World Chess Championship: Video games 5 and 6 – A Slugfest

World Chess Championship: Video games 5 and 6 – A Slugfest

World Chess Championship: Video games 5 and 6 – A Slugfest


Video games 5 and 6 of the 14-game match between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren have simply been performed in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The winner shall be topped as the brand new World Champion in classical chess, following Magnus Carlsen’s abdication of the title. 

The schedule of video games will be discovered right here, with Lichess offering a dwell broadcast transmission of all video games. Learn beneath for detailed ideas and annotations on the video games from GM Harikrishna Pentala – one of many strongest gamers on this planet (FIDE Ranking: 2704, World Rank: 34) and a former world high 10 participant with a peak ranking of 2770, together with extra common impressions on the event to this point.

Sport 5

The annotations by GM Harikrishna Pentala are supplied within the embed beneath, with a direct hyperlink to the complete research obtainable right here.


Coming into Sport 5, the massive query was how Nepomniachtchi would play after the loss to Ding Liren in Sport 4. Regardless of having the remainder day to get well, Nepomniachtchi has up to now struggled to beat a loss. 

Very like in Sport 1, the gamers opted for a closed Ruy Lopez, highlighting the times of the Berlin Defence meta would possibly (hopefully) be behind us – at the least for this match. Nepomniachtchi gave the impression to be extremely nicely ready, blitzing out 20 opening strikes utilizing simply three minutes from his clock. Ding, psychologically and from the time perspective, was on the again foot. 

Regardless, Ding performed the primary 25 strikes or so completely – as did Nepomniachtchi. The tiniest positional passivity from Ding was seized upon by Nepomniachtchi, who simply wanted that slightest finger-hold to start prising open the place with the aggression he’s recognized for. With Ding having no actual choices for counter-play, the ball was very a lot in Nepomniachtchi’s court docket, as he rolled his kingside pawns down for a crushing assault. 

(Picture – FIDE / Stev Bonhage)

In the meantime, Nepomniachtchi circled Ding like a hawk on the enjoying stage in between strikes, conserving his eyes fastened not on the board however on Ding himself. Removed from being tilted by the Sport 4 loss, Nepomniachtchi gave the impression to be fired up, extra motivated and hungry for a win than ever. After 48 strikes, Ding resigned – with this recreation definitely being among the finest and most exact from Nepomniachtchi who appeared to conjure up a win from virtually nothing. 

The win, other than being a serious psychological victory for Nepomniachtchi, additionally put him again into the lead with a rating of three – 2. 

Sport 6

The annotations by GM Harikrishna Pentala are supplied within the embed beneath, with a direct hyperlink to the complete research obtainable right here.


Following his earlier psychological fragility, the query was on how Ding would cope together with his loss in Sport 5 – which Ding had described as a tougher loss for him than in Sport 2. Surprisingly, Ding opened with 1. d4 and went into the London System – once more, maybe with the fingerprints of his second considerably seen (Rapport has a line within the London System co-named after him; the Rapport-Jobava line). 

Relying on who you ask, the London System is both considered as dry and unambitious for white, or as a potent weapon whose potential isn’t totally understood by a neighborhood of Luddites. Regardless, it’s not usually a gap (sorry, “system”), that’s usually seen on the elite stage – in reality, that is the primary ever classical World Championship recreation in historical past the place the London was performed. 

As a system, in depth opening idea isn’t required – however Ding maybe took this to extremes, claiming in his post-match interview to be out of preparation by transfer 6 (it’s not unusual at such a stage for gamers to have memorized whole traces to maneuver 30 or past). With the honesty Ding has proven within the post-game interviews to this point, it appears unlikely he could be misleading about this.

But the stable, comparatively quiet, place did seem to frustrate Nepomniachtchi, who maybe out of impatience was discontent with such a passive place. Nepomniachtchi’s choice for aggressive and dynamic chess was maybe used in opposition to him masterfully by Ding, giving Nepomniachtchi a double-edged alternative to convey the sport to life, at the price of his personal positional stability. 

(Picture – FIDE / Anna Shtourman)

Whereas under no circumstances clearly successful for Ding, he continued constructing on his benefit till it was clear that the momentum of the place was with him, and having a larger pool of viable candidate strikes that at the least maintained his edge. By transfer 42, Ding had a mate in 18 strikes, and some strikes later Nepomniachtchi resigned – a brutal blow to Nepomniachtchi as Ding got here out swinging, making the rating a stage 3 – 3. 

Snap verdict

What an thrilling mini-match! This has change into some of the decisive World Championships in historical past, matching the identical ratio of wins to attracts by Sport 6 as Karpov – Korchnoi in 1981, and Steinitz – Gunsberg in 1891. In simply 6 video games, each gamers have the identical variety of losses (two), as Carlsen acquired over a decade of enjoying World Championship video games!

Nerves and strain have clearly affected each gamers considerably. Many elite-level commentators, similar to Caruana and Giri, have remarked that they don’t imagine the play has been reflective of their true stage. However past that, evidently the actual most well-liked enjoying model of each gamers are anathema to each-other. Nepomniachtchi will get annoyed by Ding’s choice for sluggish, positional grinds; Ding will get overwhelmed by the ferocity of Nepomniachtchi’s assault. At this stage, that shouldn’t imply a lot – however the smallest imbalances are exploited by each gamers. 

To the shock of Caruana and Giri, Ding does genuinely appear to have come into this match underprepared. But, regardless of Nepomniachtchi’s deeper prep, and with a crew with World Championship expertise, allegedly together with Kramnik, Leko, Vitiugov, and Potkin – Ding continues to be holding his personal. 

The Sport 6 loss is not going to be simple for Nepomniachtchi, however he once more has one other relaxation day to reset and get well. How will Sport 7 go? At this level it’s basically a coin toss! However this creator nonetheless offers it maybe 53 – 47 in Ding’s favor. The clearest winner? Proponents of the London System, who can now boast it has a 100% win charge in World Championship video games.

Lichess is repeatedly operating World Championship Thematic Arenas on the times of the event – with positions taken from the video games. Ensure you observe our social media to see when the following one shall be!

(Tile picture – FIDE / Stev Bonhage)



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