Hello and welcome back to Game 3 of the World Chess Championship. We’re back for the third day in a row after two draws in Game 1 and Game 2 that were notable for longtime champion Magnus Carlsen, who made early pawn sacrifices in exchange for long-term initiative. Either way, Ian Nepomniachtchi’s opening advantage ultimately didn’t hold up and he was forced to rely on an accurate endgame to get a result.
The general consensus on today’s highly anticipated third fixture is that both Nepomniachtchi (who will set up the white pieces) and Carlsen (who will play with black) will have a decisive result before the first day of rest on Monday.
For those of you just getting on board, Carlsen, 30, has been # 1 on Fide rankings for 10 years in a row and was considered the best player in the world even before he dethroned Viswanathan Anand for the title in 2013 . Nepomniachtchi, 31, is in the ranking number 5, who earned his place at the table by winning the eight-man candidates tournament in April with one round to go. It’s the culmination of a rivalry that began almost two decades ago when they first met as boys at the 2002 U12 European Championship in Peniscola, Spain. It is noteworthy that Nepomniachtchi enters the fight for the title with a victorious life record against Carlsen in classic games (four won, one lost and eight drawn). That makes him unique among today’s top players, even if two of those victories came in youth championships.
The best of 14 games match is set to take place over the next three weeks at the Dubai Exhibition Center, with the winner accounting for 60% of the 2m or 55% if decided by tie-break games).
We are a little more than half an hour away from today’s first move, so not long. In the meantime, here’s our interview with Sean Ingle with Carlsen earlier this week.
Related: In the mind of Magnus Carlsen: ‘I’m happy to win in every possible way’ | Sean Ingle