01 December 2021

2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, the First Week

'The first four games of the match all ended in draws.' That's how I opened my report three years ago for 2018 Carlsen - Caruana, the First Week (November 2018), and it works just as well in 2021 as it did in 2018. I continued the 2018 report with a summary of the first week of previous World Chess Championship title matches.
Of the seven most recent matches, all with 12 games at standard time control, the first three (2006, 2008, 2010) saw the eventual winner jump into the lead after four games. The last four saw a tied score after four games, where only one (2014) had decisive games. The other three matches started with six consecutive draws (2012), four draws (2013), and seven draws (2016).

Let's add to that list 'twelve consecutive draws (2018)'. Yes, the most recent World Championship match, 2018 Carlsen - Caruana (London), had all 12 regulation games end in draws. I doubt that the current contest, 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi (Dubai), will suffer the same fate, but with the players so evenly matched, who can say for sure?

In the previous post on the current match, 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Warmup (November 2021), I started keeping track of articles emanating from Fide.com. I'll continue that method of summarizing the events of the first week, all under the title 'FIDE World Championship Dubai 2021':-

On my main blog I posted a look at World Championship Social Media 2021 (November 2021). One of the highlights was a Youtube video from the FIDE chess channel under the title 'FIDE World Championship Match - NBC Recap Game'. Here are links to the first three games covered by NBC:-

There's much more non-NBC video material available on the 'FIDE chess' channel. For more info on the source of those three listed videos, NBC Sports, see that post, 'WCC Social Media 2021'. Another post on my main blog, World Championship Yahoos 2021 (November 2021), introduced another mainstream resource, The Guardian:-

That last story, by 'Sean Ingle in Dubai', looks like continuing coverage of the Carlsen - Nepo match. In each of the last few World Championship matches, I've discovered at least one professional, non-chess journalist who provided an outsider's view of the match. Will the Guardian continue the trend?

I learned from the writer's page, Sean Ingle | The Guardian, that he 'is the Guardian's chief sports reporter', which means he probably doesn't have the time to cover a niche match that lasts three weeks. While I fully expect the highly respected Guardian to provide continuing coverage, it might be from their other writers, like the legendary Leonard Barden. Here are two of Sean Ingle's pre-match reports:-

It's curious that the address of that first story, 'Inside the Mind', uses a different headline than that which appears on its page. Was there a problem with the original? -- 'Magnus Carlsen: The big advantage is that I am the better chess player'. It's unusual to get that sort of edgy reporting from professional chess journalists, but it makes for interesting stories.

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