World Championship Game 6: Carlsen wins marathon

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/3/2021 – In what will surely be remembered as a highlight of World Chess Championship history, Magnus Carlsen defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi in a 136-move marathon which included missed chances, deep time trouble and a number of subtle manoeuvres worthy of a combat for the highest prize in the world of competitive chess. Find here the fantastic encounter annotated by super-GM and elite analyst Anish Giri. | Photo: Eric Rosen

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The longest in history


Replay full analysis of the game by world number six Anish Giri at the end of the article!


Magnus Carlsen, Ian NepomniachtchiBack in 1978, world champion Anatoly Karpov played his first match to defend the title after getting the world crown by default in 1975. He faced Viktor Korchnoi, a fierce fighter, in Baguio City, Phillipines. The fifth game, played on July 27, followed a streak of four very short draws. The game also ended in a draw, but by no means was it a short one — it would become the longest-ever game (in terms of moves) in a World Championship match up to that point, and it held that record for over 43 years. Until the sixth game of the 2021 match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi.

After 136 moves, not only did Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi break the aforementioned record, but the game also saw Carlsen obtaining the first win in a classical encounter at a World Championship match in a bit over five years — the Norwegian had defeated Sergey Karjakin with white in game 10 of the 2016 match on November 24.

It was a full-blown fight, which lasted 7 hours and 45 minutes. Since games kick off at 16:30 local time in Dubai, the first decisive encounter of this year’s match finished fifteen minutes past midnight!

A rollercoaster battle, the game saw Carlsen employing a non-forceful opening setup with the white pieces, apparently trying to take the struggle to the middlegame. Nepo responded in kind, as he rejected an opportunity to swap queens on move 17. Uncharacteristically, Carlsen found himself in deep time trouble, and a sharp skirmish saw him missing a major chance to play a winning sequence nearing the first time control. In the endgame, piece setups continued to shift, but Carlsen never stopped trying, and he was eventually rewarded with a remarkable victory. 

As per the contract signed by the contenders, they were obliged to attend a press conference no matter the length of the game. Nepo was visibly downhearted, but also extremely polite when giving his responses, while a chirpy world champion reflected: 

It was never easy, nor should it be. [...] You have to try for every chance, no matter how small it is.

Going to the press conference must have felt as only a small inconvenience for the players though. Especially for Nepo, it is rather unfortunate that this marathon took place in the first of a three-game series to be played on consecutive days. The players will return to the board on Saturday and Sunday, with the Russian getting one more black during the weekend.

Going for a middlegame

Perhaps avoiding either a Petroff or a Berlin, Carlsen played 1.d4, and after 1...Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.g3, delaying a pawn push to c4, the world champion asked the challenger what kind of setup he wanted to establish on the board. The sneaky move order avoided any forceful lines that might give White an advantage from the get go, but in exchange took the battle to the middlegame, where the Norwegian intended to demonstrate his superiority.

Nepo was more than up to the task, rejecting a pawn sacrifice on move 10 and going for activity instead. Moreover, on move 17 the Russian chose not to trade queens, expecting to get good play despite doubling his pawns on the kingside.

 

Instead of 17...Qxf6 18.Qxf6 gxf6, Nepo immediately went for 17...gxf6. In his annotations, Anish Giri explained:

An interesting choice, perhaps stemming from some ambition. Queen trade would have also been fine. Sometimes in those endgames White can claim a good d3 knight against a “bad” bishop, but with Black pieces so active and bishop being on b6, there is little talk of White fighting for anything.

With so much talk about draws in the World Championship match, this was a clear sign that it had little to do with the players’ willingness to fight. As Olimpiu G. Urcan put it:

Black was doing fine, and Carlsen was burning quite a lot of time on each move. Nepo’s choice on move 25 only made matters more complicated.

 

Black could have played 25...b4, more or less keeping things under control, while with 25...Rac8 he agreed to enter an imbalanced position with a queen against a pair of rooks after 26.Qxc8 Rxc8 27.Rxc8. Giri:

This is not neccessary, but it did lead to chaos, so the fans should be grateful to Ian.

Magnus Carlsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi

Chess is hard! | Photo: Eric Rosen

Time trouble

Unlike in previous World Championship matches, FIDE decided this year to only give the contenders an increment after move 61. Thus, in both time controls — on move 40 and move 60 — players are forced to make their moves with the clock ticking down incessantly, without getting a 30-second breather after each decision. For the first time in the match, this factor played a major role in game 6.

With Carlsen’s clock dangerously ticking down, the engines suddenly showed he had a +2 advantage after move 32!

 

Maurice Ashley asked Carlsen if he had analysed 33.Rcc2 in this position, with the world champion rather dumbfounded by the question. He went for 33.Rd1 instead, which is understandable given how low on time he was and how “hard to spot and calculate” the winning variation was (Giri).

The idea is that after 33.Rcc2 Bxa3 White has 34.Nf4, giving up a second pawn on the queenside — 34...Qxb4 35.Rd7 e5 36.Nxh5+ Kg6

 

The surprising winning move here is 37.Rc6, since 37...Kxh5 leaves the black king in a mating net after 38.Rxf7. As Giri explains:

You have to see what your follow-up is here, otherwise the whole sequence makes little sense. [...] The move itself is not obvious, giving up both queenside pawns, but the attack is devastating.

In the game, Nepo was fortunate that his opponent did not see this line, but also missed some chances of his own in the time scramble — he did not have that much more time on his clock than Carlsen during this phase of the game.

Magnus Carlsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi

Over 7 hours of deep focus | Photo: Niki Riga

The endgame

At the press conference, Mike Klein compared the game to a miniseries, implying the existence of episodes and turning points. We can take the comparison further and note that the endgame was in itself a miniseries, with sub-episodes and turning points of its own — we will surely get a more in-depth look to the intricacies of the ending by our in-house specialist Karsten Müller, perhaps in the next instalment of the ‘Endgame Magic’ show.

First, Black seemed to have enough counterplay with his passed pawn on the a-file.

 

Once that pawn left the board, it seemed like — as long as the black queen remained active — White would not be able to break through.

 

White then grabbed both f-pawns and the bishop in exchange for a rook. Nepo’s task was not enviable, but his previous play seemed to demonstrate he would be able to hold the balance.

 

Finally, when White’s g-pawn and Black’s h-pawn left the board, we were in tablebases territory — the game was drawn with perfect play. However, well into the eighth hour of play and facing the ever-fighting world champion, it was never going to be easy for Nepo. 

The losing move according to the tablebases was Black’s 130th! Six moves later, the Russian challenger threw in the towel.

It was nothing short of a fantastic chess game!

Expert analysis by GM Anish Giri

 

Magnus Carlsen

Up on the scoreboard — world champion Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Eric Rosen

All games

 

Links


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.

Discuss

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Jimbo100 Jimbo100 12/7/2021 10:54
@Master_Patzer, @rakerchess: If you are fans of Firouzja's attacking chess over Magnus's endgame grinds I recommend their game from the Tata Steel Masters in Jan 2021 (Carlsen-Firouzja, Round 1, TSM 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCfyFxQCSQM). White sacrifices two pawns to gain piece activity, he then further sacrifices an exchange to open the black king; white's active pieces swarm the black king and black resigns, ahead on material but with his king trapped in a mating net. It's a fine example of attacking chess and shows that classical time control chess between super GM's is not dead. Should have you connoisseurs purring. Beware - some websites think Magnus had the white pieces that day, but that can't be right can it?
Michael Jones Michael Jones 12/5/2021 07:38
If it requires an engine to identify that a move is a blunder, then as far as humans are concerned, it essentially isn't a blunder. The fact that it was theoretically losing has zero practical relevance if the winning line was so deep that no human could ever have found it. I feel a bit sorry for the top players - up until c2000, only supercomputers could compete with them, so an engine running on a home computer wasn't in a position to judge whether a GM's move was a blunder. Nowadays anyone can go out and buy an engine which is much stronger than any human player, so the world elite get lectured on their 'blunders' by complete patzers.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 12/5/2021 03:50
@MauvaisFou Carlsen's style is to avoid risks, obtain a playable position with a minuscule or no advantage and slowly outplay his opponents. There are examples of Carlsen taking risks and playing brilliantly, but I do agree with you that those are not very frequent. He is certainly capable of playing in that style, but he tends to do that when he is in a must-win situation. Yet, the very fact that you do not see brilliant combinations being played on the board does not mean that there were no such lines. It just means that those lines were seen by Carlsen and he has seen the refutation or his opponent has also seen it. In top level chess unbrilliant risky play is often seen by both players and the would-be-loser avoiding the loss. Carlsen tends to be brilliant in strategic play. Look at game 6 here, where in an inbalanced game he created a phalanx with his remaining pieces and slowly taking over. And, by the way, the end was brilliant, yet, risk-free for the champ. You can argue that there were more entertaining players in the past and I agree. But Carlsen is really really good at chess and here preciseness is more important than pleasing the audience.
dumkof dumkof 12/5/2021 02:35
@Master_Patzer,

"Carlsen’s chess tends to be boring at times" because he sees things on the board that we don't. Players at his calibre understand and appreciate his moves and don't find them boring.
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 12/5/2021 10:56
Take Tal for instance. Yes he played inferior moves. But the complexity was such that his opponent did not find the right moves. Even after post-portem (human post-mortem !) it was sometimes still unclear. Maybe it is not deserved, as you say MC has some brilliant games, but he will not be remembered for excessive risk taking. This does not mean that he is not extremely strong and deep. Maybe, when he gets older, he will be bolder, like Kramnik ?
maxharmonist maxharmonist 12/5/2021 07:03
On the subject of Carlsen not playing any brilliant games where he takes real risks, I think there are lots of them if one just is interested in looking at them. But the question is also what taking real risks mean. Is it playing inferior moves and hope the opponent blunders, or going for unclear positions in general? For example the second game here was one where Carlsen sacrificed both pawn and exchange, and this in a title match, so it’s not as if he doesn’t take risks.

I like for example the last three rounds from Gashimov Memorial two years ago. This just three games in a row from one single event:

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1952433

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1952431

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1952440

All of them sacrificing material and winning nicely. But most top level games tend to be a bit drier today than once upon a time, still I think there are numerous tactical and fun Carlsen games if one wants to find them.
Master_Patzer Master_Patzer 12/5/2021 12:54
I’ve studied chess for over a decade and I regretfully agree,Carlsen’s chess tends to be boring at times. I actually enjoyed all that opening prep that Kasparov used to beat his opponents. Yes I know these powerful engines have changed the game. But everyone has access to them so use them.

Okay let the criticism to my comment begin!
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 12/4/2021 10:59
to lajosarpad : (about point 2)
yes, maybe, but this is also because Alekhine and even Kasparov were not trained as early and easily, with full knowledge of everything. And can you give me some brilliant - I mean tactically - games
by Carlsen, where he took real risks ? Even moves or combinations, apart from Dh6+ against Karjakine ? Whereas Kasparov, Chirov, Ivantchuk, Anand, Polgar, have plenty. I am sorry for Topalov, but the first examples that come to mind are Kasparov-Topalov where the Black king ends on the first row, or ... Fh3 by Chirov. These are things that you remember. So OK MC grinds, it is not dishonourable, but Karpov did it much better.
rkpuia rkpuia 12/4/2021 09:29
@rakerchess: you seem to be some 1000 rated player who don`t know 50 moves rule and who`s using computer lines to criticize the best chess player in the world. And oh, Carlsen has got the highest CAPS rating, which mean he is the most precise players to ever grace this game. Higher than Kasparov, Fisher and everyone else in your list. Did you know that they just play the most accurate game in any world championship in game 3? I suggest you analyze Fisher/Kasparove game with your same engine. You`ll find out that they make blunders/mistakes more than Carlsen so I don`t really know what you are talking about “Fisher/Kasparov in their peaks didn`t play this badly”
If you think Carlsen is not creative, I suggest you watch some of his recent games (2019-2020). Check his wins against Giri.
He can defend worst position better than anyone, he can grind out the most drawish position with slight edge, he`s the one who`s mostly making the best strategy to win his games, proven by many of his supertournament win, chess world championship win etc. In tactical skirmish also, he`ll be the one standing at the end. He`s the most intuitive strongest players to ever grace this game where you cannot calculate every lines(Shown by his blitz/rapid accolades) And yet here you are, a genius with computer lines calling them(Magnus/Ian) without chess abilities.
Did you know that when Carlsen play rd1 he has got only 2-3 mins left. Time matters too. It becomes incredibly hard to calculate to 100% accuracy as your time run out.
I can point out so many wrongs in your comment, but let this be enough. Study and play chess enough, you`ll see that they are the best of the best in the world.
mc1483 mc1483 12/4/2021 07:39
@rakerchess: you don't seem know how the 50 moves rule works, yet you harshly criticize the game of the best players in the world. If you are so sure they aren't worth and even blunder that much, why aren't you the world champion?
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 12/4/2021 03:04
Ok, I will no longer reply to fixpoint (I think it is not an entity to which replies are worth, but just a troll to create flames) but, talking as usual of WCh formats, I would like to mention that for a decade I tried to spread from a webpage ( https://sites.google.com/site/pcmorph72/articoli/wcc-cycle ) ideas for a fully unbiased WCh that should help to produce the best quality games from the best qualities of both players. I admit the systems containing those ideas were too difficult to fully adopt, but I think the closest ways to fit with current FIDE rules are:

1. Obviously, turn back the “Fischer Clock” with the 30 sec increment from move 1
2. Increase the bonus prize split for who wins without tiebreak (let’s say 70% to the winner and 30% to the loser)
3. Ask the challenger if he prefers two last (classical) games both with White as tiebreak:
If Game 1 has a winner, he is the new champion;
If Game 1 is a draw, there is Game 2;
If Game 2 has a winner, he is the new champion;
If Game 2 is a draw, the former champion retains his title.
(note that it is not a trivial “former champion privilege”, since he risks to lose his title by two aggressive “nothing to lose” games from an opponent who will have White in both games)

Unfortunately, nowadays both World champions, challengers for the WCh title, and generally top players, prefer avoiding risks instead of strenuous risky “their-best-quality” games: for this reason they would prefer to play matches with a 51%-49% prize spit and with blitz tiebreaks after game 2 (they would even prefer a sword fight tiebreak after a strenuous draw). The solution should be to not ask the format to top-players, but to the chess-community with some true knowledge (and not necessarily money).
Resistance Resistance 12/4/2021 02:12
at fixpoint ---
There is a very important difference between a game played with increment from move one, and a game played without increment till move 61 onwards. During the portion of the game where there's no increment (moves 1 to 60), your time invariably decreases with every move played. In games where there's increment from move 1, on the other hand, you always keep a certain time shield, a 'time buffer zone', so to speak, that guarantees players protection from potentially deadly time scrambles (-- whenever it is the case that you approach the limits of the pre-established time control. --). This is very useful for chessplayers, because it is not unusual for them to use big amounts of time at certain moments during games, especially at middle-game positions (-- where you really need to focus in order to see where the game is headed, or where is it that you want it to go --). Consequently, you can use a big portion of your time, say, at just one or two moments, and then be left with very little on your clock. Increment from move one avoids this conflict, a very frequent one among chess players.

FIDE, on the other hand, has managed to basically eliminate time increment from the WC match, since only very few games end after move 60. I guess they weren't thinking on CHESS this time, but CHE$$... (-- what a shame --).

.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 12/4/2021 02:11
@Resistance I would argue that the clock is a chess factor...

@Rakerchess I believe that the Carlsen of today would beat Alekhine or Kasparov at their best. I do not speak about opening theory, let's assume that they would start in a position where they are both already out of book. Yes, Carlsen is a grinder, but so was Karpov at his best. Looking for blunders with an engine will mislead you. Have you analyzed Kasparov's games with the same engine looking for blunders? If so, did you find Kasparov playing more engine-like than Carlsen? I'm asking you because I'm not using an engine while I look at top chess games.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 12/4/2021 02:05
After the first fascinating and interesting 5 draws we arrived to the epic 6th game. I guess we will always receive complaints. In the first 5 games, even though they were very interesting, people looking only at the results called it a draw fest. Now that the game was not drawn, a thing which did not happen since 2016, some other complainers, who are only looking at engines dislike this game. I guess that it is impossible to make everyone happy.
Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 12/4/2021 01:54
Yes of course. Krennwurzn gives:

130... Qc2 131. Rf6 Qd1 {only drawing move} 132. Kh4 Qe1 {again only move - the knight pin is one motif to stop White's progress} 133. Rg6 Qf2 134. Rg4 Qh2+ 135. Kg5 Qh7 {together with Qh8 again the only defence} 136. Nh5 (136. Nf5 Qg8+ {a repetition is threatened}) 136... Kf7 {again the only drawing move} 137. f5 Qg8+ {logical - again the only move} 138. Kf4 Qb8 {the only defence - Black must use pin motifs} 139. Rg7+ Kf8 {it should not be worth mentioning that this is the only move} 140. f6 Qb5 141. Re7 Qf1+ 142. Kg5 Qg1+ 143. Kh6 Qc1+
144. Kh7 Qg5 145. Ng7 Qh5+ $3 {yes there are stalemate motifs} 146. Nxh5 stalemate

Over the board even much more complicated of course than in the Krennwurzn analysis.
ChrisHolmes ChrisHolmes 12/4/2021 01:48
Could Karsten Müller repeat that in English ?
Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 12/4/2021 01:41
Krennwurzn vor 4 Stunden






130... Qc2 131. Rf6 Qd1 {einziger Remiszug} 132. Kh4 Qe1 {wieder
einziger - die Springerfesselung ist ein Motiv um Weiß bei Fortschritten zu
behindern} 133. Rg6 Qf2 134. Rg4 Qh2+ 135. Kg5 Qh7 {mit Dh8 wieder die einzige
Verteidigungsmöglichkeit} 136. Nh5 (136. Nf5 Qg8+ {und es droht schon eine
Stellungswiederholung}) 136... Kf7 {wieder der einzige Remiszug} 137. f5 Qg8+ {
logisch der einzige Remiszug} 138. Kf4 Qb8 {der einzige Remiszug - Schwarz
muss immer wieder Fesselmotive ausnutzen} 139. Rg7+ Kf8 {da muss man einziger
Zug kaum dazuschreiben} 140. f6 Qb5 141. Re7 Qf1+ 142. Kg5 Qg1+ 143. Kh6 Qc1+
144. Kh7 Qg5 145. Ng7 Qh5+ $3 {ja es gibt Pattmotive} 146. Nxh5 PATT

In der Realität und am Brett noch viel komplizierter als in dieser Krennwurzn-Analyse.
Das ist ganz klar ein Fall für die Superendspielprofis a la Karsten Müller & Co!!
rakerchess rakerchess 12/4/2021 01:19
On current form (the atrocious 2d & 6th games with all their blunders), Carlsen is not playing like a World Champion. Fischer and Kasparov at their respective peaks did not play like this, this badly.
Additionally, one sees no strategic and tactical brilliance in Carlsen's games, as opposed to Alekhine and Kasparov (for example).
There is just a pathetic opening, which hands the initiative to Black right away (really, is this the best Carlsen's team can do with hours of computer analysis?). Carlsen was visibly shaken by Nepo's 11...b5, as his body language showed after this move (home analysis in pieces after just 11 moves!).
Then once the home analysis is finished, and the players have to start playing on their own, numerous blunders after another!
Finally, the endgame. Nothing to brag about here as well, just a very long slog of piece shuffling over 90 moves (isn't there a rule that a draw is imposed after a certain number of moves?), followed by another blunder by Nepo, probably out of sheer fatigue and frustration! Grinding down your opponent with almost eight hours of play says a lot about Carlsen's physical fitness, but nothing about his abilities as a chess player.
I'm hoping that Firouzja can beat Carlsen at the next World Championship, he plays much more creative and interesting chess.
The player whom Carlsen resembles the most, in my opinion, is Reshevsky, another child prodigy, who played like an old man in his youth, just like Carlsen. No creativity, imagination, or strategic/tactical brilliance, just a gritty grind to wear down his opponent, boring, stale, and unimaginative chess. Both players are/were old men in their chess styles at a young age, probably because they've been playing since childhood, way too long for us spectators.
At this rate, Carlsen is killing classical chess.
Resistance Resistance 12/4/2021 01:14
Fantastic game! Great battle. I wish all games were as hard-fought as this one. Congratulations to Magnus and Ian for their effort.

Regarding the issue of time control, I agree. Players should be encouraged to be creative, to take risks. No increment from move one means time scrambles (randomness, stupidity) becoming a much bigger factor, a much bigger threat to players, and consequently, a much bigger influence in the way they approach the games and the match in general (safe, 'I don't wanna lose'-chess becomes religion). In an event as important as the classical world chess championship match (or the Candidates Tournament, or the qualifyers for the Candidates Tournament, etc), the clock should not be the reason players lose games. Hours of creative, emotional and physical effort; months, years of preparation, ruined because of an entirely non-chess related factor: the clock.

Players should win on merit; they shouldn't lose because they tried to come up with something memorable; with something great.

.
rakerchess rakerchess 12/4/2021 01:06
What an atrocious game, replete with blunders galore by both players! Difficult to understand how some commentators can call this a "great" game (like the well known 6th Games from the Fischer - Petrosian Candidates' Match, Buenos Aires 1971 and the Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match, Reykjavik 1972).

Comments based on analysis by the Beast (Fat Fritz 2 running on 48 cores):

1 Nepo blundered first with 31....Bb2??+-, when 31....Qb3 32 Ne5 fe5 33 Rc7 Qa3 34 Rdd7 Qb2 35 Kg2 a3= was dead equal.
2 Carlsen blundered next with 33 Rd1??? (going from a winning position to one where Black has a large advantage in one move surely deserves three question marks), when 33 Rcc2 (removing the pin on the Nd3) Ba1 34 Nf4 Qe7 35 Rc8! Qb7 36 Rdd8 f5 37 Rh8 Kf6 38 Nh5+ Ke5+- was clearly winning (+5.55).
3 Nepo made a mistake with 35....e5?=, when 35...Bb4 36 Rcc1 Be7 37 Nf4 Qb7 38 Rd2 a3 39 Nh5+ Kh6 40 Nf4 Bb4 41 Ra2 Bd6 would have kept his large advantage (-0.71).
4 Carlsen made a mistake on the next move with 36 Rc2? with large advantage for Black, when 36 e4 Qd4 37 Kg1 Qe4 38 Rc2 Qd5 39 Rcd2 Kh6= was equal.
5 Not to be outdone, Nepo reciprocated with his own mistake 36....Qd5?=, when 36....Bb4 37 Rcc1 Ba3 38 Ra1 Qg4 39 Rd2 Be7 40 Ne1 Kh7 41 Raa2 Qc4 42 Rdc2 Qb4 43 Re2 a3 44 e4 Bd6 would have kept a large advantage for Black (-1.57).
6 Nepo continued to blunder with 38....e4??+-, when 38....f5 39 Ra1 f4! 40 ef4 ef4 41 Nf4 Bb4 42 Rda2 Qf3 43 Ra4 Qf2+ 44 Kh3 Bd6 45 Nh5+ Kh8= would have led to equality.
7 Carlsen continued to blunder in turn himself with 40 Ne4??= (one move too early!), when 40 Rdc2 (protecting Nc5) Qb1 41 Ne4 Kg6 42 Nc3 Qb3 43 Na4! Bd6 44 Nc3! (0nly move!) Be5 45 Ne2 Qe6+- was a clear win (+4.11).
8 The players then proceeded to shuffle pieces in an essentially equal endgame from moves 40-130 (over 90 moves!), until Nepo made the final blunder with 130 Qe6??+-, when 130....Qc2 131 Rf6 Qd1 (only move) is only a slight advantage for White.
fixpont fixpont 12/4/2021 01:05
@PCMorphy72: there is no meaningful difference between the 2 systems, what are you talking about???? your (accumulated) time is the exact same after move 40, 60, and every move after 61 in both systems
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 12/4/2021 12:55
@fixpoint Apart that increment is useful mainly to avoid endgames with “unnecessary pressure”, that is a thing that even a monkey would understand, as pointed out by dumkof, the increment from move 1 is useful in forcing to use your time between moves, move by move, in order to control the remaining time until move 40 or 60, that is a different thing than using your time spread into arbitrary portions over the whole game, as even a child would understand (if you are an adult, I think that Fischer would have spit in your face).
fixpont fixpont 12/4/2021 12:16
there is no real difference between this and older time controls, for example against Caruana the time control was the following:

"2018: The match was organised in a best-of-12-games format. The time control for the games was 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, an additional 50 minutes added after the 40th move, and then an additional 15 minutes added after the 60th move, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1. "

so 100 minutes for 40 moves and 30 secs increment (40*30 secs = 20 minutes) 100 mins + 20 mins = 120 mins for 40 moves, todays rule: 120 minutes for 40 moves, it is almost the exact same time conrol (with a very very little pace difference), 50 mins for 20 moves + 20*30sec increment (= 10 minutes) 50+10 = 60 mins for the next 20 moves, today's rule: 60 minutes for 20 moves.... it is almost the same... again

(2021: The time control for each game is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.)

i have a question for people who are complaining about the time control: what the hell are you talking about?
rodame rodame 12/4/2021 12:11
It was an incredible battle of ideas this 6th game. It calls me the attention that starting on move 116.Td3.... the total points of white is 10 (rook 5, Knigth 3, pawns 2= 10) against the 10 points of the black Queen. For an amateur in chess this equal numbers would appear that the game is equal or draw, but as we know the value of those pieces is for the position that have in the board, and the dynamic action developed together attacking at the black King.
dumkof dumkof 12/4/2021 11:26
I fully agree with PCMorphy72.

Chess without increment is a disaster. İt only adds unnecessary pressure to the players to blunder and ruin the quality. These are the best players who are unfortunately forced to play much worse than their potential.

What's the point to start increment after move 60 when most of the games are already decided much earlier? What kind of sick brain chemistry is required to do that? How much do these brains weigh, how do they look like?
Alexandru27 Alexandru27 12/4/2021 11:21
Fantastic will indeed!
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 12/4/2021 11:20
the problem is not so much the lack of increment at the beginning of the game, as the lack of additional time every x moves at the end of the game. It is a shame to see an interesting endgame spoiled by the lack of time, both players being on increment ONLY, i.e., perpetual zeitnot. Of course, adding say 1 hour or 30 minutes every 20 moves would lengthen the game (in time) but would result in a better play.
gingerbreadman gingerbreadman 12/4/2021 11:14
This game was every bit equal to Game 13 of Fischer-Spassky, and that game looked like it came from SPACE. Dynamic imbalances make for great game; one over almost 8 hours and 136 moves (much of it in hideous time pressure) is like a boxing match that elevates both men. Bravo to both, they deserve a rest day even though they won't get one!
Jarman Jarman 12/4/2021 11:12
@PCMorphy72 As it turned out, for Fischer (whose grave is still in Iceland as far as I know) a WC match was ruined already without the unlimited number of games clause. But FIDE did indeed a mockery of the whole thing already with the introduction of the tie breaking rapid games.
PCMorphy72 PCMorphy72 12/4/2021 10:30
“Unlike in previous World Championship matches, FIDE decided this year to only give the contenders an increment after move 61.”
I was happy for the changes in the format like the 2 more games (14 vs 12) and the bonus prize split to avoid tiebreaks (55-45 with tiebreaks, 60-40 without), but as always FIDE had to ruine all of it by introducing this stupid abrogation of the useful time increment from move 1. Perhaps they thought increment would have been useful only in late endgame, while in move 1-59 the “new rule” would have led to games more fitting with the “old fashioned” 20th century WCh matches. Instead, Fischer would be turning in his grave (if he had one) by knowing of a WC match ruined by a “new rule” that practically annulled his “Fischer Clock” principle after it was adopted successfully for decades even in minor matches.
karavamudan karavamudan 12/4/2021 04:36
Poor Nepo, But now he must play freely and create chances. He must counterattack immediately. throw everything at Carlsen to equalize. Otherwise Carlsen will just sit tight
Petrosianic Petrosianic 12/4/2021 03:01
I really don't think it's an exaggeration to call this one of the greatest games in World Championship history.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 12/4/2021 03:00
Epic.
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 12/4/2021 02:40
More respect for Carlson then ever. His endgame play was fabulous. Only he could have won that endgame, especially in “increment territory”.

The match will sharpen now.
Nogalex Nogalex 12/4/2021 12:02
Titan chess !!
genem genem 12/4/2021 12:01
Very frustrating that the game score does Not display the 'Time Remaining' after each move. Ten years from now, most fans who replay this game will misunderstand the overall forces that together determined each move.
WillScarlett WillScarlett 12/3/2021 11:42
Amazing ! The only thing I can imagine myself doing for eight hours is sleeping.
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