Added on 12/1/2021


GM Joel Benjamin reviews games 4 & 5

Should we be afraid now? Five games into the World Championship we have not seen a decisive game, after the two games since the break, games four and five, ended in fairly short draws.



Game 5, and the Ruy Lopez is still Ian's opening in his games with white.

And again, an anti-Marshall system with 8.a4.

At move 8, Magnus played Rb8, deviating from the previous games. When Magnus is playing black, he always tries to do something to shuffle the cards. In contrast, Ian seeks equality and neutralizes whites' efforts to take the game into dangerous situations. By move 12, the position looked very solid for both players:

In the first part of the game, the players' body language seemed to indicate a very comfortable Ian, pacing calmly in the fish tank, and an apparently tired and worried Magnus. The match is, of course, a psychological battle, and it's fascinating to watch the players during the games. At move 17, all the engines were yawning, displaying a melancholic 0.00.

Despite the engines indicating the game be a draw, Nepo played very fast, and by move 21, he had 30 minutes more on the clock. Giri insisted that the Nepo was more or less winning in his frantic and sharp commentary, and he posted his thought on Twitter, too, with his usual hilarious style.

It looked like everyone was desperately trying to find something exciting in a position that all the engines considered totally equal. That's understandable, having to comment on a match that has never given a real "shocking moment" so far. Unfortunately, reality brought everyone back on earth pretty soon, as, by move 26, there was nothing to say but "OK, the position is completely dry now."


"Ian is going to win,"

We're now on:

"This is a Magnus-type position: will we witness one of his famous squeezes?".


But the Champion couldn't squeeze his Russian foe, and the game ended in a draw. The firth in a row.

In the interview after the game, Magnus said he's aware that the tension is mounting and that it won't be easy for either of them to break through. It will be a super-tough match, but isn't that what everyone expected? Magnus looked a bit tired but calm and cool as usual.