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Dhaka Tribune

FIDE World Championship: Ding claws back to even in wild slugfest

The match score is now at six points apiece with two rounds to go

Update : 26 Apr 2023, 11:23 PM

Chinese super grandmaster and world no 3 Ding Liren struck back with the white pieces against world no 2 Ian Nepomniachtchi on Wednesday to once again level the match score after game 12 of the FIDE Classical Chess World Championship.

The match score is now at six points apiece with two rounds to go.

In a chaotic and blunder-filled game, Ding stuck with his favoured d4 opening and opted for a Colle system setup that quickly transposed into an exchange Caro-Kann structure. However, it was Nepomniachtchi who came out with the advantage in the middle game as Ding threw caution to the wind in search of a sorely needed victory.

Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

According to the match report on Chess.com, chances began to arise for both players when Ding made the strategic decision to double Black's pawns on f6, thereby opening the g-file and declaring his intention to play for a win. For Nepomniachtchi, this marked the second time in the match and the third critical game in his world championship history where the move gxf6 had been "willingly doubled."

Stellar play from Nepomniachtchi forced Ding into his first error on move 19. The move would spark a downward spiral that soon left the Chinese contender facing a seemingly unstoppable attack. For the next seven moves, Nepomniachtchi played perfectly and shut down nearly all of Ding's counterplay.

Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

However, Ding refused to lay down and continued to test Nepomniachtchi's calculation, and the latter soon found himself moving far too quickly in the crucial moments – a habit for which he has been criticized in the past. After a string of blunders from both sides, it was Ding who emerged with a slight advantage this time.

Having butchered a winning position and now struggling to hold, the pressure ended up getting to Nepomniachtchi, and on move 34 he blundered once again to give Ding a clear advantage. After Ding almost immediately played the critical response, Nepomniachtchi would spend the next 17 minutes trying to come up with a move to complicate matters once more. Three moves later, he resigned.

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