Carlsen versus Nepomniachtchi: FIDE World Championship Round 2

@AbasovN @CynosureChess

The 2nd/14 clash between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi

Round 2 of the FIDE World Championship was played today between the reigning champion, the Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen and his challenger, the Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Lichess is providing a broadcast of the moves being played in real-time. Additionally, GM Nijat Abasov is providing game annotations and insights on the games daily. Round one’s game annotations can be found here and round two's can be found further below. 

Carlsen, with the white pieces, played the Catalan - an opening he’s been increasingly flirting with since the World Cup in Sochi. Much like yesterday, Nepomniachtchi was undeterred and despite being in a novel position by move 8, neither player seemed unprepared. As FIDE commentator and 15th world champion GM Viswanathan Anand touched on, this could have been because they came close to transposing into a fiery and well-studied 1992 rapid game between Shirov and Gelfand.
In any event, that transposition didn’t occur, and although Nepomniachtchi was a pawn up it was difficult to make significant headway. Surprisingly, Carlsen was even able to give up an exchange and stay equal with perfect play - but Carlsen is (contrary to popular belief) human as well - and gave away a small advantage to Nepomniachtchi.

However, Nepomniachtchi was unable to capitalise, and Carlsen quickly equalised  the position again. Perhaps slightly shaken after a few minor skirmishes, Carlsen offered a draw which Nepomniachtchi accepted - making this the second draw of the match.

The next game will be played tomorrow, 28 November 12:30 UTC. For more details on the tournament, review our first round recap which has more information. 

(GM Nijat Abasov achieved the GM title at just 15. He was Azeri national champion in 2017, also winning the Baku Open the same year. He has played the Tata Steel Challengers and the Grand Swiss (twice), amongst many other tournaments, reaching his all-time peak rating of 2670 in February 2020. He recently represented Azerbaijan at the European Team Championships, winning a board prize with a performance rating of 2760).