We’ve already seen that Ian Nepomniachtchi won’t be intimidated by Magnus Carlsen’s talent, but will he be star struck sitting across the board from a World Champion? Based on his games against the current and previous World Champions, Nepo will be unfazed playing the holder of chess’ most coveted title. In fact, Nepomniachtchi seems to make the most of these opportunities to prove his mettle.
Tonight’s chess puzzle comes from one such encounter. In 2013 Nepomniachtchi had white against former World Champion Anatoly Karpov in the first round of the Aeroflot Open Finals. Anatoly Karpov played his beloved Caro–Kann Defence in which he is known to reach a solid middle game position with little effort and then routinely achieve victories in the ensuing endgames. However, Nepomniachtchi played for complications in the Two Knights Variation of the Caro-Kann against the former World Champion who’s literally written the book on such semi-open games. Their struggle reached a climactic point when Nepo played a discovered check with 29. e6. Karpov blocked the Queen’s check with 29… Bd6. Now that I have set the stage, what do you think Nepomniachtchi (white) played in the position below?
Follow The FIDE World Chess Championship 2021 chess match between reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi on The Daily Chess Musings YouTube channel.