That’s all for today. Thanks for following along with us and be sure to check back shortly for today’s game report.
“Today was surely not missing chances for any of us,” Nepomniachtchi says. “It was a very, very balanced game and I believe it was just boring.”
The challenger is asked about his habit of walking away from the board toward his antechamber during the games at an unusually high frequency relative to other players. What is he doing back there?
According to Nepomniachtchi, it’s a pandemic habit.
“Sitting on the sofa basically and watching the screen,” he says. “It reminds me of playing during the [Covid-19 pandemic]. It’s very similar: you’re sitting in front of your screen and you try to think. So maybe it’s even more familiar right now than playing regularly over the board.”
Carlsen says today’s game evoked memories of his 2013 title match against Vishy Anand. “Obviously I remembered my first match against Vishy when I broke through and won the fifth game and then I managed to sort of gradually equalize with black in the sixth and eventually win,” he says. I was slightly hoping that we could follow a similar scenario but a draw is obviously a very nice result.”
Did Nepomniachtchi’s opening choice surprise him? “No, it was the usual. Obviously white is slightly better but as long as you can not see a clear way to increase the advantage it’s usually going to go that way.”
Asked to assess the state of the match, Carlsen says: “Obviously with yesterday’s result it’s going pretty well. But it’s a long way to go, half the match still. But I’ve made my breakthrough so the state is good.”
Asked whether yesterday’s (er, today’s) taxing Game 6 affected his opening choice for today, Nepomniachtchi keeps it short: “Absolutely not.” Then he adds: “Also by the way it was quite a new experience to play two games in the same day.”
He goes on to make a sidelong complaint about the 16.30 local start time, chosen for convenience of other time zones.
When asked to assess the state of the match at the midpoint, Nepomniachtchi says: “It’s not going too well because in general I’ve had some quite promising positions. And yesterday was some kind of a collapse which prevented me from grabbing the b4 pawn twice in a row. Yesterday’s game was kind of poor from both sides, I believe, especially during the time trouble. Otherwise I think it’s pretty much sensible and…