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World Championship match: five draws so far

Ian Nepomniachtchi from Russia is challenging Magnus Carlsen for the world championship in a match that began play on Friday 26 November, in Dubai. The challenger had White in Game 5 today, which was drawn.

So far Game 2 has been the only one in which either player seemed to have serious winning chances at some point.

Game 6, with Carlsen playing White, will be played on Friday 3 December, following the rest day on Thursday. There will also be play on Saturday and Sunday. All games start at 12.30pm GMT.

The match is for the best of 14 classical games, two more than in Carlsen's previous matches for the title. This means a somewhat more compressed schedule, with games being played on three successive days in some cases, which has never happened before.

If there is no winner then there will be a day of rapid and (if necessary) blitz tiebreak games to decide the issue. Carlsen's last two title defence matches were decided in rapid games, as was Anand's match with Gelfand in 2012.

Another novelty is the time limit, in which 30-second increments will only be added after move 60, so real old-fashioned time scrambles are possible. As yet no game has gone much beyond move 40.

The opening ceremony and draw for colours took place on Wednesday 24 November. The challenger has White in all the odd-numbered games and Carlsen moves first in the even-numbered games.

This page will be updated after each match game (and perhaps sometimes while games are in progress).

Friday 26 November. Game 1. Nepomniachtchi-Carlsen DRAW. Nepo' played the Ruy Lopez, and answered Magnus Carlsen's 7...0-0 with the 8 h3 Anti-Marshall. Carlsen out-prepared his opponent, obtaining excellent compensation for a sacrificed pawn. Nepo' was able to return the pawn eventually and stabilise the position, leading to a repetition of moves shortly after move 40. Report on chess24.

Saturday 27 November. Game 2. Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi DRAW in a Catalan Opening. Carlsen seemed to surprise his opponent again but an oversight in the early middle-game meant he had to sacrifice the exchange for possibly insufficient compensation. A tense struggle ensued. Nepo' in turn made inaccuracies and eventually had to return the exchange and bail out into a theoretically drawn rook endgame a pawn down.

Sunday 28 November. Game 3. Nepomniachtchi-Carlsen DRAW. Nepo' played the Ruy Lopez again, but this time he answered Magnus Carlsen's 7...0-0 with the 8 a4 Anti-Marshall. Play seemed even throughout and peace was concluded in a bishop endgame after three hours and 41 moves.

(Somebody asked at the Game 3 press conference why the reversal of colour sequence mid-way, which was used in the last few matches, was not the rule this time. No satisfactory answer was given, but simple calculation will show that this cannot be done when the total number of games is not divisible by four without remainder.)

Monday 29 November. Free day.

Tuesday 30 November. Game 4. Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi DRAW in a Petroff Defence. Magnus tested his challenger's repertoire by opening 1 e4 this time and again was the one who played an innovation, 18 Nh4. This could have led to great complications, Carlsen said afterwards in the press conference, but his opponent found an apparently safe reply. Carlsen's pressure on the kingside was balanced by the potential of Nepo's outside passed pawn, which advanced to a3. After thinking for over half an hour on one move, Carlsen could find no alternative to forcing a draw by repetition of position.

Wednesday 1 December. Game 5. Nepomniachtchi-Carlsen. DRAW. Once more Nepo' played the Ruy Lopez, following up with the 8 a4 Anti-Marshall. Magnus replied 8...b4, varying from Game 3 in which he chose 8...Bb7. White obtained a slightly more promising position but may have missed a chance to increase the pressure by 20 c4!? Many exchanges followed and the game drifted towards equality.

Thursday 2 December. Free day.

Friday 3 December. Game 6. Carlsen-Nepo'.

Saturday 4 December. Game 7. Nepo'-Carlsen.

Sunday 5 December. Game 8. Carlsen-Nepo'.

Monday 6 December. Free day.

Tuesday 7 December. Game 9. Nepo'-Carlsen.

Wednesday 8 December. Game 10. Carlsen-Nepo'.

Thursday 9 December. Free day.

Friday 10 December. Game 11. Nepo'-Carlsen.

Saturday 11 December. Game 12. Carlsen-Nepo'.

Sunday 12 December. Game 13. Nepo'-Carlsen.

Monday 13 December. Free day.

Tuesday 14 December. Game 14. Carlsen-Nepo'.

Wednesday 15 December. Closing Ceremony OR Rapid/blitz play-offs.

If there is a play-off, the closing ceremony will be held on Thursday 16 December.

Meanwhile, the battle between the world's other top players is well advanced to decide the identity of the eight players who will contest the 2022 Candidates tournament.