None of the great masters give in in a chess tug of war

A game, the philosopher Bernard Suits wrote, is “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”. It’s one thing to push a handful of chess pieces onto the chessboard to surround the enemy king. It’s another to get them there according to the intricate rules of the old game, and while your opponent Grandmaster tries to do the same.

Magnus Carlsen from Norway and Ian Nepomniachtchi from Russia are currently overcoming obstacles in a glass box in Dubai, competing for the World Chess Championship. Neither has yet been able to surround the king with the other. After a 41-move to design in less than three hours in Sunday’s Game 3, their best-of-14 game remains level at 1.5-1.5. It has now been 1,830 days since no one won a regulation game of the World Chess Championship.

Nepomniachtchi moved first, dealing with the white pieces. The great masters played the Ruy Lopez openness, especially its anti-marshall variation, once again visiting one of the busiest grounds in chess theory – “the mother opening”, by former world champion Viswanathan Anand on the official release. Indeed, the first seven shots corresponded exactly to those of the first game.

For most of the game, both players maneuvered their pieces with agility and speed, clearly familiar with the theory, and the computer’s all-seeing eye barely blinked on Sunday, as the position was essentially level. from beginning to end.

The famous Nepomniachtchi thought for 30 minutes in the position below, his 21st shot, the longest he’s passed by far on any shot in the game, and perhaps the only speed bump in the game.

He finally pushed his pawn forward in h3. A few moves later, the queens and minor pieces were swapped off the board in a flurry, dulling the small advantage present in the game. The towers were also gone in no time and the Grandmasters shook hands and shook hands. agreed to a draw in the position below, without being able to progress further.

While a series of chess draws might be seen as boring or a failure of attacking prowess, it should also be seen as a great success, a testament to the thorough preparation and precise execution of the master craftsmen of the game – a tug of war not between the weak but between the Goliaths.

“This is the current state of chess theory,” Nepomniachtchi said after the game. “It’s hard to find an advantage. “

Why do we volunteer to overcome unnecessary obstacles in games? We play games “because we want to have a certain type of fight,” writes C. Thi Nguyen, philosopher at the University of Utah. “And we can do this for aesthetic experiences of effort – of our own grace, of the delicious perfection of an intellectual epiphany, of the intensity of the struggle, or of the dramatic arc of the whole.”

The game ends tomorrow and Game 4 begins Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. EST. We’ll cover the entire dramatic arc, drawn or not, here and on Twitter, and we’re waiting for delicious perfection.

Seven games by Oliver Roeder

For even more writings on chess and other games, check out Roeder’s new book, “Seven games: a human story,»Available in January.

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