NUMBER SIX : Cursed for World Chess Championships?

NUMBER SIX : Cursed for World Chess Championships?

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World Chess Championship 2021 is being played currently between Magnus Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi. The first five games were drawn but in game six, the chess world has witnessed something strange and extraordinary play by Magnus. With white pieces, not only did Magnus and Nepo both break the record of the 124-move draw in game five of the world chess championship 1978, but also the game lasted 7 hours 45 minutes, and Magnus bagged the first win!

(Annotations from PeterDoggers News)

Both Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi missed chances during a time scramble just before the first time control at move 40, where the position was considered equal. Over the lengthy endgame, Carlsen was able to neutralize a potential threat from a passed a-pawn and arrange several key exchanges, leaving Nepomniachtchi with only his queen. While both computer analysis and tablebase assessed the resulting endgame to be drawn, this required Nepomniachtchi to defend perfectly, while Carlsen, facing no serious chance of losing, could continue to press. Ultimately, Nepomniachtchi blundered with 130...Qe6 (Qb1 or Qc2 would have held the draw), allowing Carlsen to begin advancing his pawns towards inevitable promotion.

Magnus Carlsen: "That was huge!" Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Nepomniachtchi: "Magnus managed to capitalize on the very few chances he got in the game." Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Let’s see what happened in game number six, let’s dive into the previous world championship matches starting from World Chess Championship 1886.

World Chess Championship 1886

The World Chess Championship 1886 was the first official World Chess Championship match contested by Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort. The match took place in the United States, the first five games being played in New York City, the next four being played in St. Louis, and the final eleven in New Orleans. The winner was the first player to achieve ten wins. Wilhelm Steinitz won the match 10–5, winning his tenth game in the twentieth game of the match. There were five draws. Steinitz won game 6 with white pieces.

World Chess Championship Match 1937

The 1937 World Chess Championship was played between Max Euwe and Alexander Alekhine in the Netherlands from October 5 to December 4, 1937. Alekhine regained his title in a rematch of the 1935 championship match.…and he won game 6 with the white pieces!

FIDE World Championships (1948–1990)

World Chess Championship Match 1957

Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik, The match was played as best of 24 games. If it ended 12-12, Botvinnik, the holder, would retain the Championship. Smyslov won game 6 with white pieces, and eventually became the world chess champion in 1957.

World Chess Championship Match 1958

The 1958 World Chess Championship was played between Mikhail Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov in Moscow from March 4 to May 9, 1958. Botvinnik won. Smyslov had unseated Botvinnik in the 1957 match, so he was entitled to this rematch a year later. Botvinnik won game 6 with white pieces.

World Chess Championship Match 1960

The best of 24 game matches was held in Moscow. In the event of a 12–12 tie, Botvinnik, the titleholder, would retain the Championship.
Due to Tal's less impressive results against the very top players, including his three losses to Keres in the Candidates, Botvinnik was the favorite. However, Tal won the match decisively, by a margin of 4 points. Game 6 is particularly famous, thanks to a speculative knight sacrifice by Tal on move 21. The audience became so excited that the game was moved to a backroom due to the noise.

Tal won game 6 with white pieces.

World Chess Championship Match 1972

This is my particular favorite where Fischer defeated Spassky with black pieces and earned applause. Fischer won game six with white pieces.

World Chess Championship Match September 1984 - February 1985

The championship match between Karpov and Kasparov had many ups and downs, and a very controversial finish. Karpov started in very good form, and after nine games Kasparov was down 4–0 in a "first to six wins" match. Fellow players predicted he would be whitewashed 6–0 within 18 games. Karpov won game 6 with white pieces.

World Chess Championship Match 2008

Viswanathan Anand vs Vladimir Kramnik, Anand won game six with white pieces.

World Chess Championship 2013

The Carlsen era begins! He defeated Anand in back-to-back 2 games, the first one in round 5 and the second one in round 6 with black pieces.

World Chess Championship 2014

The sixth game was played on 15 November 2014. Carlsen adopted the space-gaining Maróczy Bind setup against the Kan Variation of the Sicilian Defence and accepted a set of isolated doubled pawns in return for active play. After an early queen exchange, he soon developed a commanding position and appeared to have excellent winning chances. At move 26 there was a double blunder. Carlsen's 26.Kd2?? should have been answered with 26...Nxe5! (with a discovered attack on the g4-rook) 27.Rxg8 Nxc4+ (zwischenzug) 28.Kd3 Nb2+ 29.Ke2 Rxg8 and Black will wind up with 2 extra pawns (on e5 and c4) and excellent winning chances. However, Anand missed this and rather quickly played 26...a4?? Carlsen made no further mistakes and converted his advantage into a win. Carlsen won game six with white pieces!

and last but not the least-

World Chess Championship 2021

Carlsen has defeated Nepo in game six with white pieces. They are still playing the championship match. Let’s see if Nepo can come back! 

Information gathered from :

  • Wiki
  • Chessgames
  • My Memory