The FIDE Chess World Championship currently underway in Dubai is either a near-perfect showdown between two genius players in their prime, or an absolute hell collision between two immovable monoliths currently showing no signs of progress. Yesterday saw Game 5's conclusion end in a stalemate between the appropriately named reigning champ, Magnus Carlsen, and his aspiring usurper, Ian Nepomniachtchi...again. In fact, neither have one a single round so far, something that has somewhat enthralled the world of professional chess.
“While neither grandmaster has won a game, their match remains impressive in its own right: It appears to be the most accurate world chess championship ever played, the closest to achieving the game’s Platonic perfection,” explains Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight.
Now, we’ll be totally honest with you: Contrary to our recent chess-related coverage, we aren’t the best chess players out there—we certainly don’t follow the professional sport with any regularity. A bit of additional reading reveals that nobody has actually “won” a world championship regulation match in over five years. But that said, this year’s bouts between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi have been possibly the most accurate in championship history.
This is thanks in large part to players learning from supercomputer advancements that provide increasingly precise chess strategies and movements. Actual checkmates, when they do occur at this top tier, are generally owed to human error—but, as Roeder succinctly puts it, “these players simply haven’t made mistakes.”
Various solutions have been suggested to break the current chess championship cycle. The simplest change circulating for years now is to shorten the length of time each player has to make their move, thereby increasing the chances of human error and reaction. For his part, Carlsen supports the amendment, although his opponent reportedly isn’t on board for such a break from tradition. In any case, Game 6 is scheduled for tomorrow at 7am EST, so that should be a real nail biter (in the sense that people are waiting for something, anything at all to happen).
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