Second Game in Chess Championship Turns Bitter for Ding after Nepomniachtchi Seizes His First Win

ASTANA – Ian Nepomniachtchi defeated Ding Liren in 29 moves with black in the second game of the 2023 FIDE World Chess Championship on April 10 in Astana, seizing an early advantage in the race for the men’s most prestigious title in chess, reported FIDE.

Ding Liren could not hide his frustration after the match, which he described as a “disaster.” Photo credit: Stev Bonhage and Anna Shtourman/FIDE

This was the first victory in the games for the world title for the 32-year-old grandmaster Nepomniachtchi.

“I played 13 games in the world title matches and finally won. My parents and some friends have already congratulated me, but in general right now I am trying not to be very active on social media, I am trying to concentrate on the match,” Nepomniachtchi told the Championat correspondent after the game.

Ding stood better against Nepomniachtchi in the early moves of the game, when he played 4.h3 and opted for the sideline in the Queen’s Gambit. The objective was to get Nepomniachtchi off his theoretical preparation. 

Despite the promising move, Ding could not sustain his superiority on the board. In a post-match interview, he described his game as a “disaster.” “This is a rare move, and it was a good idea of my seconds. I know a lot of ideas after 4.h3, but today’s game was a disaster.”

For 32-year-old Ian Nepomniachtchi, this was the first victory in the games for the world title. Photo credit: Stev Bonhage and Anna Shtourman/FIDE.

After completing his victory, Nepomniachtchi revealed that he was surprised by Ding’s move.

“I thought it was a move influenced by Richard [Rapport, Ding’s second in the match]. I’m not sure if this move is good or bad. The move clearly has its own idea, and it worked,” he said.

Nepomniachtchi sensed the opportunity in the middle game and took the initiative to dominate the board.

The honour of the first ceremonial move in the second game went to Timur Turlov, the Founder and CEO of Freedom Holding Corporation and President of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation. Photo credit: Stev Bonhage and Anna Shtourman/FIDE

“After I played f5, it became clear that everything is nice for black. After that, the position already spoke for itself, I just developed the pieces to the center, and it was enough to win,” said Nepomniachtchi to Championat.

After the match, Ding did not hide his frustration. “To lose like this… I cannot understand what’s happening. After 18…f5 the position is very difficult for me. I missed nearly everything in the game,” he said.

The Chinese grandmaster failed to make the most out of his opportunities in the game, despite ending the first game of the championship in a draw.

The third game of the match is set to take place on April 12 after a rest day.

Ding said he would use the rest day as an opportunity “to recover from this tough loss.”

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