Norway's chessmaster Magnus Carlsen competes against Russia's chessmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi during Game 2 of the FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai 2021, at Expo 2020 Dubai
Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen (left) is only a point away from retaining his world crown for the fourth time. Image Credit: AFP

Kolkata: Magnus Carlsen tightened the grip toward the fourth successful defence of his Fide World Championship on Wednesday when he played a 41-move draw with Russian challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi in the 10th game on the sidelines of Expo 2020 in Dubai on Wednesday evening. The draw helped the Norwegian maintain a three-point lead at 6 1/2-3 1/2 with four scheduled contests remaining.

Less than 24 hours after Nepomniachtchi missed an elementary tactic and made an extraordinary blunder from a promising position to effectively seal his fate in the best-of-14 match, the challenger appeared willing to settle for a quick draw ahead of Thursday’s rest day.

“Frankly I hadn’t thought about him playing the Petrov today at all,” Carlsen said afterwards. “I was preparing for various sharp openings that he could play. The thought was if he goes 1 e5, I’ll see. I didn’t think making a draw against the Petrov would be a major issue.”

Action will resume at the Dubai Exhibition Centre on Friday with Nepomniachtchi handling the white pieces.