The two best chess players in the world are stuck in deadlock hell

It's starting to get a little awkward.

It’s starting to get a little awkward.
Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP (Getty Images)

the FIDE World Chess Championship currently underway in Dubai is either an almost perfect showdown between two genius players in their prime, or an absolute hellish collision between two stationary monoliths currently showing no signs of progress. Yesterday, the conclusion of Game 5 ended in a deadlock between aptly named defending champion Magnus Carlsen and his aspiring usurper Ian Nepomniachtchi … once again. In fact, neither has Single so far something that has somewhat captivated the world of professional chess.

“Although none of the Grandmasters have won a game, their match remains impressive in itself: it seems to be the most precise world chess championship ever played, the closest to achieving Platonic perfection of the game” explains Oliver Roeder from FiveThirtyEight.

Now we’re going to be totally honest with you: Unlike our recent chess coverage, we are not the better chess players over there, we certainly don’t follow professional sport with any regularity. A little further reading reveals that no one has actually “won” a regulation world championship game in more than five years. But that said, this year’s fights between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi were possibly the most precise in league history.

This is in large part thanks to players who have learned from advances in supercomputers that provide increasingly precise chess strategies and moves. Actual mates, when occurring at this higher level, are usually due to human error, but, as Roeder succinctly puts it, “these players just didn’t make any mistakes.”

Various solutions have been suggested to break the current cycle of chess championships. The simplest change that has been around for years is to shorten the time each player has to complete their move, thus increasing the chances of human error and reaction. For his part, Carlsen supports the amendment, even if his opponent would not agree to such a break with tradition. Either way, Game 6 is scheduled for tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. EST, so that should be a real headache (in the sense that people are expecting something, Nothing at all happen).

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