World Championship Game 1
The first game between Magnus Carlsen and Yan Niepomniashchi was played on 26/11/2021.
Colours in the first game were determined at the opening ceremony on 24th November. There were two large gold-coloured balloons, one containing white confetti and one containing black confetti. It fell to Carlsen, as defending champion, to prick the balloon of his choice to determine the colour he would receive in game 1. On bursting, Carlsen’s balloon ejected black confetti, meaning Niepomniashchi got white.
Play was due to start at 16.30 Gulf Standard Time, which translates to 12.30 GMT, but actually started about two minutes early, at about 12.28, with 1. e4. (Gone are the days of Petrosian v Spassky, when the webmaster knew the opening would be of personal interest, i.e. starting 1. d4.)
A normal Ruy Lopez developed (8. h3 Anti-Marshall), going into a line where Black sacrifices his e-pawn to get the bishop pair, though Black exchanged off one bishop in due course to give White doubled isolated f-pawns. White allowed Black to remedy the pawn deficit. (White could have hung on to the extra pawn by acquiescing to a yet weaker pawn structure.) Thus things reduced to 2R+N+5P each, and after some piece-shuffling, a draw by repetition resulted. So, the first game was drawn, as is so often the case in any such match, but it was moderately interesting for the spectator, though the webmaster has to admit to falling asleep while watching it, but that tends to happen in the afternoon anyway.