Quite a lot of new things happened today in Game 3 of the World Championship Match in Astana.
First, Liren sat at the board, expressing his will to show he was ready for the battle.
Ding at the board in Game 3
During the post-game press conference, Liren appeared much more relaxed. The journalists, after Ding's candid first press conference, where he admitted to suffering from anxiety, today insisted on asking him how he manages the stress of the match. Ding said that his friend helped him a lot in talking about the problem. And then he said, with his typical smirk: "I am doing better and better. Did you notice that today I was sitting at the board instead of hiding in the rest lounge?".
The game showed indeed that Ding feels confident.
Secondly, Ian opened with d4 - a "total surprise for me, as it's not his main weapon," as the Chinese ace said after the game.
The players entered a QGD exchange variation.
The game had some interesting moments, but as Nepo said at the press conference, he wasn't expecting this variation to bring anything new or particularly exciting on the board. Ian said: "The Queen's Gambit Declined is a very solid opening, so you're not going to achieve much. The most common case is when both sides play reasonably. It is hard to disrupt the equality."
The players agreed to a draw by repeating the moves at move 30 after "only" three hours of play.
Here is the game:
All in all, a good day for Ding. The Chinese super-GM seems to be recovering from the first two days in which he looked distressed.
Tomorrow Liren plays White, and he will probably try to push a bit more. Game 4 starts at 5 AM EDT - 11:00 CET - 9:00 UTC
Post-game press conference from the FIDE Official YouTube Channel