Three years and one pandemic since Magnus Carlsen defeated Fabiano Caruana in London to defend his title for a 3rd time, the World Chess Championship match is back! This time Magnus faces Russian underdog Ian Nepomniachtchi, whose late surge into the Top 5 has been perfectly timed to win the Candidates Tournament and earn the right to challenge Magnus to a €2 million showdown. The 14-game match kicks off on Friday, November 26th in Dubai and we’ve got an amazing commentary line-up, featuring Anish Giri and Judit Polgar.
Let’s take a look at some of the details.
Who are the players?
30-year-old Norwegian Magnus Carlsen became world no. 1 at the age of 19 and in 2013, aged 22, he defeated Vishy Anand to become the World Chess Champion. He’s held onto the title ever since, recently celebrated 10 years unbroken as the world no. 1, and has dominated in fast and online chess as well. He’s one of a handful of players spoken of as the greatest of all time.
Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi is just four months older than Magnus and held the edge over his Norwegian rival in junior events before 12-year-old Magnus took over on the rating list in October 2003 and never looked back. Ian had impressive performances, including winning the Russian and European Championships in 2010, but remarkably it wasn’t until 2019 that he finally entered the Top 10. He’ll start the match as the world no. 5.
How did they qualify?
Magnus Carlsen plays as the reigning World Champion. Since first winning the title in 2013, he’s defended it three times: against the same opponent, Vishy Anand, in 2014, then against Sergey Karjakin in 2016 and Fabiano Caruana in 2018.
Ian Nepomniachtchi qualified for the 8-player Candidates Tournament by finishing in 2nd place in the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix. The 2020 Candidates in Yekaterinburg, Russia started just as the pandemic was forcing lockdowns around the world and had to be stopped at the midway point, with Ian in the joint lead but having lost his last game. The event finally resumed only 389 days later, but Ian’s nerves held strong as he won with a round to spare — earning the right to play Magnus.
Where are they playing?
The match is taking place in the Dubai Exhibition Centre as part of Expo 2020 Dubai, an event which, as the name suggests, was delayed by the pandemic. Preparations are well underway!
Follow the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi World Chess Championship live here on chess24 from Friday November 26th!
- Official website