Location revealed for Russian star’s world chess title bid


Ian Nepomniachtchi will face Chinese Grandmaster Ding Liren in April

The Kazakh capital of Astana will host Russian Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi’s bid for World Championship glory, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) has announced.

Nepomniachtchi, who ranks third in the world, will play the second-ranked Chinese Grandmaster Ding Liren over 14 games from April 7 to May 1. A new world champion will be crowned following the withdrawal of the reigning five-time champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, who announced on October 31 last year that he would not be competing.

While no specific location has yet been announced for the series of games, Astana will be familiar to chess fans after it hosted the 2012 World Rapid and Blitz Championships and the 2019 World Team Championship, while last September it was the location for the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix.

A total of €2 million ($2.16 million) has been allocated as the prize fund, with the winner taking home 60% of the winnings.

Kazakhstan will be an appropriate host for the event, given that the country shares a land border with both Russia and China.

The Russian player, nicknamed ‘Nepo’ by his supporters, currently holds a narrow head-to-head advantage over Ding Liren, having won three times in classical chess games, while the Chinese player has taken victory in two. There have been eight draws between the pair.

It is the first time in history that a Chinese Grandmaster reaches the final and fights for the World Championship title,” said FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich.

We anticipate an enormous interest from China in this event, and that’s an opportunity we must capitalize on to promote chess in Asia.”

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