Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

“Mozart of Chess”, Magnus Carlsen from Norway, will be out to extend his World Cup period when he takes on Russian challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi in their 14-game title match starting Friday night Australian time.

The match was originally scheduled for December last year, but was postponed due to the pandemic. It will be held in conjunction with the World’s Fair in Dubai.

The winner will receive $ 1.65 million. The loser will be able to wipe his tears away with $ 1.1 million.

What makes Magnus Carlsen chessGED?

Carlsen has been sitting across the chess world for more than a decade. He first reached number one on the International Chess Federation (FIDE) world rankings in 2010 when he was only 19 years old.

Two chess grandmasters look down on the pieces on the board in front of them while playing in the World Chess Championship.
Magnus Carlsen (right) became world champion in chess in 2013, where he defeated the Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand. (Reuters: Babu )

He has held the title of world champion since 2013, beating Indian major player Viswanathan Anand. The following year, he achieved the highest classic rating in history: 2882 – more than 30 points better than Garry Kasparov at his best.

Queensland Grandmaster David Smerdon is one of the few Australians who has met Carlsen across the board and held him to a draw at the 2016 Chess Olympics in Azerbaijan.

“He sees things on a different level,” Smerdon told ABC Sport.

Having first made his name as an attacking maverick, Carlsen is now known as a virtuoso of the playoffs.

“He may have these completely straight, almost bone-dry positions where most grandmasters would look at each other and say ‘OK, let’s call it a draw,’ but he just keeps playing,” Smerdon said.

“He has this ability to push something out of nothing.”

Is Nepomniachtchi a serious threat?

A chess grandmaster smiles as he holds the gold medal hanging around his neck after winning a tournament.
Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi won the candidates’ tournament to get a crack at Magnus Carlsen’s world chess championship.(Getty Images / TASS: Donat Sorokin)

Ian Nepomniachtchi (pronounced YAN ni-POM-ni-shee but commonly known as Nepo) is four months older than Carlsen, who turns 31 during the World Cup.


Nepo is considered a highly gifted player, blessed with an amazing memory. But he also tends to be erratic and temperamental. When games move beyond his careful opening preparation, he will often play intuitively and with speed.

It was clearly “Good Nepo” on display during the 13-month-long, COVID-disrupted graduate tournament that he won to set up his title challenge.

That said, most models and betting markets have Carlsen as an insurmountable favorite, though Nepo has a 4-1 head-to-head lead (with six draws) from their previous classic games.

“If you look at these games through, some of them were from when they were pretty young, so I would not put a lot of stock in that record,” Smerdon said.

What is the format?

The match is a best-of-14 game series that can last until mid-December if it were to go far.

Players are given two hours each for the first 40 moves in each game, followed by another hour for the next 20 moves. They then have 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increase of 30 seconds per game. features added from features 61.


If the classic section ends 7-all, the title will be decided by tie-break speed play. Judging by his recent preparation, Carlsen may have had one eye on that scenario.

He has been playing dozens of online blitz and bullet games since returning from a two-week training camp in Spain.

“Conventional wisdom is that you just do not do it,” Smerdon said. “Most coaches will tell you to avoid the flash as much as possible before a big game, but he does not care.

“He’s number one in the world at every time check, which I never think has happened in history.”

How can I follow the games?

The match will be played in front of spectators and media at the Dubai Exhibition Center and broadcast on the popular internet chess server


“It can be really hard to watch a match between two players for six hours,” Smerdon admitted.

“But I guess it has some similarities with the test match cricket, as the commentators do a good job – they don’t just talk about one match all the time, there are interviews and other things to keep your interest.

“I also think that one of the biggest advantages of chess compared to many other sports is that you do not have to watch it live.

“You can just wake up the next day and there will be lots of articles and video comments about how the game went and you can get the whole picture pretty quickly without feeling like you’ve lost too much from the live experience.”

Smerdon expects there will be more interest than ever in the outcome following an increase in chess participation following the success of the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.

“It’s either been new players who have signed up or people who may have played in school and not played for a while who saw the series and said ‘oh yes, I forgot I liked it – let’s get back to it ‘. “


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