The chess world is buzzing with excitement as the FIDE World Championship 2023 is approaching. For the first time in history, the world champion title will be decided by a match between two players who are not the reigning champion. Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren will face each other in Astana, Kazakhstan, from April 9th to May 1st, to determine who will be the next king of chess.
Why is Carlsen not taking part?
You may be wondering why Magnus Carlsen, the current world champion, is not playing in this match. The answer is simple: he decided to abdicate his title and withdraw from the world championship cycle. Carlsen announced his decision in a press conference on January 31st, 2023, citing personal reasons and a lack of motivation to defend his crown. He said he wanted to focus on other aspects of his life and chess career, and that he felt he had achieved everything he wanted in classical chess.
Carlsen's decision shocked the chess world and left a void in the world championship cycle. FIDE had to find a way to fill that void and crown a new champion. They decided to award the title to the winner of a match between the winner and the runner-up of the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren.
Who are Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren?
Ian Nepomniachtchi, 32, is a Russian grandmaster who is currently ranked number 2 in the world. He won the 2020-2021 Candidates Tournament with a round to spare, earning the right to challenge Carlsen for the title. However, after Carlsen's withdrawal, he became the de facto challenger for the vacant title. Nepomniachtchi is known for his aggressive and dynamic style of play, as well as his exceptional speed and calculation skills.
Ding Liren, 29, is a Chinese grandmaster who is currently ranked number three in the world. He qualified for the 2022 Candidates Tournament by rating and had to play 26 rated games in only four weeks to earn that right. He started poorly in the tournament but recovered strongly in the second half. He won a dramatic game against Hikaru Nakamura in the last round to clinch second place and secure his spot in the world championship match. Ding is known for his solid and positional style of play, as well as his endgame prowess and fighting spirit.
What is the schedule and location of the match?
The FIDE World Championship 2023 will take place in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. Astana is a modern and vibrant city that has hosted many major chess events in the past, such as the World Team Championship 2019 and the Women's World Championship Match 2018.
The match will consist of 14 classical games, with a time control of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. The players will also have one rest day after every two games.
If the score is tied after 14 games, tie-breaks will be played on May 1st. The tie-breaks will consist of four rapid games (25 minutes plus 10 seconds per move), followed by up to five pairs of blitz games (5 minutes plus 3 seconds per move), and finally an Armageddon game (5 minutes for White, 4 minutes for Black, with a draw counting as a win for Black).
Here is the full schedule of the match:
Date | Event
April 7 | Opening ceremony
April 9 | Game 1
April 10 | Game 2
April 11 | Rest day
April 12 | Game 3
April 13 | Game 4
April 14 | Rest day
April 15 | Game 5
April 16 | Game 6
April 17 | Rest day
April 18 | Game 7
April 19 | Game 8
April 20 | Rest day
April 21 | Game 9
April 22 | Game 10
April 23 | Rest day
April 24 | Game 11
April 25 | Game 12
April 26 | Rest day
April 27 | Game 13
April 28 | Game 14