28 May 2021

Carlsen's 2021 Challenger

In last week's Friday post, USCF Awards 1979-92 (May 2021), I wrote,

That makes this post a good point to pause the series on 'USCF Awards' and move on to a different topic best handled by a series of posts.

The topic I had in mind was to take a closer look at Ian Nepomniachtchi, the winner of the 2020 Candidates Tournament; Yekaterinburg (Russia). Three years I did the same for Fabiano Caruana in a series of posts that are useful as a structural reference:-

  • 2018-04-12: Carlsen's Next Challenger
  • 2018-05-22: Caruana's Career • Summary of all posts: 'document a natural progression in the early career of any budding chess superstar: early steps, Grandmaster title, GM supertournaments, World Championship aspirations.'

Three other, basic references are useful to understanding GM Nepomniachtchi's career:-

To those I'll add my own record of World Championship events:-

The Wikipedia date of birth (14 July 1990) reminds me of an ancient post, The Class of 1990 (October 2009), where I used FIDE ratings to track the early progress of GM Carlsen and three other young chess geniuses. GM Nepomniachtchi should be added to the list.

In case anyone thinks Nepomniachtchi will be a pushover for World Champion Carlsen, their record of games in head-to-head combat says otherwise -- Classical games: Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Magnus Carlsen 4 to 1, with 6 draws (chessgames.com). The full story is:-

Including rapid/exhibition games: Magnus Carlsen beat Ian Nepomniachtchi 21 to 14, with 38 draws. • Only rapid/exhibition games: Magnus Carlsen beat Ian Nepomniachtchi 20 to 10, with 32 draws.

Whether classical, rapid, or blitz games finally decide, the forthcoming title match 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Dubai, XI-XII, 2021, might prove to be the toughest of Carlsen's five title matches so far.

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