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World Chess Championship 2021: Carlsen vs Nepomniachtchi
Magnus Carlsen will defend his world chess championship title against the challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi in 2021.

World Chess Championship 2021: Carlsen vs Nepomniachtchi

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The 2020 World Chess Championship match was postponed until 2021. It has now been announced for November 24-December 16, 2021, and will be held alongside the World Expo in Dubai, UAE.

The championship will be played between reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, who won the 2020 Candidates Tournament.

In this article, you will find all of the information that is known so far.


How To Watch On Chess.com

Chess.com acquired the rights and is an official broadcast partner. On our LIVE page you'll be able to follow the live moves with computer analysis, live chat, and video commentary by (grand)masters and special guests.

Daily news recaps will be posted on the Chess.com news pages with an in-depth grandmaster analysis of the games. Further recap videos will be published on YouTube with more GM analysis.

On Facebook and Twitter, we will provide the latest news, photos, rumors, and more from the world championship.

Players

Magnus Carlsen (Norway) is the reigning world champion, who will be defending his title. He is 30 years old and has held the title since 2013 when he defeated then world champion GM Viswanathan Anand of India.

Carlsen is known as one of the biggest chess talents that ever lived. He became a grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 4 months, and 27 days. He has won numerous tournaments and has been the world number one player continuously since 2011.

Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen's challenger is Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia), the winner of the 2020/21 Candidates Tournament. The two-time Russian champion finished second in the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix, which qualified him for the Candidates Tournament that began in March of 2020 and concluded in April 2021. Nepomniachtchi won the tournament with a round to spare, finishing at 8.5/14. 

Nepomniachtchi has had more success than most against Carlsen. Both were born in 1990 and they played three times in youth events from 2002-03, with Nepomniachtchi winning twice. He also defeated Carlsen at the 2011 Tata Steel tournament and the 2017 London Chess Classic. Nepomniachtchi's overall score against Carlsen in classical time controls is +4 -1 =6.

Ian Nepomniachtchi
Ian Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Dates And Location

The match will be held November 24-December 16, 2021 alongside the Dubai World Expo. It was supposed to start on December 20, 2020, in Dubai, UAE but got postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The match was originally planned to be held alongside the Dubai Expo, which was postponed.

Schedule

Date Event Los Angeles New York London Paris Moscow Dubai New Delhi Beijing
Nov 24 Opening ceremony/technical meeting 9:00 12:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:30 0:00
Nov 25 Media day
Nov 26 Game 1 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Nov 27 Game 2 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Nov 28 Game 3 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Nov 29 Free day
Nov 30 Game 4 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 1 Game 5 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 2 Free day
Dec 3 Game 6 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 4 Game 7 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 5 Game 8 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 6 Free day
Dec 7 Game 9 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 8 Game 10 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 9 Free day
Dec 10 Game 11 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 11 Game 12 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 12 Game 13 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 13 Free day
Dec 14 Game 14 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 15 Tiebreak or closing ceremony 5:30 8:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 16:30 18:00 20:30
Dec 16 Closing ceremony in case of tiebreak 9:00 12:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:30 0:00

Prize Fund

The prize fund will be $2 million. The winner will earn 60 percent of the prize fund, and 40 percent will go to the runner-up. If the match ends in a tie after 14 games and a tiebreak will decide matters, the winner receives 55 percent and the runner-up 45 percent.

Before the start of the match, each player receives two hundred thousand euros as an upfront payment of his eventual prize money. If the match is played in the country of one of the players, then the foreign player receives one hundred thousand euros of the prize fund and the remaining prize money is shared as stated above.

Live Games

Chess.com will relay the games live on a special landing (to be announced) and provide a live video broadcast at Chess.com/TV, Twitch.tv/chess and Youtube.com/Chess where a team of (grand)masters will bring you the latest insights, instructive explanation of the moves, interviews, behind the scenes and more.

After each game, you will find detailed news reports by our authors @MikeKlein, @PeterDoggers and our photographer Maria Emelianova (@misslovalova).

Regulations

The official regulations can be found in PDF here. These are most important things to know:

  • The match will be played over 14 standard games. When someone reaches 7.5 points, he wins.
  • At the opening ceremony, a drawing of colors determines who will start with the white pieces.
  • The time control is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.
  • If the scores are level after the regular 14 games, four tie-break games will be played. These are rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.
  • If it's still equal, two blitz games will be played (5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment). If it's still equal, a second pair of two blitz games will be played. If there is still no winner after five such matches, one sudden-death game will be played. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes, the player with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds starting from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.
  • The players cannot draw a game by agreement before Black's 30th move. A claim for a
    draw before Black's 30th move is permitted only through one of the arbiters in
    the cases of a threefold repetition.

History Of WCC

The world championship of chess has a long tradition. The first official match was held in 1886 between Johannes Zukertort and Wilhelm Steinitz. The latter won and became the first official world chess champion in history. Emanuel Lasker (Germany), Jose Raul Capablanca (Cuba), Alexander Alekhine (Russia/France) and GM Max Euwe (Netherlands) subsequently took the titles by beating the reigning champions in a match.

Alekhine won back the title but due to his death in 1946, it became vacant. FIDE organized a tournament in 1948 which was won by GM Mikhail Botvinnik (Soviet Union), who then lost his title but successfully won it back in matches against compatriots GM Vasily Smyslov and GM Mikhail Tal. After losing to GM Tigran Petrosian, Botvinnik lost the right for an automatic return match and stopped participating in the world championship cycle.

GM Boris Spassky defeated Petrosian, but with him the Soviet hegemony ended as GM Bobby Fischer (USA) famously won the Match of the Century in 1972 in Reykjavik.

Fischer world chess champion
Fischer with Euwe in 1972. Photo: Bert Verhoeff, Dutch National Archives, CC.

Because FIDE didn't accept all of Fischer's demands for a match with GM Anatoly Karpov in 1975, Fischer refused to play and forfeited his title. Karpov was declared world champion. The Russian GM remained world champion for 10 years, when he lost his second match to GM Garry Kasparov in 1985 after the first had been terminated a year earlier by FIDE when there was still no decision after 48(!) games.

Kasparov and Karpov 1985
Kasparov (left) shakes hands with Karpov (right) in 1985. Photo: Owen Williams, The Kasparov Agency ©, CC.

Kasparov won three more matches with Karpov but then stepped away from FIDE and played three matches under the newly founded Professional Chess Association (PCA). He defeated GM Nigel Short and GM Viswanathan Anand but lost to GM Vladimir Kramnik in 2000, who thus is considered to be the 14th classical world champion.

Karpov, GM Alexander Khalifman, Anand, GM Ruslan Ponomariov, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov and GM Veselin Topalov won world titles in official FIDE events in the 1990s and 2000s, but these titles have been disputed because e.g. Kasparov and Kramnik did not participate, and they didn't follow the tradition of one-to-one matches.

Meanwhile, Kramnik defended his title in 2004 against GM Peter Leko and then won a "reunification match" against Topalov in 2006. Anand took over the title from Kramnik in a tournament in 2007 in Mexico, and subsequently defended it successfully in matches against Kramnik in 2008, Topalov in 2010 and GM Boris Gelfand in 2012.

GM Magnus Carlsen defeated Anand in 2013 in Chennai and successfully defended his title against the same opponent in 2014, against GM Sergey Karjakin in 2016 and against Fabiano Caruana in 2018.

Who will face Magnus in 2020?
Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

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