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World Chess Championship 2023 Preview

World Chess Championship 2023 Preview

anikolay
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The 58th World Chess Championship is coming up, and the chess world is excited. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi will be facing off against world #2, Ding Liren, in a suspenseful 14-game matchup, leaving all chess fans on the edge of their seats. With unexpected retreats, details about the matchup, and my predictions, grab your popcorn because here is everything you need to know about the upcoming world chess championship.

General Information

The 2023 world chess championship is located in Astana, Kazakhstan. The first game is set to begin on April 9, and the games could potentially lead into the beginning of May. The first player to score 7.5 points wins the match and becomes the next world champion. The games will be broadcasted on numerous websites, including chess.com, so it will reach millions of people worldwide. For more information about the matchup, you can read chess.com's article.

Astana, Kazakhstan. Photo: Pinterest

Magnus Retreats

As all of you probably know, 5-time world champion Magnus Carlsen resigned from his pedestal in mid-2022. Due to the strength difference between him and most other players, and his lack of interest for the game, he simply decided that it wasn't worth it to spend countless hours of preparation just to play another world championship match.

Magnus Carlsen announcing the decision on his podcast.

However, Magnus interestingly stated that he will continue to play if and only Alireza Firouzja pulls through and wins the candidates. Perhaps it's because of the young prodigy's aggressive playing style, or his rise of fame in the chess world, Magnus hasn't given a clear opinion about this decision. Unfortunately for chess fans, Nepo pulled through and won the candidates once again, showing how strong and unexpected he really is.

Click the image to check out @Rodgy's blog about Magnus's retreat.

Because of Magnus's decision, FIDE was forced to pick the 2nd place Candidates finisher to face off against Nepomniachtchi, which happened to be Chinese GM, Ding Liren. This is exactly what makes this world championship unique and exciting, unexpected decisions and similarly strengthened players. Now that we have some details about the match and who is competing, lets analyze each of the players and hopefully make some unbiased predictions.

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi playing round 5 of the Candidates. Photo: ChessBase

Because of his already earned experience, Nepo will know how to deal under pressure, unlike Ding. Being perhaps the largest matchup in all of chess, pressure is a huge aspect. Nepo's aggressive style and ability to attack can quite easily lead him to victory in a lot of matchups. Also, as visible from his previous matches, Nepo can easily prep 5 or more openings for his opponents, which could make it very hard for Ding to prepare. He has already shown in previous games that he can perform well against the Chinese GM, so it will be interesting to see if the streak will keep up.

Ding Liren

Ding Liren wins 2022 Chessable Masters. Photo: Chess-24

Completely unlike Nepo, Ding is usually seen as a positional and conservative player, which could guide him to a smooth and solid win. He is also a great defensive player, which could save him in many cases against Nepomniachtchi. Ding is also (obviously) higher-rated and has arguably more experience playing against extra difficult opponents. We'll see how that plays out, and if it will be any use to him in his games against Nepo.

My Predictions

When choosing a winner, there are a couple questions to ask. Will Nepo's prep and attacking help him win games, or will Ding's skillful defense save him numerous times? To be honest, I'm not completely sure, since the match could go either way. Similarly to what happened in the last world championship match, between Nepo and Magnus, anything drastic can happen (such as Nepomniachtchi's sudden demise after round 6).

However, we all know that there cannot be a tie in the world chess championship match, so a winner must be picked. And I choose... GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. Yep, I think that his aggressive style will be enough to take out his tough opponent. Plus, I believe that he is way better than Ding at dealing with pressure, which, as mentioned before, will also be a huge factor. Off course, it will be nowhere near easy, but I feel like Nepo will come out victorious in the end. If you don't agree with my opinion, feel free to debate about it in the comments.

Nepomniachtchi is described as an aggressive, unpredictable player who although is always willing to fight, can come back and put up the shield at anytime.

Conclusion

That's all I have for now, feel free to share your predictions in the comments! I'm sure that the upcoming world chess championship has many great games in store and won't disappoint. Also, if you're looking for a completely non-profit place to learn chess, play tournaments, and read articles, you can join FreeChess. My next blog will probably be about the Foxwoods Open, so you can stay tuned for that. As always, thank you for reading, hopefully you learned something new today. Goodbye.