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Astana To Host Ding-Nepomniachtchi FIDE World Chess Championship Match
Nepomniachtchi (left) and Ding at the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Astana To Host Ding-Nepomniachtchi FIDE World Chess Championship Match

PeterDoggers
| 111 | Chess Event Coverage

The 2023 FIDE World Chess Championship match between GMs Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi will take place April 7-May 1, 2023 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The news was announced on Thursday by the International Chess Federation.

The match, which will once again have a €2 million prize fund with 60 percent going to the winner and 40 percent to the runner-up, will crown a brand new world champion. GM Magnus Carlsen announced his withdrawal from the match last summer and will therefore lose his FIDE world title in classical chess.

Nepomniachtchi, a 32-year-old grandmaster from Russia, lost to Carlsen in the previous title match but once again qualified by winning the 2022 Candidates Tournament. Ding, a 30-year-old grandmaster from China, came second in the Candidates and earned his spot due to Carlsen stepping out.

There is no clear favorite. Ding is the higher-rated player with an Elo rating of 2811 but Nepomniachtchi, currently rated 2793, has the head-to-head slightly in his favor: +3 -2 =8. Carlsen himself has stated earlier this week that he considers Ding the slightly better player and therefore the favorite.

Astana is familiar ground for FIDE. In September 2022, it held the first leg of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix, and in March 2019, it also hosted the FIDE World Team Chess Championship. Almaty, Kazakhstan hosted the FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships just three weeks ago.

An earlier possible location for the match was Mexico. China as well as the small city of Jujuy in Argentina had also expressed interest.

"It is the first time in history that a Chinese grandmaster reaches the final and fights for the world championship title," said FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. "We anticipate an enormous interest from China in this event, and that’s an opportunity we must capitalise on to promote chess in Asia. As much as we would have loved to hold a world event in the American continent, the time difference would have seriously impacted the audience in this particular case."

Kazakhstan as the location means a continued cooperation between FIDE and Freedom Finance, an investment company that is a part of Freedom Holdings (Nevada, U.S.). The company is engaged in investment banking, asset management, and capital markets services. It owns the Kazakh bank Freedom Finance, the online store Freedom24, and the Kazakhstani broker Freedom Finance JSC among other assets.

The 2023 world championship match will once again be played over 14 games, followed by a rapid/blitz tiebreak in case of a tie. The time control for the standard games 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.

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