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The Match Begins with Nepo Playing White

Ian Nepomniachtchi looked pleased during the Opening Ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match in Dubai — he just discovered that he will be playing the first game with White.

Photo: FIDE

The drawing of lots, a ceremonial procedure, takes place during the opening ceremony and determines the order of the 14-round tournament. Nepo’s immediate team, Vladimir Potkin and Sergey Karjakin, also present in Dubai, immediately started quietly discussing the strategy that Nepo will likely use tomorrow. If he manages to surprise his opponent Magnus Carlsen in the first game, the whole dynamics of the Match will explode.

At the press conference before the drawing of lots, both Carlsen and Nepo tried to find a non-offensive way to state the obvious: there are no friends at the chessboard, and both will try to win, but it’s not personal. However, it’s a bit more personal for Nepo who is having his first shot at the title, while Magnus defends his for the fourth time.

You can follow the first game of the Match on World Chess.

The match is best-of-14 games with a prize fund of 2 million euros, with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw is half point. The first player to reach 7.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 14 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.) It’s two more games than in the 2018 World Championship Match.

The venue for the event is in downtown Dubai at the Dubai Expo.

The match’s sponsors include Algorand, a leading blockchain company; Kaspersky, the official cyber security partner; and PhosAgro, a giant international fertilizer group.

Games start at 4:30PM local time.

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 1147   6 d   Magnus Carlsen   Main feature   Match 2021   Nepo
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