Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi put friendship aside for $ 2million showdown – rt sport news



Russian outsider Ian Nepomniachtchi has spoken ahead of his World Chess Championship clash against reigning King Magnus Carlsen, and will put their friendship aside for the clash with a $ 2 million prize up for grabs.

Speaking at a press conference to promote the event in Dubai on Wednesday, Nepomniachtchi said: “Once you sit on the board, you have no more friends”, when asked about his relationship with the Norwegian.



Carlsen fired back, however, when he remembered what his rival had to say about him in a recent interview.

Nepomniachitchi joked that he didn’t think the 30-year-old would burn as hard as usual for their highly anticipated meeting, their fifth.



“This is the first time I’ve heard of it and it really turns me on. So thank you very much”, Carlsen responded with a laugh.

More than just the cash prize, which is expected to be split between 60 and 40, is at stake in the show held at the Dubai Exhibition Center from November 26 to December 14.



Becoming world number 1 at 19 and recently celebrating a decade in the high ranking, Carlsen defeated Vishy Anand to be crowned world champion in 2013 and defends his title for the third time.

By managing to do so against Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen can eventually poke Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer into the greatest conversation of all time.

As for Nepo, as it is often called, a victory would rekindle Russian failures after Soviet domination in the 20th century.

Although they only meet now in the world championship game, the two have been rivals since taking part in under-12 competitions.

Nepo did well and took the best of Carlsen at the time, but the Norwegian eventually passed him as the Russian gained a reputation for being “talented but erratic”.

The latter’s only big victories were at the Russian and European championships in 2010.

Over the past two years, however, die-hard Spartak Moscow fan Nepo, who helped announce the new manager of the Russian Premier League team Rui Vitoria in May, landed the top 10 in 2019 with a hardworking and more coherent approach to finally live up to his potential.

He entered this confrontation in the top five, which is also a first for him, and qualified by finishing second in the FIDE Grand Prix 2019 and leading the 2020 Candidates in Ekaterinburg.

The matches between the two men will be played with a “classic” time control giving them each three to four hours to complete all their movements.

There are 14 games in total, which is new for 2021 as previously there were only 12.

This was done in the hope that players will take risks early on, although matches often end with the wire.

The first competitor to reach 7.5 points will be declared the winner of the $ 2 million prize, but if the game is at 7-7, a playoff will be set where the purse split is reduced to 55-45.

In the playoffs, increasingly faster matches will be played to produce an overall winner.

Turning 31 as the game is underway, Carlsen, who recently met compatriot Erling Haaland in a Borussia Dortmund game, is a 1-4 favorite with the bookies.

When asked if he thought his previous experience would be his biggest advantage against Carlsen, he arrogantly replied: “No. My biggest advantage is that I’m better at chess.”.

Friday from 4:30 p.m. we will see how this holds true.

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