Grishchuk stops Giri’s march, clears Nepomniachtchi's way to challenge Carlsen for World title

Since Ian Nepomniachtchi held a 1.5-0.5 score against Anish Giri in their mini-match in the competition, the World chess federation declared the Russian as Magnus Carlsen's challenger for the World championship title.

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi leads the pack at the end of the 12th round of the Candidates Tournament. (File Photo)   -  FIDE

Alexander Grischuk’s stunning 51-move victory over Anish Giri in the 13th and penultimate round of the Candidates chess tournament in Yekaterinburg, Russia, made fellow Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi the challenger to Magnus Carlsen in the World championship match in November.

Soon after Nepomniachtchi drew with Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to take his tally to 8.5 points, second placed Anish Giri (7.5) resigned against Grishchuk. That left Nepomniachtchi with an unsurpassable one-point lead going into Tuesday’s final round.

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Since Nepomniachtchi holds a 1.5-0.5 score against Giri in their mini-match in the competition, the World chess federation (FIDE) declared him as the challenger for the much-awaited match to be played from November 24 to December 16 in Dubai.

“It’s such a huge milestone in my career and perhaps in my life also. I don’t think I would want to play again in a tournament that lasts over a year,” said Nepomniachtchi referring to the 13-month Covid-forced suspension of the Candidates Tournament that was halted in March last year.

With Nepomniachtchi assured of the title, Giri holds the second spot, followed by Fabiano Caruana and Vachier (7 points each) in the tied third place.

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