Chess-Nepomniachtchi wins Candidates to set up world title clash with Carlsen

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Chess-Nepomniachtchi wins Candidates to set up world title clash with Carlsen

Ian Nepomniachtchi will take on champion Magnus Carlsen for the world title in 2023 after the Russian secured victory in the Candidates Tournament in Madrid on Sunday with a round to spare.

The 31-year-old needed half a point to confirm his place as Carlsen’s challenger and achieved it by drawing with Hungarian Richard Rapport to seal his second straight Candidates title.

Nepomniachtchi is competing under a neutral flag in Madrid after sanctions imposed on Russian players for their country’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a ‘special operation’.

His meeting with Carlsen, who has lifted the last five world titles, is far from a done deal as the Norwegian said in December that he was unsure if he would defend his championship, citing a lack of motivation.

In such a scenario, Nepomniachtchi would take on the player who finishes runner-up at the Candidates, a position held by American Hikaru Nakamura heading into the final round.

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