Born in the same year as Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi initially had the edge over his rivals, winning the European U10 and U12 Championship (twice) and claiming the 2002 World U12 Championship ahead of Magnus. He subsequently admitted that the success had gone to his head and he lost focus, allowing his peers to press ahead.
Nevertheless, his talent never went away. In 2019 he finally broke into the World Top 10 for the first time and finished runner-up in the FIDE Grand Prix to qualify for his first ever Candidates Tournament. That pandemic-interrupted event lasted over a year, but Ian triumphed convincingly to become the new challenger.
Nepomniachtchi has the potential to be one of Carlsen’s toughest challengers yet. With a 4:1 score in classical wins against Magnus, he’s a player with no need to have an inferiority complex going into the match.
Date of Birth
July 14th, 1990