Meet Ian Nepomniachtchi: From Moscow to the World Chess Championship

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Hey guys, it’s your boy ChessLoversOnly here, and today we’re talking about one of the biggest names in chess – Ian Nepomniachtchi.

This Russian grandmaster is an absolute beast on the board, and he’s racked up an impressive list of accomplishments over the years. He’s a two-time winner of the Russian Superfinal, taking the top spot in both 2010 and 2020. And that’s not all – he’s also won the European Individual title in 2010, the Tal Memorial in 2016, and both the 2008 and 2015 Aeroflot Open events.

But it’s not just individual events that Nepomniachtchi dominates – he’s also a key player on the Russian team, helping them to victory in the World Team Chess Championship in both 2013 and 2019, as well as taking home the gold in the European Team Chess Championship in Reykjavík in 2015.

And if that’s not enough to impress you, check out Nepomniachtchi’s rapid and blitz chess rankings – at one point, he was ranked fourth in the world in both categories. He’s also won two silver medals in the World Rapid Championship and a silver medal at the World Blitz Championship, as well as taking home the top prize at the 2008 Ordix Open.

The Making of a Chess Grandmaster: Early Life of Ian Nepomniachtchi

Did you know that Nepo started playing chess when he was only four years old? Yeah, that’s right, four! His grandfather Boris Iosifovich Nepomniashchy was a famous teacher and lyricist in Bryansk, and he passed on his love for chess to young Nepo.

Nepo’s chess journey started with his uncle Igor Nepomniashchy, Valentin Evdokimenko, international master Valery Zilberstein, and grandmaster Sergei Yanovsky as his coaches. At just five years old, Nepo moved to Bryansk with his first coach, Valentin Evdokimenko, and trained hard until he was 13 years old. Under the guidance of his coaches, he participated in the World and European Championships.

Nepo’s hard work and dedication paid off as he won the European Youth Chess Championship not once, not twice, but three times! In 2000, he won the under-10 category, and in 2001 and 2002, he came first in the U12 championship. And get this, in 2002, Nepo also won the World Youth Chess Championship in the U12 category, beating none other than the legendary Magnus Carlsen on tiebreak score.

Full nameIan Nepomniachtchi
Early LifeGraduated from Russian State Social Univ.
Career HighlightsTop Russian chess player, World Chess Ch.
World ChampionshipCompeted in 2021 and 2023 World Chess Ch.
Playing StyleAggressive and attacking
Personal LifeJewish heritage, TV show appearance
ConclusionRising chess star with bright prospects

From Candidates to Champions: The Career Highlights of Ian Nepomniachtchi

In 2007, Nepomniachtchi made his mark on the world stage by finishing second in the C group of the prestigious Corus Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. This achievement earned him his first grandmaster (GM) norm, and set him on the path to greatness.

Later that year, he gained his second GM norm at the European Individual Chess Championship in Dresden. He went on to earn his third and final norm at the 5th Vanya Somov Memorial – World’s Youth Stars tournament in Kirishi, where he emerged victorious by edging out Rauf Mamedov, Parimarjan Negi, and Zaven Andriasian on tiebreak score.

Ian Nepomniachtchi Chess GM

But Nepomniachtchi wasn’t done there. In 2008, he won the Aeroflot Open in Moscow, which qualified him for the prestigious 2008 Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting. He proved that he belonged among the best by sharing second place after an impressive undefeated run.

And let’s not forget about his rapid chess skills! In the same year, he won the Ordix Open, a rapid chess tournament in Mainz.

Read: The Rise of Ding Liren in Chess: From China to the World Stage

All Eyes on Ian Nepomniachtchi: His World Championship Chances

Now, Ian’s been around for a while and has had some near misses when it comes to reaching the Candidates tournament. In 2011, he lost to Gata Kamsky in the third round of the Chess World Cup as the 25th seed. In 2013, he was seeded 24th but lost in the first round to Wei Yi. And in 2015, he made it to the third round but was narrowly defeated by Hikaru Nakamura.

But let’s fast forward to 2019, where Nepomniachtchi finally secured his spot in the Candidates tournament through the FIDE Grand Prix. He won the Moscow Grand Prix and then had to prove himself once again in the Jerusalem event. In the final tournament of the Grand Prix, he secured second place in the overall standings, just edging out Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France. After defeating Wei Yi in the finals, he punched his ticket to the Candidates.

And boy, did he make the most of that opportunity. At the 2020-2021 Candidates tournament, Nepomniachtchi started off strong, winning three games and drawing three more in the first six rounds. But then he hit a bit of a rough patch, losing to Vachier-Lagrave in the seventh round and falling into a tie for first. Unfortunately, the tournament had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But when it resumed in April 2021, Nepomniachtchi was back and better than ever. He defeated Kirill Alekseenko in round 10 and then took down Wang Hao in round 12. With a draw in round 13, he clinched the tournament victory with a round to spare.

Battle of the Titans: Ian Nepomniachtchi at the 2021 and 2023 World Chess Championship

In 2021, Nepomniachtchi faced off against Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship, and boy was it a battle! The two players began with five draws in a row, which might sound boring, but believe me, it was anything but. Finally, in the sixth game, Nepo lost in a nail-biting match that lasted a whopping 136 moves! That game alone made history as the longest in World Championship history.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for Nepo after that game, and he ultimately lost to Carlsen with a score of 7.5-3.5. But don’t worry, Nepo bounced back big time in 2022.

In fact, Nepo won the 2022 Candidates tournament, which qualified him for the 2023 World Championship match against the Chinese Grandmaster Ding Liren. That’s right, Nepo’s going for the gold once again, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll bring to the table.

Oh, and by the way, did I mention that Nepo is currently ranked number two in classical chess, just behind Carlsen himself? That’s some serious talent right there.

Playing to Win: The Aggressive Style of Ian Nepomniachtchi

Nepo is one of the top chess players in the world, and his opening choices reflect that. As white, he usually kicks things off with 1.e4 and sometimes throws in a bit of English with 1.c4. When he’s black, he’s a Sicilian guy, but he’s not afraid to mix it up with the French Defense against 1.e4, and the Grunfeld is his go-to response to 1.d4.

But it’s not just his openings that make Nepo stand out. He’s got a real attacking style in the middle game, and he loves to put pressure on his opponents. I mean, just look at this game from the 2017 Grand Prix at Sharjah. It’s a thing of beauty.

And don’t think that Nepo is just a one-trick pony. He’s also a force to be reckoned with in rapid and blitz games. In these faster time controls, the ability to put your opponent on the back foot and force them into tough decisions is crucial, and Nepo excels at doing just that.

Beyond the Board: Personal Life and Interests

Did you know that Nepo is actually Jewish? That’s right, our boy has some Jewish blood running through his veins. And his nickname is Nepo, which is way cooler than his real name, Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Ian Nepomniachtchi - FIDE World Chess Championship 2021

But it’s not just his personal life that’s interesting. Nepo recently appeared on the TV show What? Where? When?, which is an intellectual show that tests your knowledge on a variety of subjects. I wonder how he did on that one?

And if you thought that was cool, listen to this: Nepo and 43 other Russian elite chess players signed an open letter to Vladimir Putin protesting against the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. They expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian people and made it clear that they were not going to stand idly by while their neighbors were being attacked.


Ian Nepomniachtchi is one of the most talented and exciting chess players in the world today. He has achieved remarkable success in his career, winning several prestigious tournaments and the FIDE World Chess Championship. His aggressive playing style and tactical sharpness have earned him the admiration of fans and fellow players alike. We hope that this guide has provided you with a comprehensive overview of his life and career, and that you have gained a greater appreciation for his achievements.


What is Ian Nepomniachtchi’s playing style?

Unleashing fiery moves! Nepomniachtchi loves to kick off with 1.e4 as White and mix it up with occasional English (1.c4). As Black, he’s a Sicilian maestro with a dash of French against 1.e4, and a fearless Grunfeld enthusiast against 1.d4.

Is Ian Nepomniachtchi a good player?

Oh, he’s not just good, he’s spectacular! Nepomniachtchi bagged a silver medal in the prestigious FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship 2022, and he’s currently ranked No. 2 in classical chess, hot on the heels of Magnus Carlsen.

Who defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi?

It was none other than Ding Liren! In the thrilling World Chess Championships 2023 Game 6 Highlights, Ding Liren outplayed Nepomniachtchi in an epic battle, bringing the match to a nail-biting 3-3 tie.

Is Ian Nepomniachtchi the chess king of the world?

Not yet, but he’s vying for the crown! In the World Chess Championship 2023, the sixth game witnessed a stunning victory by Ding Liren over Nepomniachtchi, leveling the score to 3:3 and setting the stage for an epic showdown.

Who is the most aggressive modern chess player?

The fiery ones! Legendary players like Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Topalov, Alekhine, and Tal are known for their aggressive and daring chess style. Today, Hikaru Nakamura is considered one of the modern aggressive chess players to watch out for!

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A novelist for Young Adults and Children. I am an extremely avid reader of science fiction and Korean literature, and love talking about books. I have worked and lived in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. I have TOPIK level 5 and enjoy reading Korean novels in Korean as well.


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