General Nov 17, 2020 | 3:06 PMby Colin McGourty

Ian Nepomniachtchi plays the Skilling Open... and Banter Blitz

Russian no. 1 Ian Nepomniachtchi is the 13th player to be confirmed for the Skilling Open, the 16-player opening event of the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour that starts on November 22nd. Ian is at a career high world no. 4 and co-leads the virus-interrupted Candidates Tournament to decide Magnus Carlsen's next World Championship challenger. You have a chance to take him on as he plays chess24 Premium members in a Banter Blitz session starting on Wednesday November 18th at 22:00 CET.


Ian Nepomniachtchi was a monstrously talented kid, born in the best year ever for chess players, 1990, but more than holding his own. He won the European U10 and U12 Championship (twice) and claimed the 2002 World U12 Championship ahead of Magnus Carlsen. Partly through those early games, Ian racked up a 4 wins to 0 losses score against Magnus, and even today the score is still 4:1 in his favour. 

Since that ferocious start Ian has won major events, with 2010 a particular breakout year. He won the European Individual Championship and the Russian Championship and starred for the Russian B Team in the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. It felt like he'd failed to live up to his potential, however. He was distracted by gaming - at one point becoming a semi-professional Dota player - and had a tendency to be too impulsive at the board. 


Amazingly, for a player considered a member of the elite for a decade, it was only in 2019 that Nepo finally broke into the Top 10, but he didn't stop there, going on to end the year in the Top 5. He qualified for his first ever Candidates Tournament and made a brilliant debut in Yekaterinburg earlier this year. He beat Giri, Ding Liren and Wang Hao, and even though he lost to MVL in the last game before the event was stopped, he'll still be co-leader went the battle resumes.

He has every chance to join Sergey Karjakin and become the second player from the Class of 1990 to take on Magnus in a World Championship match.

When chess moved online Ian had mixed results, but he reached the semi-finals of the Chessable Masters (losing to Giri) and the final of the chess24 Legends of Chess (losing to Magnus). Ian also led the Russian team to gold medals in the Online Chess Olympiad.


Ian will get the chance to take on the world's best again in the Champions Chess Tour. The Russian is the 13th player to be confirmed for the 16-player Skilling Open, that starts on Sunday November 22nd.

  1. Ding Liren
  2. Levon Aronian
  3. Teimour Radjabov
  4. David Anton
  5. Sergey Karjakin         
  6. Liem Quang Le
  7. Wesley So
  8. Anish Giri
  9. Jan-Krzysztof Duda
  10. Vidit Gujrathi
  11. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
  12. Magnus Carlsen
  13. Ian Nepomniachtchi

Banter Blitz with Ian Nepomniachtchi

Before that, however, it’s your chance to take on the Russian no. 1 as he plays blitz against chess24 Premium members while talking about his moves. The session starts at 22:00 CET on Wednesday and you can challenge by clicking the link below, hovering over Ian’s chess24 username lachesisQ under the video and selecting “Challenge me!” (that button will be active when he’s online).

If you’re not yet Premium you can save 40% now if you Go Premium using the voucher code NEPO40. Alternatively, check out the Early Bird offers for our Tour Pass.

That's not the only action in the run-up to the Skilling Open, with Jan-Krzysztof Duda (at 19:00 CET) and Liem Quang Le (20:30 CET) answering premium user questions today. 

We’ll be announcing a new participant for the Skilling Open each day and you can follow all the announcements on the Champions Chess Tour website or chess24’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

See also:


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