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 Carlsen. 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 2008 he won the Aeroflot Open to qualify for the first supertournament of his career in Dortmund, where he finished joint second — half a point behind Peter Leko and ahead of Vladimir Kramnik.
He really made his mark, however, in 2010, when he won the European Individual Championship and the Russian Championship and also starred for the Russian B team at the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. He began to be invited to the top tournaments and didn’t look out of place in Wijk aan Zee 2011 or the incredibly strong Tal Memorial later that year, where he beat Vladimir Kramnik and drew his remaining games.
Nepomniachtchi's major tournament victories include a second Aeroflot Open in 2015, Hainan Danzhou and the Tal Memorial in 2016 and Dortmund in 2018, while he's also won the World Team Championship and European Team Championship as part of the Russian team. In rapid and blitz he's scored numerous silver and bronze medals in the World Championships, but is yet to take gold.
The impression remains that Nepomniachtchi, who built up +4 classical score against Magnus Carlsen, hasn't quite lived up to his enormous potential. He'll get a chance to change that when he makes his Candidates Tournament debut in Yekaterinburg, Russia in March 2020. He qualified by finishing second in the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix.
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