Get ready for the ultimate showdown of chess mastery as the FIDE World Chess Championship 2023 takes place in Astana, Kazakhstan from April 7th to May 1st.
Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren will go head-to-head to claim the World Champion title, left vacant by Magnus Carlsen’s withdrawal. The event is sponsored by NASDAQ-listed company Freedom Holding Corp, a US-based financial services corporation with Kazakh roots. The FIDE World Championship 2023 boasts a prize fund of 2 million euros.
Total Prize Fund of €2 Million
This match will settle the age-old question of who the best chess player in the world is, as two players compete over several weeks for the coveted title and a significant purse. In Astana 2023, the prize fund is 2 million euros, with 60% going to the winner and 40% to the runner-up. But more importantly, history will be made as a new World Champion is crowned.
We anticipate an enormous interest from China in this event, and that’s an opportunity we must capitalize on to promote chess in AsiaFIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich
Magnus Carlsen Decides to Withdraw
The chess world was surprised when reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen announced on October 31, 2022, that he would not be defending his title as Classical World Champion against his challenger, Ian Nepomniachtchi, who was ranked as the world’s number three player. This unexpected opportunity was given to Chinese Grandmaster Ding Liren, who was the runner-up in the Candidates Tournament and is currently ranked as the second-best player in the world.
With no defending champion in the mix, this event promises to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable championships in recent times, as neither challenger is a clear favorite. The chess community eagerly anticipates this thrilling showdown between two highly skilled players, fighting for the highest recognition in the chess world.
Ding Liren versus Ian Nepomniachtchi
As the FIDE World Championship 2023 approaches, the chess community is closely analyzing the records of the two finalists, Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi. On paper, Ding Liren has the higher Elo rating at 2811, but Ian Nepomniachtchi holds an advantage in their head-to-head record. Out of the 13 classical chess games played between them, Nepomniachtchi has won 3, lost 2, and drawn 8. This lead increases to 13-9, with 17 draws if we include rapid and exhibition games.
In the recent past, Nepomniachtchi has also come out ahead of his rival in the highly competitive Candidates tournament held in Madrid in June-July 2022. He achieved an impressive score of 9.5 points in 14 games, while Ding Liren could only score 8 points. However, this result was still good enough to secure Ding Liren this golden opportunity to compete in the World Championship.
The Candidates tournament was the last event where the two contenders faced off, and they reached a draw in the 8th round. Previously, Nepomniachtchi had defeated Ding Liren in the first round of this tournament, which allowed him to grab an early lead. Nepomniachtchi went on to become the outright winner, achieving the rare feat of winning the Candidates tournament twice in a row, following his victory in Yekaterinburg 2021.
The two finalists first met in a China vs Russia exhibition match held in Sochi in August 2009, when Nepomniachtchi was 19 years old and Ding Liren was 16. Nepomniachtchi won all four games in their match, which consisted of two rapid games and two blitz games.
As the match draws closer, the chess community is excited to see how these records will play out in the highly-anticipated FIDE World Championship 2023.
Astana Hosts FIDE World Chess Championship 2023
The FIDE World Championship 2023 match in Astana will consist of 14 games. The time controls consist of 120 minutes for the initial 40 moves. This is followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves. Thereafter, there will be 15 minutes for the remaining moves. Players will have an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. In case of a tie, a rapid chess playoff will be held to determine the champion.
Astana was selected as the host city for the match, over other bids from Argentina, Mexico, and China. The bid from Kazakhstan’s capital had obvious advantages. Significant advantages were due to its geographical location with proximity to Asia and Europe. In addition, the city has a successful track record of hosting world chess events. These factors made Astana the preferred option for the FIDE Council.
This World Championship match will be a huge event for the chess community. It brings together the best players in the world to compete for the title of World Champion. The tournament will be held in Astana, a city that has been a great host for past chess events.
“It is the first time in history that a Chinese Grandmaster reaches the final and fights for the World Championship title. We anticipate an enormous interest from China in this event, and that’s an opportunity we must capitalize on to promote chess in Asia”, said FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich. “As much as we would have loved to hold a world event in the American continent, the time difference would have seriously impacted the audience in this particular case. Kazakhstan is a thriving country with a flourishing economy and a privileged geographical situation, which made it perfect for hosting this match”.
Freedom Finance Sponsors Chess
Timur Turlov, the founder of Freedom Finance, played a crucial role in bringing the World Championship match to Astana. He is now the CEO of Freedom Holding Corp, a US-based group. The company operates in Central Asia, Europe, and the US, and has been trading on the NASDAQ (FRHC) since 2019.
The company was the main sponsor of the recently concluded FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship held in Almaty. Following the success of the event, Turlov expressed interest in continuing this partnership with FIDE. In addition to being the driving force behind the bid, he is also the President of the Kazakh Chess Federation.
About Host City Astana
Astana has a long history of hosting chess events. In September 2022, the city hosted the first leg of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix. Kateryna Lagno won this tournament. Astana also hosted the FIDE World Team Chess Championship in March 2019.
The city, which has a population of just over one million, has undergone several name changes throughout its history. These historical names included Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, Akmola, and until recently, Nur-Sultan. In 1997, Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan and has since undergone significant economic growth and development. The city has transformed into a modern and futuristic city home to a range of impressive buildings and skyscrapers. In 1999, Astana achieved the title of “City of Peace” by UNESCO.