Written by Joseph Chang
If you’ve heard about chess, you’ve probably heard of the mini-series The Queen’s Gambit. The show premiered on Netflix in October 2020 and has since sparked an increased interest in the game. Perhaps you watched the series and enjoyed following the exploits of Beth Harmon as she rose to the top of the chess world. Some of you may have been inspired by her trailblazing path towards success in a sport dominated by men. Others may have been drawn towards the game itself and ventured to chess websites like chess.com in order to try it out for yourself. I daresay that what I’m about to tell you next will get you hungry for more!
Who was Beth’s biggest rival in the series? Undoubtedly, the player she struggled against the most was the reigning world chess champion from Russia (of course) – Vasily Borgov! Cool, calm, collected and almost robotic in the way he plays, Borgov was the one player that Beth just couldn’t beat. The same can be said about the current world chess champion – Magnus Carlsen. The Norwegian grandmaster is a prodigy of the game and has held the title since 2013. His reign at the top of the chess world has been characterised by his slow, calculated and methodological playstyle. He is the real-life Borgov known to grind out victories from seemingly unwinnable positions; the greatest player of the modern age. And then there’s his challenger.
From the 24th of November to the 16th of December, a match will be held to determine the new world chess champion. It will take place in Dubai under the auspices of FIDE – the international chess federation. The man who will take on Magnus Carlsen for the title of World Champion is none other than the maverick Russian grandmaster – Ian Nepomniatchi! Nepomniatchi – often shortened simply to ‘Nepo’ – is known for his unpredictability. He often detonates insane combinations to floor his opponents, with a dynamic playing style to boot. His exciting chess matches his controversial personality. He’s been known to beef with other chess players – notably Abhimanyu Mishra on Twitter – as well as dabble in e-sports. He’s even been a semi-professional Dota player!
This sets up an intriguing match-up for the world title. In a real-life replication of The Queen’s Gambit, the world braces itself for the most momentous event in chess. Will Magnus Carlsen retain his crown, or will a new champion emerge? You can follow the event live (for free!) on the official Youtube channels of chess.com, chess24.com or the FIDE Youtube channel. ( https://www.youtube.com/c/fidechannel/videos )