European U10 Champion (2000), European U12 Champion (2001 & 2002), World U12 Champion (2002), Russian U18 Champion (2004), Russian Champion (2010 and 2020), European Champion (2010); IM (2004), GM (2007).
Ian Alexandrovich Nepomniachtchi (Ян Алекса́ндрович Непо́мнящий), born July 14, 1990 in Bryansk, started playing chess at the tender age of 4. He has been coached during the past few years by one of Russia's most reputable chess coaches, Sergey Janovsky. He lists Mikhail Tal as his favorite chess player.
<International Master> Nepomniachtchi's first IM norm came from his 6/9 result at the Aeroflot Open B event in February 2003. His second IM norm came with his result at the tournament in Bled, Slovenia in July 2003. His third IM norm resulted from his requisite 4/9 result at the Aeroflot Open (2004) on 26 February 2004. He thereby became an International Master at the age of 13 years 7 months and 12 days.
<Grandmaster> He won his first GM norm with his 10/13 at the Corus Group C (2007). His second came from his result at the European Championship (2007) in April 2007. His third GM norm resulted from his his excellent 7/11 result at the World Youth Stars (2007) which had its last round on 27 May 2007. As his rating was all ready well above 2500, he became a grandmaster at the age of 16 years 9 months and 17 days.
<Age> Nepomniachtchi started his career with some spectacular successes in age championships, winning the European U10 Championship in 2000 and the European U12 Championship in 2001 and 2002. He capped his age championship results with a win on tiebreak over Magnus Carlsen at the World U12 Championship in 2002. He competed in the 2003 Russian U18 Championship and finished near the leader board scoring 7/10, and possibly another half or full point as it was an eleven round contest. (1) He was equal third in the European U14 Championship (2) and outright third at the World U14 Championship in October 2003, with 8.5/11, half a point behind the winner on countback Sergei Zhigalko and co-leader in the event Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. While still aged thirteen, he won the Russian U18 Championship of 2004 with 9/11, a full point ahead of the field, the runners up on 8/11 having been Artem Iljin, Sergei Yudin and Mikhail Ekdyshman. Soon after his fifteenth birthday, Nepomniachtchi was equal second behind Aleksandr Lenderman and alongside Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the World U16 Championship that was staged in Belfort in July 2005.
He was runner-up in the 2007 World U-18 championship.
<Junior> He first competed in the Russian Junior (U20) Championship in 2002, aged 12, scoring 4/9 against a field whose average rating was over 2400. He tried again in 2004, scoring par for rating, but otherwise without troubling the leader board. He was runner up in the Russian Junior Championship 2009 behind Andreikin.
<National> In 2004, he participated in his first attempt at the Russian Championship, scoring between 3 and 4 out of 9 at the Russian Championship Higher League St Petersburg (2004). In 2006, after qualifying via the Russian Championship Higher League (2006), Nepomniachtchi took part in his first Russian Championship Superfinal (2006), scoring a respectable 5/11. In September 2010, he took another giant leap by winning the Russian Higher League Championships. He rounded off 2010 with a tiebreak win over Sergey Karjakin at the Russian Championship Superfinal (2010). He was runner-up (on tiebreak behind Ernesto Inarkiev) in the Russian Championship Higher League (2013), and thereby qualified for the Russian Championship Superfinal (2013), where he came =1st alongside Peter Svidler, but placed 2nd after a blitz tiebreaker which Svidler won by 1.5-0.5.
In November 2008, Nepomniachtchi contested the annual Russia Cup, a knockout contest featuring two game matches between participants, the winner progressing to the next round and the loser dropping out of the event. He defeated Evgeny Romanov , Evgeny Najer and Vadim Zvjaginsev in the preliminary rounds, but lost to Nikita Vitiugov in the semi-final. In 2009, he reached the final of this event after defeating Romanov, Aleksandr Shimanov , Denis Khismatullin and Sanan Sjugirov in the preliminary rounds, before losing to Evgeny Bareev in the rapid tiebreaker after drawing the result in the two classical game match.
<Continental> Nepomniachtchi first contested a continental championship when he was sixteen at the European Championship (2007) where he scored 6.5/11 and his second GM norm. He returned to that event at the European Championship (2008), this time scoring 6/11. He won the European Championship (2010) with 9.0/11. He scored 7/11 in the European Championship (2011), which qualified him to play in the World Cup (2011). In May 2013, he placed =1st (8th on tiebreaker) in the European Championship (2013), the result qualifying him to play in the World Cup (2013). He scored sufficient at the European Championship (2015) to qualify for the World Cup 2015.
<World> In the World Cup of 2011, he defeated Cuban GM Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez and compatriot Alexander Riazantsev in the first two rounds, before losing to US GM Gata Kamsky in the rapid game (25+10) tiebreaker in the third round after he had levelled the score in the classical games mini-match. In the World Cup 2013, he lost to young Chinese GM Wei Yi in the first round. At the World Cup (2015), he defeated Zhao Jun and Laurent Fressinet in the first two rounds before bowing out of the event after a prolonged third round struggle with Hikaru Nakamura, where the tiebreakers went down to the wire with Nakamura winning the Armageddon blitz tiebreaker after the previous three sets of rapid and blitz tiebreakers had been drawn. After qualifying via his rating to play in the World Cup (2017), Nepomniachtchi defeated Mladen Palac and Baskaran Adhiban in the first couple of rounds before bowing out of the contest after losing to Baadur Jobava in the third round.
Nepomniachtchi was one of the organiser's nominees to participate in the 2017 Grand Prix series. In the first event, the FIDE Grand Prix Sharjah (2017), he scored 5/9, half a point from the three-way joint lead, and placing 4th-8th to rack up 70 Grand Prix points. However, his chances to qualify for the Candidates via a top result in the GP series took a fatal blow when he scored only 3.5/9 at the FIDE Grand Prix Moscow (2017) to add only 7 Grand Prix points to his tally. An excellent result at the FIDE Grand Prix Geneva (2017) where he was equal second on 5.5/9 earned him 125 GP points, however this was insufficient to move him back into the overall leaders' circle, placing ninth out of 24 participants.
<Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi World Championship Match (2021)> Currently challenging Carlsen
<2003-2006> Nepomniachtchi had his first serious open tournament success in January 2003 when he blitzed the field in the 17th Petrosian Memorial tournament, finishing outright first with 8/9, a point clear of the field, the joint runners up being Anton Sitnikov and Viktor Kuznetsov. The following month, a well compiled 6/9 at the Aeroflot Open B Division added over 20 points to his rating and his first IM norm to his name. Starting on his thirteenth birthday, Nepomniachtchi played in the 24th Chess Festival in Bled, Slovenia and placed equal fourth, a point behind the outright winner Matej Sebenik, and winning his second IM norm in so doing. A few weeks later, young "Nepo" continued his outstanding early success by winning the first Vanya Somov Memorial tournament staged in Kirishi in Russia, with 9/11, a full point ahead of joint runners up Dmitry Andreikin and Ildar Khairullin. He was outright first with 7/9 at the 9th Pyotr Izmailov Memorial Open played in Tomsk in June 2005, and followed up with second in the same event in 2006 behind Pavel Smirnov. In May 2006, he was outright second behind Ivan Popov (the 4th Vanya Somov Memorial) at the 4th Young Stars of the World (2006) played in Kirishi, Russia. In November 2006, Nepomniachtchi was second in the category 8 RGSU Moscow behind Nikolay Konovalov.
<2007-2014> The sixteen year old's year in 2007 started with second place after scoring 10/13 at the Corus Group C (2007) in January, half a point behind the winner Michal Krasenkow - this also resulted in his first GM norm. In May 2007, he won the World Youth Stars (2007) (the 5th Vanya Somov Memorial) on tiebreak, and also provided him with his third GM norm. He won the Aeroflot Open (2008), in the process earning an invite to the Dortmund Sparkassen (2008) in Germany, where he placed equal second with 4/7, half a point behind Peter Leko. His result as runner-up to Vasyl Ivanchuk at the Capablanca Memorial (Elite) (2010) took him across the 2700 threshold for the first time. He started 2011 with 6/13 in the Tata Steel Group A (2011) and in November 2011, he performed creditably at the Tal Memorial (2011) placing =3rd (5th on count back) scoring 5/9 (+1 =8 -0 and a TPR of 2820), including a win against former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. In May 2012, he came =2nd at the Capablanca Memorial (Elite) (2012). In early 2013, he placed =2nd with 7/9 in the Moscow Open (2013).
<2015 to the present> In 2015 he won Aeroflot Open (2015) with 7/9 on tiebreak (more wins with black) ahead of Daniil Dubov, again qualifying for Dortmund Sparkassen (2015) but without much luck (3/7) on that occasion. In July 2016, Nepomniachtchi won the powerful (category 20) Hainan Danzhou GM (2016) with 6/9, a clear point ahead of the joint runners up Wang Yue and Pentala Harikrishna . Two months later in September 2016, Nepomiachtchi again struck gold by winning the category 21 Tal Memorial (2016) with 6/9, half a point ahead of Anish Giri. He finished classical chess in 2017 with equal first alongside Caruana, both scoring 6/9, at the London Chess Classic (2017). Fabiano Caruana won the London Chess Classic (Tiebreaks) (2017) to take out first prize. He was equal second at the Karpov Poikovsky (2018) with 6/9, half a point behind the winner Dmitry Jakovenko. In July 2018, he had an excellent win at Dortmund Sparkassen (2018), scoring 5/7, a full point clear of the field.
<Club events> Nepomniachtchi has played in the Russian Premier League every year since and starting in 2006. During this time he has won a team gold (in 2017 playing board four for Siberia Novosibirsk), three team silvers (in 2009, 2014 and 2016), and two team bronzes (in 2006 and 2007). He has also won individual gold twice, in 2014 and 2016, and individual silver twice, in 2007 and 2010. He has also played in the European Club Cup (ECC) since 2006 excepting 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2016. His ECC medal tally is two team golds, two individual silver medals and an individual bronze medal. In 2017 he played with the Globus club.
<National team> He played for Russia at the European Team Championship (2011) as a reserve, in the European Team Championship (2015) on board four winning team gold and individual bronze and in the European Team Championship (2017) winning team silver. He also played for the Russian team in the World Chess Team Championship (2011) winning individual gold for board three, the FIDE World Team Championship (2013) winning team and individual gold on board four and in the World Team Chess Championship (2017) winning team silver and individual gold on board two. In 2004, he played for Russia in its unsuccessful match against China. In July 2012, he was a member of the victorious Russian team that prevailed in the Russia - China (2012) match.
<Olympiads> In 2010, he scored 6.5/9 and a 2821 performance on the top board of the Russia 2 team at the Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad (2010) thereby winning a bronze medal. He won individual bronze playing board 5 for Russia at the Tromso Olympiad (2014).
He played and lost the Andreikin - Nepomniachtchi Match (2012) by 3.5-2.5 (-1 =5).
Nepomniachtchi is an excellent and lethal rapid player, taking out first in the Ordix Open (2008), beating Pavel Eljanov on tiebreak, and in 2009, he was second to Levon Aronian at the Chess Classic Mainz (rapid) (2009). He was equal second at the Rector Cup Rapid (2012) with 8.5/11, half a point behind Andreikin. In 2013, he played at Aeroflot when it staged the event as a rapid and blitz affair. During the final of the rapid knockout phase, he eliminated Anatoly Karpov and Peter Svidler to reach the semi final, where he lost to the eventual winner of this segment of the event, Sergey Karjakin. He won the Aeroflot blitz segment with 15.5/18, a point ahead Peter Svidler.
He placed outright second at the World Rapid Championship (2013) with 11/15 and equal second (fourth on tiebreak) with 20/30 points at the World Blitz Championship (2013). He made the final of the powerful ACP Cup, a rapid (25+10) knockout format tournament held in Riga from 13-15 September 2013, but lost in the Armageddon tiebreaker to compatriot Alexander Grischuk. In September 2014, he won the double round robin Yaroslav the Wise 2014 Tournament of Champions with 7.5/10, a point clear of runner up Dmitry Jakovenko. The SportAccord World Mind Games took place in Beijing from 11 to 17 December 2014, featuring rapid, blitz and Basque (two games played simultaneously with black and white) chess events. Nepomniachtchi won the final Basque System rapid where players play two games against each other at the same time. (3)
In 2015, he won the Aeroflot blitz, a point and a half clear of the field, and was equal second at the World Rapid Championship (2015) alongside Leinier Dominguez Perez and Teimour Radjabov with 10.5/15, a point behind the winner Magnus Carlsen. He was equal fourth at the World Blitz Championship (2015) with 14.5/21, a point behind the winner Alexander Grischuk. In September 2015, Nepomniachtchi won the Moscow Blitz Championship with 14/19, half a point clear of Andreikin. In December 2015, the ACP Masters was held; it was a rapid tournament staged in Ashdod, Israel. There were two preliminary group stages, from one of which Nepomniachtchi qualified to play in the semi-final where he played and lost to the ultimate winner of the event, Vasyl Ivanchuk. In March 2016, Nepomniachtchi placed second in the Cup of the REGION Group of Companies Blitz, finishing outright second with 14.5/18, a point behind the winner Ding Liren and a point and a half ahead of a squad of third place getters. Three months later he was equal first at the Eurasian Blitz Chess Cup of the President of Kazakhstan alongside Farrukh Amonatov with 16/22 - a below standard rating performance for Nepomniachtchi - he was rated 2846 at the time. Nepomiachtchi saw out an auspicious 2016 by participating in the World Rapid Championship (2016) where he placed equal fourth with 10/15, a point behind the three joint leaders, Carlsen, Ivanchuk and Grischuk. A couple of days later, he scored a modest 13/21 to place equal seventh in the World Blitz Championship (2016).
At the end of 2017, Nepomniachtchi came close to winning the World Rapid when he scored 10.5/15 in the World Rapid Championship (2017), alongside Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Fedoseev, who scored the same. However, Nepomniachtchi was third on tiebreak and it was left to the other two to fight out the final result. In March 2018, he won the Cup of the REGION Group of Companies 2018 Blitz outright with the stunning score 15/18 (+12 =6), adding 53 rapid rating points to his resume. He was outright third at the Tal Memorial 2018 Blitz staged a few days later.
Nepomniachtchi was one of Carlsen's seconds for the latter's defence of his world title.
Rating and Ranking
Nepomniachtchi entered the Junior Top 20 in January 2007 when he was rated 2587 and remained in the top 20 until November 2010 after which he exited the Junior (U20) ranks. His peak ranking as a Junior was #3, and his rating was 2720, again in November 2010. He first entered the world top 100 in April 2008, weighing in at #86 and a rating of 2634. He re-entered the top 100 in January 2010 and has remained in the top 100 since that time. His peak ranking to date was world #11 in January 2017, when he also reached his peak rating to date of 2767. His peak rapid rating to date was 2821 in November 2015. His peak blitz rating to date was in July 2014 when it rose to 2880.
Most of the information in this bio was derived from Nepomniachtchi's FIDE player card. Other sources are referenced below.
(1) http://ratings.fide.com/tournament_... – other corroborating sources for the result in this event don't seem to appear in English language sources; (2) http://theweekinchess.com/html/twic... (3) http://theweekinchess.com/html/twic...
Wikipedia article: Ian Nepomniachtchi