Carlsen vs Nepomniachtchi: The World Championship began

by ChessBase
11/24/2021 – In the afternoon of 24 November 2021 the World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi officially opened with a press conference. On the grounds of the Expo2020 in Dubai, the representatives of FIDE, the representatives of the sponsors, the organisers and the two players answered questions of the journalists.

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FIDE World Championship Dubai 2021: The first skirmish

Press Release by FIDE, 24 November 2021

Text: Jonathan Tisdall, Press Officer
Photos: Eric Rosen

Reigning titleholder Magnus Carlsen and challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi met side-by-side at the opening press conference of the 2021 World Championship, fielding questions from gathered media and taking their chances to demonstrate confidence - and mutual respect - in a warm-up battle of wits. They meet face-to-face when their 14-game duel for the title begins on November 26th. The challenger will have white in the first game.

The panel included FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich and representatives for event partners Kaspersky and PhosAgro. PhosAgro has sponsored title matches starting with Sochi in 2014, and Andrey Guryev, CEO as well as vice-president of the Chess Federation of Russia (CFR), began by excusing himself to Magnus for openly hoping Ian could bring the crown back home, emphasizing the desire to rekindle interest there: "We are trying to increase the popularity of chess among young people, to instil an interest in the game among schoolchildren."

The Q&A session was then kicked off by panel chairman and match commentator Maurice Ashley, who wanted to know how both players felt now that the contest was finally at hand after months of preparation.

Ian's "I can't wait to actually get started" was delivered with a calm smile, and Magnus raised the banter level by saying: "I'm going to feel better in a few days," leaning back, arms crossed, with a wide grin.

When asked why they were going to win this match, Carlsen chose to deflect and joke that he 'predicted' the victor would be the one with the most points over the coming three weeks, while Nepomniachtchi opted for "Normally, I think the best player wins," and looked pleased to have found a simple, confident answer that looks neutral in print.   

Chess press conferences can be unpredictable, but this session was lengthy and lively, with the players tackling topics ranging from their thoughts on an eventual female world title challenger, the impact of technology on match preparation, if online blitz games could provide inspiring new ideas, the extent of their much-discussed friendship, to which famous footballer they would compare the other to.

The players complimented several of the questions, and after the slightly cheeky start, the answers grew more serious and the interplay carefully respectful. Nepomniachtchi's summary of prior good relations between the two was particularly striking and quotable: "Once you sit at the board, you have no friends."

The unveiling of the match trophy, an impressive five-kilo cup forged from sterling silver, gold plating, dolerite and obsidian, created by the Chamovskikh Jewelry House, with the support of the Sverdlovsk Region Chess Federation represented by its president Andrey Simanovsky, owner of SIMA-LAND company, concluded the conference. The design of the cup was provided by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.

When asked to pose with the Championship Cup, Magnus ended the day with a final show of respect, refusing with the words: "That would be highly inappropriate."

Video of the press conference

Video of the press conference...



In the evening, the opening ceremony will take place with the drawing of lots. The first game will follow on Friday.


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PhishMaster PhishMaster 11/25/2021 12:54
@jose urbina, they were asked about that, but both refused to answer. It is typically kept a secret so as not to give the opponent any information about what they might have been preparing.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 11/25/2021 10:59
@Jose Urbina Lékó is helping Nepomniachtchi. I don't know who the other seconds are.
Denix Denix 11/25/2021 07:20
It was in UAE where Magnus did his Triple Crown
czechpirc czechpirc 11/25/2021 04:26
Why is there no schedule for the match?????
jose urbina jose urbina 11/24/2021 09:12
Who are the seconds of the contenders
zedsdeadbaby zedsdeadbaby 11/24/2021 09:01
The part that I watched had a low to medium cringe which accelerated towards the final moment into a proper cringe.
notebook03 notebook03 11/24/2021 07:09
Well, that last minute was awkward. No agreed protocol for players and media photo opps or did Carlsen just take a fine? My guess the answer is 'It's FIDE!'