Ian Nepomniachtchi grabs second Levitov Chess Week title

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
9/27/2023 – Ian Nepomniachtchi collected four wins and a loss on the final day of action at the Levitov Chess Week to claim clear tournament victory with 12½ (out of 18) points. Nepo had also won the first edition of the event sponsored by Ilya Levitov back in 2019. This time around, he finished two points ahead of his closest pursuers, Levon Aronian and Peter Svidler. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Eleven wins

Ian Nepomniachtchi became the clear winner of the Levitov Chess Week tournament after collecting 12½ points in the 18 rounds of the double round-robin, rapid event. The Russian grandmaster had also won the inaugural edition back in 2019.

Aditionally to ending the tournament a whole 2 points ahead of second-placed Levon Aronian and Peter Svidler, Nepo was the player who signed (by far) the fewest number of draws. On his way to victory, the 2-time Candidates’ champion collected 11 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses. Curiously, all three of his draws were played on Monday.

Going into Tuesday’s final four rounds, Nepo was sharing first place with Svidler. The compatriots remained tied for first place in rounds 15 and 16 (they both scored a win and a draw in those two rounds, in that order). However, Nepo grabbed back-to-back wins in the deciding rounds, while Svidler lost twice in a row, to Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov respectively.

By scoring two wins and two draws on Tuesday, Aronian caught up with Svidler on a 10½/18 score. A half point further back, Vishy Anand grabbed clear fourth place with a +2 score.

Ljubomir Ljubojevic

A great atmosphere — Levon Aronian sitting opposite living legend Ljubomir Ljubojević | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Dubov bamboozles the eventual champion

The one loss Nepo suffered on Tuesday came in round 15, against the ever-creative Daniil Dubov. Nepo’s 4...h5 led to the following double-edged position — 6..g5 was a novelty

After 7.Nxe4, Black’s best alternative is 7...dxe4 8.Nxg5 Qd5 9.f4, and White is better but a long fight is likely to take place.

Instead, Nepo’s 7...gxh4 gave way to 8.Nc3 e6 9.e4, as White immediately tries to open up lines to make the most of Black’s weakened structure.

Soon after, Dubov gave up a piece to get a winning attack in an already clearly superior position. Black’s king is extremely vulnerable on f8, with all three queenside pieces still on their initial squares.

13.dxe6 allows 13...fxe5, but after 14.Qf3+, White’s much better developed army and his passer on the e-file make for a deadly combination. Dubov needed only ten more moves to force Nepo’s resignation.

Daniil Dubov

Daniil Dubov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Final standings

All games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.