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Astana, Kazakhstan • 23 January, 2023 | 10:12

Astana Chosen as Venue for FIDE World Championship Match

FIDE returns to Kazakhstan for the anticipated Nepo-Ding battle over the chess crown

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The 2023 FIDE World Chess Championship match to crown the new world champion will take place April 7–May 1, 2023, in Astana, Kazakhstan, QazMonitor reports citing the International Chess Federation.

GMs Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi will battle over the FIDE title spot left vacant by Magnus Carlsen, who announced his withdrawal from the match last summer.

The event will once again have a €2 million prize fund with 60 percent going to the winner and 40 percent to the runner-up.

Nepomniachtchi, a 32-year-old grandmaster from Russia, lost to Carlsen in the previous title match but once again qualified by winning the 2022 Candidates Tournament. Ding, a 30-year-old grandmaster from China, came second in the Candidates and earned his spot due to Carlsen stepping out.

There is no clear favorite. Ding is the higher-rated player with an Elo rating of 2811 but Nepomniachtchi, currently rated 2793, has the head-to-head slightly in his favor.

Astana is a familiar ground for FIDE. In September 2022, it held the first leg of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix, and in March 2019, it also hosted the FIDE World Team Chess Championship. Almaty hosted the FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships just three weeks ago.

"It is the first time in history that a Chinese grandmaster reaches the final and fights for the world championship title," said FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.

"We anticipate an enormous interest from China in this event, and that’s an opportunity we must capitalize on to promote chess in Asia. 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."

The 2023 world championship match will once again be played over 14 games, followed by a rapid/blitz tiebreak in case of a tie. The time control for the standard games is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.

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