Person of day - 14 JULY 2023
One of our country’s strongest grandmasters, a former European and Russian champion, Ian Nepomniachtchi grew up in Bryansk. He learned to play chess before he was five and achieved his first success before he was seven. Later on, Nepomniachtchi won several Russian and European youth championships. Followers of chess watched the wunderkind’s career with interest, since he stood out from his generation in talent. Multiple people trained the promising young man, including the most experienced coaches.
For the first few years, Nepomniachtchi was trained by Valentin Evdokimenko- a trainer from Bryansk- before passing into the hands of Valery Zilbershtein, who made such an enormous contribution to the young player’s progress that Nepomniachtchi has recently sponsored Zilbershtein Memorial in Bryansk. After his first few successes, Ian began to be trained by Sergey Janovsky, who, as Nepomniachtchi later admitted, became not only a mentor but an elder friend. Janovsky organised tournaments, travelled with his pupil, found sponsors and other coaches, such as Sergei Shipov, who helped enormously.
During the last few years, Nepomniachtchi has worked with Vladimir Potkin, a promising young grandmaster who succeeded his mentor as European champion in 2011. The tandem of Nepomniachtchi and Potkin, which began with Ian’s victory at the 2008 Aeroflot Open, has proven deadly many times. 2010 was a triumphant year for Nepomniachtchi: he was successful in every tournament he played, he won the European championship and then the Premier League and Superfinal of the Russian championship, as well as performing amazingly in team tournaments. That year, Ian surpassed the expectations of his supporters and proved himself to be a chess player of the highest level who is capable of high achievements.
Nepomniachtchi’s playing style has earned him the sympathy of chess fans around the world. Ian is a maximalist behind the chess board, focused on the contest, and when he is playing well, he is capable of showing record results and winning the most difficult matches between grandmasters by a comfortable distance. He has an impressive personal record against several grandmasters from the world’s top 10. His performance curve often reminds one of a sine wave.
In 2013, Nepomniachtchi split 1st-2nd places at the European championship and the Russian Higher League, performed well at the World Rapid and Blitz Championships and split 1st-2nd places with Peter Svidler at the Superfinal, where he lost the additional match for the 1st place. In 2014, Ian became a silver medallist of the World Blitz Championship and in 2015, he won his second Aeroflot Open.
2016 was quite successful for Ian Nepomniachtchi: he won a super tournament in Danzhou (China) and Tal Memorial in Moscow. In November 2016, his rating achieved the highest mark in Ian's career – 2767.
In 2019, Ian won two FIDE Grand Prix legs, in Moscow and Jerusalem, to qualify for the FIDE Candidates Tournament. That significant event was taking place in March 2020 in Yekaterinburg. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was stopped after the first part. Having scored 4.5 points out of 7, Ian Nepomniachtchi is sharing the first place with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The break between the two parts lasted for more than a year. During this time, Ian played quite successfully in various online tournaments and also became the winner of the FIDE Online Olympiad as a member of the Russian national team. In December 2020, Nepomniachcthi won the Superfinal of the Russian Championship for the second time in his career.
The Candidates Tournament resumed in April 2021. Ian Nepomniachtchi secured first place with one round to go and qualified for the WCCM against the world champion Magnus Carlsen. The WCCM in Dubai turned out to be rather unsuccessful for the Russian player: he lost 3.5-7.5. However, six months later, Ian Nepomniachtchi once again won the FIDE Candidates Tournament in Madrid, and again convincingly - he secured first place with one round to go. The chess world is anticipating his new title match against Magnus Carlsen!
Except for chess, Ian is keen on e-sports and the «What? Where? When?» game (his team is called «Wild Rook»).