Ian Nepomniachtchi earned a shot at redemption as he won the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world title in 2023.
The Russian earned his shot after securing the win in the Candidates Tournament in Madrid on Sunday with a round to spare.
The 31-year-old needed half a point to confirm his place as Carlsen’s challenger and achieved it by drawing with Hungarian Grandmaster Richard Rapport to seal his second straight Candidates title.
His draw in the 13th round left him a point and a half ahead of the rest of the field giving him his second consecutive victory in the eight-player Candidates. The Russian is the only player not to lose a single game thus far.
He is followed by Hikaru Nakamura in second with 7.5 points who will take on China’s Ding Liren in the final round who is third with seven points.
Ian Nepomniachtchi is competing under a neutral flag in Madrid after sanctions were imposed on Russian players for their country’s invasion of Ukraine.
His meeting with Carlsen, who has pocketed the last five world titles, is far from guaranteed as the Norwegian, citing a lack of motivation, expressed uncertainty about defending his crown.
In such a scenario, Nepomniachtchi would take on the player who finishes runner-up at the Candidates tournament giving the match between Hikaru and Ding Liren some extra spice.
Magnus beat Nepomniachtchi 7.5-3.5. the last time the two met for the world title.