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Nepo’s emotional World Chess Championship roller coaster

While Magnus Carlsen has occupied chess news headlines with his recent decision not to defend his World Championship title, his friend and title contender Ian Nepomniachtchi seems to be on an emotional roller coaster ride.

A month ago Nepo entered the Candidates Tournament 2022 with little expectations. Playing the qualification cycle after heavy defeat in the previous World Championship and participating in an equal and unpredictable field was not a dream scenario for him. Yet, Nepo performed superbly, winning the Candidates tournament with a round to spare and bathing in the crowd’s love receiving a huge round of applause.

With the Candidates over, the coveted rematch with Carlsen was secured. A match that would allow Nepo to have a shot at redemption and mend what happened in Dubai. But it wasn’t to be. Carlsen did not find motivation to play another World Championship and decided not to defend the title.

Having in mind all of the above, Nepo still kept his cool. In an interview for Alejandro Ramirez during the Grand Chess Tour, Nepo humbly said, “I can only speak on behalf of myself. Personally for me this is quite disappointing, I am quite sad. [Carlsen’s] decision is completely understandable. I can imagine it was quite a painful decision for him.”

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