Nepo shows grit to beat Giri as feud between the pair is revealed
Russia’s top chess star Ian Nepomniachtchi halted Anish Giri’s comeback charge today to book a place in the chess24 Legends of Chess final as it was revealed the pair are bitter rivals.
“Nepo”, as he is known, had looked home and dry against the Dutchman after winning Friday’s first set and briefly going ahead yesterday.
Even chess great Garry Kasparov, a guest on chess24’s stream, had claimed it was obvious the 30-year-old would go through.
Giri, however, had other ideas fighting back yesterday to take the second set in a tight Armageddon and pushing hard in a tense match again today.
But after the rapid games ended 2-2 the gritty Nepo dug in and ground out an incredibly tight win in a second blitz game play-off.
It came after Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk, speaking in the commentary box, revealed there is no love lost between the pair.
He said: “We are witnessing maybe the most grudge match-up we have currently in chess because I’m sure Ian hates Anish and I hope this feeling is mutual, so I think it’s going to be a very emotional and interesting match!”
Nepomniachtchi said after his win: “I have no feelings – I’m just very tired.”
Tomorrow he plays Magnus Carlsen, who has enjoyed a day’s rest beforehand, as the chess24 Legends of Chess final begins.
The event, the fifth leg of the $1 million Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, runs until August 5 and will carry a $150,000 prize fund.
The winner will scoop a top prize of $45,000 and the last of the coveted spots in the tour’s Grand Final in August.
Commentary is provided by Jan Gustafsson, Judit Polgar, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Erwin L’Ami, and Tania Sachdev and special guests.
The event is also be broadcast in 10 languages by chess24.com. The official tournament social media hashtag is #ChessLegends.
Tournament rules and schedule
The time control will be a rapid 15m + 10s from move 1 played in the chess24 Playzone. There will be two stages starting with a 10-player round-robin (July 21-29) with each round consisting of 4-game matches and Armageddon tiebreaks if needed.
The top four will advance to the knockout semi-finals (July 31-August 2) and two will go through to the final (August 3-5). July 30 is a free day. All sessions will begin at 16:00 CEST.