DUBAI (VG) Neither Magnus Carlsen (30) nor Jan Nepomnyashchij (31) will reveal who their chess helpers are before Friday’s start of the World Cup match in Dubai.
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– There is a team that works for me and with me. And they are good – that’s all I can say, Carlsen warns at Wednesday’s press conference.
– I have a team of seconds that I use. That’s the only thing I can say, states an equally secretive Nepomnyashchij.
It has been revealed that Sergei Karjakin – Carlsen’s World Cup opponent in 2016 – is among those helping Nepomnyashchy. It is also well known that Vladimir Potkin is head of his team, while Danish Peter Heine Nielsen leads Carlsen’s team of so-called seconds.
Magnus Carlsen took the World Cup title in 2013 after winning over Viswanathan Anand and has since defended it three times: Against Anand in 2014, against Sergej Karjakin in 2016 and Fabiano Caruana in 2018.
Now there is another Russian opponent, Jan Nepomnyashchy, who, like Carlsen, is a 1990 model. He won the so-called candidate tournament, where the winner gets the honor of meeting the world champion for the title fight.
Wednesday morning there was a press conference in Dubai. And at the end of it, the two duelists were asked to pose for a picture with the exclusive World Cup trophy, which the winner will receive in three weeks.
– No. It is not appropriate, said Magnus Carlsen. And then it happened.
Among other things, he was asked about the difference between this year’s opponent and his former World Cup opponents. Carlsen answers:
– Jan is a little more aggressive, and he is someone who plays faster than others.
Many point out that Carlsen has an advantage in that he has the experience from previous World Cup matches. However, Nepomnyashchy was present in New York in 2016 and was a commentator when Carlsen met Caruana two years later. He himself says:
– Yes, it’s a little easier when you get experience from previous World Cup matches. Maybe I’m a little less nervous than the first time. But Jan has experience from the candidate tournament. And people on his team have been to previous World Cup matches.
Russia has very strong chess traditions, but has not had the world champion since Vladimir Kramnik lost the World Cup title in 2007.