The World Chess Championship turns into a weak World Championship: Because the two challengers Jan Nepomnjaschtschi and Ding Liren repeatedly make big mistakes in the title fight in Astana, the criticism of the two World Championship candidates is growing.
The fight for the World Chess Championship has long since become a pure battle of nerves. Although Jan Nepomnjaschtschi and Ding Liren are among the three best players in the world according to the ranking, they keep making hair-raising mistakes in the fight for the title in Astana, which have rarely been seen in World Cup games with this frequency.
The former FIDE online boss Ilya Gorodetskiy therefore makes an extremely harsh judgment about the two challengers. “I don’t think two players with such shattered nerves have ever played for a World Cup. As far as that goes, unfortunately it’s definitely the worst World Cup in history,” Gorodetskiy rumbled to “sport24” against Nepomnjaschtschi and Ding.
In the past there have always been inexplicable mistakes in World Cup games, the Russian judged: “But such mistakes were not made.”
Gorodetskiy compared the course of the 2023 World Cup to some women’s tennis matches, in which there are numerous breaks. “It’s the same here. The serve doesn’t matter at all,” he said, referring to the countless playful projections in Astana.
“It’s hard to accept that the position on the board doesn’t matter,” said the former FIDE Online Commissioner of the moments when Ding or Nepomnjaschtschi gained a clear advantage, but then recklessly gave it back – as happened on Wednesday in game number eleven, when the Russian lost a clearly winning position with a major mistake.
“It was a nervous breakdown”
“I would not have expected such a collapse from Nepomnjaschchi,” said Gorodetskiy about the performance of his compatriot, whom he now described as an outsider for the first time since the start of the World Cup: “If I were a bookmaker, I would say that thing has now become the favorite is.”
The Russian grandmaster Sergei Shipov takes a similar view after Wednesday. He searched in vain for an explanation for Nepo’s burglary.
“It’s hard for me to describe what happened in the game. I have no logical explanation for it. (…) It was a nervous breakdown,” said the superstar’s former coach to the state news agency “TASS”.