Ian Nepomnaichtchi of Russia is the winner of the last leg of the FIDE Grand Prix Series, played in Jerusalem, Israel, from December 12 to 22.
Besides raising his earning to $29,000 in the series, and much more importantly, with this result Ian secured his seat at the Candidates' Tournament. In the semi-finals, Ian defeated his closest rival for a place in the Candidates'; Maxime-Vachier-Lagrave now is the favorite to get the wild-card, but he can't be 100% sure about his participation in the most important tournament of the coming year.
Nepomniachtchi, in the finals, faced the ex-enfant-prodige Wei Yi.
The Chinese star, who is 20, was the youngest ever to break the 2700 barrier, but since then, his results have not allowed him to get into the Gotha of the game. In Jerusalem, Wei Yi was able to defeat Anish Giri, Sergey Karjakin and David Navara to reach the finals. An excellent result for the still-young player from China, which reinforces - if there were any doubt - how China has become a powerhouse in Chess.
Ian didn't need the playoffs to win the final, though: he won the first game and drew the second, grabbing the title and his pass to Yekaterinburg.
The Candidates', apart from the wild card, will see these top players battle to conquer the most coveted seat: that in front of Numero Uno, in a match for the crown:
Fabiano Caruana - 2018 World Championship runner-up; the two top finishers of the World Cup, Teimour Radjabov and Liren Ding; the winner of the Grand Swiss, Wang Hao; the top two finishers of the FIDE Grand Prix, Alexander Grischuk and Ian Nepomniachtchi; highest average rating, Anish Giri; the wild-card, who will most likely be Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
The 8-player double-round-robin, which takes place in March 2020, will be an enthralling event!