Watch the 2021 FIDE World Championship: Carlsen vs. Nepomniachtchi

2021 World Chess Championship
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The 2021 FIDE World Chess Championship will be played November 26 to December 16 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE


Perhaps the biggest holiday in the chess universe today, the World Chess Championship has delivered the world its king since Wilhelm Steinitz first won the world champion title in 1886.  

Today the 16th World Champion of Chess is Magnus Carlsen, a 30-year-old Norwegian Grandmaster who has maintained FIDE's World No. 1 rank for more than a decade, and earned his first world title in 2013 by defeating GM Viswanathan Anand at the age of 22. Since then, Carlsen has defended his title three times: a 2014 rematch with Anand, a 2016 match held in New York City against GM Sergey Karjakin, and the last in 2018 against American GM Fabiano Caruana.

Carlsen’s fourth title defense, postponed from 2020 because of the global pandemic, begins its first game on Friday, Nov. 26. Appropriately, the reigning World Champion will defend with the black pieces in game one, determined by Wednesday's ceremonial drawing of lots.


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World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen
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The 16th World Champion of Chess Magnus Carlsen will play his fourth title defense in the 2021 FIDE World Championship. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE




Wednesday 24 November 

Opening ceremony 

Thursday 25 November 

Media day 

Friday 26 November 

Game 1 

Saturday 27 November 

Game 2 

Sunday 28 November 

Game 3 

Monday 29 November 

Rest day 

Tuesday 30 November 

Game 4 

Wednesday 1 December 

Game 5 

Thursday 2 December 

Rest day 

Friday 3 December 

Game 6 

Saturday 4 December 

Game 7 

Sunday 5 December 

Game 8 

Monday 6 December 

Rest day 

Tuesday 7 December 

Game 9 

Wednesday 8 December 

Game 10 

Thursday 9 December 

Rest day 

Friday 10 December 

Game 11 

Saturday 11 December 

Game 12 

Sunday 12 December 

Game 13 

Monday 13 December 

Rest day 

Tuesday 14 December 

Game 14 

Wednesday 15 December 

Tiebreak or closing ceremony 

Thursday 16 December 

Closing ceremony in case of a tiebreak 


2021 World Chess Championship challenger GM Ian Nepomniachtchi
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Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi earned the right to challenge for a World Championship after winning the Candidates Tournament in April. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE


Carlsen’s 2021 challenger is Ian Nepomniachtchi, a 31-year-old Russian GM who will play under the FIDE flag with his country banned from all international sporting competitions. Affectionately referred to as “Nepo,” he ranks as FIDE’s No. 5 GM in November 2021 and makes his first appearance in a World Championship match, earning the right to challenge after winning the Candidates Tournament in April

The 2021 FIDE World Championship is scheduled for November 26 to December 16 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The world title will be decided by a best-of-14 classical game format, using a time control of 120 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, and 15 minutes for the rest of the game. A 30-second per-move increment will be added on move 61. The match will end after one player has tallied 7.5 points, though if the score is equal after the regulation games – as it was against Caruana in 2018 – tiebreakers using faster time controls will be played. Full regulations for the 2021 FIDE World Championship may be found here


How to Watch

There will be several avenues to tune into the 2021 FIDE World Championship, including a first-ever coverage agreement between NBC Sports and FIDE. After each game, NBC Sports will air a 30-minute highlight program which will include commentary from the renowned and first-ever African-American GM Maurice Ashley. The program will appear on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app on the following schedule: 

Game Date Time (ET)
1 Nov. 28 Midnight
2 Nov. 29 1:30 am
3 Nov. 29 10:30 pm
4 Dec. 1 10:30 pm
5 Dec. 4 Midnight
6 Dec. 5 1:30 am
7 Dec. 6 1:00 am
8 Dec. 6 10:30 pm
9* Dec. 8 10:30 pm
10* Dec. 11 Midnight
11* Dec. 12 12:30 am
12* Dec. 13 2:00 am
13* Dec. 13 10:30 pm
14* Dec. 15 10:30 pm
Tiebreak* Dec. 16 10:30 pm

*if necessary


Set your alarm for live viewing, as each World Championship game begins at 7:30 a.m. eastern. has acquired broadcast rights as an official partner with FIDE, and every move of the 2021 World Championship may be viewed on the platform’s Events page, whenever you wake up. Alongside the live moves will be computer analysis, live chat and streaming video commentary by several special guests and world-class commentators -- a list that includes Carlsen's last challenger GM Fabiano Caruana. The World No. 3 American GM is scheduled to join four-time Women’s World Champion GM Hou Yifan and’s regular broadcast duo of GM Robert Hess and IM Danny Rensch, part of a complete World Championship coverage and commentary in 12 different languages.


Image World Championship commentary with GM Fabiano Caruana
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Owned by the World Champion’s PlayMagnus Group, will also offer pro-Carlsen coverage of the 2021 World Championship, featuring its streaming commentary team of three-time British Champion GM David Howell, nine-time British Women’s Champion IM Jovanka Houska and Norwegian reporter Kaja Snare. Additionally, the platform will offer a “Deep Dive” live stream and commentary with GM Judit Polgar, the best female chess player in history, and World No. 6 Dutch GM Anish Giri. 


Independent chess streams will be plentiful, here are some of our top picks:

The official FIDE World Championship stream (YouTube / Twitch), featuring the 15th World Champion Viswanathan Anand and GM Anna Muzychuk

American GM Hikaru Nakamura (YouTube / Twitch) and guests, including US Chess Champion GM Wesley So

Levitov Chess World (YouTube / Twitch) featuring the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, with GMs Peter Svidler and Evgeny Miroschnichenko


Last, be sure to check Chess Life Online daily for coverage of the 2021 World Chess Championship, featuring game annotations by the biggest names around American chess – including US Chess Champion GM Wesley So, former Women’s Champion IM Jennifer Yu, the legendary GM Alex Shabalov, and more. Each annotated game will be added and compiled into a Lichess study found here

For more information on the 2021 FIDE World Championship, visit the official website