2023 WR Chess Masters Picks: Ian Nepomniachtchi Favorite to Win

  • What: WR Chess Masters 2023
  • Date: February 15 – 26, 2023
  • Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel in Düsseldorf, Germany
  • How to Watch: YouTube

The 2023 WR Chess Masters, which takes place in Dusseldorf between February 15 – 26, is a new chess tournament that features a lineup of 10 grandmasters of two generations. The players compete in a round-robin tournament format. The time control for each game of the event is 120 minutes per side for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, and 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment per move starting with move 61.

The players who are competing in the event and their world rankings are: Ian Nepomniachtchi (No. 2), Anish Giri (No. 5), Wesley So (No. 8), Levon Aronian (No. 17), Nodirbek Abdusattorov (No. 18), Jan Krzysztof Duda (No. 21), Dommaraju Gukesh (No. 29), Vincent Keymer (No. 45), Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (No. 46) and Andrey Esipenko (No. 62).

Before we look at the odds, picks and predictions for the 2023 WR Chess Masters event, check out our sportsbooks guide to get started on making the best chess bets and while you’re at it, take a look at the best sports betting apps and mobile options. 

WR Chess Masters 2023 picks

To Win 2023 WR Chess MastersBovada
Ian Nepomniachtchi+350
Anish Giri+400
Wesley So+400
Nodirbek Abdusattorov+500
Jan-Krzystof Duda+600
Levon Aronian+1200
Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa+1200
Vincent Keymer+2000
Dommaraju Gukesh+2500
Andrey Esipenko+3300

Ian Nepomniachtchi

The expectation is that the 2023 WR Chess Masters event will be a warm-up for 32-year-old Ian Nepomniachtchi ahead of his April world title matchup against the No. 3 player in the world, Ding Liren. Nepomniachtchi won the 2020-21 Candidates Tournament and challenged Magnus Carlsen for the 2021 World Championship. He opened that match with five consecutive draws before losing the sixth game. The match ended with Carlson winning 7.5-3.5. In 2022, the Russian player won the 2022 Candidates Tournament. 

Ian NepomniachtchiTO WIN 2023 WR CHESS MASTERS
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Anish Giri

The 28-year-old Anish Giri was the world’s youngest grandmaster in 2009. The Nepalese-Russian prodigy achieved that ranking when he was 14 years, 7 months and two days old. Today, Giri is the No. 5 ranked player in the world and known as one of the hardest players to beat. As Arkadij Naiditsch said of Giri, “Beating Anish Giri is more difficult than beating Magnus Carlsen.”

The four-time Dutch champion has been ranked as high as No. 3 during his career. He is coming off a win at the 2023 Tata Steel Chess Masters. He had never won that tournament before, but had finished as the runner-up on five other occasions.

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Wesley So

Born in the Philippines, Wesley So scored a scholarship to Webster University in Missouri in 2012. The now 29-year-old has lived in America since 2014. So had been making noise in the chess world before he moved to the States. In 2008 he became the youngest player ever to reach the 2600-Elo mark, breaking the record that had been held by Magnus Carlsen. In 2009, FIDE named So the best 16-year-old chess player in the world.

So’s highest ranking came in 2017 when he reached No. 2. In 2022, So won the first ever Chess.com Global Championship and took home the $200,000 first-place prize.

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Best bet to win the 2023 WR Chess Masters

While the odds are relatively close for the top competitors in the 2023 WR Chess Masters, it would be a shock to see anyone other than Ian Nepomniachtchi leave Düsseldorf as the winner of this event.

Pick: Ian Nepomniachtchi to win the 2023 WR Chess Masters

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent is a professional sports journalist specializing in UFC, MMA, and esports coverage. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent's connection to MMA dates back to the early days when he and his friends pooled their resources to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 1. He also has extensive experience in esports, particularly League of Legends and Counter Strike, dating back to the game's launch.