On April 30, 2023, Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren was proclaimed world champion of classical chess by defeating Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in the tiebreaker of the 2023 World Chess Championship held in Astana, Kazakhstan. Ding Liren thus became the first Chinese player to access that title, succeeding Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who refused to defend the crown he had held since 2013.
Ding Liren’s triumph is a historic milestone for Chinese chess, which has demonstrated its potential in recent years with several collective and individual successes. China has won the Chess Olympiad three times (2014, 2018 and 2022), the Team World Cup twice (2015 and 2017) and the World Team Championship once (2019). In addition, Ding Liren has been the Chinese player who has achieved both the highest position in the FIDE ranking and the highest Elo score: second in the world with 2816 points in May 2022.
An exciting and disputed final
The final of the World Chess Championship 2023 was an exciting and contested battle between two contenders, Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi, that has not disappointed anyone. The Chinese reached the final after eliminating the Indian Viswanathan Anand in the semifinals, while the Russian did the same with the American Fabiano Caruana. Both had been the top finishers in the 2022 Candidates tournament, which determined the contenders for the world title.
The final was played in the best of 14 games, with a pace of play of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move from the first move. In case of a tie after the 14 games, a tiebreaker would be played with quick games and lightning, as it happened.
The first seven games ended in draws, with a great equality between both contenders. Ding Liren took the lead in the eighth game, taking advantage of a mistake by Nepomniachtchi in a complex position. The Russian reacted and tied the score in the ninth game, after a brilliant victory with the black pieces. The next four games also ended in draws, leaving everything to be decided in the last game.
In the fourteenth and final game, Ding Liren played with White and opted for a calm and solid opening. Nepomniachtchi looked to complicate the position and create counterplay, but made several mistakes that cost him a pawn and then a piece. Ding Liren did not forgive and forced the surrender of his rival in the 41st move, thus sealing his triumph and his coronation as world champion.
Ding Liren, a brave and creative world chess champion
Ding Liren is a brave and creative player, who is characterized by his dynamic and aggressive style. His repertoire of openings is wide and varied, allowing him to surprise his opponents and pose difficult problems. His tactical calculation is very precise and his positional play is very solid. In addition, he has a great capacity to defend himself in difficult situations and to take advantage of the opportunities presented to him.
For this world championship he has had the help of several grandmasters, including Richard Rapport, a Hungarian player endowed with great creativity. Rapport has helped Ding Liren with ideas in very interesting openings (except for an h3 played in game 2 of the championship).
This video shows the last seconds of the championship and how emotions overflow Ding Liren.
All games of the world chess champion can be followed -> https://lichess.org/study/SkQqKSso/1ofREiik
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Official channel in spanish -> https://www.youtube.com/@ChesscomES