Ding Liren becomes China's first male world chess champion
China's Ding Liren defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia 2.5-1.5 in the 2023 FIDE World Championship final tie-breaker on Sunday, becoming the first Chinese male player to win the chess world championship, News.Az reports citing Xinhua.
In the Candidates Tournament held in July 2022 in Madrid, Spain, Grandmasters Nepomniachtchi and Ding emerged as the winner and runner-up. As a result of reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen relinquishing his title, the two became contenders for the most important tournament in the chess world in 2023.
The classical portion of the match ended in a 7-7 tie on Saturday. Ding fell behind three times but managed to equalize each time. After a final round that lasted six hours and 33 minutes, the two met the next day in a rapid playoff. Following three consecutive draws, Ding emerged victorious by winning the fourth game as Black.
"It was a very emotional moment," Ding said after the handshake at the end of the game, sitting in his chair and appearing deep in thought. "I couldn't control my emotions. I wanted to cry. I wanted to burst into tears. It was quite a tough tournament for me. I feel quite relieved," he said at the press conference.
As Lei Tingjie from Chongqing became the winner of the Women's Candidates Tournament, she will challenge reigning world champion Ju Wenjun from Shanghai in the 2023 Women's World Championship in July. Ding's victory marks a historic moment, as both the men's and women's world champions in chess are now and will be from China.