Ding Liren becomes China’s first male world chess champion

Ding Liren was crowned as the male world chess champion on Tuesday after defeating Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi, making him China’s first to win the title.

The 30-year old won a rapid play tiebreaker after 14 first stage games at the World Chess Championship in Kazakhstan. Ding’s win makes him the world’s 17th winner.

The opening 14 games were played over three weeks, ding and Nepomniachtchi each won three, with eight draws, for the tiebreaker, each player had 25 minutes to make his moves, with 10 additional seconds.

“The moment Ian resigned the game was a very emotional moment. I couldn’t control my feelings. I know myself, I will cry and burst into tears. It was a tough tournament for me,” said Ding.

Chess fans and patriots in China celebrated Ding’s victory, while China’s General Administration of Sport congratulated Ding for winning the glory for the motherland and its people.

The $2.2 million prize money will be split 55-45 between the two players. Ding was China’s youngest chess champion at national level in 2009, becoming the highest ranked Chinese player in the world rankings 12 years later.

He did not lose a single classical chess game for 100 consecutive times from 2017 to 2018, the longest streak in chess history, until Magnus Carlsen broke his record in 2019.

China has been dominating women’s chess tournaments since the 1990s, with Xie Jun becoming the first Chinese person to win the championship in 1991.

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