On Sunday, Ding Liren defeated Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in a rapid-play tiebreak to win the title as the first global chess champion from China.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway, now ranked first in the world, decided not to defend the championship he had held since 2013 which left the throne open for either Ding or Nepomniatchtchi who are ranked 3rd and 2nd in the world respectively.

Ding, who was raised in Wenzhou, China’s “chess city,” made headlines in 2009 when he became the nation’s youngest national chess champion.

Ding, 30, replaces Magnus Carlsen as the champion of the world.

After the 14 first-stage games played in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, he and Nepomniachtchi tied for seventh place with seven points each. Three games were won by each, and the remaining eight were tied.

The competitors had only 25 minutes to make their moves during the tiebreak stage of the game, which was also held in Astana, plus an additional 10 seconds for each move played.

Ding is rated better than Nepomniachtchi in the quicker game forms, but she hasn’t participated in many official tournaments since January 2020.

The World Chess Championship has been held by Carlsen since 2013 and he will continue to hold the title of highest-rated player in the world. He is regarded as one of the best players of all time.

If the match had been settled in the initial 14-game series, the €2 million (US$2.2 million) prize would have been split 60-40 between the winner and the runner-up.

The prize money will be divided 55-45 because it advanced to the tiebreaker stage.

(note that all depiction of DIng Liren in pictures are likeness generated by AI and not actual photos of him)

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