Ding Liren of China defeated Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi in tie breaks on Sunday to become the World Chess Champion.
At a classical rating of 2788, Liren is the highest rated Chinese player. He attained the title of Grand Master in 2009 after he won his maiden Chinese title.
Liren’s first audience with chess was as a four year old when his mother enrolled him at a chess club in Wenzhou, the city where he was born.
EARLY DAYS IN CHESS
He enjoyed early success in the sport when he represented China in the Under-10 and Under-12 World Youth Championships in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
Liren caught the attention of the chess fraternity in 2009 when he defeated three Grand Masters on his way to the Chinese title. At just 16, Liren became the country’s youngest-ever champion. He went on to repeat the feat in 2011 and 2012.
The success at the national championship and junior level earned Liren a call up for Chess Olympiads in 2012 and 2014. In the latter edition, Liren won an individual bronze while China took the overall gold.
SUCCESS IN CANDIDATES TOURNAMENT
By 2017, Liren was rubbing shoulders with promiment players from across the globe. In the FIDE World Cup that year, he made his way to the finals. Though he lost to Levon Aronian, Liren became the first Chinese player to qualify for the Candidates Tournament.
In 2019, Liren finished as the joint-leader at the Sinquefield Cup with Magnus Carlsen. The duo played a blitz tiebreak to settle the prize which Liren won 2-0. In doing so, he became the first player to beat Carlsen in tiebreak games since Aronian did it in 2007.
The same year, Liren made it to the final of the FIDE World Cup but lost to Teimour Radjabov. It was Liren’s 2022 Candidates performance that eventually earned him a shot at the wolrd title.
He defeated the likes of Fabian Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura to finish second behind Nepomniachtchi. Though, the Russian was the challenger for the world crown, Carlsen’s decision to not defend his title led to Liren taking his place.
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