China has its first official world chess champion, as Grandmaster Ding Liren defeated Russian rival Ian Nepomniachtchi in a playoff Sunday after their 14-game title match in Astana, Kazakhstan ended in a 7-7 tie.
The 30-year-old Mr. Ding succeeds Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, who declined to defend his title after a decade on the throne. Mr. Carlsen remains the world’s top-ranked player.
It was another heartbreak for Mr. Nepomniachtchi, who lost to Mr. Carlsen in his first bid for the title in 2021 and led for much of the match in Kazakhstan. He failed to score a clinching win in the match’s final games and then lost the final game of the four-round rapid chess playoff to fall short by a score of 2 1/2-1 1/2.
The decisive final game was a back-and-forth affair, with the Russian pressing too hard for a victory with White and allowing his opponent a strong counter-punch. Despite a shortage of time, Mr. Ding played the final phase strongly to force resignation after 68 moves.
The Ding victory means China now claims the open and the women’s world chess titles. GM Ju Wenjun will be defending her women’s world crown in a match against fellow Chinese star GM Lei Tingjie in July. The last time both world titles were held by players from the same country was before the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
Mr. Ding is also the second Asian player to win the world chess title. India’s Viswanathan Anand was champion from 2007 to 2013 before losing to Mr. Carlsen.
Mr. Ding earned $1.1 million for the win and Mr. Nepomniachtchi $900,000. The victory reportedly set off a major celebration on China’s Weibo social media site.
The moves of the final rapid game were:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 Bd7 9. h3 O-O 10. Be3 Na5 11. Ba2 bxa4 12. Nc3 Rb8 13. Bb1 Qe8 14. b3 c5 15. Nxa4 Nc6 16. Nc3 a5 17. Nd2 Be6 18. Nc4 d5 19. exd5 Nxd5 20. Bd2 Nxc3 21. Bxc3 Bxc4 22. bxc4 Bd8 23. Bd2 Bc7 24. c3 f5 25. Re1 Rd8 26. Ra2 Qg6 27. Qe2 Qd6 28. g3 Rde8 29. Qf3 e4 30. dxe4 Ne5 31. Qg2 Nd3 32. Bxd3 Qxd3 33. exf5 Rxe1+ 34. Bxe1 Qxc4 35. Ra1 Rxf5 36. Bd2 h6 37. Qc6 Rf7 38. Re1 Kh7 39. Be3 Be5 40. Qe8 Bxc3 41. Rc1 Rf6 42. Qd7 Qe2 43. Qd5 Bb4 44. Qe4+ Kg8 45. Qd5+ Kh7 46. Qe4+ Rg6 47. Qf5 c4 48. h4 Qd3 49. Qf3 Rf6 50. Qg4 c3 51. Rd1 Qg6 52. Qc8 Rc6 53. Qa8 Rd6 54. Rxd6 Qxd6 55. Qe4+ Qg6 56. Qc4 Qb1+ 57. Kh2 a4 58. Bd4 a3 59. Qc7 Qg6 60. Qc4 c2 61. Be3 Bd6 62. Kg2 h5 63. Kf1 Be5 64. g4 hxg4 65. h5 Qf5 66. Qd5 g3 67. f4 a2 68. Qxa2 Bxf4 White resigns
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