One Ding to rule them all

Astana, April 30

China’s Ding Liren was today crowned as the 17th world chess champion in a tense match against Russian-born Ian Nepomniachtchi in the last chapter of an odds-defying sequence of events. The 30-year-old won the rapid chess playoff by 2.5 points to 1.5, capitalising on Nepomniachtchi’s mistakes in time trouble in the last of the shorter-format games, following the pair’s 7-7 tie in a psychological battle across 14 longer “classical” games.

“One Ding to rule em all,” fellow Grandmaster Anish Giri wrote on Twitter in honour of the new champion.

Ding’s triumph means China holds both the men’s and women’s world titles, with current women’s champion Ju Wenjun set to defend her title against compatriot Lei Tingjie in July. “The moment Ian resigned the game was a very emotional moment, I cannot control my feelings,” the new world champion said in a press conference.

Ding had levelled the score in the regular portion of the match with a dramatic win in Game 12. — Reuters

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