Ding Liren is the 17th world chess champion! Here’s how he fought against all odds cover image

Ding Liren is the 17th world chess champion! Here’s how he fought against all odds

The world crowns a new world chess champion after ten years of Magnus Carlsen’s dominion.

After three weeks of hard-fought battle, Ding Liren successfully defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi to become the 17th world chess champion. This is also a historical moment as he is the first Chinese Grandmaster to hold the title. With this victory, Ding Liren succeeds Magnus Carlsen, taking over his 10-year reign in chess. He also brings home $1.4 million USD, a 55% split from the total prize pool.

Check out the moments of triumph below!

At the culmination of the championship, Ian Nepomniachtchi rushed away in disappointment. Meanwhile, Liren lingered at the board, overwhelmed with emotions.

Ding Liren shared his feelings during his moment of victory at the press conference.

The moment Ian resigned the game it was a very emotional moment. I could not control my feelings. I know myself I will cry, I will burst into tears. It's quite a tough tournament for me.

Despite the outcome, Ding Liren humbly shared that it was never his ambition to become the world champion. He instead just wanted to play the best.

I haven't dreamt of becoming the World Champion. At one point I just want to become the player who plays best. It's not so important to become the World Champion.

Magnus Carlsen, now the former world chess champion, congratulated Ding Liren. "Self-pinning for immortality. Congrats, Ding!!"

How Ding Liren became the world chess champion

<em>Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.</em>
Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Ding Liren's victory was shocking to the community. This is mainly because he did not have the odds to not only win the championship but also compete in the WCC in the first place. GothamChess summarized his bizarre journey in a simple Tweet.

Ding Liren had missed tons of OTB (over-the-board) games due to the pandemic and this had hindered his presence as well as performance. He wasn't supposed to compete alongside the candidates in 2022.

But in a unique twist of events, Ding Liren was invited to replace GM Sergey Karjakin in the 2022 Candidates Tour, as he was banned due to his strong support for Russia's warfare. He then impressively finished in second place behind Ian Nepomniachtchi.

In normal circumstances, Ian Nepomniachtchi would become the challenger to Magnus Carlsen, the then-world champion. However, due to Carlsen's abdication, there were then two vacant slots at the World Chess Championship. And just like that, Ding Liren is in!

His journey throughout the three-week World Championship wasn't easy as well. He was never in the lead, but he managed to hold his position. Ian Nepomniachtchi always had the upper hand and it always seemed like he could easily take the crown. But ultimately, Ding Liren delivered the coup de grace during the fourth Rapid game of the tiebreakers.