Chess World Championship Tournament Ends in a Victory for Chinese Grandmaster

Following the Former World Champion’s resignation, the World Chess Champion tournament continues as scheduled

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2023’s world chess champion, Ding Liren, studies the board.

Luke Posson, Reporter

Apr. 9th, 2023 marked the beginning of the 2023 World Chess Championship tournament. This year, the tournament is being played in Astana, Kazakhstan. After the previous World Championship Tournament in 2021, former Champion, Magnus Carlsen, declined to defend his title in 2023. Typically, the former World Champion would be challenged by the winner of a Candidate Tournament, but this had to be adjusted for Carlsen’s resignation. So, the winner of the Candidate tournament, Russian Grandmaster Ian Nepomniatchi, faced off against the second place Candidate winner, Chinese Grandmaster Ding Liren.

The tournament consisted of fourteen games with each side having 120 minutes to play the first sixty moves, 60 minutes to play the next twenty moves, and then finally 15 minutes for the rest of the game. After the sixtieth move, each player would gain 30 seconds on their clock after each of their moves, which is called an “increment.” To decide a winner, the first player to reach 7.5 points or more would be crowned the World Chess Championship. Points are determined by wins, so a win is one point and a loss is no points. 

In a tied score at the end of the 14th game, the standings were seven points for Nepomniatchi and seven points for Liren, with both winning three games and drawing the rest of their matches. In chess, when both players agree to a draw or a position is reached where neither side can win, then each player receives half a point instead of one for a win or none for a loss. 

To break the tie, Liren and Nepomniatchi played a series of four tie-breaker games. Each game would be shorter than the other classical games at 25 minutes for each side. To win in the tie-breakers, one player needs to reach 2.5 points or more points, and on Apr. 30th Ding Liren managed to beat Ian Nepomniatchi and reach the 2.5 point threshold to be crowned the World Chess Champion. 

Liren’s success has been a major milestone to changing the diversity of the World Chess Championship roster, as he is the first World Champion to be from China. Currently, only the countries Austria, Germany, Cuba, France, Netherlands, Soviet Union/Russia, United States, India, and Norway are the only countries in the world to have had an individual crowned as an undisputed chess world champion. If you only include the countries that FIDE organized since 1948, that list is further shortened to the Soviet Union, United States, Russia, India, and Norway.

As the newest World Champion, Ding Liren has a bright future ahead of him.