Portrait of a World Champion

Ding Liren (24 October 1992)

Ding Liren

Ding Liren was born on 24th October 1992 in Wenzhou, China. He is a Grandmaster and the current World Champion. Ding has obtained the highest Elo in Chinese history, while also being 3-times Chinese champion.

He has had many notable tournament victories, including the 2019 Grand Chess Tour and the 2019 Sinquefield Cup. He also placed equal first with Magnus Carlsen in the 2019 edition of Norway Chess. Ding was also the first Chinese player to surpass an Elo of 2800, and to have ever taken part in a World Championship Candidates tournament. In 2016, he was also the highest rated blitz player worldwide. In July 2023, Ding was ranked the number 1 Rapid player, with a 2830 rating.

From August 2017 till November 2018, Ding had the longest unbeaten track record of 100 games, including 29 wins and 71 draws. This was only surpassed by Magnus Carlsen in 2019. Ding qualified for the 2023 World Championship by placing second in the 2022 Candidates Tournament. Since Carlsen opted not to defend his World title in 2023, the match for the World Championship took place between Ding and Ian Nepomniachtchi, in May 2023. Ding won the match, thus becoming World Champion.

Ding started learning the rules of chess when he was just four years old. Ding is a graduate of Zhejiang Wenzhou High School and Peking University Law School.

Ding won the Chinese championship on three occasions - 2009, 2011 and 2012, and he has represented China in all the Olympiads between 2012 and 2018. Twice, he won a gold medal with the team. In August 2015, Ding was catapulted into the FIDE World Top 10 rankings. This made him the first Chinese to do so since Wang Yue. In the 2018 Candidates tournament, he was the only player who went undefeated. In September 2018, Ding again made history by becoming the first Chinese player to surpass an Elo of 2800, peaking at 2816 in November that same year. In 2023, Ding played in the Tata Steel Tournament. Here he had a sub-par tournament, losing 3 games and falling short of 2800 Elo.

Ding won the 2023 World Championship and thus became the first Chinese player ever to hold the title of World Chess Champion. This match with Ian Nepomniachtchi was tied at 7-7, but in the rapid tiebreaks, Ding prevailed by winning the 4th game as Black.

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