After the classic section of the tournament finished 7-7 after 14 matches, the tournament between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren went into the play-off breaks.
In the fourth and final rapid chess match Sunday in Kazakhstan, Ding was the victor, winning the rapid tie-break by 2.5 points to 1.5 points to become China’s first world chess champion in the open category.
The 30-year-old is the highest-ranked Chinese player in history and the world chess champions in both the Open and Women’s categories now come from China.
Ding’s victory ends the reign of five-time champion Magnus Carlsen, who decided not to defend his title.
In fact, he was the world No. 3 seed in the tournament only because Carlsen said the previous July that he would not participate in the World Championships, placing Ding as runner-up in the Candidates Tournament – an event that determines who challenges the reigning champion. World Champion – in line for the world championship title.
“The moment Ian resigned from the match was a very emotional moment and I can’t control my feelings,” Ding was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters.
This is the second loss in the world championship Nepomniachtchi suffer. The Russian lost to Carlsen in his only appearance at the tournament.