China's Ding Liren defeated Russian-origin Ian Nepomniachtchi in an intense match in Astana, Kazakhstan, to become the newest world chess champion on Sunday. Liren's win meant that the world got a new champion after a decade.
Before Liren, it was Norway's Magnus Carlsen who had defeated India's Viswanathan Anand back in 2013 to become the world champion. Carlsen's reign continued for 10 years until he announced last year his plans to not defend his title.
It was after 14 long classical games that Ding was able to force his Russian counterpart into a much-awaited tie-breaker that would decide the champion. In the decider, the Chinese Grandmaster pipped Ian to win it by 2.5 points.
However, it wasn't always smooth sailing for the eventual world champion. At the end of the eight match of the classical games round, when Ian had a one-point lead, it was discovered that there had been an alleged leak of Ding's pre-match preparation on the internet. Nonetheless, this didn't dampen his spirits as Liren managed to level the scores by winning the 12th match of the regular classical series.
Beating Ian, Ding became China's first-ever male World Champion of the game. Currently, the country boasts of both male and female world champions, with the current women's champion being Ju Wenjun.
"The moment Ian resigned the game was a very emotional moment, I cannot control my feelings," Liren said in a press conference.
(With Reuters inputs)