Home Chess World Chess Championship 2023: Reactions, Statistics, and Impressions

World Chess Championship 2023: Reactions, Statistics, and Impressions

World Chess Championship 2023: Reactions, Statistics, and Impressions


It’s been just below every week since Liren Ding turned the (undisputed) seventeenth Chess World Champion, in a spectacular victory over Ian Nepomniachtchi. Within the fourth and ultimate speedy tiebreak, Ding, enjoying with the black items, declined a repetition and as an alternative performed the enduring 46… Rg6!?, dubbed by Magnus Carlsen as a “self-pin for immortality”. 

The transfer took a lot of the chess neighborhood abruptly – seemingly together with Nepomniachtchi – who extensively assumed Ding would repeat the place. There was some hypothesis that Nepomniachtchi had not even thought-about Ding would play the transfer. 

In cinematic scenes, Nepomniachtchi’s shock was clear as just a few strikes later he fumbled and knocked over chess items earlier than providing Ding his resignation. Ding’s reduction was clear as he instantly slumped over the board, hiding his face because the second sank in – earlier than in shock shaking Nepomniachtchi’s hand once more.

Ding didn’t qualify for the 2022 Candidates, and it was pure luck he ended up enjoying it. Sergei Karjakin’s vocal help for the Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in a six month ban from FIDE occasions, and due to this fact his removing from the 2022 Candidates Event. Ding took Karjakin’s place, and after a rocky begin completed in second place – a robust outcome, however not adequate to play the World Championship, the place solely first place turns into the Challenger.

Nevertheless, fortune once more favored Ding because the sixteenth World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, introduced his abdication from the Classical title. Because of this, Ding, because the second positioned finisher within the 2022 Candidates, certified to play the Challenger – Ian Nepomniachtchi – to find out the brand new World Champion.

Previous to the match, Ding had been thought-about to be considerably of an underdog – though least so by the Lichess Mastodon neighborhood who thought the match up was fairly equal (clearly exhibiting the supremacy of FOSS communities :P).

Though traditionally very steady and constant, his 2020 Candidates outcomes have been shaky – and his type appeared to obviously decline following a interval of inactivity through the Covid pandemic. A poor efficiency in 2023’s Tata Metal at Wijk aan Zee made many counsel he was underprepared and had misplaced his historic consistency. 

Ding later shared that he solely started making ready for the World Championship following Tata Metal – a really quick time period to arrange on the elite stage – and selected Richard Rapport as his second after enjoying some video games towards him on-line. Rapport joined Wei Yi, a good friend and long-time collaborator with Ding who had been offering distant seconding help. 

Initially of the World Championship, Ding was frank about his anxiousness, despair, and fears he felt, inflicting him to freeze up in Recreation 2. He later shared that had he misplaced the World Championship, he was contemplating retiring from chess – such was the stress he felt. 

Regardless of this inner psychological battle, Ding fought again tenaciously over the board – apparently impressed by the philosophy of Camus (“in the event you can’t win, you may have to withstand”). Tragedy struck once more halfway by way of the match, as his on-line preparation video games towards Richard Rapport have been allegedly found – an oversight that by no means would have occurred had unrated video games been performed as an alternative. Ding highlighted that while he initially didn’t really feel nervous about it, he later realised “it left them with no actual concepts, so that they needed to give you new ones” mid-tournament. 

It’s troublesome to overstate how catastrophic revealing prep will be, particularly halfway by way of a crucial match. Nepomniachtchi’s group included Kramnik, Tomashevsky, and Matlakov – a formidable and skilled group who undoubtedly pored over the opening concepts and shortly discovered methods to rebuff them. 

Because of this, Ding moved out of prep shortly and performed offbeat openings to keep away from Nepomniachtchi’s deep preparation. By the tip of the match, Ding had tailored and begun discovering secure counters to Nepomniachtchi’s Ruy Lopez, and in a Hollywood ending, confirmed unbelievable psychological resilience and fortitude to beat his struggles and win the World Championship title. 

The same analogy in one other sport for the spectacular nature of what Ding overcame and the struggles he pushed by way of – are related, maybe, to beating Nadal on clay for the Roland Garros ultimate, whereas enjoying with a free racquet and a sprained ankle. 

Completely for Lichess, GMs David Navara and Harikrishna Pentala gave detailed ideas and annotations of each single classical recreation. Missed it on the time? The total hyperlink will all the time be obtainable right here.

The video games weren’t performed as precisely as earlier World Championships:

The containers present the common vary of accuracy, with the dates similar to the World Championship performed that 12 months. The diamonds aligned vertically present the outliers at each extremes.

A few of that’s undoubtedly as a result of unusually inaccurate play, with nerves affecting each gamers. However equally, each have been prepared to play inaccurately to drive their opponent into complicated positions that had a sequence of single strikes to keep up or maintain the benefit. Whereas these are inaccuracies on the engine stage, tactically they will provoke better errors from an opponent if they can’t discover the one good line in a really pressured situation. Equally, Ding prevented deeply analyzed openings, benefiting from oversights in Nepomniachtchi’s preparation – for instance Ding scored 2 / 2 with white within the London and Colle programs – openings that an engine with a gap guide won’t be impressed by. 

In the end, Ding’s calculation and uncooked chess instinct was stronger than Nepomniachtchi, who additionally succumbed to blitzing out questionable strikes in complicated positions. This was highlighted by us in our preview article as a historic weak spot of Nepomniachtchi, having now value him a number of high-stakes video games. 

The chess neighborhood, together with former World Champions, have been fast to reward Ding with Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, and Garry Kasparov tweeting congratulations:

The worldwide media additionally shortly wrote concerning the match’s dramatic conclusion, with very fascinating interviews from the gamers coming significantly from Leontxo Garcia of El Pais, and Sean Ingle of The Guardian.

Whereas the match was broadcast on CCTV (China Central Tv), the media consideration and social media curiosity was surprisingly muted – regardless of China presently having each the Open and Girls’s World Champion in chess. That is an uncommon achievement, final occurring with undisputed World Champions in 1991 with two gamers from the USSR: Maia Chiburdanidze and Garry Kasparov (Antoaneta Stefanova and Veselin Topalov additionally achieved this for Bulgaria in 2005, however this was through the FIDE/PCA break up).

Nevertheless, crowns are heavy – and from early interviews it appears Ding is a thinker king – conscious of his obligations and function as an envoy for chess to the world. It’s certainly solely a matter of time till China understands the chance they’ve open to them, with Ding and with chess.

Picture credit FIDE / Stev Bonhage / Anna Shtourman



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