China's Ding Liren made history by becoming the 17th FIDE World Champion in chess, defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi in the final game of the tiebreak here on Sunday.
Both Ding and Nepomniachtchi finished 7-7 after exhilarating 14 classical games, taking the match into the tie-breaker.
In the tie-break, Ding Liren defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi 2.5-1.5 in the 2023 FIDE World Championship final, becoming the first Chinese male player to win the chess world championship.
This marks a historic moment as both the men's and women's world champions in chess are now from China.
After three draws in the tiebreaks, Ding emerged victorious in the fourth and final game, clinching the title. In a tense and even position, with just a minute on his clock, Ding declined a threefold repetition and decided to play for a win. In a nail-biting finish, with both players under enormous pressure, the Chinese Grandmaster (GM) emerged victorious after 68 moves.
It was a great win for Ding as he had to fight back thrice to negate Nepomniachtchi's lead three times in the first (classical) part of the match, Ding Liren showed tremendous skill and resilience to emerge victorious in the tiebreaks. In contrast, Ian Nepomniachtchi's nerves and luck faltered, resulting in his second defeat in the quest for the chess crown.
A historic success for Ding who wouldn't have even taken part in the match had Magnus Carlsen not decided to abandon his crown.
The now former World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, congratulated Ding in his way: "Self-pinning for immortality. Congrats Ding!!!"
"I'm quite relieved. The moment Ian resigned from the game it was very emotional. I could not control my mood and feelings. I know myself - I will cry and burst into tears " said the emotional Ding Liren in his first comments.
Ian Nepomniachtchi congratulated his opponent. Reflecting on himself, he said: "I guess I had every chance [to win]. So many promising positions It's always a lottery after 14 games of the match, so that's it".
This is the first time in history that a Chinese player has become a world champion in the open category. China now holds the world championship title in both the open and the women's category.
The two players in the match will split a prize fund of two million euros, with 60% going to the new World Champion.