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Hele's School

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World Class Chess Championship

Author: Lorcan Urcia

World Chess Championship


Recently in the chess world, a grand tournament was being played again in Kazakhstan: The World Chess Championship. It started back in 1886, and it continues to this day. How does the tournament work? Well, it is a series of 14 classical games of chess (two hours until move 40 which you gain an extra hour). To play in the tournament, you must be first in the candidates (the tournament before The World Chess Championship). After, you will be able to play against the previous champion.

This year it was different because of former champion, and considered to be the greatest in all of chess history, Magnus Carlsen. He had been chess champion for 10 years until this year: he withdrew his name from the game because he felt unmotivated to carry on playing. This meant that first and second place in the candidates were to play against each other for the title. These two people were called Ian Nepomniachtchi from Russia and Ding Liren from China.

During their matches, each had their own victorious triumphs over one another. Ding Liren even brought new openings (first 5-15 moves in a chess game that have already been explored) that have never been played before in The World Chess Championship. Ding usually was down on time in most matches and all the momentum seemed to be favouring Ian. This continued with Ian being up by one point for multiple matches. During one match, they had reached a position that has never been played before by masters. Soon people looked through different databases to try and find the same position and finally only one game was found. There were two anonymous accounts that only played each other, many speculated that these two accounts were Ding Liren and Richard Rapport (another grandmaster) and were used to prepare for the matches. If this were true, Ding Liren would have some consequences, but other players did not believe it.

After playing several matches, they decided to go into tiebreakers at 7-7. This has not happened in The World Chess Championship in the last 20 years. Instead of settling this with more classical games, they decided to play rapid chess with each player having 25 minutes each. This was a best of 4 match. The first 3 games ended in a draw which meant the next game could conclude the entire outcome. If they were to draw another time, they would have to play blitz (5 minutes of playing time each). But as the games were ending and turning out to be another draw. With a minute left on the clock, Ding Liren decided to play for a win and managed to get into a winning position. Finally, at move 68, Ian Nepomniachtchi decided to resign as Ding had a far better position than him. This leads to Ding Liren being the World Chess champion while also being the first Chinese player to ever accomplish this achievement.