Ding Liren is an enigmatic figure in the world of modern chess. Despite his unassuming demeanor, he possesses a level of ruthlessness and coldness on the board that is truly remarkable. He is a masterful player of chess and a true champion at heart.
Born in Wenzhou, China, in 1992, Ding learned chess at a very young age, beginning his journey toward becoming one of the most formidable players in the world. He is the first Chinese player to achieve the title of World Chess Champion.
He is also the first Chinese player to qualify for a Candidates Tournament and surpass the 2800 Elo rating, a remarkable achievement that further cemented his status as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
Ding has won several prestigious tournaments, such as the Grand Chess Tour and the Sinquefield Cup, and has been ranked among the top three players in the world since 2018. He is known for his solid and creative style, as well as his remarkable unbeaten streak of 100 games in classical chess from 2017 to 2018. These accomplishments demonstrate his exceptional skill and dedication to the game of chess.
The story of Ding Liren’s journey toward becoming the 17th FIDE World Chess Champion is nothing short of miraculous. Despite facing incredible odds, including being ill-prepared, trailing three times in a match against a super strong opponent, mental challenges, and preparation leaking at the tail end of the match, Ding showed incredible mental fortitude and grit to overcome these obstacles and emerge victorious. This is a testament to his character strength and unwavering commitment to his craft.
If one moment makes him truly deserving of the World Championship title, it’s Rg6 from Game 4 of Rapid Tiebreaks. When asked in an interview why he made such a move that no one expected he simply replied that for him it was the best move in the position to fight on. He didn’t care about the situation or the result. This is what true champions are made up of.
Ding Liren’s Games
As chess players, we can truly learn a lot about chess as well as life from the gentle yet strong Ding Liren.
Let’s start with a game where Liren beats a fellow strong 2600 Grandmaster with ease. It’s a textbook example of how to conduct an attack when the opponent hasn’t developed all of his pieces- An attacking masterclass.
Before looking at the game put yourself in Liren’s shoes and try to find the moves in the following positions:
How would you proceed?
Black has weakened his king position with g6. Is it the right time to go for the kill? Or should you wait a bit more and add more energy to your attack? What would you do?
The game is nearly over. You just need to find a couple of more precise moves to finish off your opponent.
Now, let’s look and try to understand the full game.
Now let us look at a game from the recently concluded FIDE World Championship 2023.
White has a menacing pawn formation in the center. But the black pieces firmly blockade it. With the last move, Nd4 Black is attacking the white queen. How to proceed as white?
Ding Liren is a true master of the exchange sacrifice. If you want to study more about this wonderful device, take a look at his games. You will learn a lot.
Want to see more about the World Champs Games? Look at Fide Candidates Tournament – Nepomniachtchi Wins Early: Round 13 as well as 7 Reasons Why Magnus Carlsen Plays Better Chess Than You.
Ding Liren’s incredible rise to become the first Chinese World Chess Champion is a testament to his remarkable talent, dedication, and mental fortitude. Through his fearless play, he has earned the respect of several great players. As chess players, we can learn a great deal from studying his games. And, particularly his masterful use of the exchange sacrifice.
But beyond his chess skills, Ding Liren’s story also serves as an inspiration for anyone facing difficult challenges in life, demonstrating the importance of perseverance, determination, and the ability to stay focused even in the face of adversity. His achievement is a proud moment not just for China, but for the entire chess world, and we can all look forward to seeing more of his brilliance on the board in the years to come.