World rank #3
’18 & ‘20
Sinquefield Cup Winner
Grand Chess Tour Champion
Ding Liren is the first of 16 players to be confirmed for the Skilling Open, the opening event of the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour that starts on November 22nd. The Chinese world no. 3 reached the Final 4 of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour and will be one of the favourites for the new 10-tournament season.
Ding Liren, playing from behind the Great Firewall of China, had the most internet problems of any player on the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, with one of the most memorable moments of the whole tour being when Magnus sacrificed his queen on move 3 to compensate for a disconnect loss.
That didn’t stop the Chinese superstar reaching the semi-finals of no less than three events, which was enough to qualify him for the 4-player Finals. He was paired against Magnus Carlsen and eventually lost 3:1, but not before giving the World Champion a real scare by winning Day 1 of their match.
Ding Liren, who won his first of three Chinese Championships as a 16-year-old, has become one of Carlsen’s key rivals over-the-board as well. He reached the finals of the 2017 and 2019 World Cups, won the 2019 Sinquefield Cup (beating Magnus in a blitz playoff) and the overall 2019 Grand Chess Tour, and went on a stunning 100 classical game unbeaten streak that has only been surpassed at the top level by Carlsen’s recently ended 125-game streak.
Quarantine in both China and Russia wreaked havoc with Ding Liren’s preparations for the 2020 Candidates Tournament, and a 2021 Carlsen-Ding Liren World Championship match looks highly unlikely, but we can be sure of more duels online!