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Ding Liren Will Play In 2022 Candidates

After Karjakin’s 6-months ban from competitive chess left an open spot for the 2022 Candidates Tournament, the Chinese GM Ding Liren started a successful marathon of rated games in order to be eligible for the tournament.

Photo: FIDE / Lennart Ootes

Invitation of Ding Liren, while officially issued by FIDE, is contingent on Sergey Karjakin’s appeal to CAS, the highest court for sports disputes. According to Karjakin, he will seek to repel the ban.

Ding Liren needed to play 30 games between 1 June 2021 and 30 April 2022 to take over Kaarjakin’s spot as the highest-rated player. In a mission that almost seemed impossible for most people – even though the chess community was cheering for him all the way, the Chinese GM proved that anything can happen!

The Chinese Chess Association organized a 4-player quadruple round-robin in Hangzhou (12 games); a 6-game match against Wei Yi (6 games); and finally a 10-round qualifier to the Asian Games (10 games). Completing 28 games with an impressive score of 20.5 points (13 victories, 15 draws, and no loss), Ding Liren finished the quest of 26 games, and also surpassed Alireza Firouzja in the rating list and is now number two again.

After Liren’s qualification, the participants of the Candidates tournament will be:

Ian Nepomniachtchi – 2021 World Chess Champion Match runner-up
Alireza Firouzja – Grand Swiss winner
Fabiano Caruana – Grand Swiss runner-up
Jan-Krzystof Duda – World Cup winner
Hikaru Nakamura – Grand Prix winner
Richard Rapport – Grand Prix runner-up
Ding Liren – *Replacement for Karjakin
Teimour Radjabov – Wild Card

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