Ding Liren conquers Grand Chess Tour in London

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

The Grand Chess Tour Final, held once again at the Olympia Conference Centre in London, was the thrilling crowning point of the intense long season that had begun with the rapid and blitz tournament on May 6th in Côte d’Ivoire and had ended with the recently concluded Tata Steel Chess India in Kolkata on November 27th.

The top four players: Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian crossed swords in a series of classical, rapid and blitz matches between the 2nd and 8th of December to determine the 2019 Champion.

While Magnus was clearly the favorite coming off a fantastic year, the other three participants were definitely hungry in search of their very first GCT title.

Magnus Carlsen || Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Magnus Carlsen | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Levon Aronian | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Levon Aronian | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Ding Liren | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Ding Liren | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

The players found some time before the event to comment on their respective paths to London.

“All the world’s a stage” | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

“All the world’s a stage” | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Ding Liren after beating Lev Aronian to secure his spot in the final match | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Ding Liren after beating Lev Aronian to secure his spot in the final match | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

The world champ was outplayed and could only fight only for the 3rd place | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

The world champ was outplayed and could only fight for the 3rd place | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

The World Champion’s shocking loss in the semis had to be more than a little bit disappointing as he had won three out of the five GCT events in which he had participated. Magnus stated: “I felt like I’m in pretty bad shape at this point anyway, so I think the right two people played the final”.

Happy after beating the world champion! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Happy after beating the world champion! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

High five! Young stars meeting older ones | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

High five! Young stars meeting older ones | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Ding Liren became the Grand Chess Tour Champion for the first time, triumphing over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and taking home the winner’s prize of $150,000. The Chinese star dominated the final match, securing the victory after just two rapid games on Sunday.

“I feel very happy after six days of competition and I played very well when I can totally focus on the games. (…) It shows that with my best shape I can compete with anybody else,” concluded the Chinese no 1.

MVL’s 2nd place finish netted him a cool $100,000. Carlsen took home $60,000 for third place, while Aronian collected $40,000 for fourth.

When the duel is about to start! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

When the duel is about to start! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Congratulations to the winner of 2019 Grand Chess Tour, Ding Liren! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Congratulations to the winner of 2019 Grand Chess Tour, Ding Liren! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

The London Chess Classic offered an impressive range of festival events appealing to various levels of chess players and enthusiasts. For the 7th year running, The London Chess and Education Conference took place alongside the London Classic. This year’s theme of the conference was Chess and Female Empowerment with the major focus on promotion of women’s and girls’ chess.

The last day of the event was enriched by the guest visit of Hollywood star Woody Harrelson, a fan of chess and amateur chess player, who made the first move for Magnus Carlsen in the second rapid game against Levon Aronian.

These games... that make you smile! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

These games… that make you smile! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

The three-times Academy Award Best Actor nominee had also played the ceremonial first move for the previous World Chess Championship that was held in London in 2018.

This celebrity chess fan knows high drama when he sees it!”| Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

This celebrity chess fan knows high drama when he sees it! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

GM Chris Ward and IM Lawrence Trent kept chess enthusiasts entertained! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

GM Chris Ward and IM Lawrence Trent kept chess enthusiasts entertained! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Chess comentators want to have fun too! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Chess comentators want to have fun too! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Chess enthusiasts are everywhere! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Chess enthusiasts are everywhere! | Image courtesy of Grand Chess Tour

Ding Liren’s impressive triump has established the world number 3 as one of the favorites to win the Candidates Tournament and become the next challenger for Magnus Carlsen’s World Championship title. He mentioned that he will have “many months to rest and to prepare” for what promises to be one of the most important tournaments of his life.

With a new winner crowned, the 2019 Grand Chess Tour ended in exciting fashion. One can only hope that 2020 will prove to be just as thrilling.

The Grandmaster Newsletter

Get updates from Maurice Ashley

More To Explore

News

New York City shows love!

Another reason why I love my city! If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!! #newyorkcity #brooklyn

Contact Maurice

For Speaker & Host Inquiries