Chess Preview: Ding seeking first Asian Games gold

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 22, 2023
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Chess returns to the Asian Games after a 13-year absence, with current FIDE (International Chess Federation) world champion and Zhejiang local Ding Liren seeking his first Asian Games medal.

World Chess Champion, China's Ding Liren, competes against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France during the round 1 match at Grand Chess Tour 2023 in Bucharest, capital of Romania, May 6, 2023. (Photos by Cristian Cristel/Xinhua)

Born in Wenzhou, 300km south of Hangzhou, Ding became China's first men's world champion in 2023, and has been among the world's top five chess players since 2018.

Also competing in the men's individual event is Ding's teammate Wei Yi. Wei is a grandmaster who, at the age of only 15, broke Magnus Carlsen's record for being the youngest player to reach a rating of 2,700.

China will be favorites in the men's event, after India didn't enter their highest rated players for the individual medal.

Two rising stars of the sport - 17-year-old Dommanraju Gukesh, popularly known as Gukesh D, and 18-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa - will compete only in the team event.

Also absent is India's veteran and five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand.

Beyond China and India, Vietnam's Quang Liem Le won silver in the men's event when chess last appeared at the 2010 Asian Games and is the next highest FIDE-rated athlete at the Games.

Nineteen-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov is another emerging grandmaster, who beat Carlsen on the way to winning the 2021 World Rapid Chess Championship in Warsaw.

Unlike more physical sports, young and old meet on equal terms in chess. The youngest chess player at the Games is 11-year-old Li Yiheng, who represents Hong Kong of China, while 57-year-old Niaz Murshed is the oldest. 

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