24 March 2023

Ding Liren's TWIC Debut

In last week's Friday post, Ding Liren's Climb to a Title Match (March 2023), I wrote,

We interrupt this series on 'Cheating @ Chess.com' to follow an important detour. [...] Before past title matches I've used a few posts to learn something about World Champion Carlsen's challenger for a particular match.

As I pointed out in the same post, 'GM Nepomniachtchi was Carlsen's challenger in the previous title match' and one of the posts I wrote then was Nepo's TWIC Debut (June 2021). I discovered there that young Nepo was keen on youth tournaments. See, for example:-

World Youth Championships (Nepo):-
TWIC 365; 2001-11-05 : U12 16-24
TWIC 420; 2002-11-25 : U12 1-2
TWIC 469; 2003-11-03 : U14 3
TWIC 523; 2004-11-15 : U18 15-27
TWIC 560; 2005-08-01 : U16 2-3

It turns out that Ding Liren's early events -- the only tournaments he played outside China before mid-2009 -- were events in which Nepo participated. Ding's earliest tournaments match Nepo's first four 'World Youth Championships', where Ding was competing in a lower age group because he was two years younger than Nepo.

World Youth Championships (Ding):-
TWIC 365; 2001-11-05 : U10 8-12 [Caruana 17-27]
TWIC 420; 2002-11-25 : U10 1-2 [Caruana 4-8]
TWIC 469; 2003-11-03 : U12 5-7 [Caruana?]
TWIC 523; 2004-11-15 : U12 1-2 [Caruana, Wesley So 7-15]

I added the info in brackets because Ding is three months younger than Fabiano Caruana, who participated in three of the same events & age groups as Ding. Each time, the Chinese player finished higher than the American. The 2003 event is unclear ('Caruana?') because TWIC listed only the top-10% (or so) finishers in each age group.


The following composite chart is from FIDE's 'Rating Progress Chart' for both competitors in the forthcoming 2023 Nepomniachtchi - Ding Liren Title Match (m-w.com). For a more readable view of the same data, see:-

Ding Liren - Wikipedia : 'Born: 24 October 1992'
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Wikipedia : 'Born: 14 July 1990'

The data points circled in red correspond to each player's 18th birthday. Ding was listed at 2604, Nepo at 2602.

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