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Wei Yi wins fireworks-filled Tata Steel Chess after dramatic tiebreaker Dot Esports

In a field featuring two world champions and a previous winner, it was the enigmatic 24-year-old Chinese grandmaster who emerged victorious at the so-called Wimbledon of chess, resolving a four-way tie in his favor in an impressive display of blitz skills.

The elite-level chess tournament in the small Dutch town of Wijk an Zee has over a hundred years of glorious history, and it always serves as must-watch action for chess fans around the world. This year, it also served as a bit of a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Candidates Tournament, with five players of the eight-strong field playing in this prestigious invitational.

With the field also featuring the reigning world champion of the open title and women’s chess alike in its fourteen-player roster, not even Magnus Carlsen’s absence could take away from the impact of the competition, and it turned out to be a memorable affair for the ages, with many decisive games and open-ended battles along the way, with an incredible photo finish to boot.

After fourteen topsy-turvy rounds, four players finished on 8.5 points, prompting a blitz tiebreaker playoff between hometown hero (and 2023 Tata Steel winner) Anish Giri, former world rapid chess champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Candidates qualifier Dommaraju Gukesh, and Wei Yi, one of the most promising Chinese players of his generation, who, at 24 years of age, has already retired from competition once and made a recent return.

While Wei Yi went on to win the tournament with an impeccable display of precise play in the blitz portion, it was yet another event to forget for Ding Liren, the reigning world chess champion, who returned to the board after a long absence. For what it’s worth, he also had a torrid time at last year’s edition of the tournament, then went on to clinch the world championship title, and he will be looking to repeat this feat once more against his soon-to-be-determined challenger.

Luci Kelemen

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