China's Ding Liren won the decisive fourth game in the rapid tiebreak at the FIDE World Championship Match in Astana to lift the title ©FIDE

Ding Liren became the first male Chinese player to be crowned world chess champion after triumphing over Russian-born Ian Nepomniachtchi in a rapid-play tiebreak in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

His victory in the International Chess Federation (FIDE) World Championship Match at the St Regis Hotel ends the 10-year reign of Norway's Magnus Carlsen, who opted not to defend his title.

Ding and Nepomniachtchi, playing as a neutral under the FIDE flag because of the war in Ukraine, could not be separated after 14 classical games, both players earning seven points.

A tiebreak consisting of four rapid games with a time control of 25 minutes each plus a 10-second increment per move was played. 

Ding is ranked second in the rapid world rankings with Nepomniachtchi seventh, but he had played little competitive chess in the format since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was drawn to lead the white pieces in the first game, in which both players cancelled each other out for a draw.

Nepomniachtchi built a slight advantage in the second game, but strong defence from Ding ensured it finished in another draw.

A third game also delivered a draw, meaning victory for either player in the fourth could deliver the world title, while a two-game blitz playoff would be required if they still could not be separated.

The fourth game also appeared to be headed for a draw, but Ding, playing with the black pieces, declined a threefold repetition with one minute on the clock which would have led to a draw and opted to try to take advantage of his extra pawn.

Nepomniachtchi appeared to salvage the situation and could have secured a draw, but precise play from Ding put him in control, and his opponent was forced to concede defeat,

"I’m quite relieved," Ding said afterwards.

"The moment Ian resigned the game it was very emotional.

"I could not control my mood and feelings.

"I know myself - I will cry and burst into tears."

Ding only qualified for last year's FIDE Candidates Tournament because Russia's Sergey Karjakin was banned for supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

A superb finish to the event for the Chinese player allowed him to rank second behind Nepomniachtchi, enough for a place in the World Championship Match when Carlsen opted to stand aside.

Ju Wenjun is China's sixth women's world champion having held the title since 2018, but Ding is the country's first in the open category.