Hips don’t Lie
The backdrop was Norway Chess 2018 tournament, where the world’s top chess players had gathered to battle it out. But for Grandmaster Ding Liren, fate had other plans in store. On a free day, he decided to go biking with his father, but it turned out to be a day he would never forget.
As he hit the ground after a fall, he knew something was wrong, but with the Norway Chess Games only a few hours away, he didn’t want to let the organizers down. Despite the excruciating pain, Ding Liren showed up for the Chess Chefs Competition, where he was paired with Grandmaster Vishy Anand.
Barely able to stand, he requested a chair to sit while preparing the food. It was a test of willpower and grit, but Ding Liren persevered and emerged victorious with his partner. It was only after the competition that the organizers realized the severity of his injury and rushed him to the hospital.
The x-ray showed that his hip bone was fractured, and he had to undergo surgery. The shock of the diagnosis was palpable, not just for Ding Liren but for everyone who had witnessed his incredible display of strength during the Chess Chefs Competition.
Ding Liren was forced to withdraw from the tournament and embark on a healing journey. But he didn’t let this setback dampen his spirits. A year later, he returned to Norway Chess, determined to give it another try and prove that nothing could keep him down.
His story is a testament to his resilience and determination. Despite facing tremendous odds, Ding Liren refused to give up and came out stronger on the other side.
The Fastest Visa Ever Issued
As the world struggled to navigate the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, Norway Chess 2021 was a beacon of hope for chess fans everywhere. But just when it seemed like everything was falling into place, disaster struck. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, one of the tournament’s most anticipated players, had an issue with his Schengen visa just a day before the tournament was set to begin.
With less than 48 hours to spare, the organizers frantically worked to resolve the situation. They contacted the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow, even though it was closed on a Sunday. But they managed to find a way to get in touch with the right people who could help. The embassy pulled off a miracle, issuing the quickest visa they had in a long time, and Nepomniachtchi was able to make it to Norway just in time.
However, the unexpected delay meant that he missed the first round of the tournament, and had to play catch-up on the first free day. Despite this setback, both the organizers and Nepomniachtchi were relieved and grateful that they had been able to sort out the visa issue in time for him to participate in the tournament.
For Nepomniachtchi, the tournament was especially significant because it was his last classical tournament before facing off against the reigning world champion, GM Magnus Carlsen, in the upcoming World Championship match. It was a chance to test his skills and prepare for the biggest challenge of his career thus far.
Despite the initial setback, the tournament was a triumph for both the players and the organizers. And for Nepomniachtchi, it was a chance to show the world that nothing could keep him from reaching the pinnacle of his sport.