Ding Liren Wins Cook-Off, Then Heads To Hospital With Fractured Hip
With a fractured hip, Ding Liren won the cook-off together with Vishy Anand. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

Ding Liren Wins Cook-Off, Then Heads To Hospital With Fractured Hip

| 84 | Chess Event Coverage

Ding Liren fell off a bicycle before winning a cooking contest with Vishy Anand and then learned in the hospital that he has a fractured hip. Ding likely won't play more games in the Altibox Norway Chess tournament.

Update: after surgery on Friday, Saturday morning Ding indeed decided that he had to withdraw from the tournament.

It was Ding Liren who arrived last at the Clarion Hotel Air, close to Sola Airport, where the chess players would face each other in a cook-off on Thursday afternoon. It was another original and splendid idea from the organizers to secure a fun rest day. It was definitely fun, even for the Chinese GM, who entered the hotel limping.

Earlier that day with his father he went for a bicycle ride, which ended badly. Making a turn at high speed, he fell off the bike and hurt his leg seriously; only later he would find out how bad it was. Showing huge respect to the tournament organizers and also a strong will to participate in the cooking, Ding declined the invitation to be taken to the hospital directly.

And so, teamed with Vishy Anand, the 25-year-old Chinese player was given a chair, where he spent most of the 1.5 hours cutting vegetables, while Anand took care of the hollandaise sauce (the toughest part of the dish, for all participants) and the halibut filet.

Ding was definitely in pain, but smiled a lot. He even told an anecdote of having cooked fish once before: his grandmother had done all the work, and all he did was put it in the oven and wait for 10 minutes.

Ding Liren cooking Norway

Though in pain, Ding Liren was in good spirits all day. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

It was only after the cooking contest that Ding went to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured hip. In a statement on the tournament website it is mentioned that he'll need surgery, and that Friday's game with Fabiano Caruana has been postponed.

There will be another rest day on Monday, and there's also an extra day after the tournament before the closing dinner, so there should be enough time to catch up with that game. However, considering the seriousness of the injury, it is more likely that Ding will not play more games in Stavanger. In that case, his results so far (three draws) will be removed from the tournament table.

Nakamura Cooking Fish Norway

Nakamura cutting the fish, Mamedyarov the vegetables. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

The other pairs in the cooking contest were Levon Aronian/Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura/Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Fabiano Caruana/Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen/Wesley So. When the latter came with only just portions for the judges and were asked about the other two plates, Carlsen said, "we gave those to some guests"
Hotel manager: "What!?"
Carlsen: "Not your guests, some of ours!"

Both his father Henrik and his second Peter Heine Nielsen enjoyed their fish a lot.

Carlsen So Cooking Norway

Carlsen and So cooking. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

The judges especially praised the hollandaise sauce done by Aronian, who needed four attempts though to make it!

Anand, who was alone with the judges because Ding couldn't make the walk, was asked if he might want to quit chess and work for the hotel instead. Never having really cooked before ("once I did an omelet!"), and not a fish eater himself, the five-time world champion added another title to his resume. "I never won one against bigger odds!"

Our video of the cook-off, one of the funniest we've ever done!

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