7th China-Russia match: Hard-fought draw in round three

by ChessBase
8/8/2010 – After suffering a setback in the first round, and a disaster in the second, the Russian men finally drew against their Chinese opponents thanks to team captain Potkin's stylish victory. Xiangzhi countered this with a strong attack as Black against Malakhov. The women also drew, though four of the five games were decisive. Round three report.

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The 7th China vs Russia Chess Match is taking place from August 4th-15th, 2010 in Yinzhou, Ningbo, China. These matches have taken place between Russia and China since 2001. The first, in 2001 was in Shanghai, the next, in 2004 in Moscow, in 2006 in Argun, 2007 in Nizhni Novgorod, 2008 in Ningbo, and in 2009 in Sochi.

The match is a 'Scheveningen' team event between China team and Russia team. All members of each team play all members of the other team once. The games start on August 5th 2010 and continue until August 9th, 2010. The time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves + 30 minutes to the end of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. From August 11th to August 14th, 2010, there will be four days with rapid games, five rounds each day, with one game starting at 10:30 and four games start at 14:00.  

FIDE's draconian zero-tolerance rule for late arrivals is not in effect and a ten-minute window is provided for the players, also, the Sofia rules are not in effect here, since obviously team strategy brings in other factors.

Round 3


Round 3: Saturday, August 7, 14:00h
Wang Hao 
Artyom Timofeev
Wang Yue 
Nikita Vitiugov
Vladimir Malakhov 
Bu Xiangzhi
Vladimir Potkin 
Zhou Jiangchao 
Sergei Rublevsky 
Ni Hua

After a catastrophic day for the Russian men in round two, where they only walked away with a half point, the third round was a much more balanced affair. Wang Hao opted for a theoretical debate on a well-known pawn gambit in a Sicilian Dragon, and there were no special developments as they eventually drew. Wang Yue and Nikita Vitigov played an interesting game, and while the Chinese grandmaster seemed to have the better of it for a long time with a huge space advantage in the center, Vitiugov managed to mobilize his queenside and got enough counterplay to secure the draw. Bu Xiangzhi demonstrated once more his excellent form, and put together a powerful attack in a Sicilian Najdorf, overcoming top-rated Malakhov (2734) with his second straight win as Black.

Malakhov,V (2732) - Bu Xiangzhi (2676) [B92]
7th CHN-RUS Ningbo CHN (3), 07.08.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Re1 Be6 10.Bf3 Nc6 11.Nd5 Bxd5 12.exd5 Nb8 13.Bd2 a5 14.a4 Qc7 15.Re3 Nbd7 16.Rc3 Nc5 17.Be3 b6 18.Nxc5 bxc5 19.Rb3 Nd7 20.Rb5 f5 21.Bd2 Ra7 22.Qe1 Rfa8 23.Be2 Qd8 24.Ra3 Bg5 25.Bc3 e4 26.Bf1 Bf6 27.Bd2 Bd4 28.Rab3 Nf6 29.h3 h6 30.Rb7 Kh7 31.Bc4 Nh5 32.R3b6 Rxb7 33.Rxb7 Qh4 34.Bf1 Nf6 35.c3 Be5 36.g3 Qh5 37.c4 Re8 38.Be3 Qg6 39.Bg2 Nh5 40.Qd2 Rf8 41.Re7 f4 42.gxf4 Nxf4 43.Bxf4 Rxf4.

44.Rxe5. It is hard to criticize this move. Yes, it loses, but when no save is visible, one might as well try the move that appears to give the opponent the best chances to make a mistake, and clearly Malakhov felt that was the case here. The attempt to just hold the position together with 44.Re6 would fail in the end after 44...Qf5 45.b3 Bd4! 46.Qe1 White is counting on the tactics revolving around the e4 pin to hold, but it is insufficient. 46...Rxf2 47.Qxe4 (Trying to just move away from the discovered check leads to mate after 47.Kh1

47...Rxg2!! 48.Kxg2 Qf3+ 49.Kh2 Be3 50.Re7 Kg8 Removing the king away from queen checks, the threat is Bf2 and mate. 51.Re8+ Kf7 52.Re6 Bf2 53.Qf1 (53.Qxe4 Qg3+ 54.Kh1 Qxh3#) ) 47...Rb2+ 48.Kh1 (48.Kh2 Qxe4 49.Rxe4 Be5+ 50.Kg1 Rxb3-+) 48...Rb1+ 49.Kh2 Bg1+ 50.Kg3 Rxb3+ 51.Bf3 Qxe4 52.Rxe4 Bh2+! 53.Kxh2 (53.Kg2 Be5 54.h4 Ra3 55.Bd1 Kg6 and the win is fairly straightforward since Black is not only up a pawn, ready to enter with the king, but White's pieces are all passively chained to defending pawns.) 53...Rxf3 54.Re6 Ra3 55.Rxd6 Rxa4 56.Ra6 Kg8 57.Kg3 Rxc4 58.Rxa5 Kf7 59.d6 Ke6 60.d7 Kxd7 61.Ra7+ Kc6+- 44...dxe5 45.d6 Rf8 46.d7 Qg5! Xiangzhi had obviously calculated the liquidation to an easy win. 47.Qxg5 hxg5 48.Bxe4+ g6 49.Kg2 Kg7 50.Kg3 Kf6 51.Kg4 Rh8 52.Kg3 Ke7 53.Bc6 Rh4 54.b3 Rd4 55.f3 Rd2 56.h4 gxh4+ 57.Kxh4 Rb2 58.Kg5 Rxb3 59.f4 Rg3+ 0-1 [Click to Replay]

Team captain Vladimir Potkin

Potkin who entered as a last-minute replacement for Motylev, after the latter came down with the chicken pox, once again came through for his team by beating Jianchao in very fine style.

Potkin,V (2626) - Zhou Jianchao (2668) [D85]
7th CHN-RUS Ningbo CHN (3), 07.08.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Be3 Qa5 9.Qd2 0-0 10.Rc1 Rd8 11.d5 e6 12.Bg5 f6 13.Bf4 exd5 14.exd5 Bf5 15.Be2 Be4 16.d6 Nd7 17.h4 h5 18.0-0 Qa4 19.Rfe1 Kh7 20.Bb5 Qxb5 21.Rxe4 Nb6 22.Re7 Rd7 23.Rce1 Nc8 24.Re8 Nb6 25.R8e7 Nc8 26.R7e6 Qa4.

27.Be5!! Rf7. Taking the piece with 27...fxe5 would lose to 28.Ng5+ Kh6 (28...Kg8 29.Re8+ Bf8 30.Qd5+ Kg7 31.Qxe5+ Kg8 32.Rxf8+! Kxf8 33.Qh8#; 28...Kh8 29.Re8+ Bf8 30.Rxf8+ Kg7 31.Ne6+ Kh7 32.Rh8+ Kxh8 33.Qh6+ Kg8 34.Qf8+ Kh7 35.Ng5#) 29.Ne4+ Kh7 30.Qg5 Nxd6 31.Qxg6+ Kg8 32.Nxc5 Qg4 33.Qxg4 hxg4 34.Nxd7 Nf5 35.Nxe5 28.Qd3! 28.Qd3 fxe5 (White is threatening mate with 29.Ng5+ Kg8 (29...fxg5 30.Qxg6+ Kg8 31.Bxg7 Rxg7 32.Re8+) 30.Qxg6 fxg5 31.Bxg7 Rxg7 32.Re8+) 29.Qxg6+ Kg8 30.Ng5 Nxd6 (30...Qd7 31.Nxf7 Qxf7 32.Re8+) 31.Qh7+ Kf8 32.Nxf7 Nxf7 (32...Kxf7 33.Rxd6) 33.Rg6 Bh8 34.Qg8+ Ke7 35.Qxa8 1-0 [Click to Replay]

Rublevsky drew an uneventful game against Ni Hua for a final draw of 2.5-2.5 for the men.


Round 3: Saturday, August 7, 14:00h
Nadezhda Kosintseva 
Huang Qian
Natalija Pagonina 
Tan Zhongyi
Ju Wenjun 
Valentina Gunina
Wang Yu 
Anastasia Bodnaruk 
Ding Yixin 
Alina Kashlinskaya

Though the third round for the women also ended in a 2.5-2.5 draw, four of the games ended in decisive results. Kosintseva faced a rare bird at the higher levels of chess, the 3...Qd6 variation in the Scandinavian. She chose an ultra aggressive approach, clearly with the intention of pushing her opponent off the board, and it worked as Black tried to play a quiet and ill-suited superpositional game. Natalia Pagonina's game was the one which might have swung things in favor of the Russians, when she blundered at the worst possible moment, not only missing a chance to win a pawn, but ending up in a worse position.

Pogonina,N (2501) - Tan Zhongyi (2461) [B07]
7th CHN-RUS w Ningbo CHN (3), 07.08.2010

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 5.Qd2 b5 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.h3 Qc7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Ne2 c5 11.c3 e5 12.Ng3 exd4 13.cxd4 Bb7 14.Rac1 a6 15.Bh6 Rfe8 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Rfe1 Rad8 18.Qf4 Qb6 19.e5 dxe5 20.dxe5 Ng8 21.Be4 Re7 22.Qg5 Kh8 23.Bxb7 Qxb7 24.Ne4 Qc7.

25.Nf6? 25.Nxc5! would win a pawn after 25...Nxc5 26.Qe3 Rd5 27.b4+/- 25...h6 26.Qh4 Ndxf6 27.exf6 Rxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Rd5 29.g3 Qd8 30.Ne5 Qxf6 31.Qe4 Rd2 32.Re2 Rxe2 33.Qxe2 Kg7 34.b3 Qe6 35.Qe4 Nf6 36.Qe3 Nd5 37.Qe4 Nc3 38.Qe3 Nd5 39.Qe4 Ne7 40.Qf4 g5 41.Qe3 f6 42.Ng4 Qxe3 43.Nxe3 f5 44.f4 Kf6 45.Kf2 gxf4 46.gxf4 Ke6 47.Kf3 Nd5 48.Nc2 a5 49.a3 Kd6 50.Kg3 c4 51.Nd4 c3 52.Kf3 b4 53.axb4 Nxb4 54.Nxf5+ Kc5 55.Ke3 h5 56.Ng3 Nd5+ 57.Kd3 Kb4 58.Kc2 Nxf4 59.h4 Ng2 60.Nxh5 Ne1+ 61.Kc1 Kxb3 62.Nf4 a4 63.Ne2 Nd3+ 64.Kb1 c2+ 65.Ka1 c1Q+ 66.Nxc1+ Nxc1 67.h5 a3 68.h6 a2 69.h7 Ka3 0-1 [Click to Replay]

Anastasia Gunina

Ju Wenjun, with White, capitalized on her opponent's mistakes after Gunina misplayed an equal endgame. Wang Yu and Anastasia Bodnaruk played a balanced Sicilian Najdorf, while Ding Yixin appeared unsure in her game against Kashlinskaya, playing essentially without a plan and soon found herself lost.

The day's end result was a 5.0-5.0 draw, and the Chinese continue to lead the overall match by 16.5-13.5.

Photographs by Zhang Jilin / Chinese Chess Association


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