Blitz in Beijing: Day Two

by Alejandro Ramirez
12/14/2014 – How the standings have changed, at least in the open section! MVL took the day by storm and leads by a full point. Ivanchuk had a solid showing and is only a point behind, as is Grischuk. Aronian is tired for fourth while Leko's disastrous day lands him all the way down in twelfth! Gunina still trails Hou Yifan, though both ladies had a few gifts from their opponents...

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On December 11th the World Mind Games began in Beijing, China. One week some of the word's best players compete in Chess, Go, Draughts, Chinese Chess, (Xiangqi), and Bridge. In chess 16 top men and women play rapid, blitz and Basque chess. After four rounds of rapid Nana Dzagnidze, Wang Yue, Wang Hao and Alexander Grischuk are the leading mind acrobats.

The chessplayers will play rapid, blitz and Basque chess (two players play two games simultaneously against each other - one with white, one with black). All in all 24 medals can be won. The first chess tournament is the rapid competition for men and women (Thursday and Friday). After that follows blitz (Saturday to Monday) until the Basque chess tournament finally rounds it off (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Open Blitz - Day Two

Day two under way

What a day! The leaderboard changed dramatically after the three leaders from yesterday had drastically different results. Ivanchuk scored 6.0/10. This keeps him in a solid second place with 13.0/20, along with Grischuk.

8.0/10 is quite a feat for anyone in this field, but Pentala Harikrishna's
score puts him only half a point away from last!

Aronian did not have a great day. He started losing to the current tournament leader, Vachier-Lagrave. The Armenian finished the day with 4.5/10, enough for a tie for fourth with 11.5/20 but a few points below the leader. Leko, the other leader from day one, had a dismal 1.5/10 and is nowhere near the top positions.

Wang Yue had an extra knight against Nepomniachtchi but he could not break
down the Russian's defenses... even after 109 moves!

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is, of course, the story of the day. He scored a monstrous 8.0/10 today and is a point above Grischuk and Ivanchuk going into day three. One point is not a big lead in a blitz tournament that has ten rounds left, but it is still nice to have! Some highlights from day two:

[Event "SportAccord Blitz 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.13"] [Round "15.3"] [White "Leko, Peter"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2810"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rnbqkb1r/1p2pp2/p2p3p/6p1/3NP1n1/2N3B1/PPP2PPP/R2QKB1R b KQkq - 0 11"] [PlyCount "39"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 11... Bg7 {Somehow, December 14th was not Leko's day. Here the normal theoretical continuation is 12.h3. Leko's novelty will not be repeated often.} 12. f3 $4 Ne3 13. Qd3 Bxd4 {and of course d4 cannot be captured because of Nxc2+, with a royal fork. The rest was easy for Grischuk.} 14. Bf2 Qb6 15. Bxe3 Bxe3 16. Nd5 Qxb2 17. Qxe3 Qxa1+ 18. Kd2 Kf8 19. Nb6 Nc6 20. Nxa8 Be6 21. Nb6 Qxa2 22. h4 Qa5+ 23. Kd1 g4 24. f4 f6 25. g3 d5 26. exd5 Bxd5 27. Rh2 Bf3+ 28. Be2 Kg7 29. Bxf3 gxf3 30. Nc4 Rd8+ 0-1

Wang Hao taking the time to read a book between rounds

[Event "SportAccord Blitz 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.13"] [Round "16.2"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2797"] [BlackElo "2810"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2Q2bk1/5p1p/1N1r2p1/8/P3p3/4P1Pq/5P1P/1R4K1 b - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "39"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 30... Qh5 {Grischuk also received a nice gift from Aronian in round 16. The Armenian is a clear pawn ahead and has excellent winning chances. Black threatens a perpetual with Rd1+ so he prevents this... in the most awkward way possible.} 31. g4 $2 (31. Qc2 $1 $16) 31... Qh4 {the tables have already turned. Rd8 followed by Qxg4 is a serious threat.} 32. a5 Rf6 $2 (32... Rd2 $1 33. Rf1 Rd8 $1 34. Qc2 Qxg4+ 35. Kh1 Qf3+ 36. Kg1 Bd6 {and White will not survive.}) 33. Nd5 $4 (33. Rb2 Rd6 34. Rb1 {goes back to the previous line.}) ( 33. Nd7 $1 {is a computer like save!} Qxf2+ 34. Kh1 Qf3+ 35. Kg1 Qxe3+ 36. Kh1 {and because of the threat of Qxf8 black has to give the perpetual.}) 33... Qxf2+ 34. Kh1 Qf3+ 35. Kg1 Qf2+ 36. Kh1 Rd6 {now the knight will soon be lost.} 37. Ne7+ Kg7 38. Qc3+ f6 39. Nf5+ gxf5 40. gxf5 Qf3+ 41. Kg1 Qxf5 42. Rf1 Qg4+ 43. Kh1 Qe2 44. Rg1+ Kh6 45. Re1 Qf3+ 46. Kg1 Rd3 47. Qc8 Bd6 48. a6 Bxh2+ 49. Kxh2 Rd2+ 0-1

The new leader: Maxime "MVL" Vachier-Lagrave

Blitz Standings

Rank Name Rtg FED Pts
1 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2776 FRA 14
2 Grischuk Alexander 2819 RUS 13
3 Ivanchuk Vassily 2720 UKR 13
4 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2866 AZE 11½
5 Aronian Levon 2850 ARM 11½
6 Radjabov Teimour 2715 AZE 11
7 Nepomniachtchi Ian 2788 RUS 10½
8 Gelfand Boris 2757 ISR
9 Wang Hao 2693 CHN 9
10 Ponomariov Ruslan 2758 UKR
11 Dominguez Perez Leinier 2728 CUB
12 Leko Peter 2694 HUN
13 Harikrishna P. 2728 IND 8
14 Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2743 POL 8
15 Wang Yue 2680 CHN 8
16 Bacrot Etienne 2739 FRA

International Arbiter Anastasia Sorokina from Australia

Replay blitz games 11-20

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Women's Blitz - Day Two

The World Champion, Hou Yifan, extended her lead

What a day for Hou Yifan! She extended her lead by scoring 8.5/10, including a four game winning streak to finish the day.

Everyone seems to be in good spirits at the tournament!

Gunina was not far behind scoring her own 7.5/10. The frontrunners did not face each other today but will do so tomorrow. Meanwhile Muzychuk leads the fight for bronze, two points behind Gunina who currently holds silver, while Kosteniuk and Stefanova are stepping on her heels with only half a point less.

The way to the top, however, did come with some help from Gunina's and Hou Yifan's opponents!

[Event "SportAccord Blitz w 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.14"] [Round "11.1"] [White "Cramling, Pia"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D05"] [WhiteElo "2518"] [BlackElo "2673"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5r1k/pQR3p1/4q2p/4np2/8/2P3P1/1PB2P1P/6K1 b - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "9"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 30... Ng4 {Pia Cramling, who has not been able to find her form in Beijing at all, is completely crushing the World Champion. She is up a pawn and has the better position. All she needs to do is prevent Qe2.} 31. Kg2 $4 {ignoring it is simply not the right way.} (31. Re7 $18) (31. Qxa7 $18 {guarding f2.}) 31... Qe2 32. Qxa7 {too late, now the bishop is hanging on c2.} Qxc2 $2 (32... f4 $1 {is the clear way to win, threatening Ne3+}) 33. h3 $4 (33. Rxg7 $1 {and the win is not entirely clear. White now has her own threats, and the simplification into the endgame is not necessarily winning.} Qxf2+ 34. Qxf2 Nxf2 35. Rc7 $15) 33... Qe4+ 34. Kg1 Ra8 {now it really is all over.} 0-1

Ju Wenjun was too ambitious against Gunina:

[Event "SportAccord Blitz w 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.14"] [Round "11.8"] [White "Gunina, Valentina"] [Black "Ju, Wenjun"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A87"] [WhiteElo "2522"] [BlackElo "2568"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/r5kp/P4qp1/1p3bQ1/8/3p3P/6B1/2R4K w - - 0 43"] [PlyCount "37"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 43. Qe3 {White is clearly busted. Once Black picks a6 off the game is over.} Qxa6 $2 {Not like this!} (43... Rxa6 44. Rc7+ Kf8 45. Qh6+ Ke8 46. Qe3+ Kd8 $19 ) (43... Re7 $1 44. Qf2 Qxa6 45. Qd4+ Qf6 $19) 44. Qd4+ {Black cannot escape the perpetual as a7 is hanging, which does not allow her to interpose the queen.} Kh6 45. Qe3+ Kg7 46. Qd4+ Kh6 47. Qe3+ g5 $4 {Too ambitious! Ju Wenjun forgets about Gunina's resources!} 48. Rc6+ Qxc6 49. Bxc6 {The rest is easy, the material advantage is too big.} Ra1+ 50. Kh2 Ra2+ 51. Kg3 d2 52. Bf3 Kg6 53. Qb6+ Kg7 54. Qd4+ Kg6 55. Qd6+ Kg7 56. Qe5+ Kg6 57. Qe8+ Kg7 58. Qe7+ Kg6 59. Qe8+ Kg7 60. Qxb5 Ra3 61. Qb2+ 1-0

Nana Dzagnidze with 11.0/20 has a good chance for bronze:
she is only a point behind Anna Muzychuk

[Event "SportAccord Blitz w 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.14"] [Round "20.5"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Ushenina, Anna"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B23"] [WhiteElo "2673"] [BlackElo "2494"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/5p2/4b3/6K1/1Pk3P1/7P/8 w - - 0 63"] [PlyCount "19"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 63. Kf5 Kxb3 {The endgame should be a draw. Hou Yifan simply pushes her h-pawn. } 64. h4 Bd6 $6 {not losing, but making it very hard.} (64... Bxg3 65. h5 Bd6 66. h6 Bf8 67. h7 $4 (67. Kxf6 $11) 67... Bg7 $19) 65. h5 Bf8 $2 {now losing!} (65... Kc4 66. h6 (66. Kxf6 Bxg3 $11) (66. g4 Kd5 67. Kxf6 Be5+ 68. Kf5 Kd6 69. h6 Bb2 70. g5 Ke7 71. g6 Kf8 $11) 66... Bf8 67. h7 Bg7 $11) 66. Kxf6 Kc4 67. g4 Kd5 68. g5 Ke4 69. h6 Bd6 70. g6 Bf4 71. g7 Be5+ 72. Kf7 {The bishop is so unfortunately helpless without the king's help.} 1-0


[Event "SportAccord Blitz w 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.14"] [Round "18.7"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Paehtz, Elisabeth"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B01"] [WhiteElo "2673"] [BlackElo "2485"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4k3/p3pp1p/2p1b1pP/2P1P3/1P3Q2/PN2R1K1/5PP1/3r3q w - - 0 50"] [PlyCount "11"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 50. Nd4 $2 {After having a better position and then underestimating her opponent's chances, Hou Yifan has just played 50.Nd4, completely overlooking Black's resources.} (50. Qh4 Qg1 51. Nd4 {is better for Black, but holdable maybe.}) 50... Bd5 $4 (50... Rg1 $1 {and White is pretty obviously going to get mated soon.} 51. Qf3 Qh3+ $1 {Is reminiscent of yesterday's Hou Yifan-Gunina tactic!} 52. Kf4 Qh4+ $19) 51. Nf3 Rf1 $4 (51... Rg1 $13) 52. e6 {now it is Black that is getting mated!} fxe6 53. Qb8+ Kf7 54. Ng5+ Kf6 55. Qf4# 1-0

Kosteniuk also had a great day: 6.5/10 is a nice score!

Blitz Standings - Women

Rank Name Rtg FED Pts
1 Hou Yifan 2662 CHN 15½
2 Gunina Valentina 2582 RUS 14
3 Muzychuk Anna 2665 UKR 12
4 Kosteniuk Alexandra 2479 RUS 11½
5 Stefanova Antoaneta 2569 BUL 11½
6 Harika Dronavalli 2533 IND 11
7 Dzagnidze Nana 2591 GEO 11
8 Zhao Xue 2576 CHN 10½
9 Koneru Humpy 2521 IND 10½
10 Ju Wenjun 2469 CHN
11 Kosintseva Tatiana 2578 RUS 9
12 Ushenina Anna 2467 UKR 9
13 Paehtz Elisabeth 2522 GER
14 Muzychuk Mariya 2439 UKR 7
15 Khotenashvili Bela 2457 GEO
16 Cramling Pia 2433 SWE 3

The hectic commentary booth. It is hard enough to do live
broadcasts, doing it on top-level blitz is something else!

Replay women's blitz 11-20

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Pictures and information from the official website by Gu Xiaobing and Alina l'Ami


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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