China strikes first, India retaliates!

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/4/2015 – The Chinese team was able to take the first round 2.5-1.5 on the hands of a very capable Ding Liren, who unquestionably outplayed Adhiban. However their lead did not last very long: Wei Yi missed a good chance to score in round two while Lalith was able to secure a win for the Indian team, beating Wang Chen in a long endgame and tying up the series, 4-4.

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India and China will face off in a Scheveningen Match on four boards at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad from March 1-10.

Rounds One & Two

Round one video impressions from Vijay Kumar

Round two video impressions from Vijay Kumar

The first two rounds of the summit finished 2.5-1.5, but both went to different teams. The first blood was spilled when Ding Liren very quickly took out Adhiban in their first round encounter:

Adhiban fell victim to Ding Liren in round one

[Event "IND-CHN Summit 2015"] [Site "Hyderabad IND"] [Date "2015.03.02"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Adhiban, Baskaran"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E60"] [WhiteElo "2755"] [BlackElo "2646"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2015.03.02"] [WhiteTeam "China"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. Nf3 Bg7 {The c6-d5 setup against the fianchetto Grunfeld has proven to be a tough nut to crack. White has expanded his ideas of searching for an advantage in this opening to moves like Qb3 and also to stranger looking ones such as Qa4!} 6. Qb3 O-O 7. O-O Qb6 (7... dxc4 8. Qxc4 {is entirely possible.}) 8. Nc3 Rd8 9. Na4 {Surprisingly this is already ya rare move. It had been played a couple of times before. Basically everything else had been tried.} Qa6 $5 (9... Qxb3 10. axb3 Na6 {is probably the safer way to go about it.}) 10. cxd5 Qxe2 (10... cxd5 11. Nc5 Qxe2 12. Nxb7 $14 {definitely seems more pleasant for White.}) 11. dxc6 Nxc6 12. Re1 Qa6 {An interesting position. White has some activity but he is playing with an isolated pawn. If Black successfully finishes his development and blockades d5 he will be better.} 13. Bd2 $1 {Ding Liren play a fantastic move, even though it looks very simple. The pawn on d4 is hanging, but he does not bother to defend it, instead sacrificing it in order to open lines for his pieces.} (13. Be3 $6 {is a clumsy move.} Be6 14. Qd1 Bd5 $15) 13... Nxd4 $6 {accepting the pawn is too dangerous.} (13... Ng4 $1 {was a strong move, preparing to take on d4 with the bishop instead of the rook.}) 14. Nxd4 Rxd4 15. Nc5 Qb6 (15... Qc4 16. Bc3 {anyways}) 16. Bc3 Rd8 (16... Qxc5 17. Bxd4 Qxd4 18. Rad1 Qc5 19. Rd8+ {is unplayably miserable. It's the engines top suggestion, but no one in their right minds would go for this.}) 17. Rxe7 Qxb3 18. axb3 {Unfortunately for Adhiban White's pieces are simply too active here. The pressure on the queenside cannot be contained. Ding Liren finishes off with excellent style.} Nd5 19. Rd1 $1 {Very nice. It is counterintuitive to abandon the pressure on a7, but the pin is clearly uncomfortable.} (19. Bxd5 Bxc3 $1 (19... Rxd5 20. Re8+ Bf8 21. Ne4 $18) 20. bxc3 (20. Bxf7+ Kf8 {doesn't work.}) 20... Rxd5 21. Nxb7 {is better for White also, but not as much as the game.}) 19... Bxc3 20. bxc3 Be6 21. Rxe6 $1 {A simple tactic for the Chinese player.} fxe6 22. Nxe6 { The knight cannot move or be defended, it is lost along with the game.} Rd6 23. Bxd5 Kh8 24. c4 Re8 25. Nd4 Rd7 26. Kg2 Kg7 27. Ra1 a6 28. Ne6+ Kf6 29. Nc5 1-0

Spirits remained high in the Indian team, however, and they kept on fighting. Sethuraman was unable to get anything against Wei Yi, and this was counterbalanced by Zhou Jianchao obtaining also nothing against Sasikirian; both of thos games ended in draws. Lalith tried for a long time to make something of his minimal edge against Wang Chen, but it was to no avail. The third draw of the day sealed the 2.5-1.5 in favor of the Chinese.

S.P. Sethuraman was attacked on the kingside, but he survived

Round two was played with the same pairings as the day before, but with reverse colors. Adhiban again saw himself in an awkward position as Ding Liren pushed a rook and opposite colored bishop endgame, but he always had it cooly under control, and obtained the draw after 70 torturous moves.

Wei Yi had good chances to give China an extra half point in this rook endgame

Wei Yi played a fabulous attacking game against Sethuraman's Caro-Kann. His advantage grew into the endgame, where he had very real winning chances. However he misplayed his hand and was unable to do much with his extra pawn; the Indian can be happy he held a difficult position.

Zhou Jianchao finished with two draws against his higher rated opponent, Sasikirian

Sasikirian and Zhou Jianchao finished in another draw, leaving the final game to:

[Event "IND-CHN Summit 2015"] [Site "Hyderabad IND"] [Date "2015.03.03"] [Round "2.4"] [White "Wang, Chen"] [Black "Lalith, Babu M.R"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B11"] [WhiteElo "2500"] [BlackElo "2556"] [PlyCount "118"] [EventDate "2015.03.02"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. d4 (6. d3 {is the usual choice, keeping the position locked since White enjoys the pair of bishops; that being said d4 is enjoying a little bit of a surge in its popularity.}) 6... dxe4 7. Qxe4 Nf6 8. Qd3 Na6 9. a3 Qa5 10. Rb1 O-O-O 11. Be2 Nc7 12. O-O Qf5 13. Qxf5 exf5 14. Bc4 Ne6 15. Rd1 {The endgame is only a tiny bit unpleasant for Black. White has the pair of bishops, but his pawn on d4 is not trivially protected and Black's knights are doing well.} g6 16. Be3 Nd5 17. Nxd5 cxd5 18. Bf1 Bg7 19. c3 {The isolated pawn on d5 is a nuisance, truly, but White's bishops are not that great. The game is about equal, maybe somewhat more pleasant to White.} h5 20. Rbc1 Kb8 21. f3 $2 {This move is very hard for me to understand. White should not put all of his pawns on the lightsquares as he runs the danger of having a terrible bishop if the dark squared bishops are traded.} Rhe8 22. Bf2 a6 23. Bd3 Bf6 24. Kf1 h4 {White hasn't made much progress, on the other hand it seems that Black's idea to create play on the dark square is taking real shape.} 25. Bg1 Bg5 26. Rc2 Bf4 27. c4 Bg3 28. cxd5 Nf4 29. Bf2 Nxd5 30. Bc4 {White is still hanging on. Black has no immediat ethreats and White can dream of exchanging into an only slightly worse rook endgame.} Rc8 31. Rdd2 Bxf2 32. Bxd5 (32. Kxf2 Ne3 33. Bxf7 $11) 32... Rxc2 33. Rxc2 Bg3 34. Re2 Rc8 35. Rd2 {White's position keeps being unpleasant. He does have a passed pawn on the d-file, but his king is not happy about being in a mating threat!} Rc1+ 36. Ke2 Bf4 37. Rd3 Rc2+ 38. Ke1 Rxg2 {The first pawn falls} 39. Rb3 (39. Bxf7 Rg3 $17) 39... Rg3 40. Rxb7+ Kc8 41. Rxf7 Rxh3 42. Kf1 Rh1+ 43. Kg2 Rh2+ 44. Kg1 Rxb2 45. Rh7 Bg3 {Black retains his material advantage. The opposite colored bishops are the only thing still fueling White's ideas to obtain a draw.} 46. Rh6 Rb6 47. Bf7 Rf6 48. Bxg6 h3 49. Bxf5+ $2 {Noticing the pin on the 6th rank and Black's pawn on h3, White panics.} (49. Kh1 Kd8 50. Rh8+ Ke7 51. Re8+ Kd6 52. Bh5 {is not lights out for White yet, even if it still looks horrible.}) 49... Rxf5 50. Rxa6 Rxf3 51. Rc6+ Kd7 52. Rc1 Ke6 53. a4 Kf5 54. d5 Kg4 55. d6 Bxd6 {of course the endgame is easily winning.} 56. a5 h2+ 57. Kh1 Kh3 58. a6 Bc5 59. a7 Rg3 {White queens, but it is not enough.} 0-1

With the match all tied up, the players go into round three!

Wang Chen contemplating a difficult opposite colored bishop endgame

Screenshots from videos by Kusuma Ganga youtube channel

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Topics China, India

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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Pentium Infinite Pentium Infinite 3/4/2015 09:02
Guys, in 10 years timeframe we will see two chinese battling for the world tittle. They are getting too good too quickly.