Chinese Championship – a closer look at Ding Liren

by ChessBase
6/9/2009 – The sixteen-year-old winner of the 2009 Championship, with 8½/11 and a near-2800 TPR, was undefeated and beat three of the four highest-rated players in the tournament. In this week's Playchess lecture Dennis Monokroussos takes a first look at Ding's chess, specifically that the game that decided the championship: his win over Wang Hao. Be there to watch at 9 p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Perhaps the recent Chinese Championship was somewhat overshadowed by Leon and the Leko-Anand rapid match, but it was probably the most intriguing event of them all. In a GM-laden field with three players who have been over 2700, one of whom, Wang Hao, was having the tournament of a lifetime, it was an untitled teenager (I've heard both 15 and 16 - did he have his birthday during the tournament?) who came from behind and won.

That youngster, Ding Liren, won the event with 8½/11 and a near-2800 TPR, defeating Wang Hao in the penultimate round to put a cap on an incredible tournament. He received a terrible gift in the last round (a forfeit win when his opponent showed up a couple of minutes late), but considering that he was undefeated and beat three of the four highest-rated players in the tournament, his success was no fluke.

On the assumption that this tournament was the first major success of a promising career, it's worth having a first look at his chess. For our show this week, we'll examine the game that decided the championship: his win over Wang Hao. Needing a win (he was 1½ points behind with just two rounds to play!) he didn't go head-hunting, but played healthy positional chess, taking what was offered and making progress a little at a time. It was a fine game, and an excellent example of how to play in such a situation.

To tune in and join in the fun, here's what to do:

  1. Log on to the Playchess server at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night/3 a.m. CET Thursday morning.
  2. Go to the Broadcast Room.
  3. Select Ding Liren-Wang Hao from the Games tab or double-click on my nickname, Initiative, under the Players tab.
  4. Watch and enjoy!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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