Chinese Chess Championships taking place in Xinghua

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/25/2020 – The open and women’s Chinese Chess Championships are taking place on December 19-30 in Xinghua, a county-level city located in the Jiangsu Province. Both events are 12-player single round robins. Yu Yangyi and Lu Shanglei are sharing the lead in the open event, while three players — Tan Zhongyi, Ni Shiqun and Song Yuxin — are tied in first place in the women’s tournament. Women’s world champion Ju Wenjun is playing in the open section. | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

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Yu and Lu in the lead

Despite big absences, the open section of the Chinese Championship counts with five players rated 2600 or higher. The third highest-rated player in the country, Wei Yi, is the top seed, and is joined by Yu Yangyi as the other 2700+ grandmaster. Zhao Jun, Bai Jinshi and Lu Shanglei are next in line in terms of rating strength.

After 7 rounds, Yu Yangyi is sharing the lead with Lu Shanglei, as both players scored four wins and three draws to collect 5½ points so far. Lu is employing the old strategy of pushing with white and keeping things under control with black, as he has won all four times he had the white pieces and drawn all his games with the opposite colour.

Current women’s world champion Ju Wenjun is playing in the open section. She is the eighth seed, and is having a good performance so far — she is gaining rating points with her fifty-percent score.

In round 5, Lu showed how sometimes activity is more important than material in his game against Bai:

 

Black is a pawn up and has a better structure, but he still has to deal with his opponent’s initiative. Bai erred here with 21...Qh5, when 21...Rf6 was the only move to keep White’s attack at bay — 22.Rde1 Rxe6 23.Rxe6 Qg5 and the struggle continues.

The bishop joined the attack decisively with 22.Be5, and the game continued 22...Qg5+ 23.Kh1 Bxf2 24.f4 Qh4:

 

26.Rd3 is a lethal rook lift. Black resigned after 26...Qh5 27.Rh3 Qf7 28.Reh6:

 

Mate in five.


Standings after Round 7 - Open

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Lu Shanglei 5,5 0,0
2 Yu Yangyi 5,5 0,0
3 Wei Yi 5,0 0,0
4 Zhao Jun 4,0 0,0
5 Ju Wenjun 3,5 0,0
6 Xu Yinglun 3,5 0,0
7 Xu Xiangyu 3,5 0,0
8 Bai Jinshi 3,0 0,0
9 Wen Yang 3,0 0,0
10 Lin Yi 2,5 0,0
11 Huang Renjie 2,5 0,0
12 Zhang Rui 0,5 0,0

All games

 

Three leaders in the women’s section

Only two players from the national ranking’s top 10 are taking part in the women’s championship, with Tan Zhongyi a clear favourite — rating-wise — to take the title. However, as we have come to realize over the years, there is no lack of young, underrated players in China! 

With 5 rounds to go, former women’s world champion Tan (2510) is sharing the lead with Ni Shiqun (2389) and Song Yuxin (2290). Curiously, none of the co-leaders have played each other yet in the event.

In round 6, Ni finished off Li Xueyi by removing the defender:

 

The ever-annoying white pawn on f6, with the queen ready to give mate on g7, means Black needs to be ready to defend with ...Qf8 at all times. Thus, 30.Nd7 and game over! The knight both keeps an eye on f8 and cannot be captured due to 31.Qh6. Black resigned.


Standings after Round 7 - Women’s

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Ni Shiqun 5,0 0,0
2 Tan Zhongyi 5,0 0,0
3 Song Yuxin 5,0 0,0
4 Xiao Yiyi 4,5 0,0
5 Zhai Mo 4,0 1,0
6 Yan Tianqi 4,0 0,0
7 Yuan Ye 3,5 0,5
8 Guo Qi 3,5 0,5
9 Gu Xiaobing 2,5 0,0
10 Ning Kaiyu 2,0 0,0
11 Li Xueyi 1,5 0,0
12 Hu Yu A 1,5 0,0

All games

 

Links

 

Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.

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