Danzhou Masters: All games finish peacefully

by Aditya Pai
8/2/2018 – After two exciting rounds at the 9th Hainan Danzhou Masters, draws were agreed on all boards in the antepenultimate round Wednesday. Wei Yi was the only player with any chance of pushing for a win while players battled in fairly balanced positions on all other boards. This is a welcome development for the tournament leader, Bu Xiangzhi, who now has to stay ahead of his rivals for only two more rounds in order to clinch the title.

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A day of Danzhou draws

It was one of those days at the Hainan Danzhou Masters that comes at least once in almost every strong closed event; it was the day of dull draws. After about four hours of play, all games of the round had finished peacefully.

Vidit Gujrathi vs Bu Xiangzhi

Tournament leader, Bu Xiangzhi had the black pieces against Vidit Gujrathi. He tried a line of the Open Catalan that he had already drawn with against Wang Yue at the Chinese Chess Team Championship in Hangzhou in June, this year. Back then, the game had finished in just 26 moves, but this time Bu had something else prepared.

 

Bu deviated from his previous game after 13 moves. Instead of going for 13...Qd5 as he had done the last time, Bu went for 13...Qe8 but this also did not lead to anything substantial. Queens were traded a couple of moves later and Bu remained with an isolated queen’s pawn in the ensuing endgame.

 

As play progressed, Bu sought counter-play against Vidit’s far advanced queenside pawns and soon liquidated into an equal rook endgame. After shuffling pieces for a few more moves, the players decided to call it a day.

Vidit Gujrathi playing against Bu Xiangzhi in the fifth round of Hainan Danzhou Masters

Bu Xiangzhi kept his tournament lead with a solid draw against Vidit Gujrathi | Photo: Official website

 

Jan-Krzysztof Duda vs Yu Yangyi

After winning two back to back games in the last two rounds, Yu Yangyi slowed down his pace in the antepenultimate round with a draw against Jan-Krzysztof Duda. This game was also a fifty mover which led to an equal endgame almost immediately out of the opening.

Initially, Yu Yangyi’s queenside looked slightly weak due to the split pawns but by the time the players had reached the first time control, it was Duda who seemed to be on the back foot.

 

Make the moves in the live diagram

Here, after 42…Rxb3 43.Rxb3 Qxb3 44.Bxa5 c4, Black’s c pawn looked quite threatening in this position. But Duda had it all covered. He simply ignored the advancing pawn and played 45.Bc7 and after 45…c3, just went 46.Bd6. Now black can neither take on d6 nor leave the white bishop there. Yu Yangyi, therefore, went for a repetition straight away with 46…Qc2+ 47.Kh3 and 47…Qf5+.

Yu Yangyi and Jan-Krzysztof Duda during their fifth round game at the Hainan Danzhou Masters

After two straight wins, Yu Yangyi slowed down with a draw against Jan Krzysztof Duda | Photo: Official website

 

Wei Yi vs Le Quang Liem

In the game between Wei Yi and Le Quang Liem, the young Chinese grandmaster got an edge in a Queen’s Indian Defence middle game after Le allowed his opponent to shatter his kingside pawns with a trade on f6.

 

Wei Yi grabbed the opportunity to take over the initiative but wasn’t able to find the most accurate follow up. He tried to push for an edge in the resulting endgame but after the rooks were exchanged, Le was able to inflict some weaknesses in his opponent’s kingside pawn structure.

 

Wei kept the damage to a minimum and tried to generate some initiative against the black monarch in the second time control. However, there was just too less material remaining over the board. After a series of checks, first, the knights went off the board and then the queens. The resulting king and pawn endgame was an easy draw.

Wei Yi in his game against Le Quang Liem in the fifth round of Danzhou Masters

Wei Yi had decent chances against Le Quang Liem but some inaccuracies by the Chinese GM steered the game to a draw | Photo: Official website

 

Vladimir Fedoseev vs Sam Shankland

Vladimir Fedoseev finished with his fifth straight draw of the tournament against GM Sam Shankland. The two discussed a Catalan which remained equal all the way through. Exchanging several pieces throughout the middle game and the opening, Fedoseev managed to pocket a pawn by the time the first time control was reached. With the rooks on the board, however, the prospects of this extra pawn weren’t really promising. After trying for another 37 moves, he decided to sign peace on move 77. 

Vladimir Fedoseev and Sam Shankland during their fifth round game at the Danzhou Masters

Vladimir Fedoseev's game against Sam Shankland was a long, uneventful draw. | Photo: Official website

 

Standings after round 5

 

All games

 

Watch Round 6 live

 

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Aditya Pai is an ardent chess fan, avid reader, and a film lover. He holds a Master's in English Literature and used to work as an advertising copywriter before joining the ChessBase India team.
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