Danzhou Masters: Bu catches Duda

by Aditya Pai
7/29/2018 – After having missed a win twice in round one, Bu Xiangzhi had luck smiling on him in the second round as he won in a drawn endgame against compatriot, Yu Yangyi. With this win, he also caught up with the tournament leader Jan-Krzysztof Duda at 1½/2. Meanwhile, the other games of the round finished in sedate draws leaving a field of four players half-a-point behind the leaders.

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Three draws and a win again

In terms of results, the second round of the 9th Hainan Danzhou Super Grandmaster Tournament was no different to the first. Three games were drawn and one finished decisively. But this time around, the games weren’t as dramatic. Early exchanges led to equal endgames in almost all of the match-ups and three games petered out in draws one after another. The only remaining game of the round between Yu Yangyi and his compatriot Bu Xiangzhi also didn’t provide much hope for a decisive result. But Bu, with great determination and a bit of luck, managed to scrape out a win after more than five hours of play.

Yu Yangyi had the white pieces and opened the game with the Bishop’s Opening, perhaps trying to sidestep a Petroff which has been a favourite of the Chinese contingent. Unimpressed, Bu managed to equalize easily. Several exchanges followed soon and the game seemed to be drifting towards an inevitable draw. 

White could have offered a queen exchange on his 23rd move and the resulting endgame would have hardly offered any chances to either side. Yu Yangyi, however, decided to play on instead and allowed his opponent’s heavy pieces to penetrate on the back rank.


At the outset, this does look a bit dangerous for white but all the critical squares are covered. Queens were exchanged a few moves later. An inaccuracy by his opponent in the resulting position did net Bu an extra pawn but, given the limited material remaining on the board, it wasn’t clear how he could make anything of it.


While Bu pondered over his options for making progress, Yu Yangyi came up with a crafty trick to save the day. On his 62nd turn, he walked into a fork to snap off the g6 pawn.


After 62…Nh5+, white went 63.Kxg6 Nxg7 and 64.Kxg7 Kf5 and 65.g6. But after 65…e5, Yu Yangyi played 66.Nh6+, missing the stunning 66.Nxe5, the only move that drew. Five moves later, it was curtains.

Yu Yangyi and Bu Xiangzhi during their second round encounter at the Danzhou Masters

Yu Yangyi faltered at a crucial moment and ended up losing | Photo: Official website


With this win, Bu Xiangzhi caught up with the tournament leader Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who was held to a draw in the second round by the Vietnamese number one, Le Quang Liem. Adopting a King’s Indian-like setup against his opponent’s English Opening, Duda managed to exchange queens and a pair of knights within the first ten moves of the game. Black’s 10th move novelty was also just a sham that led to more exchanges. 

GM Le Quang Liem at the Danzhou Masters

GM Le Quang Liem had no problems holding tournament leader Jan-Krzysztof Duda to a draw in round 2 | Photo: Official website


Wei Yi played the shortest game of the day against GM Sam Shankland. The game followed the Classical System of the Nimzo-Indian Defence in which players hacked off pieces left, right and centre. Twenty-five moves into the game, a barren endgame was reached. The players shuffled pieces for a few moves before signing the truce via move repetition.

Wei Yi playing against Samuel Shankland in the second round of Danzhou Masters

Sam Shankland and Wei Yi played the shortest game of the day | Photo: Official website


Vladimir Fedoseev’s game against Vidit Gujrathi was no different. Here again, early exchanges had led to a drawn endgame. Having lost with white in the opening round, Vidit clearly wanted to remain solid.

Vidit Gujrathi and Vladimir Fedoseev playing their second round game at the Danzhou Masters

Vidit Gujrathi would have been happy with a solid draw with black after his first round loss | Photo: Official website


Standings after Round 2


All games


Watch Round 3 live



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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