Danzhou Masters: Bu races past Duda

by Aditya Pai
7/30/2018 – The third round of the 9th Hainan Danzhou Super Grandmaster tournament was a turbulent affair. Bu Xiangzhi took sole lead beating Le Quang Liem after the latter faltered miserably in a Symmetrical English; Vladimir Fedoseev pulled out a draw from a lost position against Jan-Krzysztof Duda; Vidit Gujrathi broke Sam Shankland's undefeated streak of 62 games; while Yu Yangyi managed to eke out a win in a dead drawn position against Wei Yi. Round 3 report.

The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2 The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2

The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Black’s play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.


A thrilling third round

Both of the first two days of the 9th Hainan Danzhou Super Grandmaster tournament had witnessed rounds end with three draws and a decisive result. In the third round, however, this was turned upside down – three games finished decisively while only one finished in a draw. In fact, had Jan-Krzysztof Duda not messed up in a completely winning position against Vladimir Fedoseev, all four games would have finished with a clear winner.

The beneficiary of Duda's faltering wasn't only Fedoseev, who saved half a point, but also Duda's co-leader from round two, Bu Xiangzhi, who managed to take the sole lead in the tournament after winning his game against Le Quang Liem.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda vs Vladimir Fedoseev

It seemed that, in round three, Duda had come to the board with only one intention — to annihilate the enemy king. In a Semi Slav, the Polish number one went straight for the kill. With the white pieces, he not only came up with an opening novelty but also thrust his kingside pawns forward on the first available opportunity. 


Kings castled on opposite wings and the ensuing middlegame was a bloody one. Fedoseev had his queen on the wrong side of the board and this made Duda's attack look a lot more dangerous. It didn't take long before Duda's forces unleashed themselves on the black monarch and a series of sacrifices followed.


Here, Duda continued his attack with the brilliant 29.Ng6+! and after 29...fxg6 30.Rg7+ Nf7, he gave up another exchange with 31.Rxf7+! Continuing energetically after being down a whole rook, he had almost caught Fedoseev’s king in a mating net. Had it not been for a timely queen sacrifice by the Russian grandmaster, his king would have been doomed to death.


Here, white just threatens too many things. Fedoseev decided to bail out with 39...Qxh5 but this, too, did not look very promising as after 40.Qxh5, white's h-pawn begins to look quite dangerous. But despite all of his advantages, Duda was unable to break through his opponent’s ironclad defence in this endgame. After trying for more than five hours, the Polish GM decided to sign the truce. 

Vladimir Fedoseev during the third round of Danzhou Masters 2018

Fedoseev pulled out a miraculous draw against Duda in the third round | Photo: Official website


Bu Xiangzhi vs Le Quang Liem

Meanwhile, Duda's co-leader, Bu Xiangzhi found himself in a much better position against GM Le Quang Liem after the Vietnamese GM messed up badly in the opening. On the seventh move in a Symmetrical English, Le Quang Liem came up with the novelty, 7...Nh5 and shed a pawn soon afterwards. This was followed by a queen exchange and after a few minor skirmishes, Bu succeeded in converting the game without much discomfort. 

Bu XIangzhi and Le Quang Liem during their third round game at the Danzhou Masters

Le Quang Liem clearly had an off day in round three | Photo: Official website


Vidit Gujrathi vs Sam Shankland

Having lost and drawn in the first two rounds, the Indian number three registered an emphatic win over GM Samuel Shankland in round three, breaking the American grandmaster’s streak of 62 unbeaten games.

Shankland took to Facebook to voice his sorrow

A couple of rounds ago, Vidit’s own long unbeaten streak of 40 games was broken with a loss against the Polish GM Jan Krzysztof Duda. With this win, Vidit has climbed up to the joint third place on the leaderboard.

In the game, Vidit acquired an early advantage with the white pieces in a Slav Defence and was dominating out of the opening.


All trumps are in Vidit's hands in this position. It is he who has the space advantage, the two bishops and control over the a-file, which is, practically, the only open file on the board. Here, Shankland played 29...Kf8, allowing Vidit to take over the initiative with the bishop manoeuvre Bc7-d6. Shankland fought tooth and nail to hold his position together over the next few moves but the cramped position he was in only got worse with each passing move. On his 46th turn he made his final error.


Vidit had opened another front of attack here with 46.g4. Shankland's response 46...Qa8 allowed Vidit to win two pawns and even liquidate into a queen endgame after 47.Bxe7 Nxe7 48.Qxe7 Qxa6 49.Qxe6+ followed by 50.Qxf5. The game went on for a few more moves but the outcome of the game was never in doubt. 

Vidit Gurathi during his third round game at the Danzhou Masters

Third time is a charm, they say. And so it was for Vidit Gujrathi who won after a loss and a draw in the first two rounds | Photo: Official website


Wei Yi vs Yu Yangyi

The all-Chinese battle between Wei Yi and Yu Yangyi resolved in a surprise win for the latter. Yu Yangyi had essayed the Petroff Defence with the black pieces, an opening he had side-stepped in the previous round against Bu Xiangzhi. The position had remained equal all through the game. Wei had an extra pawn in the game but his crooked pawn structure rendered the position equal.


Until this point, it was all hunky-dory for Wei Yi. The computer suggests giving up the pawn here with 36.Rd1. But Wei Yi played 36.Bxf5 and after 36...Kxf5, lost two pawns back to back. And it wasn't long before he decided to throw in the towel. 

We Yi and Yu Yangyi during their third round game at the Danzhou Masters

Wei Yi went down surprisingly fast in an equal looking endgame against Yu Yangyi | Photo: Official website


Standings after round 3


All games


Watch round 4 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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