Danzhou Masters: Yu Yangyi comes out on top

by Aditya Pai
8/4/2018 – Scoring 4½/7, tournament's top seed, GM Yu Yangyi bagged the title prize of the 9th Hainan Danzhou Super Grandmaster tournament. In the final round, the race for the title was between Yu Yangyi and his countryman Bu Xiangzhi. Going for a comfortable draw in the Petroff, Yu put the onus of catching up on his rival who was half-a-point behind. Bu was never really in a position to win his game but Fedoseev, Bu's opponent, surprisingly pulled out a win at the last moment to score his first win of the event. Le Quang Liem and Wei Yi also scored impressive wins in the finale.

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Round 7

After a stormy penultimate round, the battle for the title of the 9th Hainan Danzhou Masters was between the overnight tournament leader, Yu Yangyi and his compatriot Bu Xiangzhi. Bu was half-a-point behind the leader and had to win at all cost to remain in contention.

Yu Yangyi, on the contrary, could afford to take things calmly. He had the luxury of going for a solid draw and putting the onus of catching up on his rival. And that is what he did.

Sam Shankland vs Yu Yangyi

Yu had the black pieces against Sam Shankland in the final round and went for his favourite Petroff Defence. As is the case in most Petroffs, the position reached out of the opening was rather bland. By the 21st move, a dead equal endgame with rooks and bishops of opposite colours was reached. The game went on for 17 more moves but the result of the game was never in doubt. 

Sam Shankland and Yu Yangyi during their final round game at the Danzhou Masters

Yu Yangyi decided to go for a quiet draw in the final round | Photo: Official website


Vladimir Fedoseev vs Bu Xiangzhi

A draw in Yu Yangyi’s game meant Bu Xiangzhi had a chance to catch up with the tournament leader. However, Bu’s own position did not hold much promise.  Within the first 25 moves in a Queen’s Indian Defence, the game had reached a rook and pawn endgame with five pawns for each side. 


Although the position looks more or less equal, Fedoseev is in the driver’s seat here. Despite material equality, black is under some pressure due to his weak pawns and passive rook. White managed to net a pawn here after 26.Rd6 Kf7 27.Rd7+ Kf6 and 28.Ra7. It took some time in the ensuing endgame for Fedoseev to convert the game but by move 58, he had secured his first win of the tournament. 

Bu Xiangzhi during his final round game against Samuel Shankland at the Danzhou Masters

Vladimir Fedoseev won his first game of the tournament against Bu Xiangzhi | Photo: Official website


Vidit Gujrathi vs Le Quang Liem

Le Quang Liem had an extra pawn against Vidit Gujrathi for the most part of the game. Vidit, on the other hand, had the initiative and a better pawn structure.  On the 64th move, by when the tide had already begun to turn in Le’s favour, Vidit cracked and made back-to-back errors.


Vidit had chased the king all the way from the kingside to its current post where it now looked safe. White had no checks and the discovered attack on the queen didn’t lead anywhere. Unwilling to take on c5 and give up the pin on the knight — which was the best way to proceed — Vidit decided to go with his king to h3. Now after 64…Ne5 65.Nxe5 Qxe2, the white king suddenly looks exposed. Vidit tried 66.Nf7+ but after 66…Kc6 (not allowing any checks) 67.Kg2 g4, Black just had an overwhelming advantage.

Le Quang Liem during the seventh round of Danzhou Masters

Le Quang Liem finished on a high note with two consecutive wins in the last two rounds | Photo: Official website


Jan-Krzysztof Duda vs Wei Yi

Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Wei Yi discussed the Mikenas variation of the English Opening. Wei was very well prepared for the game. Deviating from known theory on his 8th turn, he went on to get a slight advantage early in the game. Although queens were off the board, Wei, with his extra space and double bishops, exerted considerable pressure on Duda’s position. Duda fought hard to restore equilibrium but Black’s advantages turned out to be too difficult for him to deal with. 


On his 33rd move, Duda allowed a deadly check on h6 and after 34.Ng5 f4+ 35.gxf4 exf4+ 36.Kxf4 Rd2, realized that the bishop did not have a decent square. After 37.Re3 or Ke3 Black has 37…Rxa2 after which the a-pawn is too strong. Duda gave up a piece here with 37.Bxh5 but did not survive for too long in the resulting endgame. 

Jan Krzysztof Duda playing against Wei Yi in the final round of the Danzhou Masters

Wei Yi came well prepared for his final round game against Jan Krzysztof Duda | Photo: Official website


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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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