Ding defeated! Tiviakov celebrates!

by Macauley Peterson
11/11/2018 – Ding Liren lost in Shenzen today for the first time in over 15 months, ending his historic streak at 100 games. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was the spoiler, and he now is the co-leader of the tournament along with Yu Yangi. Nikita Vitiugov also won on Sunday, sending Radoslaw Wojtaszek into the cellar. Records are meant to be broken, but the all-time undefeated streak claimed by Sergei Tiviakov is going to be a tough one to crack. He kindly provided all 110 games and a brief description in an attempt to set the record...of the record...straight! | Photo: qipai.org.cn

The Bishop's Opening and The Italian Game The Bishop's Opening and The Italian Game

Studying the content of this DVD and adding these openings to your repertoire will provide players with a very strong tool to fight 1...e5 - as the practice of the author clearly demonstrates.


Streak ends ten games shy of all-time record

The Shenzen Masters doubled the number of decisive games today — and the two new wins came from two new players: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Nikitia Vitiugov. Therefore, the tournament lead is now shared by Yu Yangyi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with 4.0/7 and three rounds remaining.


Vachier-Lagrave's win is particularly notable by virtue of the fact that it ended the undefeated streak of Ding Liren at an even 100 games.

Ding, playing black in an Italian game, launched his g-pawn early on, following the lead of Pavel Eljanov (amongst others) who tried the same against Anish Giri in Norway Chess 2016 (a game which Giri won). 


Play through the moves on the live diagram!

After 10.Bg3 Ba7 11.Na3, Ding was the first to play a new move with 11...Nh7. But the g-pawn went further: 12.Nd2 g4 and just a few moves later Ding was looking over-extended.

13.Nb5 Bb6 14.Bb3 a4 15.Bc2 h5 16.h4:


Ding should have settled for near equality in the endgame after 16...gxh3 17.Qxh5 Qg5, but instead he opened the centre when he could ill-afford to do so: 16...d5 17.d4!

A fraught middlegame struggle ensued, culminating in this nice double-desperado-queen sequence:


34.Bxc8 Rxc8 35.Qxa6! Qxd4! (bxa6 Ne6+, of course, leaves White a piece up) 36.Qf1 Qe4 37.Rd1 and White is better but there's no need to panic, yet. But Ding continued 37...c5?! (...b6 was more circumspect) 38.Rd6 Qe7? 39.Qa1! Now it's time to panic!

Vachier-Lagrave soon cashed in his attacked against Ding's king for a material advantage and went on to win without great difficulty.


MVL got to play 'Mordred' today, as he brought Ding Liren's epic undefeated streak to an end | Photo: qipai.org.cn

Tiviakov's 110 games remains the record

When Ding passed Mikhail Tal's mark of 95 games without a loss, which has often been referred to as the absolute record, Chinese officials threw him a party. We noted that Sergei Tiviakov has long claimed a 110-game record, and we have reported on it before. The two streaks are not directly comparable in terms of the calibre of opponent, and even Tiviakov himself admits that it would be an apples-to-oranges comparison. However, he was nevertheless pleased that — at least in terms of total classical games — his claim remains intact.

Upon our request, he also sent over a file of all 110 games for posterity, along with this note: 

As promised, attached I send you the file with 110 games played in a row without a loss.
In this period of time I have lost two rapid games against Ivanchuk (tiebreak in Merida on December 18).

These losses also should be in databases. But they are not counted. And they were already 3rd and 4th games on the same day. So I got extremely tired and lost. 

2004 to 2005 was a very good period for me. Not only I was not losing at all but also winning lots of tournaments (many of them with 8½ out of 9) — like Izmir, Gausdal etc.

At the end of 2005 my rating was 2700 (#20 in the world). Considering the rating inflation it is about 2750 now. And among my opponents were Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Aronian, Radjabov, Dreev, Wojtaszek and many others.

Of course, it is impossible to compare the rating and the strength of the players then and now. Every time had its own heroes.

I am very annoyed that lot of people on Internet do not want to accept my record. There is even one person, who permanently deletes my editing of Wikipedia, restoring the record of Tal.

And now I am blocked, cannot edit Wikipedia page anymore :-(

I hope that the CB article will put everything on its place.

So, here are the games. If anyone knows of any reason why we shouldn't set the Wikipedia record straight, speak now, or forever hold your peace edits!


Tiviakov added that it was hard work that got him to 110. "During my career, I studied [the] best games of Petrosian three times — that's why me defending technique was so good!"

He even authored a video series about it!

The Art of Defence

The purpose of this DVD is to explain the viewer all main methods of defence: exchanging pieces, creating a fortress, eliminating dangerous enemy pieces, escaping the danger zone with the king, improving the position of the pieces.

All Shenzen Masters games



Macauley served as the Editor in Chief of ChessBase News from July 2017 to March 2020. He is the producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast, and was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.


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