Ding Liren edges Bu Xiangzhi to top Hainan

by Alejandro Ramirez
7/6/2014 – Bu Xiangzhi's draw against Yu Yangyi, who was trying to stop the bleeding from his three losses in a row, guaranteed him a share of first place. Ding Liren, the only player that could catch him, took advantage of this opportunity and won a nice game with Black, edging Bu Xiangzhi in tiebreaks. We bring you a final round report on an interesting event and a fierce Chinese Olympic team.

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The last round of Hainan saw some interesting chess. The key battles were certainly the games of Bu Xiangzhi and Ding Liren who were playing for the title, but a curious game happened between Naiditsch and Ma Qun:

[Event "5th Hainan Danzhou GM"] [Site "Danzhou CHN"] [Date "2014.07.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Ma Qun"] [Black "Naiditsch, A."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B52"] [WhiteElo "2609"] [BlackElo "2705"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r4rk1/3q4/2Npn1p1/1ppNp1bp/2P1P3/3K1P2/6PP/R2Q3R w - - 0 27"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2014.06.25"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 27. cxb5 {The position is already strange as it is. White's king is on d3 instead of safely tucked in h1, but in compensation White has a fantastic White squared blockade. If he can keep it up and coordinate his major pieces he has serious winning chances.} c4+ $5 {Naiditsch is not going to wait passively and starts opening lines against the enemy king.} 28. Kxc4 Rac8 29. Qa4 (29. Ra6 {is another try to hold the position together.} Nd4 (29... Qb7 $1 30. Qa4 Nc5 31. Ra7 $14) 30. Qa4 $16) 29... Nd4 (29... Qb7 $5) 30. Nb6 Qf7+ 31. Kd3 Qf4 32. Nxc8 $2 {Ma Qun misses a key intermediate move.} (32. Qa2+ $1 { This brilliant chess covers d2; this will be important soon.} Kh8 33. Nd5 $1 ( 33. Nxc8 Qe3+ {simply gets mated.}) 33... Qf7 34. Nxd4 exd4 35. Qb2 $1 {And White has basically consolidated and should be winning.}) 32... Rxc8 {Now Black keeps many threats alive.} (32... Qd2+ $1 33. Kc4 d5+ $1 34. exd5 Nxc6 $1 35. bxc6 Rf4+ 36. Kc5 $1 Rxa4 37. Rxa4 {is not for humans. This should end in a perpetual check.} Qc2+ 38. Kb5 Be3 39. Re4 Qe2+ $11) 33. Qa2+ Kg7 34. Qf2 Nxb5 35. Rhc1 Qf7 (35... d5 $1 36. exd5 e4+ $1 37. Ke2 Re8 $15 {and Black can start thinking of an advantage.}) 36. Qb2 Bxc1 $6 (36... Qf4 $1) 37. Qxb5 Bg5 38. Ra7 Rc7 39. Nxe5 $1 {A powerful blow that Naiditsch surely missed.} Rc3+ $1 (39... Qe7 40. Rxc7 (40. Nc6 $1) 40... Qxc7 41. Qd7+ Qxd7 42. Nxd7 {should be winning.}) 40. Kxc3 Qxa7 41. Qd7+ Qxd7 42. Nxd7 Kf7 43. Kd3 Bd8 44. Nb8 Bb6 45. Nc6 Bg1 46. h3 g5 47. Nd4 {It seems as if White has done the hard part, but Naiditsch hasn't give up his hopes to save the game.} Kf6 48. Ne2 Ba7 49. Nd4 Bb6 50. g3 d5 $1 51. f4 $2 {There was no need for this.} (51. exd5 Ke5 52. Ne2 Kxd5 53. f4 $1 {an important resource; h5 is hanging.} g4 (53... gxf4 54. Nxf4+ Ke5 55. Nxh5 $18) (53... Bd8 54. fxg5 Bxg5 55. Nf4+ {is also winning.}) 54. hxg4 hxg4 55. Nc3+ Ke6 56. Nd1 $18) 51... dxe4+ 52. Kxe4 gxf4 53. gxf4 {Now winning is very complicated with the amount of material left. Ma Qun does not find a way in.} Ba5 54. Nf5 Bc3 55. Ne3 Bb2 56. Nd5+ Kg6 57. h4 $2 {Even if this is not the drawing move putting your pawn on the darksquare makes no sense.} Bg7 58. f5+ Kf7 59. Nf4 Bf6 60. Ng6 Ke8 61. Kd5 Kd7 62. Ne5+ Ke7 63. Nf3 Kd7 64. Ng5 Ke7 65. Nf3 Kd7 66. Ng5 Ke7 67. Ke4 Kd6 68. Kf4 Kd5 69. Nh7 Bxh4 70. f6 Ke6 71. Ng5+ Kxf6 72. Ne4+ Kg6 73. Ng3 Bf6 74. Nxh5 1/2-1/2

Naiditsch can consider himself lucky with a last round draw in a bizarre game

Back to the top boards Bu Xiangzhi drew Yu Yangyi. Yu Yangyi probably wanted to stop the bleeding after three consecutive defeats while Bu Xiangzhi was certainly happy with a last round draw with Black. A solid Petroff saw many simplifcations and an early draw.

A solid draw suited both just fine

This gave Ding Liren the chance to catch up with Bu Xiangzhi, and he did not squander it:

[Event "5th Hainan Danzhou GM"] [Site "Danzhou CHN"] [Date "2014.07.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Xiu Deshun"] [Black "Ding Liren"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D46"] [WhiteElo "2550"] [BlackElo "2714"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejando"] [PlyCount "118"] [EventDate "2014.06.25"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. O-O a6 11. Ng5 $6 {This moves seems unsound. The pawn sacrifice is typical, but the knight venture seems to early to be played.} Qc7 (11... Bxh2+ 12. Kxh2 Ng4+ 13. Kg1 Qxg5 14. f3 Ngf6 15. e4 {is the type of positions White is playing for; he holds strong compensation with his powerful center and strong bishops.}) 12. h3 c5 {This is the problem. White has created no threats and Black already opened up the center. If anything Black is the one holding the edge out of the opening!} 13. Nge4 Be7 14. Nxf6+ Nxf6 15. dxc5 Qxc5 16. e4 Rc8 17. a3 O-O 18. Qe2 Qe5 {The game is very close to equal, but not quite. Notice how Black has a little more space to maneuver his pieces. White would like to play f4 followed by e5, but that also comes at a price.} 19. f4 Qb8 20. e5 Nd5 {The weaknesses left behind by the pawn pushes are starting to be felt.} 21. Nxd5 Bxd5 22. Be3 g6 23. a4 Bc4 24. Rfc1 Bxd3 25. Qxd3 Rxc1+ 26. Rxc1 bxa4 27. Qxa6 Qb3 $1 {Retaining some tension. Still, the game remains close to equal, but Black has the better side of the deal.} (27... Qxb2 28. Qxa4 $11) 28. Qe2 Rb8 29. Rc2 h5 30. Bc1 Rd8 31. Kh2 (31. Rc3 $1 {It was important to start driving Black's pieces back.}) 31... Rd3 32. Rd2 $6 {A misstep. Ding Liren takes advantage of this naturally.} Rxd2 33. Qxd2 h4 { Fixing the pawn structure is the most obvious, but here Black missed a very powerful resource.} (33... Qc4 $1 {This surprising move paralyzes White.} 34. Qd1 Bc5 $1 35. Bd2 (35. g4 hxg4 36. hxg4 Kg7 $1 {White will have difficulties finding a move to play very soon.}) 35... Qd4 $19) 34. Qf2 Kf8 35. Be3 Ke8 36. Qd2 Bb4 37. Qd4 Be7 38. Bf2 Qc2 39. Be3 Qb3 40. Bf2 Qb4 41. Kg1 (41. Qxb4 Bxb4 42. Be3 (42. Bxh4 Bd2 $19) 42... Kd7 {is a lost endgame.}) 41... Qxd4 42. Bxd4 Kd7 43. Kf2 Kc6 44. Ke3 (44. Ke2 {was the only chance to fight, but the endgame is already very unpleasant.}) 44... Bc5 $1 {Good calculation. Pawn endgames are never given evaluations such as "slightly better" or "clear advantage" as they can be calculated until the end. In this case, Black is winning by force.} 45. Kd3 Bxd4 46. Kxd4 Kb5 47. Kc3 Kc5 48. Kd3 Kb4 49. Kc2 Kc4 50. Kb1 (50. Kd2 Kd4 $19) 50... Kd3 51. Ka2 Ke3 52. Ka3 Kf2 53. Kxa4 Kxg2 54. b4 Kxh3 55. b5 Kg4 56. b6 h3 57. b7 h2 58. b8=Q {White queens first, but it is not relevant.} h1=Q 59. Qf8 Qe4+ {the queen endgame is hopeless!} 0-1

Ding Liren didn't let the Black pieces stop his attempts to win the tournament

The other boards saw mostly solid draws. Ponomariov probably missed a win against Zhao Jun, and almost landed in a lost position. His passed d-pawn gave him just enough counterplay to hold a draw.

Ponomariov's 5.5/9 gives him a performance rating exactly equal to his actual rating

Ding Liren started with the number one pairing seed and finished number one!

At the end of the day Ding Liren barely edged out Bu Xiangzhi in the tiebreak system. These two players were a full point ahead of the foreigners Naiditsch and Ponomariov who had decent tournaments.

Overall the Hainan Super-Tournament had some very unsual and fun games, the mix of players was well balanced. The tournament is also a good omen for China as they gain their fifth 2700 player with Bu Xiangzhi re-joining the ranks of the elite. China's Olympic team in Norway will be fierce; can they pull of a surprise win?

Final Standings

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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