Ding Liren Game of the Year?

by Macauley Peterson
11/11/2017 – Ding Liren, the Chinese number one and participant in the Candidates Tournament 2018 in Berlin, enjoys the reputation of being a solid positional player. But in round 18 of the Yingmei Cup — the Chinese Team Championship — he showed that he is also a world class attacking player by demolishing Bai Jinshi with Black in one of the most beautiful and most spectacular games of the year. Grandmasters Daniel King and Rustam Kasimdzhanov both had a closer look. Enjoy! And tell us about your favourite games of 2017. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Bai Jinshi vs Ding Liren

Ding Liren has had a remarkable year. His winning streak in September's World Cup propelled him to a place in the 2018 Candidates tournament, where he will be the first Chinese participant ever. Next week he'll play in the final tournament of the Grand Prix series in Palma de Majorca, where a strong performance could yet see him win that entire series. And today, he's in Saint Louis to begin a rapid and blitz match with World Champion Magnus Carlsen as part of the "Champions Showdown." But a week ago today, he added further to his laurels by creating a stunning tactical crush of his young compatriot Bai Jinshi, in just 32 moves with the black pieces, and culminating in a spectatular king hunt.

Bai-Ding

Ding Liren game of the year against Bai Jinshi, with Gao Rui looking on | Photo: imsa.cn 

Magnus Carlsen himself was in the ChessBase studio this week, and weighed in on the game (starting at the 3 minute mark):

 Carlsen:

It was not only the move [20...]Rd4 which gets the headlines, but the follow up was also both accurate and beautiful. It's not going to be easy to beat that. I had already a training session with Ding, so I was already impressed with how fast he can calculate very difficult lines and that's one of the reasons I found him the most interesting opponent [in Saint Louis].

Game of the year?

Almost as soon as it was played, commentators started calling it the "game of the year" on social media. Magnus Carlsen's second Peter Heine Nielsen was one of the first to call attention to the game on Facebook, calling it "just amazing". Other terms of praise floating around included "wizard", "absurd and ridiculously wonderful" and suspicions that Ding "learned to play chess in a parallel universe".

Naturally, Daniel King took a closer look for his PowerPlay channel:


And so did Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the ChessBase studio:


Replay the game

 

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Other game of the year candidates?

Do you have a candidate for game of the year in mind? Let us know in the comments below!

We'll be putting together a list, as 2017 winds down, for a special end-of-year review. If we choose your suggestion, you'll win a free 3-month ChessBase Premium account (or account extension)!


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Macauley is Editor in Chief of ChessBase News in Hamburg, Germany, and producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast. He was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.