4th IMSA mind games begin in Hengshui, China

by Satanick Mukhuty
5/15/2019 – The International Mind Sports Association World Masters Championship is taking place in Hengshui, China from 13th until 18th of May. It includes 5 sports — bridge, chess, draughts, go, and xiangqi — with 17 disciplines in total. 170 players have gathered from 36 countries. 16 players in open and 16 in women will indulge in 11 rounds of rapid and 11 rounds of blitz. After four rounds on day 1 we have Dominguez and Fedoseev leading in the open, while Mariya Muzychuk, Nana Dzagnidze Valentina Gunina and Zhansaya Abdumalik lead in the women's section.

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The 4th IMSA Elite Mind Games is taking place in Hengshui, China from 14-18 May 2019, with competitions in Bridge, Chess, Draughts, Go, and Xiangqi (Chinese chess). In chess 16 players compete in separate open and women's sections in rapid and blitz chess. The rapid section that started on the 14th of May is an 11-round Swiss with a time control of 15 minutes per game with a 10-second increment from move 1. The prize fund is €150,000, in the open event and €100,000 in the women's section. Both the rapid and blitz events are different and the points are not carried over from the rapid to the blitz.

Mistakes and missed chances — that's the name of the game when it comes to faster time controls. But as has been proclaimed by the legendary Mikhail Tal, a game that is flawless is also colourless. We bring to you the glimpses of first day of the event where four rounds were played in both open and women's section and were filled with intense topsy-turvy excitement!

After the first day Leinier Dominguez Perez (USA) and Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia) have emerged as joint leaders with a score of 3.0/4. Half a point behind are five players.


Leinier Dominguez began the day with a nice win over Rauf Mamedov


Black has just played 42...f3 with the idea to mount a kingside attack. How should White respond?

Dominguez had to play the subtle 43.♔h1! The knight on e3 defends the g2 pawn and if Black takes the knight on e3 then the g2 pawn would be defended by the rook on a2. However, White played the move 43.g3? This is a big mistake and Mamedov could have taken full advantage of it with 43...♝xe3 44.fxe3 ♛e5! The queen is excellently placed attacking the g3 pawn and Black can now follow up with ideas of using the h-pawn to soften White's kingside. This would have been nearly winning for Black. 

Mamedov instead went for 43...h5 when White could play 44.e6. The queens were exchanged and the worst days were over for Dominguez.


White has just played ♗g4 offering to exchange off bishops. Such offers are very tempting in time pressure situations where you are looking to simplify things. What should Black play? 

Mamedov should have played ...♜h6!, when the position is balanced and there is everything to play for. Instead of this the Azerbaijani GM took on g4 and after ♘xg4, White is not just better, but totally winning. 


It seems as if Black has to accept a repetition here with ♜c8 ♘d6 ♜c7 ♘b5. Well, not quite! Dominguez was in his element and spotted the very strong ...cb4! The knight cannot be taken as after axb4 ♝xb5 Black is just better. Gelfand had to play ♕b3 and after ♝xb5 Black was clearly better.


Positions like these which are quite easy to solve in a classical game, turn out to be not at all easy in rapid chess. The move d5 is a mistake but to take advantage of it, Black has to either allow the ruining of his structure with exd5 ♝xf5 gxf5 or he has the much more powerful ...♜c4! The move ♜c4 is quite possible to miss, but once you spot it, the effectiveness of the move is clearly apparent. ♗xf5 can now be met with exf5 and if instead Qf3 then Nh4 is very strong. Dominguez replied to d5 with ...♞d6 which wasn't the best but was good enough to win the game.

Anton Korobov

Anton Korobov ended the day on a high with a win over Yu Yangyi. The endgame position that was reached was quite unique:


Yu needed to get his king in the range of the h-pawn with the move ♔e4. Instead, he went for a7 and after h4 the position was already lost as the rook would sacrifice itself for the a-pawn and the h-pawn is almost unstoppable.


After a lot of ups and downs the game was decided on Black's 49th move. What would you do if you were in Vidit's shoes?

The right move was 49...♜g8! and the point is very neat. After ♔d7 ♜g7+ White has to play his king to d6. The natural Kc6 doesn't work because of g1=♛ ♖xg1 ♜xg1 c8=♕ ♜c1+ and it's a draw! Vidit was unable to find this subtle defence starting with ♜g8 and went for ♚f2. White played ♔d7 ♜f7+ ♔c6! and the game ended in White's favour.

Cheparinov (left) ended day 1 on 2½/4, with a win over Wang Hao, while Bu Xiangzhi (right) is on 1½/4 after losing two games to Vladimir Fedoseev and Rauf Mamedov but beating Wang Hao

After his win at the Sigeman, a lot more was expected from Gawain Jones. Currently, he is on the last position with 1.0/4. Boris Gelfand fared better in the day with 2.0/4. His win coming against Jones. | Photo: Sina home

Peter Leko is on 1½/4 while Dmitry Andreikin is on 2½/4 — their personal encounter ended in a draw | Photo: Sina home

Replay all open games from rounds 1-4


Women's section

While in the open section you do not have the absolute top ranked players fighting, in the women's section things are quite different. Apart from Ju Wenjun, you have almost all the top women players fighting it out for the top prize. They include Mariya Muzychuk, Koneru Humpy, Kateryna Lagno, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Nana Dzagnidze and others. After four rounds this is how the standings look:


The opening move being made in the game of Lei Tingje against Alexandra Kosteniuk | Photo: Sina home

While Mariya Muzychuk, Valentina Gunina and Nana Dzagnidze are experienced campaigners, the fourth leader after four rounds with a score of 3.0/4 is Abdumalik Zhansaya (above). | Photo: Sina home

Bela Khotenashvili is one of the top female players of her country Georgia. But here in China she was completely off colour. She scored just half a point in four rounds. | Photo: Sina home

Tan Zhongyi is on 1½/4 with losses in last rounds against Zhansaya and Stefanova | Photo: Sina home

Replay all the games from rounds 1-4



Satanick Mukhuty has a background in Mathematics. He is an avid enthusiast of composition chess and is sincerely committed to promoting it around the world. He works for ChessBase India.


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