Robert Ris: Ding’s immortal game

by Robert Ris
4/22/2023 – Ding Liren crossed the 2700-rating barrier back in 2012, and was soon regarded as one of the potential challengers for the world title. A week from now, the soft-spoken grandmaster from Wenzhou might become the new world chess champion. Thus, this is a good time to reminisce on his most spectacular victory. In November 2017, at the Chinese League, Ding played a stunning tactical combination and crowned it with a brilliant king hunt. Robert Ris examines the game in a 23-minute video. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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“Accurate and beautiful”

A week before facing Magnus Carlsen in a rapid and blitz match in Saint Louis, Ding Liren obtained a spectacular victory in the Chinese Chess League. Playing black against Bai Jinshi, Ding gave up his queen early on and began to harass his opponent’s monarch with incredible accuracy. 

Carlsen visited the ChessBase studio shortly after the game was played and had this to say about his colleague’s achievement:

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 St Louis].


Notice that Black no longer has his queen on the board. The white king is in deep trouble, though, and Bai tried to escape towards the kingside.

But Ding’s hunt was stunningly precise!


Resignation came after 31...Bg6+ 32.Kxg4 Ne5+

Robert Ris analyses the brilliant attack

Replay the game


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Robert is an International Master who mostly spends his time training and coaching talented youngsters. On the PlayChess server The Fast and the Furious is a popular show where he explains sharp opening lines for a wider audience. He is also a well-known ChessBase author who produced numerous DVDs and regularly contributes to ChessBase Magazine as well. Since 2015 he is the organizer of the Dutch Rapid Championships in his home town Amstelveen. He has started a YouTube channel with chess analysis as well.