Similar Podiums in China

by Alejandro Ramirez
12/15/2014 – In the open section Grischuk and Vachier-Lagrave managed to win gold and silver, respectively, again! The bronze medal was taken by Radjabov after he finished the blitz tournament with an excellent 7.0/10. In the women's section Hou Yifan annihilated the field and won by a full three point advantage, while Gunina took silver from Muzychuk in the very last second.

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On December 11th the World Mind Games began in Beijing, China. One week some of the word's best players compete in Chess, Go, Draughts, Chinese Chess, (Xiangqi), and Bridge. In chess 16 top men and women play rapid, blitz and basque chess.

The chessplayers will play rapid, blitz and Basque chess (two players play two games simultaneously against each other - one with white, one with black). All in all 24 medals can be won. The first chess tournament is the rapid competition for men and women (Thursday and Friday). After that follows blitz (Saturday to Monday) until the Basque chess tournament finally rounds it off (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Open Blitz - Day Three

An exciting last day of blitz chess, in which new faces showed up to try to claim the medals. We left with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave leading the event, but he started the day with a loss against Radjabov. He recovered by scoring 2.5/3 against Wang Yue, Harikrishna and Bacrot but after that did not win a single game!

Speaking of Radjabov, he had an amazing day. He opened the day with a hattrick against MVL, Wojtaszek and Leko. Despite losing in the 24th round against Aronian he was still able to recover and finish the day with a great 7.0/10.

Cuba's top player finished with 13.0/30: Leinier Dominguez Perez

Nepomniachtchi, Grischuk and Ponomariov all scored 6.5/10, but due to the results of the previous days the only one that had good medal chances was Grischuk. He entered the final round with an extra point over MVL and a draw was sufficient to claim the title.

Two silvers for France's #1: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Although MVL scored -1 today he was able to hold on to silver while Grischuk's performance today gave him gold! So far Grischuk and MVL have had a great performance in Beijing: Grischuk won both the blitz and the rapid and MVL won silver in both!

Grischuk hasn't destroyed the field on any day, but he consistently
scored well and that brought him two gold medals

Harkrishna-Mamedyarov was a 93 move draw.
The longest game of the day, but only by three moves!

[Event "SportAccord Blitz 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.15"] [Round "21.6"] [White "Bacrot, Etienne"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E18"] [WhiteElo "2718"] [BlackElo "2810"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/2b5/1p2k3/1P4pp/2PB1P2/3K4/7P/8 b - - 0 40"] [PlyCount "20"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 40... Bxf4 {Despite the few remaining pieces left on the board, the endgame is somewhat tricky.} 41. Bxb6 (41. h3 Bc7 42. Ke4 g4 43. hxg4 hxg4 44. c5 $11) 41... Bxh2 42. Ke4 g4 43. c5 $2 {Bacrot places a lot of trust in his pawns, but he is tempi behind.} h4 44. c6 (44. Ke3 $1 {draws but that is not an easy move to find.}) 44... h3 {now its over. Notice how much better the king on e6 is placed compared to the king on e4. That being said, Grischuk still has to find an amazing sequence:} 45. Ba7 Bd6 (45... Bg3 $1 46. Bg1 Bf2 {was the correct way of winning.}) 46. Bg1 h2 $4 (46... Be5 $1 47. b6 Kd6 48. c7 Kd7 49. Kxe5 g3 {is very pretty.}) 47. Bxh2 Bxh2 48. b6 Kd6 49. c7 Kd7 50. Ke3 {and here Bacrot.... overstepped his time limit! There is no way to make progress for Black as the only way to take the pawn on b6 is with the bishop, but that will leave the g4 pawn defenseless! A nice gift for Grischuk!} 0-1

MVL lost a key game against Aronian:

[Event "SportAccord Blitz 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.13"] [Round "26.1"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [WhiteElo "2797"] [BlackElo "2758"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/5p2/3P4/R5N1/6Pp/1b5P/p4PK1/r7 w - - 0 44"] [PlyCount "13"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 44. Ne4 {A double edged position. White is threatening to push his pawn, but Black's is already on a2.} Bd5 $2 {Winning a queen, but that is not enough!} ( 44... Rd1 45. d7 Kf8 46. Nc3 $1 Rxd7 47. Nxa2 {and Black should be able to hold this endgame.}) 45. Rxd5 Rg1+ 46. Kxg1 a1=Q+ 47. Kg2 {White's pieces are perfectly placed to support the d-pawn.} Qa8 48. Rd4 Qd8 49. d7 Kg7 50. Nd6 { there is no way to stop Nb7. A vital game for the final standings.} 1-0

Blitz Standings

Rank Name Rtg FED Pts
1 Grischuk Alexander 2819 RUS 19½
2 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2776 FRA 18½
3 Radjabov Teimour 2715 AZE 18
4 Aronian Levon 2850 ARM 17½
5 Ivanchuk Vassily 2720 UKR 17
6 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2866 AZE 17
7 Nepomniachtchi Ian 2788 RUS 17
8 Ponomariov Ruslan 2758 UKR 15
9 Leko Peter 2694 HUN 14½
10 Gelfand Boris 2757 ISR 14½
11 Dominguez Perez Leinier 2728 CUB 13
12 Wang Hao 2693 CHN 13
13 Wang Yue 2680 CHN 12½
14 Harikrishna P. 2728 IND 11½
15 Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2743 POL 11½
16 Bacrot Etienne 2739 FRA 10

The podium: MVL, Grischuk and Radjabov

Replay blitz games 21-30

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Women's Blitz - Day Three

A light-hearted mood before the last ten games of blitz

Even though Hou Yifan lost her first game of the day, and actually only scored 50% in the first five games, there was little doubt who was going to win the tournament. After Gunina won her game against the World Champion, Hou Yifan still had a two point advantage over both Gunina and Muzychuk, and three over Kosteniuk. A great performance in the last few rounds left the Chinese player with a three point advantage claiming her gold medal.

Anna Ushenina scored 13.0/30

The fight for silver was much closer. Actually, it all came down to the very last round. Anna Muzychuk was paired against Pia Cramling, who had so far scored 4.5/29:

[Event "SportAccord Blitz w 2014"] [Site "Beijing CHN"] [Date "2014.12.15"] [Round "30.3"] [White "Cramling, Pia"] [Black "Muzychuk, Anna"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E10"] [WhiteElo "2518"] [BlackElo "2545"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/5p1k/R6b/3P1Q2/3q3p/7P/pr3PP1/4R1K1 b - - 0 46"] [PlyCount "4"] [EventDate "2014.12.13"] 46... Kg7 {White is up an exchange, a pawn and has a killer attack.} 47. Ra7 $4 {White's position is so good that blundering the full rook is still drawn.} ( 47. Rg6+ fxg6 48. Re7+ Kh8 49. Qc8+ {is mate.}) 47... Rb1 $4 {But Muzychuk tries for more! Unfortunately she must have forgotten about f7.} (47... Qxa7 48. Qg4+ Kh7 49. Qf5+ $11) 48. Qxf7+ {And with this win and Gunina's draw against Ushenina it was the Russian player that took silver medal.} 1-0

Former Women's World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova with 14.0/30

Despite Koneru Humpy's incredible strength in classical chess, she is not particularly known for her blitz skills. Here she is unable to stop Hou Yifan's rolling pawns on both sides of the board.

Blitz Standings - Women

Rank Name Rtg FED Pts
1 Hou Yifan 2662 CHN 22½
2 Gunina Valentina 2582 RUS 19½
3 Muzychuk Anna 2665 UKR 19½
4 Harika Dronavalli 2533 IND 17
5 Dzagnidze Nana 2591 GEO 17
6 Zhao Xue 2576 CHN 16½
7 Kosteniuk Alexandra 2479 RUS 16½
8 Koneru Humpy 2521 IND 16
9 Ju Wenjun 2469 CHN 15½
10 Kosintseva Tatiana 2578 RUS 14
11 Stefanova Antoaneta 2569 BUL 14
12 Ushenina Anna 2467 UKR 13
13 Paehtz Elisabeth 2522 GER 12½
14 Khotenashvili Bela 2457 GEO 10½
15 Muzychuk Mariya 2439 UKR 10½
16 Cramling Pia 2433 SWE

Replay women's blitz 21-30

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Pictures and information from the official website by Gu Xiaobing and Alina l'Ami


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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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