Yu Yangyi leads in China's Championship

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/18/2014 – The Chinese National Championship returns to Xinghua. Despite the absence of some key names, mainly Wang Yue and Wang Hao, the tournament is still a very strong round robin. Yu Yangyi has taken an early lead with 4.5/6 but is closely followed by Wei Yi and Ding Liren. The Women's section is being dominated by a 16-year-old who has a performance of over 2700...

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The Chinese Chess Championship returns to Xinghua in the province of Jiangsu. Despite the absence of a few stars, the tournament is still a very strong round robin. Ding Liren, Yu Yangyi and Hou Yifan are the top seeds in the Championship.

Women's World Champion Hou Yifan has scored 50%
one of her victories came against top seed Ding Liren

The Women's Championship is being played alongside with Ju Wenjun and Tan Zhongyi being the favorites by rating, but surprises are common in both sections of the Chinese Championships.

Former Junior World Champion Guo Qi is the third ranked in the event

The event has started very well for Yu Yangyi who leads with 4.5/6. He scored an excellent win against prodigy Wei Yi:

[Event "ch-CHN 2014"] [Site "Xinghua CHN"] [Date "2014.03.13"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Yu, Yangyi"] [Black "Wei, Yi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B97"] [WhiteElo "2664"] [BlackElo "2625"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2014.03.11"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2 Qxb2 {One would think that in this day and age, when computers thrive and we learn how to count in 'gigas' as opposed to 'megas' that the Poisoned Pawn Najdorf would be solved. And yet, quite the contrary is true. The variation is still fresh and full of new ideas.} 9. Rb1 Qa3 10. e5 dxe5 11. fxe5 Nfd7 12. Ne4 h6 13. Bh4 Qxa2 14. Rd1 Qd5 15. Qe3 Qxe5 16. Be2 Bc5 17. Bg3 Bxd4 18. Rxd4 Qa5+ 19. Rd2 O-O 20. Bd6 f5 {This is Black's latest try.} (20... Nc6 21. O-O Nce5 22. Rdd1 $5 {was played in the game Karjakin-Kokarev in the Russian Team championship of 2012. It is unclear if White is much better here, but he certainly has enough for the sacrificed material and Black's position is somewhat uncomfortable.}) 21. Bxf8 Nxf8 22. Nd6 Nbd7 23. g4 fxg4 24. Bxg4 Qa1+ 25. Bd1 $1 {Is this an earth-shattering novelty? No, but it is subtly important. This is stronger than what had been played previously:} (25. Rd1 Qa5+ 26. c3 Qe5 27. Qxe5 Nxe5 $11 {Kosintseva-Paikidze, 2012. If anything this favors Black already who will consolidate his position within a few moves.}) 25... Qe5 {The only logical move.} 26. Qxe5 Nxe5 {Now White's bishop is not hanging on g4 and White has time to start creating some threats.} 27. O-O Bd7 { Development is natural but it quickly lands Black in trouble.} (27... a5 $5 { Simply rolling the pawn forward. It would have been interesting to see how White keeps the pressure here exactly, but chances are plentiful and Black's position seems loose.}) 28. Re1 Neg6 29. Nxb7 {Technically, material is equal. Black has a knight and two pawns for a rook. The problem for the second player is that this is a wide open position, in which the rook is the clear favorite. Not only that, he cannot make use of the pawns any time soon, while White's passed c-pawn can be powerfully supported.} Nf4 30. h4 Rc8 31. Rd4 g5 32. hxg5 Nh3+ 33. Kh2 Nxg5 34. c4 Rc7 35. Nd6 Ng6 36. Re3 {Notice that Black's knights are having trouble coming to the c-file to block the pawn.} Kg7 37. Kg3 Kf6 38. Bc2 a5 39. Ra3 e5 40. Rd1 Nf4 41. Rxa5 {A pawn falls, and Black has not improved his position that much, though at least he can say his knights are closer to the action.} Ne2+ 42. Kf2 Nd4 43. Ra6 Nh3+ 44. Kg3 Ke7 45. Be4 Ng5 46. Bd5 Nge6 47. Ne4 Nf4 48. Rda1 Nf5+ (48... Nxd5 49. cxd5 Rc2 $1 {Was Black's best chance. This way he creates counterplay with the threat of Nf5+}) 49. Kf3 Nd4+ 50. Kg3 Nf5+ 51. Kf2 Nxd5 52. cxd5 Rc4 (52... Rc2+ 53. Kg1 {no longer helps Black who is too far away from causing White's king any problems.} ) 53. Re1 (53. Nf6 $1 {was certainly better.}) 53... Rc2+ 54. Kg1 Nd4 55. Rf1 Ne2+ 56. Kh1 Nf4 57. Rg1 {White has coordinated his rooks. Now that they are on opposite flanks Black cannot rely on his bishop alone to defend from checks. } Bh3 58. Ra7+ Kf8 59. d6 Bf5 60. Nf6 {A theoretically interesting game and an important win for Yu Yangyi} 1-0

Yu Yangyi leads, but it's only half a point over Wei Yi and Ding Liren

Ma Qun is having a solid six draw tournament

Wang Jue has not started so well, but still has time to recover in the event

The biggest surprise of the tournament without a shadow of a doubt is in the women's section. Lei Tingjie is destroying the event with 5.5/6, scoring at a 2731 performance rating and winning 21 rating points. Lei Tingjie is only 16 years old and certainly a potential Olympic member for the Chinese team, if not in Tromso then probably in the Olympiad in Baku in 2016.

The leader: Lei Tingjie

Chinese Championship games:

Click on drop-down menu for all games

Women's Chinese Championship games:

Click on drop-down menu for all games

Standings after six rounds

Women's Chinese Championship

Chinese Championship

Photos from the official website


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. 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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