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    Entries in Ding Liren (41)

    Tuesday
    Aug142018

    Ding Liren Wins Again, Defeats Topalov 3-1

    It was a very good little match for Ding Liren, who defeated an illustrious opponent - former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov - by a convincing 3-1 score. In the process, he has also joined the 2800 club. He is the 14th player to do so, and is currently ranked #4 in the world. Ding's win in the last game was very convincing - a complete positional crush of the sort one would expect from a rating mismatch, but not against a legend like Topalov who has been a top player for more than two decades. Here is the game, which even finishes with a petit combinaison.

    Monday
    Aug132018

    Ding Liren-Topalov, Game 3

    A second straight draw following his victory in game 1 means that Ding Liren only needs a draw with the white pieces in game 4 tomorrow to win his short match with Veselin Topalov. Game 3 is here; note Ding's instructive defense from move 48 on to hold the draw.

    Sunday
    Aug122018

    Ding Liren-Veselin Topalov, Game 2

    This time it's a draw, as you can see for yourself here. Ding Liren leads the four game match 1.5-.5.

    Saturday
    Aug112018

    Ding Liren-Topalov, Game 1

    Don't worry, I'll post about day 1 of the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz next, but in the meantime let's remember the other elite event. Ding Liren and Veselin Topalov are playing a four-game classical match in Wenzhou, China, and Ding has won game 1 with Black. He was worse much of the way, but in the battle of the tacticians he outplayed Topalov in the complications to take an early lead. A further feather in his cap: Ding has become the 14th player to surpass the elite 2800 barrier. Here is game 1, with some comments on the last part of the game.

    Wednesday
    Aug082018

    Coming Soon: St. Louis Rapid & Blitz (and Sinquefield Cup); Ding Liren vs. Topalov

    One last post for the day, announcing the next big thing(s) on the chess calendar. The absolute main event is the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz, a Grand Chess Tour event featuring the nine regular members of this year's tour plus a wildcard, which is Leinier Dominguez. This will be followed by the Sinquefield Cup a few days later, but with a different wildcard: Magnus Carlsen. The rapid portion of the first event starts Saturday (August 11) and runs through Monday, and then they'll play blitz on Tuesday and Wednesday. After a couple of days off, the Sinquefield Cup will start on the ensuing Saturday (August 18th).

    Perhaps flying slightly under the radar, there will be a four day, four game match between world #4 Ding Liren and former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov, held in Wenzhou, China. It should provide useful experience for Ding Liren, and if he can gain three rating points for his troubles he'll become the latest member of the 2800 club. It should be interesting for Topalov as well, an opportunity to prove himself again at the highest level. And it should be a lot of fun for us as spectators, as both players have a propensity for tactical hijinks. We'll see, and if it fizzles from an entertainment standpoint St. Louis should more than pick up the slack.

    Saturday
    Jun022018

    Norway Chess, Rounds 3-5: Carlsen Leads, Ding Withdraws

    It was a tough break for Ding Liren - literally - when he had a bicycle accident while riding with his father during the free day after round three. He fractured his hip and had to withdraw. That's very unfortunate for him, and I'm sure we're all united in wishing him a full and speedy recovery. Fortunately for the tournament standings, he had drawn all three of his games, so from a fairness perspective the effect of his withdrawal will be minimal.

    To the chess. We left off after round 2; in round 3, as in round 1, Magnus Carlsen was the sole winner. (All the round 2 games were drawn, so Carlsen was also the sole winner in the entire tournament through three rounds.) He defeated Levon Aronian in a 5.Re1 Anti-Berlin, a variation that's often tragically dull. This time the play was more interesting, and while Aronian's time trouble blunder on move 27 sped things up Carlsen already enjoyed the upper hand. All four of the draws were very interesting, and some of the players were under pressure, but no one missed any wins on the way to the peaceful outcome.

    Then came the rest day, which worked out well for most of the players - though not for Ding, as mentioned already, although he and Viswanathan Anand took first in, of all things, a cooking competition for the players.

    In round 4, it was the day of the Gruenfeld - or rather, the day to beat the Gruenfeld, as Sergey Karjakin defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on the white side of Classical lines. Aronian thereby returned to 50%, while Karjakin went to +1. Hikaru Nakamura didn't get anything with White against Magnus Carlsen, and they drew quickly, while Viswanathan Anand and Wesley So played a game that was probably in both players' computers beforehand.

    Finally, in round 5, gravity took over as Fabiano Caruana beat Karjakin, bringing them both to 50% from opposite directions. The other three games were more or less mutually comfortable draws, so the standings at the moment see Carlsen at +2, Mamedyarov and MVL at -1, and the other six players (or seven, counting Ding) are on 50%. Here are the pairings for round 6:

    • So (2/4) - Carlsen (3.5/5)
    • Aronian (2.5/5) - Caruana (2/4)
    • Nakamura (2/4) - Vachier-Lagrave (1.5/4)
    • Anand (2/4) - Mamedyarov (2/5)
    • Karjakin (2.5/5) has the bye.

    Tournament site here, games (with comments to three of the decisive games) here.

    Monday
    Mar262018

    2018 Candidates, Round 13: Caruana Regains the Clear Lead

    Perhaps the rest day helped, or maybe it was good preparation. Or, maybe it's that Fabiano Caruana's opponent, Levon Aronian, is so out of form at the moment that it was enough for Caruana to play a decent game to obtain good winning chances. Whatever story we invent in all of its ex post facto glory, the facts are that Caruana rebounded from his painful loss to Sergey Karjakin on Saturday with an almost entirely clean and convincing victory over Aronian today. Since Karjakin was only able to draw his game against Wesley So, Caruana is in clear first, half a point ahead of both So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who was given a massive present by Alexander Grischuk. Ding Liren is a full point behind after a lucky draw against Vladimir Kramnik. Amazingly, he's not yet mathematically eliminated from the race for first. But more about this below.

    First then, Caruana's win over Aronian. Caruana repeated the Anti-Marshall line 8.d3 d6 9.Bd2 played by Grischuk (also against Aronian) in the previous round. Aronian varied first, but it looked like either Caruana's preparation or just his feel for the position was better than his opponent's, and soon he was outplaying the great Armenian. On the verge of getting rolled up, Aronian made a good practical decision to sacrifice a piece. It shouldn't have worked, but Caruana's 29.N1e3?? needlessly endangered the win. (I recognize that the double question mark is pretty harsh; I defend that evaluation in the game file.) The problem wasn't easy to spot, however, and once Aronian missed his chance Caruana finished most convincingly.

    As for Karjakin, he never had a chance. When So has White and is determined to be solid, it's almost impossible to get a position where one can play for a win. Magnus Carlsen has managed to do it against him, but that's about it. Besides, Karjakin's classical style doesn't help much either when it comes to must-win situations with Black. He did try to get a sharp line against So's 4.Qc2 anti-Nimzo-Indian line, but So kept it safe and the draw was never in doubt.

    Meanwhile, Mamedyarov joined Karjakin in second. His game with Grischuk also looked like an inevitable draw, and had looked that way for a long time. Mamedyarov did just enough to keep the game from becoming a dead draw, and finally at move 34 Grischuk had to find the right move. He thought he had found a way to achieve an instant draw, but White's reply proved otherwise. Grischuk was tied with Mamedyarov entering the round, so if he had won he'd have had a shot. Not any longer.

    Finally, Kramnik showed how to play for a win with Black, and up until his 30th move had played a great game. Ding would have been lost after 30...Rxe7, and even after 32..Kg7 (or 32...Kh7) Kramnik probably would have won thanks to White's weak king. Instead, Kramnik allowed White to trade queens, and then his king wasn't an issue. The resulting ending was only a little better for Black, and Ding held the draw without much trouble.

    Caruana has 8 out of 13, Mamedyarov and Grischuk have 7.5, and Ding has 7. This site (HT: Chuckles) offers the odds of tournament success for each of the four, and (sacrificing a few decimal places) they are:

    • Caruana: 56.4%
    • Mamedyarov: 20.9%
    • Karjakin: 20.7%
    • Ding: 2%

    The site's author has more information and an explanation of his method, so you're encouraged to check out the full details there.

    Rapping things up over here...the games (with my notes) are here; and the final pairings, to determine the identity of Carlsen's challenger this coming November, are:

    • Grischuk (6.5) - Caruana (8)
    • Aronian (4) - So (5.5)
    • Karjakin (7.5) - Ding (7)
    • Kramnik (6) - Mamedyarov (7.5)

    Saturday
    Mar242018

    2018 Candidates, Round 12: The Tournament gets Karjaked

    Yes, it's a bad pun, and yes, I know the "j" in Sergey Karjakin's name is pronounced like a "y". I'm sticking to the dumb pun anyway. Who'd have thought that Karjakin, -2 after four rounds, would lead the tournament eight rounds later? What's that, you say, he's only tied for first? Incorrect. By beating "co-leader" Fabiano Caruana, Karjakin has the better tiebreaks, and given the tournament rules it means he would win the event if it finished right now. (Just as Magnus Carlsen advanced and Vladimir Kramnik didn't when they finished London 2013 with the same number of points.)

    Amazing. Karjakin has won four games in seven rounds, going from worst to first, and for the moment he has the pole position for a second straight title tilt with Magnus Carlsen. With White against Caruana and the latter's Petroff, Karjakin avoided nonsense like 5.Qe2 and went for the main lines, choosing 5.Nc3. After 10.a3 and 11.Nd4 there was a new position on the board, and it seems that he obtained an advantage. The critical idea that probably won him the game, and possibly a second shot at the title, was 17.Bxd5, sacrificing the exchange for a pawn and a nuclear bishop on d5, radiating power in every direction. Caruana didn't manage to cope with this piece, and by the time Karjakin picked up a second pawn for the exchange on move 31 Black's position was hopeless.

    Caruana's loss could have been Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's gain. Like Caruana, he had been undefeated all tournament long and had been in first or just half a point behind for a long time. Had he won with White against Ding Liren, he'd have been in sole first. Even a draw would have been acceptable: he'd have been in a three-way tie for first, and then he'd have been ahead on tiebreaks given his plus score against Karjakin and even record vs. Caruana. If, if, if. Ding didn't lose, and despite drawing all 11 of his games up to this point he didn't split the point either. Instead, he won, and now he's even with Mamedyarov, half a point behind the leaders.

    Ding took a page out of Kramnik's book (why not? Everyone else copies his openings) and played the Semi-Tarrasch. He equalized, and when Mamedyarov pushed to create a kingside attack Ding was able to push his queenside majority, make a second queen, and win.

    So four players lead or are within half a point of the lead. Did I say four? Make it five: we shouldn't forget Alexander Grischuk. If had defeated Levon Aronian he'd have been in the tie for first. He had a big chance on move 23, but rejected it for some reason and Aronian escaped with a draw. Still, Grischuk is within half a point of Karjakin and Caruana, so with two rounds to go more than half of the field still has a great shot at winning the tournament.

    The last game featured two players who are out of the running. Vladimir Kramnik had a winning advantage against Wesley So, but for the umpteenth time in the event left half a point (or more) on the table, and the game finished in a draw.

    The games (with my notes) are here. Sunday is a rest day, and the penultimate round will be played on Monday, with these pairings:

     

    • Mamedyarov (6.5) - Grischuk (6.5)
    • Ding Liren (6.5) - Kramnik (5.5)
    • So (5) - Karjakin (7)
    • Caruana (7) - Aronian (4)

     

    Tuesday
    Nov142017

    2017 Champions Showdown, Day 6: Carlsen Finishes off Ding Liren **UPDATED**

    The match had already been clinched, but it was necessary to play today's five-minute games as well. The wins-to-losses ratio was exactly the same as yesterday: Magnus Carlsen won six games and lost one, drawing the rest; the difference is that four more games were played today, which means that instead of only one draw today's action saw five of them.

    Oddly, after the first ten games (of twelve) today, Carlsen hadn't won a single one with the white pieces, while for Ding Liren the white pieces were even worse: he didn't score so much as a single draw. Finally both players' streaks came to an end in the last two games: Carlsen won game 11 with White and Ding drew game 12 in his last White game to finish off the match on a comparatively high note.

    Carlsen thus won today's action 17-7 (on the day's 2-1-0 scoring) and the match by a hefty 67-25 score. His play wasn't as impressive today - it was clear that they were playing five-minute chess and not "real" chess, and with the match already decided and no rating points on the line Carlsen's motivation probably declined at least somewhat compared to the previous days. Still, it was a good performance, and he'll be back in (blitz and bullet) action on Saturday against Wesley So in the last quarterfinal match of Chess.com's Speed Chess Championship.

    UPDATE: Having noted Carlsen's next event, I should also note that Ding Liren is playing in the final FIDE Grand Prix tournament, in Palma de Mallorca, on Thursday. (Unfortunately, the organizers' decision to accommodate Carlsen's schedule, starting their match two days later than the other three, leaves poor Ding all of one day - or half a day - to acclimate for a tournament seven time zones away. I'm sure Ding felt that it was a trade-off worth making, especially since he doesn't need the Grand Prix to qualify for the Candidates, he made $40k for his troubles, and received the [painful but useful] opportunity to play 30 games against the world champion. And he's probably right, but it's too bad that he had to make such a decision - especially since whatever Carlsen's other obligation was it wasn't playing in a chess tournament.)

    Also, a stat I intended to mention, but forgot: there were 120 games in total played in the four matches, and in the end Black had a plus score: 38 wins, 34 losses, and 48 draws. Perhaps there have been other elite events in the past with a comparable number of total games where Black outscored White, but I doubt that there are many of them. Maybe some database jockeys out there can find some examples?

    Tuesday
    Nov142017

    Scheduling Notification: The Last Day of the Champions Showdown Starts Now (Two Hours Early)

    If you want to watch the last day of the 2017 Champions Showdown in real time, featuring the 12 five-minute games between Magnus Carlsen and Ding Liren, tune in now: they're starting two hours earlier than usual.