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    Entries in Ding Liren (14)

    Friday
    Aug112017

    Ongoing and Completed Events: Gelfand-Inarkiev, the British Championship, and Giri-Ding Liren

    1. The classical and rapid chess rematch between Boris Gelfand and Ernesto Inarkiev has gone much better for Inarkiev this year than last. (Non-Russian readers may prefer this link.) Last year Gelfand won both 4-2 at both time controls, but this year has been another story. Gelfand leads in the classical games 3-2 thus far, but is trailing in both of the rapid time controls. In 25'+10" he's down 3-1, and in 10'+10" he's down 2.5-1.5. Nevertheless, his most recent win in classical chess was something special - have a look.

    2. When I last left off with the British Championship, Luke McShane and John Emms were the co-leaders after round 7. Each had six points and were paired for the penultimate round. They drew, and were caught by Gawain Jones, who defeated Nicholas Pert. In the last round McShane had White against Jones, and they drew. If Emms would have beaten David Howell with Black, he would have become the British Champion for the first time - and at the age of 50. A draw would have put him into a playoff, but he lost. Thus Howell joined the tie for first with 7 points, and so did Craig Hanley thanks to his win with Black against Zhou Yang-Fan. And the playoff winner was...Gawain Jones, who had previous won the title in 2012.

    3. The four-game match between Anish Giri and Ding Liren may have slipped under the radar for most readers, as it was overshadowed by the Sinquefield Cup, but whenever two players rated near 2780 face off it's worth taking note. Giri won the match 2.5-1.5, winning game two on the black side of the ubiquitous Giuoco Piano.

    Wednesday
    May242017

    Three Interesting Recent Games

    I'm not going to analyze any of the three, mainly to avoid domesticating them. Each impressed and amazed me in its own way. The first, Najer-Mamedyarov, is a tactical tour de force by the hottest player in chess. (Don't peek, students!) The second, Ding Liren vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, featured a surprising sacrifice of a full exchange in the opening. The entire game was a mess, and the only thing that was clear is that Black was very fortunate to come away with half a point. The third game, between Hou Yifan and Jon Ludwig Hammer, was another matter. I watched a few moves early on in the rook vs. knight ending that arose after Black's 49th move, and was sure that it was a draw. A few hours later, I saw that Hou had won it (on her way to an excellent +1 result in the Grand Prix) and could hardly believe my eyes. Brilliancy by Hou or insanity by Hammer? I'll let you figure it out by yourself; I'll offer my own guess in the comments if anyone else offers one first.

    Games here.

    Monday
    Apr102017

    Last Week's First World Chess Column: Ding Liren Wins Shenzhen

    Top to bottom, the Du Te Cup in Shenzhen, China, was an even stronger tournament than the still ongoing U.S. Championship. The event finished a few days ago, and was won by Chinese super-GM Ding Liren. It could have been a four-way tie for first, but a hard-fought win in the last round over Pentala Harikrishna made the difference, as I detail in my column.

    Saturday
    Jul232016

    Grischuk Wins A Short Match Vs. Ding Liren, 2.5-1.5

    It's a pity that the match wasn't longer or combined with rapid games as in the Gelfand-Inarkiev match, but it's still interesting whenever two players in the super-elite face off. On this occasion too experience won out, as Alexander Grischuk defeated Ding Liren in the first game (a long battle culminating in a knight ending that Ding could have drawn) and then drew the remaining games to come out on top.

    More info here.

    Friday
    Jun242016

    Ding Liren: World #1 in Blitz(!)

    Magnus Carlsen's win in the match with Petrosian wasn't FIDE-rated of course, and although Leuven was rated the net effect was that he's a touch lower than Ding Liren on the live blitz list! (Ding Liren is 2875; Carlsen "only" 2873. Nakamura is third at 2841 and Ian Nepomniachtchi is next at 2840, in case you were wondering.) But will it last...

    Thursday
    May262016

    Last Week's World Chess Column: Highlights From Recent Events

    A little less recent now, but the games are still interesting and worth a look. Featured games and events include the decisive game of the match between Ding Liren and Wesley So, one of Julio Granda Zuniga's victories from his runaway triumph in the Llucmajor Open, and an impressive win by David Navara from the recently completed European Championship (won by Ernesto Inarkiev).

    Monday
    May022016

    More Elite Chess: Russian Club Championships Underway in Sochi; Ding Liren vs. So Starts Wednesday

    The Russian Club Championship started on Sunday, May 1 and continues through May 10. Among the heavy hitters who have played so far there's Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler - to include only the players over 2750 - and Vladimir Kramnik is supposed to jump in at some point as well.

    On Wednesday, Ding Liren and Wesley So will begin a four-game match in China. (Or maybe there will be four classical games and some additional rapid and/or blitz games. All I know thus far is the very little given in the "Future Events" section of this page. Further details would be appreciated.)

    Friday
    Jan222016

    Wijk aan Zee: Caruana, Ding, and Carlsen Lead After 6 Rounds

    The first super-tournament of the year is approaching the halfway point, and after six of 13 rounds three players share the lead in the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee: Fabiano Caruana (the early leader, who has been caught), Ding Liren, and Magnus Carlsen. All three players have +2 scores; let's see how they got there.

    Round 1 was a success story for the American entrants in the field. Wesley So won convincingly against Anish Giri, while Caruana won - less convincingly - again Pavel Eljanov. Caruana's compensation for a pawn sacrificed in the opening was sketchy at best, but the pressure of his sustained initiative led Eljanov to make some serious errors near the end of the first time control. The round's third victor was Ding Liren, who won a pawn and ground out a victory against Michael Adams in a rook and knight endgame with all the pawns on the kingside. Of the draws, Hou Yifan was much better and probably winning against Sergey Karjakin, and Loek van Wely had excellent chances against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

    In round 2 all seven games were drawn, including the marquee matchup between Carlsen and Caruana. Carlsen had an advantage early on, but it quickly dissipated. Perhaps the best chance anyone had for a win came in the Hou-So game: Hou had an extra pawn but no obvious way to take advantage of it.

    Round 3 saw two decisive games: Caruana-Adams and Mamedyarov-Eljanov. Caruana was a bit worse almost through the first time control, and even once it had been made he was only slightly better. Everything went wrong for Adams in the second time control, however, and Caruana became the sole leader with 2.5/3. As for the other game, Mamedyarov was much better throughout and well on his way to a deserved victory. In fact, Eljanov's position was nearly resignable when Mamedyarov hung his rook for absolutely nothing. In general, Mamedyarov is a player who is blessed with "good luck", but not this time.

    The round also produced the first game of what could turn into a historic rivalry between Wei Yi and Carlsen; this time there was no winner nor anyone who could bemoan any serious missed chances. David Navara, by contrast, should have beaten Giri, while the other three draws were relatively free of drama.

    Round 4 was the last one prior to the tournament's first rest day, and like the first round it produced three winners. Hou Yifan stopped coming close to winning and finally did win a game - handily - against Navara. Eljanov parlayed his good fortune in the previous round into a second straight win, this time over van Wely. Van Wely faltered in an equal but complicated position due to time pressure, and not for the last time in the tournament. Winner #3 was Sergey Karjakin, who rolled up Evgeny Tomashevsky in almost embarrassing fashion. When was the last time you saw a super-GM so dominated in a final position? As for the draws, Wei Yi and especially Caruana had very good winning chances against Adams and Giri, respectively, despite having the black pieces.

    In round 5 Carlsen finally "woke up", though it could have turned out disastrously. An interesting but reasonably calm game with van Wely blew up when Carlsen tried the extravagant 21...Ng4!? 22.Bxg7 Kxg8 23.f3 Qg5?!? Objectively the sac was dubious at best, and it was clear from the subsequent play that Carlsen hadn't worked everything out - not even close. With a 200-point rating advantage and a big lead on the clock, however, Carlsen decided to take a risk to get his tournament going. Van Wely played well at first, but very short on time missed a clear forced win (29.Qh4+ wins the exchange at the very least), then lost the thread and finally blundered in an already lost position.

    Mamedyarov finally won a game, taking advantage of tournament tailender Adams' terrible form. The other winner was Ding Liren, who moved into a tie for first by beating Karjakin. Karjakin had singlehandedly defeated the Chinese team in a Russia-China summit last year, but the story in early 2016 is being written differently.

    And now, at last, round 6 - today's round. The concept of the "hot hand" in sports has been widely rejected by statisticians (though there has been some recent pushback against that rejection), but it seems to me that there are chess players for whom confidence makes a colossal difference. Bobby Fischer was one of them, and Magnus Carlsen is another. There have been numerous tournaments in recent years where he has struggled and failed to win a game for several rounds, and then once he wins one game more wins follow in rapid succession. That happened at the end of the London Chess Classic, and it's starting to happen here. A lucky but deserved win* over van Wely was followed by a speedy victory over Tomashevsky. The sequence 16.f4 exf4 17.Rf1 was very attractive, but even so Tomashevsky was alright until he played 20...Ne4. Had he traded on d4 first he would have been okay; omitting the trade, he wound with a horrid structure that Carlsen had no trouble exploiting.

    (* Deserved because he took a reasonable, calculated risk that put van Wely under strong pressure to go along with his difficulties on the clock; lucky because van Wely did obtain a winning advantage, and was only one) good (and not particularly amazing) move from converting it into a sure victory.

    Giri finally won a game, defeating Mamedyarov, and the remaining games were drawn. Two were especially interesting: So-Caruana and Hou Yifan - Wei Yi. Both games featured opponents from the same country, and in both cases the player with the white pieces enjoyed serious winning chances in a long game, though it's not clear that either So or Hou missed a clear win at any point.

    Round 7 is tomorrow, and here are the pairings:

    • Navara (2.5) - Karjakin (3)
    • Caruana (4) - Ding Liren (4)
    • Wei Yi (3) - So (3.5)
    • Mamedyarov (2.5) - Hou Yifan (3.5)
    • van Wely (2) - Giri (3)
    • Tomashevsky (2) - Adams (1.5)
    • Eljanov (3.5) - Carlsen (4)

    A brief note about the Challengers' section: Alexey Dreev and Baskaran Adhiban share the lead with undefeated 5/6 scores, and Eltaj Safarli is just half a point behind. For those who are interested I found two games especially interesting from today's play: Admiraal-Sevian and Van Foreest-Abasov.

    Monday
    Oct262015

    Bilbao Final Masters Starts Today (Monday)

    It's a small event, with only four players involved, but a very prestigious one. The Bilbao Final Masters is a double-round robin featuring Viswanathan, Anish Giri, Ding Liren and Wesley So. Play starts at 4 p.m. local time (= 11 a.m. ET) each day, with a rest day on Thursday in between the first and second cycle. The first round pairings are So vs. Ding and Anand vs. Giri.

    Thursday
    Jul162015

    Boris Gelfand vs. Ding Liren

    Boris Gelfand and Ding Liren are playing a 4-game match in  Wenzhou, China. Game one finished in a draw earlier today; Gelfand had the white pieces in a Bayonet KID and seemed to have some initiative early on. Some minor slips let Black escape and even enjoy the better half of an ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops. Ding really pushed Gelfand hard and came closer to winning than I thought he would in such an ending. After a long defense Gelfand finally saved the draw. Game 2 is tomorrow.

    Incidentally, I didn't find the Chinese website above particularly easy to navigate, even after using Google's translator, so you might just make your life easier (unless you read Chinese, of course!) and go here or here.