The very strong Danzhou SuperGM tournament finished this weekend in China, and Wang Yue finished first with a great score of 7/9 (good for an rating gain of 20 points), a point ahead of Ni Hua. Ding Liren was third with 5.5, and super-prodigy Wei Yi finished fourth with 5, more or less finishing with his expected score. (The games can be found here.)
Entries in Wang Yue (3)
I didn't cover the Mind Sports event in Beijing much for the blog, but I did follow it to some degree on my own. One game really caught my eye, and I will share it with you in a moment. The game was an unlikely candidate as an attention-getting: a rapid game that reached a drawn rook and pawn vs. rook endagme after 64 moves and that ended, appropriately enough, in a draw 68 moves later. The defender was never lost, and the drawing methods used have long been known to endgame theory.
What caught my eye was something "mathematical" or "philosophical": it seemed to me at one point that Teimour Radjabov, who had the extra pawn, had managed with a brilliant idea to eliminate the independent significance of one drawing method by showing that he could force the defender (Wang Yue) to switch to a different drawing method, one which is a bit more complicated in practice. Specifically, it seemed for a while that Radjabov had shown that the strong side could force the defender to go from the Karstedt Maneuver to the Last Rank Defense. That doesn't change the objective evaluation of the ending, but such a reduction would be of real theoretical significance.
Upon closer examination, it turns out not to be the case. No doubt tired and short of time, Wang Yue may have gotten befuddled and tricked into a Last Rank Defense, while I, well-rested and in the leisure of my study, was temporarily tricked as well. After patient examination, I realized that this was not the case, and Wang Yue could have returned to the Karstedt after all. Still, Radjabov's concept was truly ingenious, and a very nice practical idea we should all incorporate into our endgame repertoires.
Curious? Have a look here. There are four fragments there. The first three demonstrate basic defensive ideas in rook and pawn vs. rook endings, going from easiest (Philidor's Method) to slightly less easy (the Karstedt Maneuver) to more difficult (the Last Rank Defense). After laying the basic theoretical groundwork we turn to the Radjabov-Wang Yue game, with an emphasis on the point where the former's great practical idea forces Black out of the cookbook Karstedt and makes him find his bearings.
Most of the favorites continued smoothly along, qualifying for round 2 on Wednesday. Most, but not all! The two big upset victims from day 1, Peter Leko and Wang Yue, were unable to take revenge today against Sam Shankland and Alexandr Fier, respectively. Wang Yue did have his chances, but Fier escaped with a draw to advance. As for Leko, he tried to mix things up with the Modern Benoni, but was outplayed and wound up the recipient of a charity draw in a lost position.
Another noteworthy upset victim was Gata Kamsky. Diego Di Berardino ground him down, but fortunately for Kamsky that means playoffs tomorrow rather than his elimination. Another 2700 suffering a similar fate was Francisco Vallejo Pons, who lost today to the very young Peruvian GM Jorge Cori. They were almost joined by Michael Adams, who got into enormous trouble with White against Mark Paragua, but Adams held on to draw in over 100 moves, and thus won his match.
No Americans have been knocked out so far: Shankland, Alexander Ivanov (by forfeit over Wang Hao) and Alexander Onischuk (1.5-.5 over Ivan Ivansevic) advanced; Kamsky, Ray Robson (two draws vs. Etienne Bacrot) and Yuri Shulman (two draws with Vladimir Potkin) are headed for playoffs.
Viorel Iordacescu lost today, so he's off to playoffs as well.
Now for some links. The event website is here, and those with the time and opportunity should check out their live coverage, complete with lots of high-def webcams, commentary in both Russian and English, post-game interviews and even, on occasion, some winners demonstrating their games. Better still, you can watch it even now - just click the play button (the video is near the top of the linked page).
The clearest bracket can be found on the event's Wikipedia page (scroll down).
Finally, my own contribution today: a couple of games I found of interest, here.