A chess powerhouse
The Candidates Tournament will resume a bit over per week from in the present day, with the two highest-rated Chinese language gamers on this planet able to get again into the fray in Yekaterinburg. Whereas Ding Liren (world #3) didn’t have a superb first half, Wang Hao (world #12) continues to be properly inside vary to meet up with the leaders.
Having two gamers from China within the eight-player subject shouldn’t catch anybody without warning, because the Asian nation has significantly developed his chess stars within the final 20 years or so — though most definitely the outcomes started to point out solely after a interval of deliberate makes an attempt to rise the standing of the game within the nation.
In addition to Ding changing into the primary Chinese language participant ever to take part in a Candidates Match and likewise the primary one to move the 2800 score barrier, the largest success achieved by the 3rd or 4th largest country in the world has been to win the Chess Olympiad twice in 4 years.
The Chinese language gained an important group occasion on this planet in Tromso 2014 and Batumi 2018, with three gamers getting gold medals in each competitions — Ding, Yu Yangyi and Wei Yi. The latter, at present 20th in the world ranking at 21, dominated the world junior rankings lists earlier than the ascent of Alireza Firouzja, and continues to be the youngest participant ever to succeed in a score of 2700.
China achieved double gold on the 2018 Olympiad | Picture: Amruta Mokal
These days, not a lot has been written concerning the Chinese language prodigy — maybe as a result of the main focus has been moved to even youthful stars (Wei has not obtained invites to elite occasions of late) — however he’s nonetheless a pressure to be reckoned with. Again in 2015, the tactical wizard defeated Lázaro Bruzón on the Hainan Danzhou Match in what was dubbed because the new Chinese language Immortal. The improbable king hunt prompted pundits to reminisce on the authentic Chinese language Immortal, performed by Liu Wenzhe on the 1978 Buenos Aires Olympiad.
Allow us to look again at two of the best chess video games ever performed by Chinese language gamers.
Going for the throat: Wei 1-0 Bruzón
Wei’s masterpiece was seen on the sixth version of the Hainan Danzhou Masters in 2015, a 10-player single spherical robin which included 8 Chinese language gamers, an Indian and a Cuban. The wunderkind, then 16 years outdated, performed white towards Bruzón in spherical 2.
Earlier than wanting on the highlights of the sport, if you wish to problem your self and see if you could find Wei’s continuations, do take a look at Sagar Shah’s article from 2015, the place he poses 5 puzzles so that you can resolve!
Out of a Sicilian Scheveningen, White castled brief and determined to go all-in towards Black’s kingside in what in any other case appeared to be a dynamically balanced place:
Black has simply taken a knight on d5, and even earlier than recapturing the piece Wei, in typical model, uncorked 22.Rxf7. Does he have sufficient firepower to checkmate the black king?
The Cuban star, in fact, accepted the problem with 22…Kxf7, and after 23.Qh7+ Ke6 24.exd5+ Kxd5 White is totally dedicated to the assault.
The benefit of going for such a king hunt is that there isn’t any cause to doubt any extra — it’s all about discovering a strategy to give checkmate! Thus, 25.Be4+. Black merely can not reject the sacrifice now, as 25…Ke6 26.Qxg6+ will result in White even recovering the sacrificed materials. Bruzón performed 25…Kxe4, and Wei as soon as once more proved he knew what he was doing from the beginning of the mixture — 26.Qf7
26…Bf6 prevents mate on f3. Wei repeated the place with 27.Bd2+ Kd4 28.Be3+ Ke4 and once more discovered the right continuation — 29.Qb3, keeping track of a possible escape route for the black king alongside the a2-g8 diagonal.
There adopted 29…Kf5 30.Rf1+ Kg4
31.Qd3 and the black king is doomed, with the black heavy items standing as mere spectators away from the motion. The Cuban GM tried a determined defence beginning with 31…Bxg2+, however Wei didn’t falter whereas placing the ultimate touches on his masterpiece. Resignation got here 4 strikes later.
Replay the sport with skilled evaluation by IM Sagar Shah:
Punishing an excessively passive transfer: Liu 1-0 Donner
Quickly after the top of the Cultural Revolution, China participated in its first Chess Olympiad on the 1978 worldwide competitors in Buenos Aires. Suitably, Liu Wenzhe — the primary Chinese language participant to ever defeat a grandmaster and the first-ever IM from the Asian nation — performed an astounding recreation to defeat Dutch GM Jan Hein Donner in spherical 8.
Liu performed actively towards Donner’s Pirc, and Black faltered decisively as soon as White’s g-pawn reached the fifth rank:
10…Ne8 is each passive and takes away a possible escape sq. for the king. White continued with 11.Qd3, merely planning to switch the queen to the h-file .
There adopted 11…exd5 12.Nxd5 Nc6 13.Qg3 Be6 14.Qh4 f5 15.Qh7+ Kf7
It’s right here that Liu discovered a marvellous queen sacrifice — 16.Qxg6+ and White mates in 6 strikes! There adopted 16…Kxg6 17.Bh5+ Kh7 18.Bf7+ Bh6 19.g6+
19…Kg7 20.Bh6+ and Donner resigned — 20…Kh8 21.Bxf8 Qh4 22.Rxh4#
The sport was analysed by Lubomir Kavalek in his excellent Huffington Post column: