Eternal Incarceration - How Chinese No 1 GM Ding Liren does it
In the midst of a chess tussle between masters, one stranded piece or even a temporary misplaced one can suffice to tilt the balance of the game. How about a piece that is trapped or immobilized within the confines of his or his opponent's pawn structure with nowhere to go? It spells impending doom as the party with the incarcerated bit is virtually a whole piece down. I would like to show you three such examples, the first, a classic by the great Capablanca, the second from my own tournament praxis (I mean, I almost got my piece entombed) and the last one in a virtuoso performance by the Chinese number one player, GM Ding Liren who helmed China's top board in their successful World Teams Championships win two days ago. On to the games!
One of the defining strengths of Capablanca is his ability to squeeze out wins from simple-looking positions. Here, he takes advantage of Winter's inaccurate exploitation of Capa's pinned knight to incarcerate the British master's bishop on g3 where it never saw the light of the day again. Ironically, Kasparov pointed out in My Great Predecessors Volume 1 that Winter could have saved the game by counter-immolating Black's bishop later!
The following excerpt is analysis from the first of many tough encounters with 12 year old Li Ruifeng in the World Mind Games event held on chess.com back in 2014. Then, he was a 2300+ FM but now he is already a strong GM and the World No 2 among the U16 players. I was very fortunate that then he missed a continuation that would have caused my queen rook to get entombed for good and I managed to escape with a draw later.
World Class Example
Chinese GM Ding Liren, who was entrusted with top board in the recently concluded World Teams Championships (which China won). completed his stint with an unbeaten 5/8 score inclusive of a crushing win over former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. In the following game, he suppressed his opponent's King's Indian with typical Chinese precision and jammed in the latter's KID bishop. A stunning pawn sacrifice forced a queen trade after which, he was just playing one piece up in the resulting ending.