Anish Giri and Ding Liren lead the Shenzhen Masters on 2/3 after Giri cut Harikrishna’s spell as leader short after a single round. It’s all been about themes – in Rounds 1 and 2 it was endings with a knight vs. pawns, while in Round 3 the two decisive games were demonstrations of how a bishop pair can be too much for two knights to handle. Instructive chess!
After the first round there were fears we might get an awful lot of draws in this evenly balanced 6-player double round-robin, but it turns out we needn’t have worried. Three of the next six games were decisive, and you can replay all the action using the selector below:
In Round 2 Svidler and Yu Yangyi drew in 22 moves, while Giri’s attempts to squeeze out a win against Ding Liren were thwarted when the Chinese no. 1 was able to force a drawn pawn ending or, as happened in the game, a draw by repetition.
The first blood of the tournament was spilled, though, in Adams-Harikrishna. Mickey lost control when he decentralised his queen in the run-up to move 40, and had little choice but to offer up a desperate piece sacrifice with 37.Qd3:
37…Qxd3+ 38.Kxd3 Nb4+ 39.Kc4 Nxa2 left White with only pawns against the black knight, just as Ding Liren had pawns against Yu Yangyi’s knight in Round 1. This time, though, the pawns weren’t able to hold on, even if it did come down to a single tempo: