Ding beats Magnus in his own den

Ding beats Magnus in his own den

IM vinniethepooh

With an excellent display of steel nerves, speed prowess and excellent defense Ding Liren beat Magnus Carlsen 2-0 in blitz en-route to winning the Sinquenfield Cup 2019 after the players tied for first in the classical portion.

The latter made an excellent comeback after drawing his first 9 games, winning the last two to draw level and enter the play-offs, but he was stopped right in his tracks by a rampaging Ding Liren.

Defeating Magnus in a play-off is no mean feat, no one has been able to do it since 2007, but Ding did, convincingly, being very accurate even in short time controls. Is it a sign of things to come? Will we soon see Ding face-off against Magnus at the highest level?

Rapid, Game 1

The play-offs started with Magnus having the White pieces in a 25 mins + 10 sec delay match. The fact that Ding outplayed the Norwegian from the beginning, if anything, would have been a morale victory. The game started with Magnus playing the trendy 5.g3 Semi Slav, followed by some good endgame play from Ding (for once, the World Champion was on the receiving end!) which had his mighty opponent on the ropes early on. Ding was pushing but Magnus was able to hold and make a draw by creating a fortress in an opposite colored bishop endgame a pawn down.

Rapid, Game 2

The 2nd tiebreak game was quite dull from the beginning, where Magnus equalized rather easily in a Catalan. Ding was way ahead on the clock, but the symmetrical position hardly offered any chances, and the game was drawn on move 35.

With no conclusion in the rapids, the players moved on to 5 mins + 3 sec delay blitz.

Blitz, Game 1

Ding had White, and managed to gain a large advantage out of the opening. He didn't play the most accurately in between and allowed another opposite colored bishop endgame pawn down for Magnus. It might have seemed that we are going to see a repeat of the first game, Ding outplaying Magnus but falling just short at the end. However, this was a different position, and the Chinese had much more chances to convert his position. In severe time pressure (delay instead of increment doesn't help!) Magnus started making mistakes and was lost multiple times but the position wasn't so easy and Ding couldn't play accurately. In mutual time pressure it was all about nerves, and Ding prevailed on that count. He continuously made threats and didn't let Magnus breathe easy, and finally the Norwegian forfeited on time.

Blitz, Game 2

The 4th playoff game started with Magnus in a must win situation with the White pieces. In an equal position Magnus tried drastic measures to complicate the game with 17.g4!? and 26.Na5!? and succeeded, but this is where you really have to give it up for Ding. In such pressure he kept making one accurate move after the other in a barrage of complications. The end was especially sweet and with some excellent bit of calculation of defense Ding became the Sinquenfield Cup 2019 Champion.

You're not human if you aren't happy after such an amazing victory! Congratulations to Ding Liren who showed us some excellent bit of chess sorcery throughout the event!