Ding Liren Edges Out Bu Xiangzhi, Wins in Hainan
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Ding Liren managed to retain his title at the 5th Hainan Danzhou tournament. In the last round, on Friday, the 21-year-old grandmaster from Wenzhou defeated Xiu Deshun with the black pieces to reach a 6.5/9 score. In doing so, he caught tournament leader Bu Xiangzhi in first place.
As it turned out, Ding had the better tiebreak, and so he won the tournament ahead of Bu. The two Western participants, Arkadij Naiditsch and Ruslan Ponomariov, tied for third place with 5.5/9.
The 5th edition of the annual tournament in Hainan took place 25 June -- 4 July in Danzhou, in the Hainan province of China. The tournament was a 10-player round robin and the prize fund was 320,000 yuan (€37,944 or U.S. $51,573).
These were the participants (and their June 2014 ratings): Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2723), Ding Liren (China, 2714), Arkadij Naiditsch (Germany, 2714), Bu Xiangzhi (China, 2693), Yu Yangyi (China, 2675), Wei Yi (China, 2634), Ma Qun (China, 2609), Zhao Jun (China, 2603), Zhou Weiqi (China, 2601) and Xiu Deshun (China, 2550). Normally Hou Yifan also plays, but she was active in Georgia at the Lopota Women's Grand Prix. Other notable players missing were Wang Hao, Wang Yue and Ni Hua.
The time control was the standard FIDE tempo: 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. Like last year, draw offers were not allowed before move 30, but this year that was an even stricter rule: in case of a draw in less than 15 moves (because of a move repetition), the game had to be restarted! This didn't happen throughout the tournament, another example of the threat being stronger than the execution!?
The tournament had a few players known for their aggressive styles, such as Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi, and of course it was also interesting to see how the youngest GM in the world, Wei Yi, would fare. Not long ago he won the León rapid tournament.
The 15-year-old GM started with the following draw, against Yu, in a sharp line of the Sveshnikov where White “sacrifices” a piece for three pawns.
Wei's tournament wasn't great. He drew seven of his nine games, and ended on minus two as he lost to Bu Xiangzhi and Ruslan Ponomariov (see below).
Bu Xianghi started with two wins, and was the sole leader after three rounds, with a 2.5/3 score. His second-round game was quite spectacular:
Arkadij Naiditsch took over the lead from Bu as he defeated him in a direct confrontation in round 4. It looks like things went wrong for Black right after the opening:
A relatively easy win for Arkadij Naiditsch | Photo courtesy of the Chinese Chess Association
In the fifth round, Yu Yangyi defeated Ma Que with a nice trick. Can you see what he had planned for 15...b4?
In the end, Naiditsch and Ponomariov couldn't fight for first place. The former lost one game, to Zhou Weiqi, while the latter played too many draws. Ponomariov did finish undefeated, and his win against Wei Yi was rather nice:
Bu had fought himself back in the lead after eight rounds, while his compatriot Ding was trailing by half a point. In the final round, Bu had to settle for a draw against Yu and Ding then caught him, and won the tournament on tiebreak. He did it with the following instructive ending:
Hainan Danzhou 2014 | Final Standings