Ding Liren Edges Out Bu Xiangzhi, Wins in Hainan

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 7/4/14, 8:02 AM.

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 players at the opening ceremony

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. 


The playing hall | Photo courtesy of the Chinese Chess Association

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:

Bu Xiangzhi was leading after three rounds | Photo courtesy of the Chinese Chess Association

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?

The tricky Yu Yangyi | Photo courtesy of the Chinese Chess Association

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:

A good with as Black for Ruslan Ponomariov

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:

Ding started with lot number one, and finished as number one!

Hainan Danzhou 2014 | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Ding Liren 2714 2809 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 6.5/9 26.00
2 Bu Xiangzhi 2693 2811 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 6.5/9 25.00
3 Naiditsch,A 2705 2723 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 5.5/9 24.00
4 Ponomariov,R 2723 2722 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 5.5/9 23.25
5 Ma Qun 2609 2616 ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9 17.25
6 Zhou Weiqi 2601 2617 0 0 1 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 ½ 4.0/9 16.50
7 Yu Yangyi 2675 2610 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 1 4.0/9 15.75
8 Wei Yi 2634 2575 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 3.5/9 14.75
9 Xiu Deshun 2550 2583 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 3.5/9 12.50
10 Zhao Jun 2603 2439 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/9

Photos © Liu Yi & Fan Lulu courtesy of the Chinese Chess Association | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png

12646 reads 18 comments
4 votes


  • 2 years ago


    Ah, thank you, inselschaker.

  • 2 years ago


    @MindWalk: Then 18.Bf3 is crushing - threatening 19.Bc6+ (also after 19.-Qb6 20.Bc6+ anyway 20.-Qxc6 21.Qd8 mate)

  • 2 years ago


    @uan: Yes, I was kidding - and writing from a deliberately exaggerated western perspective. The serious rationale for my comment was: I wonder how Ponomariov and Naiditsch ended up playing in a 'Chinese event' (all-Chinese for the first four editions) - if they didn't yet, only these players or the organizers could answer that question.

    @Chocolate Teapot: There certainly is state support for chess in China - different from the Soviet Union, I think it started basically from scratch? This might also explain the tactical Chinese style (a cliche with elements of truth?). Tactial alertness is a matter of talent, practice and working with computers. Strategic-positional understanding requires human coaching - there were no experienced Chinese coaches, foreign ones hardly speak Chinese, young Chinese players are hardly fluent in foreign languages (English or Russian). I am simplifying but not kidding here.

    Then the Chinese style persists if players mostly face each other. So inviting a positional player like Ponomariov (Naiditsch also tends to play "street-fighting chess") might have been for a reason - he can teach his opponents something through games and postmortems.

  • 2 years ago


  • 2 years ago


    In Yu Yangyi vs. Ma Qun--the puzzle position--how does 16...axb5 17 exf6 regain the piece, let alone with interest, after 17...Bf8?

  • 2 years ago


    Russians, step aside - Chinese are coming.

  • 2 years ago


    I am baffled by inselschaker's comments regarding the names and looks of Chinese players.  You are kidding right?

  • 2 years ago


    Kurt88, you can find the games over at The Week In Chess: http://www.theweekinchess.com/chessnews/events/5th-hainan-danzhou-gm-2014

  • 2 years ago


    no trophies in china?

  • 2 years ago


    How can one download the games with analysis in pgn format?

  • 2 years ago


    The PRC is promoting chess in much the same way that the old USSR did, and for much the same reasons. The overall style could be due to the influence of Chinese chess, which is much more popular over there than our Western chess is.

  • 2 years ago


    Not only do the Chinese players have similar names (well, similarly unfamiliar to western readers) and - arguably - similar playing styles [Wang Yue is an exception?], they also look somewhat similar. I exaggerate, but going through the article pictures it's obvious who "doesn't belong in the field" by looks.

    How did Ponomariov and Naiditsch score their invitations and temporary 'honorary Chinese' status? It might have played a role that both don't get too many other round-robin invitations, even if both will play in Dortmund starting next week.

  • 2 years ago


    Not only have they great players but I have heard it said on a fair number of occasions that the ratings of Chinese players are below their actual playing strength!....shame Hou Yifan was otherwise occupied.

Back to Top

Post your reply: