Bilbao: Ding Liren Saves R vs RB Ending After 174 Moves

Bilbao: Ding Liren Saves R vs RB Ending After 174 Moves

Oct 29, 2015, 9:14 AM |
29 | Chess Event Coverage

The third round of the Bilbao Masters Final saw two more draws. In one of them, Ding Liren saved a R vs RB endgame against Anish Giri in a game that lasted 174 moves.

With two draws the standings didn't change in the third round in Bilbao, but there certainly was no lack of fighting spirit, at least one one of the boards!

Ding Liren and Anish Giri played no fewer than 174 moves before splitting the point, while the game could have ended much earlier. In a Fianchetto Grünfeld, Giri expected 27.Nf3 when “in three moves we would have shaken hands,” as the Dutchman told (The next hurdle would have been the Sofia Rule.)

Ding's 27.Rxa6?! was followed by a number of tactical blows by Giri, who quickly won a healthy pawn. 

Anish Giri during his game with Ding Liren. | Video image courtesy of Bilbao Chess.

Right after the time control Ding could have gone for the R vs RB endgame, a known theoretical draw, but he decided to avoid it. This second mistake should have been punished; between moves 45 and 48 Giri missed two not-so-easy wins.

After yet another practical mistake by the Chinese GM (Ding missed a chance to trade one pair of rooks), Giri got the chance to play RRB vs RR and tried for almost 50 moves.

“Somewhere there was a win,” said Giri. “But playing on increment it was like a blind squirrel trying to find a nut,” as Giri quoted his compatriot Loek van Wely.

He traded rooks just before Ding could have claimed a draw (which was pure luck, as Giri wasn't aware!), then tried to win RB vs R for more than 50 before the game was finally drawn!


The handshake at the start of a game that would last almost six hours. | Video image courtesy of Bilbao Chess.

The other game was the kind of hypercorrect and not-too-entertaining draw that occurs every now and then between two top GMs who both don't have a reason to take big risks. Wesley So and Vishy Anand drew a Semi-Slav, Anti-Meran that saw lots of exchanges in the early middlegame.


Anand and So at the press conference. | Photo Manu de Alba, Bilbao Masters Final.


2015 Bilbao Masters Final | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 So,Wesley 2760 2914 phpfCo1l0.png 1  1 3 5  
2 Anand,Viswanathan 2798 2780 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1  1 3 2.25
3 Giri,Anish 2803 2782  1 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 3 2.25
4 Ding,Liren 2782 2667 0  1 1 phpfCo1l0.png 2  


Thursday was a rest day. The players did have something scheduled in the morning: a visit to the local Begoñazpi school, where they played against a group of kids. It happens to be the first school in the Basque region that introduced chess as a class in its curriculum.

Instead of the usual simultaneous exhibition, the organizers had thought of something different.

GMs vs young chess fans, always a nice picture for media.
| Photo: Manu de Alba, Bilbao Masters Final.

The game started with the following position, in which the top GMs's task was to hold the draw as White. Surely they solved the riddle (hint: especially Ding and Giri!), but can you?

It is a study by A. W. Daniel given by the tournament's press release as composed in 1934, although elsewhere it's claimed that it was published in Chess Amateur in 1908.



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