Ding Liren wins second Chinese title

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Ding Liren wins second Chinese titleOn Sunday, 18-year-old Ding Liren became Chinese Champion for the second time in his career, with an undefeated 9/11 score and a 2867 performance. Hou Yifan finished 5th, one place ahead of Wang Yue. In the women's section 21-year-old Zhang Xiaowen was the strongest.

The 2011 Chinese Individual Championships took place from March 30th to April 10th in Xinghua, Jiangsu Province, China. It was a 12-player, single round-robin for both the women's and the men's section. The latter should rather be called 'open' section, as reigning Women World Champion Hou Yifan decided to participate in that group. The time control was 90 minutes for the whole game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

The rules are relatively simple in China: the top eight players will qualify directly for the A group of the 2012 Championships, while the last four players have to play in the B group next year. The tournament was also a qualifier for the World Team Championship which will be held in Ningbo, China later this year. Before the national championship Wang Yue, Wang Hao, Li Chao and Yu Yangyi had already qualified for this event.

You might remember the remarkable story of 2009, when a 16-year-old chess player named Ding Liren, and not Wang Hao, took the title despite not making a single move in the final round - his opponent Zhou Jianchao was forfeited for not sitting behind the board at the start of the round. This year Ding didn't need a miracle as he was simply the strongest in Xinghua. An undefeated 9/11 score and a 2867 performance left no doubts.

Ding Liren wins second Chinese title

Ding Liren wins his second Chinese title

Ding Liren beat all the players who are best known in the West: Bu Xiangzhi, Ni Hua, Wang Yue, Li Chao, and Li Shilong. He also defeated Zhang Ziyang and Xiu Deshung and drew with Zhou Jianchao, Yu Yangyi, Zhao Jun and Hou Yifan.

We're quite convinced that we'll see Ding Liren invited to big tournaments soon. He's not only terribly strong, but also plays attractive openings like the 4.f3 line in the Nimzo and the King's Indian. (We should add that quite a lot of Chinese players have the 'KID' on their repertoire - probably the legacy of Ye Jiangchuan, the third GM of China, now coach, and an avid KID player himself.) And Ding Liren is good at something else: provoking blunders from his opponents.

Ding Liren-Ni Hua Chinese Championship 2011 Ding Liren-Ni Hua

40... Kd4?? 41. Re6 1-0

Xiu Deshun-Ding Liren Chinese Championship 2011 Ding Liren-Ni Hua

28.Bc4?? Rd8 and White resigned as the next move is 29...Qd4.

The current Women's World Champion Hou Yifan (2602), who is now 17 years old, gained even more experience by playing in the men's section. She did fine, with a plus one score and a 2641 performance.


17-year-old Hou Yifan finished on a solid +1 score

The most attractive game of the tournament was the following.

Zhao Jun-Xiu Deshun Chinese Championship 2011 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 c5 6. e3 b6 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. Ne2 Ba6 9. e4 O-O 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Bg3 d6 13. f4 Na5 14. fxg5 hxg5 15. O-O Nh5?

Zhao Jun-Xiu Deshun

16. Bxd6!! Qxd6 17. e5 Qe7 18. Ng3 Nxg3 19. Rf6!

Zhao Jun-Xiu Deshun

A brilliant attacking concept, aiming to paralyse the black kingside. The light pieces on the queenside won't be able to arrive in time to help defending. 19... Kg7 We couldn't really find a defence for Black: a) 19... Rfd8 20. hxg3 Qf8 (20... Bxc4 21. Rh6!) 21. Qh5 Qg7 22. Raf1 Rd7 23. d5 Bxc4 24. Bxc4 Nxc4 25. dxe6 fxe6 26. Rg6 Rf8 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8 28. Rxg7 Rxg7 29. Qh8+ Kf7 30. Qb8+-. b) 19... Bxc4 20. hxg3 Bxd3 21. Qxd3 Kg7 22. Raf1 Rh8 23. Qe3 Rag8 24. Qxg5+ Kf8 25. Rxf7+ Qxf7 26. Rxf7+ Kxf7 27. Qf6+ Ke8 28. Qxe6+ Kd8 29. d5! +-. 20. Qg4 Rg8 21. hxg3 Nb7 22. Raf1 Nd8 23. Qe4 Qb7 24. d5 Rh8

Zhao Jun-Xiu Deshun

25. Qg6+!! The quickest and prettiest. 25. Rxf7+ also wins of course. 25... fxg6 26. Rxg6+ Kh7 27. Rxg5+ Kh6 28. Rg6+ Kh7 29. Rg4+ Kh6 30. Rf6+ Kh5 31. Rh4+ 1-0

In the women's section 21-year-old WGM Zhang Xiaowen finished clear first with a score of 8.5/11 and a 2599 performance. GM Zhao Xue ended on second place with 8/11.

Zhang Xiaowen Chinese Women's Champion

Zhang Xiaowen won the women's section

These days the playing schedule is quite tough for the Chinese players. Just before the national championship the FIDE Zonal 3.5 tournament was held from March 19th to 29th. In Tianjing, China Li Chao finished first and qualified for the 2011 World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, together with Bu Xiangzhi.

Right after the national championship the Chinese top players immediately travel to Tianjing for three rounds in the Chinese League, from April 12th to 14th. The ladies continue to play from April 15th to 25th in the first 'Women Celebrity Tournament' in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China.

Selection of games

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Chinese Individual Championship 2011 | Final Standings

Chinese Individual Championship 2011 | Women | Final Standings

Photos © Fan Lulu


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