Ju Wenjun Beats Lagno With 60 Million People Watching
Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno playing earlier this week in Beijing, China. | Photo: Liang Ziming.

Ju Wenjun Beats Lagno With 60 Million People Watching

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Feb 15, 2019, 7:19 AM |
52 | Chess Event Coverage

Repeating the result of the 2018 World Championship knockout final, Ju Wenjun beat Kateryna Lagno in a short rapid match in Beijing, China earlier this week. It was a historic moment for chess in China, as part of it was broadcast on national television.

At least for two top grandmasters we know why they are not playing in the Cairns Cup in St. Louis. Albeit briefly, Ju and Lagno met again at the chess board during China's traditional Spring Festival. On February 11 and 12, they played a match consisting of just two rapid games (25+10) and one Armageddon (6 vs 5 minutes with Black having draw odds), because the score was 1-1 after a tie.

The first game was played at China Qiyuan, an agency responsible for board (such as chess) and card games, affiliated to the All-China Sports Federation. The playing hall also serves as a training room of the Chinese National Team.

Ju took the lead by winning that first game, where Lagno chose the Møller Defence of the Ruy Lopez. The position after 11 moves had been on a chess board in China also last year, in a game between Yu Yangyi and Peter Svidler.

It looks like Lagno wasn't fully aware of the dangers in his particular variation, because right out of the opening she started to have problems.


A day later, the players moved to a studio of the China Media Group. That day, the chess was being broadcast by CCTV5+, the largest sports TV channel in China. That was quite special. The last time chess was played in the studio of national TV in China was in 1997, when Anatoly Karpov visited China and played a simul against six top Chinese women players: Zhu Chen, Xu Yuhua, Wang Pin, Wang Lei, Qin Kanying and Ning Chunhong.

The channel often broadcasts games such as go or Chinese chess. The choice to show chess on TV again is probably related to the excellent achievements of the Chinese national teams (e.g. double gold at the Batumi Olympiad) and Ju's world champion status.

Lagno vs Ju Shenzen 2019
The start of game two. | Photo: Liang Ziming.

Lagno managed to level the score in game two. She defeated her opponent from the white side in what was a Petroff Defense. After having a small edge for a while, Ju equalized with a small combination, only to spoil it in a rook endgame.

CCTV5+ covers 600 million people in China and according to our correspondent for this event Liang Ziming, this game was watched by 60 million people. That could well be a record for our sport!

For the Armageddon game (also broadcast on TV), Lagno won the drawing lot and chose to play with white. In another Petroff, this time the Russian number one failed to win what should have been a technically winning endgame—no doubt the limited time on the clock played a role here.

That was a pretty expensive mistake for Lagno. By winning the match, Ju earned U.S. $15,000 while Lagno took home U.S. $8,000.

This was, by the way, the first win for Ju in an Armageddon game. Earlier in her career she had lost to Hou Yifan and Tan Zhongyi.

Shen Yang recording moves Ju Lagno
Chief arbiter Zhu Jiaqi and WGM Shen Yang. Shen Yang was responsible for recording the moves during the games. | Photo: Liang Ziming.
GM Ye Jiangchuan and WGM Liu Shilan commented the games for all the Chinese audience.
GM Ye Jiangchuan and WGM Liu Shilan commented the games for the Chinese audience. | Photo: Liang Ziming.
Mr. Ye Jiangchuan (Deputy Director General of Board and Card Games Administrative Center of General Administration of Sport of China, Vice President of Chinese Chess Association, General Coach of China National Chess Team) awarded trophy to the winner Ju Wenjun.
GM Ye Jiangchuan (Deputy Director General of the Board and Card Games Administrative Center of the General Administration of Sport of China, Vice President of the Chinese Chess Association and General Coach of the Chinese National Team) awarded the trophy to the winner, Ju Wenjun. | Photo: Liang Ziming.
Mr. Yu Shouchao (Chairman of Hunan E-dream International Cultural Exchange Co., Ltd.) awarded prize money to the winner Ju Wenjun.
Yu Shouchao (Chairman of Hunan E-dream International Cultural Exchange Co., Ltd.) awarded the prize money to the winner Ju Wenjun. | Photo: Liang Ziming.
Mr. Zhang Ping (Deputy Director of Cultural and Sports Bureau of Shenzhen Nanshan District) awarded trophy to Katerina Lagno.
Zhang Ping (Deputy Director of the Cultural and Sports Bureau of the Shenzhen Nanshan District) awarded the trophy to Katerina Lagno. | Photo: Liang Ziming.
Ms. Wang Weiqi (Chairman of Heilongjiang Longyi Sports Industry Development Co., Ltd.) awarded prize money to Katerina Lagno.
Ms. Wang Weiqi (Chairman of Heilongjiang Longyi Sports Industry Development Co., Ltd.) awarded the prize money to Katerina Lagno. | Photo: Liang Ziming.

The E-dream·2019 World Chess Champion Summit was organized by the Board and Card Games Administrative Center of the General Administration of Sports of the Chinese Chess Association, the China Chess Association, China Media Group and Hunan E-dream International Cultural Exchange Co., Ltd, and hosted by the Publicity Department of Shenzhen Nanshan District (Cultural and Sports Bureau), Shenzhen Pengcheng Chess Club Co., Ltd. and Heilongjiang Longyi Sports Industry Development Co., Ltd.

Thanks to Liang Ziming for providing the information and photos.

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