Beautiful finish to wild game!
The finish of the game between GM Liren Ding (rated 2700 plus) and IM Liu Qingnan (rated 2500 plus) at the recently concluded Chinese Championship is well worth close study. Both young men (born in 1992) wanted to win, castled on opposite sides and then proceeded to throw everything at each other…
POSITION AFTER 36 MOVES OF PLAY:
Ding had sacrificed a piece earlier to expose the Black monarch, but it is Black who seems to have the stronger attack. In fact, with the White b-pawn without any direct defence (Black is threatening …Rxb4 and a quick mate, and if 37.Qxd6? Rb6! and White can resign) , things appear hopeless for the two-time champion of China. For example, if now 37. h6!? Rxb4 38. h7 Rb3+!! 39. Rxb3 Qc5+! 40. Ka2 axb3+ it is forced mate.
HOWEVER, Ding rises to the occasion and finds a clever trap:
Wrong now would be 37… Rxb4? 38. Qh8+! Kd7 (38… Kf7 is slightly better, but not much) 39. Qxb8!! The whole point! 39… Qxb8 40. Rxb4 Qc8 41. h6! and with Black’s Rooks gone the White h-pawn gives White serious winning prospects. And if Black tries to avoid the check on h8 with 37…Kd7 then 38.Qe6+ repeats the position.Therefore, Liu played the best way to avoid the trap and renew his threat to capture on b4:
This clever move prevents White from giving up his Queen for Black’s Rooks. Once more things look hopeless for Ding…
38. h6! Rxb4!
The spectactors expected Ding to throw in the towel here!
The spectators go wild, not believing their eyes!
A brilliant and unexpected resource that seems to turn the tables on Black! If now Black proceeds 39… Rxb1? 40. h8=Q+ Kd7 41. Qxe7+!! it is White who mates first (Rh7-mate follows) This deserves a diagram:
HOWEVER, now it is Liu’s turn to find a brilliant saving resource:
The next moves are all forced by both sides
40. Rxb3! Qc5+! 41. Ka2 axb3+ 42. Kb1!
White is threatening mate in three moves starting with promoting his h-pawn…
42… bxc2+ 43. Kxc2 Rb2+ 44. Kc1
Amazingly, White can not escape perpetual check, as the reader can verify for himself. The game concluded:
45. Kxb1 Qb4+ 46. Kc2 Qxe4+ 47. Kb3 Qxd5+ 48. Kxc3 Qd4+ [½:½]
Who says that chess can not be a spectator game! Both players deserve great credit for their efforts!
Ding’s exciting style of play reminds me very much of Bobby Fischer at his best, and for this reason I predict that he will become world champion sometime in the next half-dozen years. Before turning 20 years of age, Ding had already won twice what is arguably the world’s strongest national championship!HERE IS THE CROSS TABLE OF THIS YEAR’S CHINESE CHAMPIONSHIP