Chess: China’s Ding Liren could make unlikely late bid for Candidate spot | Chess

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Chinese world number 3 Ding Liren could make an unlikely late bid for a place in the Candidates Tournament which will decide Magnus Carlsen’s next challenger. Ding’s chances appeared to have vanished when visa issues prevented him from competing in the current Grand Prix series in Berlin which will qualify two winners for the contenders in Madrid in June, but a possible lifeline emerged in due to Fide’s six-month ban on Sergey Karjakin, who had qualified for Madrid via the 2021 World Cup but will now be banned from competing in the Candidates.

Karjakin won the Candidates in 2016 and then tied 6-6 with Carlsen in the World Championship match before losing the speed chess tie-break.

Fide regulations state that a substitute will be the highest rated eligible player on the May 2022 rating list who has played 30 rated games in the last 12 months. Due to pandemic and visa issues, Ding only played four of the required 30, and those were in a hastily arranged match to qualify him for an abortive Grand Prix departure.

Then Thursday a tweet appeared: “The Chinese Chess Association will launch a series of qualifying tournaments at the end of this month for the 19th Asian Games. All the best players must play, including Ding Liren [plus seven named others] …” The Games will be held in Hangzhou, China in September.

This announcement may coincide with Ding’s Madrid problem. The Asian Games have only included chess twice before, in 2006 and 2010, so China, the current Open and Women’s Olympiad champions, will expect to succeed at home with their team. the strongest and will also be aware of the growing threat from Indian teenage stars. .

Even though the official qualification for next month’s Games is much less than the required 26 matches, Ding has the flexibility to hold more Fide-rated matches there against readily available opponents. It would be a tiring schedule and Ding could lose a few Fide points, but he has a useful cushion against any mishaps that could risk others overtaking him.

The current live notes display Ding on 2799 Fide points. He is 11 points ahead of Levon Aronian and 23 over Richard Rapport, the current favorites to qualify. He is 24 points ahead of Wesley So of the United States, who has an outside chance in Berlin.

So the advice to Ding must be: “Go for it!” Whether he and sports officials in Beijing are sufficiently motivated and organized to do so remains to be seen.

As he pondered whether to try and qualify for Madrid, Ding had a more pressing concern on Thursday: a quick four-game online semi-final against Magnus Carlsen in the Charity Cup, staged to raise money for Unicef ​​Ukraine and part of the Melt Water Champions Tour.

Carlsen won the first Tour event and has been in fine form this week, including a convincing victory over the Englishman Gawain Jones. Thursday night’s Ding v Carlsen semi-final was a level battle for the first two games, in which the world champion opened as white with the rare move 1 e3, and for most of the third until the Chinese GM, for whom the game The session was in the wee hours of the morning, goofed or slipped by the mouse when it ran out of time in a drawn queen ending and was immediately lost. In the fourth and final game, Ding was a bit better, couldn’t progress against Carlsen’s resilient defense, ended up in a draw B vs N final, and finally goofed his knight.

In the second semi-final, Poland’s 2021 World Cup winner and 2022 contender Jan-Krzysztof Duda beat Vietnamese number 1 Le Quang Liem, now head chess coach at Webster University in the United States. United. Earlier, in his quarter-final, Duda scored with a clever tactic against Czech David Navara. Can you find White’s winning move? The solution is below.

Duda versus Navara

The two-day Carlsen vs. Duda final can be watched for free and live online, starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

In Berlin in the final round of the Fide Grand Prix qualifying two winners for the Candidates, Aronian has the advantage in the group of death where he meets Hikaru Nakamura and two Russians. Aronian against Nakamura in the first round started with a Queen’s Gambit Accepted: 1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e4!? Normal is 3 Nf3, while 3 e3 sets a trap that catches many newbies online: 3…b5? 4 a4 c6? 5 axb5 cxb5? 6 Qf3! earn at least one coin. 3…b5 4 a4 c6 5 axb5 cxb5 6 Nc3 Qb6 7 Nd5 Qb7 8 Bf4 e5 9 Bxe5 Nd7 10 Bf4 Ngf6 11 Nc7+ Kd8 12 Nxa8 Qxe4+ 13 Ne2 Qxa8. This sharp position has already appeared in Aronian against Leinier Domínguez in a previous Grand Prix game. Aronian was sure he had analyzed it further, but the line with Black was also in Nakamura’s repertoire a decade ago, so he was ready to pick it up.

The decisive position for this game and perhaps for the entire Candidates qualification came to Black’s 23rd.

Aronian vs. Nakumura
Aronian vs. Nakamura

The computer gives 23…N5xc3 as the level, while 23…Nf4? allowed White three different responses for a clear advantage. Aronian chose 24 Da2! who soon trades queens with a winning ending. That single mistake likely ruined the five-time American champion’s brave attempt to go from streamer with over a million subscribers to potential challenger Carlsen.

3808 1…Ne2+! 2 Qxe2 (if 2 Kh2 Qh7+! 3 Nh4 Qxh4+ and wins) Qf4+ 3 Kh3 g4+ 4 Kh4 gxf3+ wins.

Duda versus Navara 1 Nxa5+! wins after Qxa5 2 b4 or bxa5 2 Kb3 trapping the queen.

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