Brilliancy Prize winners

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

43rd Chess Olympiad (Open Division)
Batumi, Georgia
Sept. 23 — Oct. 6, 2018

Final Standings (Open)

Country Points TB1 TB2

1. China 18/22 372.5 28.5

2. USA 18/22 360.5 29.0

3. Russia 18/22 354.5 29.0

4. Poland 17/22 390.0 28.0

5. England 17/22 340.0 27.5

Total of 185 teams from 183 countries. Georgia as the host country was allowed to field three teams.

Final Standings (Women)

Country Points TB1 TB2

1. China 18/22 407.0 30.5

2. Ukraine 18/22 395.5 30.0

3. Georgia 1 17/22 375.0 28.0

4. Russia 16/22 379.5 30.5

5. Hungary 16/22 372.0 29.5

Total of 151 teams.

In both Olympiads the time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 30 minutes play-to-finish, with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1.

Last week I wrote that China won double gold in the just-concluded 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad. Actually, that statement is not entirely accurate as the Chinese actually won quintuple gold. That’s right, five golds

Champion, Open Division;
Champion, Women’s Division,

Nona Gaprindashvili Award (highest in combined standings, Open & Women’s Division)

Open Division Board 1 gold (Ding Liren), and Women’s Division Board 1 gold (Ju Wenjun).

The closest thing to matching that record in the Olympiads is the Soviet Union’s performance in the 1986 Dubai Olympiad. The USSR won the gold in the open and women’s division, Garry Kasparov took the board 1 gold but their women’s board 1, GM (Grandmaster) Maia Chiburdanidze “only” got silver with 8/10. The Russian/Swiss/Bulgarian WGM Tatjana Lematschko earned gold with 9.5/11 playing for Switzerland. Having said that, we should also point out that playing top board for the USSR is not the same as board 1 for Switzerland. The Soviets faced far stronger opposition and in fact GM Maia rating performance was much higher than that of Lematschko.

Anyway, if you also take into consideration that China is the 2015 and 2017 world team champion, then there can be no doubt that they are currently the top chess country in the world.

Individually, the team members’ performances:

Open Team

board 1 GM Ding Liren 2804, 5.5/8, gold medalist on board 1 with a rating performance (Rp) of 2873

board 2 GM Yu Yangyi 2765, 5.0/11, Rp 2724

board 3 GM Wei Yi 2742, 3.5/7, Rp 2578

board 4 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2712, 7.5/10, silver medalist on board 4, Rp 2774

board 5 GM Li Chao 2708 2657, 5.0/8

Women’s Team

board 1 GM Jun Wenjun 2561, 7.0/9, gold medalist on board 1 with a rating performance (Rp) of 2661

board 2 IM (International Master) Shen Yang 2464, 4.0/8, Rp 2344

board 3 WGM Huang Qian 2446, 7.5/11, silver medalist on board 3, Rp 2459

board 4 GM Lei Tingjie 2468, 8.5/11, silver medalist on board 4, Rp 2498

board 5 WGM Zhai Mo 2351, 3.5/5, Rp 2339

Yu Yangyi and Li Chao are both frequent participants in Philippine tournaments. Butch Pichay has as much to do with the development of these two chess powerhouses as anybody else.

Li Chao b (that’s what Chessbase calls him as there is another Chinese player named Li Chao who is much lower-rated) won the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Cup organized by Pichay in Manila last November 2007. Next year he came back to the Philippines to win the second Philippine International Open in Subic Bay. In May 2013 he won the Asian Chess Championship, also organized by Mr. Pichay, which took place in Manila.

Yu got his first GM norm from the 2009 Asian Chess Championship organized by Mr. Pichay in Subic Bay, and his second GM norm from the Subic International Open, also in Subic Bay, which took place immediately after the conclusion of the Asian Championship. In other words Yu Yangyi arrived in Philippine shores on May 12, 2009 as an untitled promising player and went home on May 31, 2009 with two GM norms. His career has been on an upswing since, 2013 World Junior Champion, 2014 Asian Chess Champion and in December 2014 he won the Qatar Masters scoring 7.5/9, and, even more impressively, beating both Vladimir Kramnik and Anish Giri. He was part of the gold-medal winning Chinese team to the 2014 Tromso Olympiad and won the individual gold medal on board 3 with a performance rating of 2912, the best of the entire event. How much more impressive can you be?

I already showed you Ding Liren’s brilliancy-prize winning game against Jan Krzysztof Duda of Poland. He was not the only Chinese player to get a brilliancy prize. In round 3 they routed the dangerous Peruvian squad 3-1 and on board 2 Yu Yangyi had his prize-winner.

Yu, Yangyi (2765) —
Vera Siguenas, Deivy (2494) [A46]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (3.2), 26.09.2018

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3

Now more than ever everyone seems to like to play 1.d4, 2.Nf3 and 3.g6 with a Catalan-like formation.


Considered the most reliable continuation here, preventing White’s c2–c4 and immediately fighting for space in the queenside. Also, since White’s bishop will be fianchettoed on g2 it won’t be attacking the b5–pawn.


Nope! Yu Yangyi delays his fianchetto and attacks the b5–pawn first. His idea is novel — with 3…b5 Black wants to exert pressure on the queenside with the follow-up …c7-c5, …Bb7 and …a7-a5. White intends to destroy the pawn and grab the queenside for himself. In this he succeeds.

4…b4 5.a3 Bb7 6.axb4 Bxb4+ 7.Nbd2 0–0 8.Bg2 Be7 9.Nb3 d5 10.0–0 Qc8

Maybe he should have played 10…Nc6 to prevent White’s Na5, because now White is always one step ahead of him.

11.Na5 Ba6 12.c4 Ne4

[12…dxc4 13.Ne5 Nd5 14.Re1 going for e3–e4]

13.Nd2 f5 14.Nxe4 fxe4 15.b3 Nd7 16.Nc6 Bf6 17.Ba3 Re8 18.Qg4! <D>


The threat is 19.Be7! Bxe7 20.Qxe6+ Kf8 21.Rxa6! Qxa6 22.Qxd7 and once White opens the f-file it will be curtains for the Black king.]

18…Nb8 19.Na5 Qd8 20.f3 exf3 21.Rxf3 c6 22.Raf1 Kh8

[22…Qxa5 23.Rxf6 Nd7 (23…Qxa3 24.Rf7 g6 25.Rxh7! Kxh7 26.Rf7+ Kh8 27.Qh4+ Kg8 28.Qh7#) 24.Rf7 g6 25.Qh4 h5 26.Qg5 Nf8 27.Qe5 mate next move]

23.Qh5 Rg8 24.g4

With the idea of 25.g5 Bxg5 26.Rf8.


Nothing works:

24…Qe8 25. Qxe8 Rxe8 26.g5;

24…Nd7 25.Rh3 h6 26.g5 Bxg5 27.Nxc6 Qe8 28.Qxg5

25.Qh3 Bg7 26.Rf7 Qxa5 27.Bd6 Qd8 28.R1f3! g5

To give his king an escape square on g6. Otherwise, he will be mated by the standard queen sacrifice 28…Qxd6 29.Qxh7+ Kxh7 30.Rh3#

29.Qh5 1–0

After 29.Qh5 it is forced mate: 29…h6 30.Rh3 Rf8 31.Be5 Rxf7 32.Qxf7 Qg8 33.Rxh6+ Qh7 34.Qxg7#

Last week we looked at Ian Nepomniachtchi’s brilliancy prize winning game from the last round:

Nepomniachtchi, Ian (2768) — Bacrot, Etienne (2678) [A13]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (11.2), 05.10.2018

1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.b3 0–0 6.Bb2 c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.h4 b6 9.Qb1 h6 10.g4 Bb7 11.Rh3 Nd7 12.g5 h5 13.Bd3 Nb4 14.Bh7+ Kh8 15.Be4 Nd5 16.Ne2 f5 17.gxf6 N7xf6 18.Ng5 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 Bxg5 20.hxg5 Nf4 21.Qxb7 Nd3+ 22.Kf1 Nxb2 23.Rxh5+ Kg8 24.g6 1–0

The mating threat which Bacrot could not stop was 25.Rh8+ Kxh8 26.Qh1+ Kg8 27.Qh7 mate.

This same mating theme was echoed in another brilliancy prize winner, this time from the second round. By the way, the GM Alexandr Hilario Takeda Sakai dos Santos Fier is the answer to the trivia question “who is the strongest Japanese chess player in the world.” GM Fier is Japanese-Brazilian but currently lives in Joinville, Brazil.

Fier, Alexandr (2558) — Aloma Vidal, Robert (2428) [A09]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (2.2), 25.09.2018

1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Na3 a6 4.Nxc4 b5 5.Ne3 Bb7 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 e6 8.0–0 Be7 9.b3

This game can be classified under the “my secret weapon with b3” openings which Wesley So describes in his chessbase DVD. The attacking formation with Bb2, Rc1, Qd1–c2–b1–a1 is covered.

9…0–0 10.Bb2 c5 11.Qc2 Nbd7 12.Rac1 h6 13.Rfd1 Rc8 14.Qb1 Qb6 15.Qa1

Now you have to dislodge the knight from f6.

15…Rfd8 16.h3 Bf8 17.d3 Bc6 18.Ng4 Nxg4 19.hxg4 Qb7 20.e4 a5 21.g5 hxg5 22.Nxg5 a4 23.Bh3

With Kg2 and Rh1 in mind.

23…Re8 24.Kg2 axb3 25.Rh1! c4

Black has no idea what Fier is planning.

26.Bxe6! Rxe6 27.Rh8+ 1–0

Now, if you looked at the Nepomniachtchi game above I am sure you have seen that 27.Rh8+! Kxh8 28.Rh1+ Kg8 29.Rh8+ Kxh8 30.Qh1+ Rh6 31.Qxh6+ Kg8 32.Qh7# is checkmate.


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.