China is double champion

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

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

Final Standings

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

6. India 16/22 388.0 29.0

7. Vietnam 16/22 379.5 30.5

8. Armenia 16/22 371.0 27.5

9. France 16/22 366.0 28.5

10. Ukraine 16/22 337.0 26.0

11. Sweden 16/22 333.0 29.0

12. Czech Rep. 16/22 331.5 27.5

13. Germany 16/22 317.5 27.0

14. Austria 16/22 300.5 27.0

15. Azerbaijan 15/22 402.5 29.5

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

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.

Back in 1975 we had the Philippines vs China Friendship Matches where a 10-man Filipino squad (Grandmaster [GM] Eugene Torre, International Master [IM] Rodolfo Tan Cardoso, IM Renato Naranja, IM Rosendo Balinas Jr, Glenn Bordonada, Rico Mascariñas, Roger Abella, Rafaelito Maninang, Cesar Caturla, and Phil Junior Champion Frederic Tumanon) met the best player of China, ostensibly to test the playing level of China in preparation for their first participation in the Chess Olympiad. Anyway, there were six matches of 10 games each, held in various cities around China and the Philippines won 35.0-25.0.

I can talk on and on about this. For example our team had a fixed board order, but the Philippine delegation head, the late Florencio Campomanes, gave the host country the freedom of varying their board orders as they please. In other words he allowed them to identify and target the weak points in our team but the Philippines won nevertheless.

The rest is history. Apparently China took their lessons well and joined their first Chess Olympiad in 1978 Buenos Aires – they did not do too badly – 20th place, and this included a beautiful win by Liu Wenzhe over Jan Hein Donner to allow China to tie Netherlands, a world chess power, 2-2. Here is that “Chinese Immortal:”

Liu, Wenzhe — Donner, Jan Hein [B07]
Olympiad-23 Buenos Aires (8), 02.11.1978

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.g4

Liu Wenzhe is later to become the head coach of China and have a direct hand in the development of their chess talents. He is the author of the book “The Chinese School of Chess.” The idea he uses against the Pirc, which is 4.Be2 together with 5.g4 succeeds here because Donner was not taking his opponent seriously. I have appended the game Kovacevic vs Seirawan at the end of this column to give an idea on how it should be met.


IM Andrew Martin recommends 5…c5 here. “A more fluid, Sicilian-type of game would certainly increase the likelihood that Black could expose g2–g4 as something of a luxury.”

6.h3 c5 7.d5 0–0?

Castling into it. GM Robert Byrne suggested here 7…Na6 followed by …Nc7.

8.h4! e6 9.g5 hxg5 10.hxg5 Ne8 11.Qd3 exd5 12.Nxd5 Nc6 13.Qg3 Be6 14.Qh4

We are just on the 14th move and already White has forced mate.

14…f5 15.Qh7+ Kf7 16.Qxg6+! Kxg6 17.Bh5+ Kh7 18.Bf7+ Bh6 19.g6+ Kg7 20.Bxh6+ 1–0

According to GM Kavalek, after Donner lost the game he sat in his chair for another 15 minutes, staring at the chessboard with amazement. And then, understanding the humor of the situation, he mocked himself: “Now I will be known as the Chinese Kieseritzky.”

And now see how far they have gone. Here in Batumi the Chinese Men’s and Women’s Teams both struck gold. We will discuss the women’s Olympiad in another column – today we will look at the Men’s.

China, USA and Russia all tied for first with 18 out of a maximum of 22 points, so the first tie-break system of Olympiad Sonneborn-Berger points was applied. As I explained in our Sept. 27 column, this means that the match points of the teams against which you had played during the Olympiad are multiplied with the number of team points you scored in the match against that team, followed by dropping the result against the lowest-ranked team.

Having come from behind the Russian squad had much lower Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak points than the other two and their bronze medals were perhaps the most that they could have hoped for.

Before the round started however the Americans had higher tie-break points than the Chinese so they didn’t try too hard to win their match and were content with four draws. Their misfortune is that all their opponents from previous rounds did worse than the Chinese team’s opponents and by the time all the results of round 11 were tallied it was China which jumped ahead.

The Chinese squad is composed of:

bd 1 GM Ding Liren 2804, 5.5/8

bd 2 GM Yu Yangyi 2765, 7.0/11

bd 3 GM Wei Yi 2742, 3.5/7

bd 4 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2712, 7.5/10

bd 5 GM Li Chao 2708, 5.0/8

Wei Yi did not do as well as expected. He had wins against two IMs but lost to GM Jorge Cori (2664) of Peru and GM Jiri Stocek (2574) of the Czech Republic and drew the rest. He was benched in the final two matches of China.

Yu Yangyi and Li Chao did more or less what is expected of them. Bu Xiangzhi, at one time the world’s youngest-ever GM in history until Sergey Karjakin broke his record, delivered for his country scoring the decisive win against the Netherlands and Azerbaijan to tow them back into contention after a bad start.

Ding Liren, still in crutches because of a broken hip he suffered during the Norway Altibox tournament last June, played well. He was undefeated and had three wins (against GM Emilio Cordova PER 2609, GM Ivan Saric CRO 2689 and GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda POL 2739) and 5 draws.

Ding, Liren (2804) — Duda, Jan-Krzysztof (2739) [D24]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (10.1), 04.10.2018

The Poles were the surprise team of Batumi. They had no big names but that didn’t stop Poland from defeating top seed USA and second seed Russia, not to say anything about powerhouses Ukraine and France. China stopped them in round 10 with a big 3–1 victory. Ding Liren got the brilliancy prize as well for defeating the Polish Champion Jan — Krzysztof Duda, so this was a very good day at the office for him.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 b5

Mainline Vienna is 5…Bb4 6.Bg5 c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 but Duda had already played the text move in the 2018 Polish Championship, so I guess Ding was not surprised by it.

6.e5 Nd5 7.Nxb5 Nb6 8.Be2 Nc6 9.0–0 Be7 10.Qd2!?

A new try, relocating his queen to the kingside. The “normal” 10.Be3 does not seem to give White any edge. 10…0–0 11.Qd2 (11.Nc3 Rb8 12.a3 Bb7 13.Qc2 Na5 14.Rad1 h6 15.Nd2 Qd7 16.f4 Nd5 Mamedyarov, S (2801)-Caruana, F (2822) Saint Louis 2018 1/2 61.) 11…Rb8 12.Rfd1 Bb7 13.b3 a6 14.Nc3 cxb3 15.axb3 Nb4 Black is completely fine. Wojtaszek, R (2750)-Duda,J (2724) Warsaw POL 2018 0–1 55.

10…0–0 11.Qf4 Rb8 12.Nc3 f5 13.Qg3 Kh8 14.Rd1 Nb4 15.b3 cxb3 16.axb3 a6 17.Bc4 Nc2 18.Ra2 Nb4 19.Ra1 Nc2 20.Ra2 Nb4 21.Re2 a5 22.d5! exd5 23.e6 Bd6 24.Qh3 Qf6! <D>

The bishop on c4 cannot be taken: 24…dxc4? 25.Ng5 h6 26.Nf7+ Rxf7 27.exf7 followed by Re8+.


The critical position. Ding thought on his next move for 30 minutes and then flashed out his next moves fast.


This appears to be an only move:

25.Bg5 Qg6 (not 25…Qxc3? 26.Rc1 the queen has nowhere to go) 26.Bb5 Bxe6 Black has parried all threats and White’s forces are uncoordinated. For example, 27.Bd2 c6 28.Ba4 Bd7 White’s bishop on a4 is completely shut out of action;

25.Ng5 h6 26.Nf7+ Rxf7 27.exf7 Qxf7 White has no attack

25…dxc4 26.Nxd6 cxd6 27.e7 Re8 28.Ng5 Qg6

[28…h6 29.Qh5! Bd7 30.Rxd6! Qxd6 31.Nf7+]

29.Rxd6! f4! 30.Qh4 Qb1

Everything is hanging.


After the game some commentators pointed out that 31.Qxf4! would have been better because of 31…Bd7 32.Rf6!! Kg8 33.Rxb6 Rbc8 (33…Rxb6 34.Qf7+ Kh8 35.Qf8+) 34.Qf7+ Kh8 35.Re1 but I do not believe any human being would go into that line, especially in such a pressure situation.

31…Bf5 32.Rd8! Bg6

[32…Rbxd8 33.exd8Q Rxd8 34.Nf7+ Kg8 35.Qxd8+ Kxf7 36.Re7+ Kg6 37.Qd6+ Kh5 38.Qxf4 h6 (otherwise Qg5 mate) 39.Rxg7 mate is coming up]

33.Rxb8 Rxb8 34.Qxf4 Rg8 35.Nf7+ Bxf7 36.Qxf7 Nd7 37.e8Q Nf6 38.Bg5! Threatening both the black queen and mate. 1–0

Here is the Seirawan game I promised.

Kovacevic, Vlatko (2510) — Seirawan, Yasser (2510) [B07]
Hoogovens Wijk Aan Zee (9), 26.01.1980

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.g4 c6 6.g5 Nfd7 7.h4 b5 8.h5 Rg8 9.hxg6 hxg6 10.Nf3 b4 11.Nb1 a5 12.a4 c5 13.d5 Nb6 14.c4 Kd7 15.Nbd2 Rh8 16.Rg1 Kc7 17.Rb1 Rh3 18.b3 Qh8 19.Nf1 N8d7 20.Bf4 Ne5 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.Bxe5 Qxe5 23.f3 Bd7 24.Qc2 Qd4 25.Rg2 Rh1 26.Rf2 Qh8 27.f4 Qh4 28.Rd1 f6 29.gxf6 exf6 30.e5 fxe5 31.fxe5 Rf8 32.exd6+ Kb7 33.Bd3 Re8+ 34.Be2 0–1


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.