Young grandmasters’ classic match

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

FIDE World Cup 2019
Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia
Sept. 9-Oct. 2, 2019

Results of Round 4 (winners in bold)

Ding Liren CHN 2811 vs. Kirill Alekseenko RUS 2671 3-1

Alexander Grischuk RUS 2759 vs. Leinier Dominguez Perez USA 2763 2.5-1.5

Nikita Vitiugov RUS 2732 vs. Wesley So USA 2767 1.5-0.5

Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2776 vs. Yu Yangyi CHN 2763 0.5-1.5

Jan-Krzysztof Duda POL 2730 vs. Jeffery Xiong USA 2707 3.5-4.5

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE 2767 vs. Teimour Radjabov AZE 2758 2.5-3.5

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2774 vs. Peter Svidler RUS 2729, 1.5-0.5

Le Quang Liem VIE 2708 vs. Levon Aronian ARM 2758 2.5-3.5

Results of Round 5

Alexander Grischuk RUS 2759 vs. Ding Liren CHN 2811 0.5-1.5

Nikita Vitiugov RUS 2732 vs. Yu Yangyi CHN 2763 4-5

Jeffery Xiong USA 2707 vs. Teimour Radjabov AZE 2758 0.5-1.5

Levon Aronian ARM 2758 vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2774 1.5-2.5

7-round 128 player Knockout event

Time Control: 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

The 21-year-old Grandmaster (GM) from Poland, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and his even younger rival from the United States, 18-year-old GM Jeffery Xiong, played the most exciting match in the FIDE World Cup in this 4th round. They exchanged wins in the classical, rapid (25+10) and fast rapid (10+10) without a single draw. It was only in the blitz (5+3) that Xiong finally prevailed. By that time, we were very sad that one of the two had to go home as the chess they played was the stuff that made you want to stay up all night.

Duda won the first game of the match with a powerful exhibition.

Duda, Jan-Krzysztof (2730) — Xiong, Jeffery (2707) [A34]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (4.1), 20.09.2019

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nc7 7.0–0 g6 8.Na4 Ne6 9.d3 Ncd4 10.Be3 Bg7 11.Rc1 0–0! 12.Nxc5 Nf5 13.Nxe6 Bxe6 14.Bc5 Bxb2 15.Rb1 Bg7 16.Rxb7 Qc8! 17.Rb5 a6 18.Ra5 Bc3 19.Qa4

Duda is intentionally sacrificing the exchange, but he overlooked Xiong’s next move.


Threatening to win White’s queen with 20…Bd7 21.Qa3 Bb2.

20.d4! Bxa5 21.Qxa5 Rb2 22.e4! Nd6 23.Qa3 Rxa2 24.Qe3 f6 25.Rc1 Qd7 26.d5 Bh3 27.Bxh3 Qxh3 28.Bxd6 exd6 29.Nd4 Rc8 30.Nc6 Re8 31.Nd4 Rc8 32.Rb1 Ra4 33.Ne6 Rac4 34.Re1 g5? <D>


35.e5!! dxe5 36.Qa7 Qh6 37.d6 Rc1 38.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 39.Kg2 g4 40.h4 gxh3+ 41.Kh2 Qg6

There is a trap here. If White plays the “obvious” 42.Qe7 he is the one mated by 42…Rh1+! 43.Kxh1 Qe4+ followed by checkmate.

42.Qa8+! 1–0

After 42.Qa8+ the long diagonal is protected and then 42…Kf7 43.d7 it is either checkmate or white queens his pawn.

Xiong immediately struck back the next day to tie the classical match and bring on the tie-breaks.

Xiong, Jeffery (2707) — Duda, Jan-Krzysztof (2730) [C24]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (4.2), 21.09.2019

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Qd6 8.Qg5 Nbd7 9.exd5 cxd5 10.d4 e4

Duda was just repeating his game against Svidler from the 1st round of the Riga Grand Prix but by this time had already consumed 25 minutes, suggesting that he had not analyzed the positions he got after the game.


[11.Nh4 Nb6 12.Qxg7 Qf4 13.Qxh8+ Ke7 14.Nc3 Qxh4 15.Qg7 Bg4 16.Bxd5 Nbxd5 17.Nxd5+ Nxd5 18.Qe5+ Be6 19.c4 the position is unclear but led to a fighting draw. Svidler, P. (2737)-Duda, J. (2729) Riga LAT 2019 1/2 42.]

11…0–0 12.Nc3 Nb6 13.f3 Be6 14.0–0–0 Rac8 15.Qd2 a6 16.Rhe1 exf3 17.gxf3 Nfd7 18.h4! f6 19.Nd3 Bf7 20.Qf4 Rc6

[20…Qxf4+ 21.Nxf4 loses the crucial d5–pawn]

21.Qxd6 Rxd6 22.Nc5 Rb8 23.Re7 Kf8 24.Rde1 Nxc5 25.dxc5 Rd7 26.Rxf7+ Kxf7 27.cxb6 Rbd8 28.Nxd5! Kg6

We get a permanent pin with 28…Rxd5 29.Rd1 Ke6 30.f4 after which White can choose when to liquidate to won a king and pawn endgame.

29.c4 Kh5 30.Re4 Rc8 31.Kd2 g5 32.Ke3 Rf7 33.hxg5 fxg5 34.Ba4 Kh6 35.Be8 Rf8 36.Bd7 Rb8 37.b4 Kg6 38.Nc7 Rfd8 39.Re7 Rh8 40.Be8+ Kf6 41.Nd5+ 1–0

Very impressive win. 41.Nd5+ Kf5 42.Bh5 Rhd8 43.Kd4 Black has to play …Rxd5 because otherwise Re5 is mate.

The players had traded wins with the White pieces and this continued into the tie-breaks, with the Polish GM going astray with Black in a drawn rook and pawn endgame. It was his turn to face a must-win situation in the 2nd rapid tie-break game and his opening must have been a surprise.

Duda, Jan-Krzysztof (2730) — Xiong, Jeffery (2707) [B20]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (4.4), 22.09.2019

1.a3!? g6 2.e4 c5 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.d3 Nf6 6.Bg5 d6 7.Nge2 Bd7 8.Qd2 h6 9.Bh4 Nd4 10.Nxd4 cxd4 11.Ne2 Qb6 12.Bb3 Rc8 13.h3 a5 14.a4 Bc6 15.0–0 Nd7 16.f4 Nc5 17.Bc4 Nxa4 18.e5 Nxb2

I am strongly reminded of the Spassky versus Geller Candidates’ match in 1968. Geller as Black lost three times in the same variation and in a similar way: while he was winning the battle on the queenside, his King was being mated on the other flank. The lesson of the story: the King is more important!

19.Bb3 a4 20.Ba2 Qc5 21.Bf2 dxe5 22.fxe5 Bxe5 23.Bxf7+! Kd7

[23…Kxf7? 24.Bxd4+]

24.Nf4 Rcf8 25.Be6+ Ke8 26.Nxg6 Rf6?

The losing mistake. Correct was 26…Rhg8! 27.Qxh6 Bxg2! 28.Rae1! (28.Kxg2 Qc6+ 29.Kg1 Qxe6 Black is winning) 28…Bxf1 29.Bxg8 Rxg8 30.Kxf1 Bf6 and I still don’t know who is ahead.

27.Nxe5 Qxe5 28.Rae1 Qd6 29.Qa5 Rhf8 30.Qh5+ Kd8 31.Qa5+ Ke8 32.Qa8+ Qd8 33.Qxd8+ Kxd8 34.Bxd4 Rxf1+ 35.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 a3 37.Bc5

Everything just falls into place. The passed pawn is caught and White is winning.

37…Nd1 38.g4 Ba4 39.Ke1 Bxc2 40.Kd2 Ba4 41.h4 Ke8 42.g5 hxg5 43.hxg5 Kf8 44.Bd4 1–0

The 5th game was the start of the 10 minute+10 seconds increment “fast rapid” time control. It is another wild and woolly game and Jeffery got a winning attack, only to misplay it and allow Duda to snatch the win.

For the second time in the match Duda only needed to draw to proceed to the Quarterfinals, but it was not to be. Come the 6th game he tried to slow things down with a Petroff, but even there Xiong managed to complicate matters. After another series of strikes and counter strikes they entered into a difficult knight and pawn endgame. I say “difficult” because both players had pawns on either side of the board and one had to continuously calculate whether your knight could make it back on time to defend your opponent’s queening threats.

In this phase of the game the 18-year-old Xiong proved eerily accurate, and one almost imperceptible mistake by his opponent was immediately punished — Xiong forced resignation with mate in 2 on the board.

Now we enter the blitz (5 minute+3 second increment) tiebreak. The white sin streak finally ended when the first game was drawn, and at all last Xiong luckily managed to win the game, set and match.

Xiong, Jeffery (2707) — Duda, Jan-Krzysztof (2730) [B03]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (4.8), 22.09.2019

1.e4 Nf6

I do not believe Duda has ever played the Alekhine before. He probably just wanted to surprise his opponent for a change.

2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.f4 Bf5 6.Nc3 e6 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Be3 0–0 9.Be2 dxe5 10.fxe5 Nc6 11.0–0 f6 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.b3 Qe7 14.Qe1 Rad8 15.Rd1 Bg4 16.Ne4!

The pressure against d4 is central to Black’s Alekhine strategy, so removing the f6–bishop is good for White.

16…h6 17.Qg3 Bf5 18.Nxf6+ Rxf6 19.Nh4 Bc2 20.Rxf6 Bxd1

Duda did not play 20…Qxf6! because of 21.Rf1 followed by Bxh6, but actually Black has 21…Nxd4! 22.Bh5! (22.Rxf6?? Nxe2+ 23.Kh1 Rd1+ followed by mate) 22…Nf5 23.Nxf5 exf5 24.Qxc7 White’s advantage is not so big. I should reminder the reader though that this is a 5 minute + 3 second increment game, so the players would be disinclined to go into heavy calculations.]


Xiong missed 21.Rxh6! Bxe2 22.Rh8+! Kxh8 23.Ng6+

21…Nxd4 22.Bd3! Ne2+ 23.Bxe2 Bxe2 24.Bxh6 Rd1+?

The only saving move is 24…Qc5+ 25.Qe3 (25.Be3 Rd1+ 26.Kf2 Qf8+ 27.Nf3 Bd3 threatening mate on f1 as well as the rook on g6.) 25…Qxe3+ 26.Bxe3 Kf7 with chances for both sides.

25.Kf2 Qf8+ 26.Nf3!

[26.Kxe2? Qf1+ 27.Ke3 Rd3+ Black is the one who wins]

26…Rd7 27.Kxe2 Kh7 28.Ng5+ Kh8

[28…Kxg6 29.Nxe6+]

29.Nxe6 Qf5 30.Bxg7+ Kg8 31.Bd4+ Kf7 32.Rf6+ 1–0

This match did enormous credit to both players.


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