chessbase india logo

Harikrishna beats Ding Liren in Danzhou

by Sagar Shah - 11/07/2016

Ding Liren is China's strongest grandmaster till date. In fact his preparation is so fierce that Magnus Carlsen himself invited the Chinese to a training camp to work with him. But in the third round of the Hainan Danzhou super tournament India's Harikrishna Pentala showed no such fear or respect for his opponent and boldly went into the highly theoretical line of the Open Ruy Lopez! The game was balanced on knife's edge and any mistake would have been fatal. Ding Liren was the first one to err and Harikrishna chalked up another victory over a World top ten player. We have in depth analysis of this crucial game. 

The 7th edition of the Danzhou Super Grandmaster Tournament is taking place from 8-17 July in Danzhou in the province of Hainan. This year the ten-player single Round-Robin features four international grandmasters Harikrishna, Ivanchuk, Leko and Nepomniachtchi and six Chinese players: Ding Liren, Yu Yangyi, Bu Xiangzhi Wang Yue, Wang Hao and Hou Yifan. 

The total prize fund is 400,000 yuan ($60,000), with 120,000 yuan ($18,000) for 1st place. Players have 90 minutes for 40 moves then 30 minutes to the end of the game, with a 30-second increment from move one.

It is great news for Indian chess fans that Pentala Harikrishna has been invited to yet another super tournament. And there is absolutely no reason why Hari shouldn't get more such invitations! With a rating of 2754 he is World number 16 and the second seed at this tournament.

After three rounds Harikrishna is in seventh position with 1.5/3. Although it might seem nothing special especially because he lost his round one game to Bu Xiangzhi, yet there is some great news for Indian fans. Hari was able to beat the top seed Ding Liren in the third round playing some sublime chess. Here's the game with in depth explanations:

[Event "7th Hainan Danzhou GM"]
[Site "Danzhou CHN"]
[Date "2016.07.09"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "Liren, Ding"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C80"]
[WhiteElo "2755"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2016.07.06"]
{Harikrishna began the tournament slowly with a loss against Bu Xiangzhi and a
draw against Ivanchuk. But he fought back to score a win against the top seed
Ding Liren.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 {The Nxe4
move is currently quite popular. If played without a6 it leads to the Berlin
and with a6 it is the open Ruy Lopez. The Open Ruy Lopez which was played
quite a bit in the past especially in the Karpov-Korchnoi World Championship
Match and Hou Yifan vs Maria Muzychuk Match recently.} 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8.
dxe5 Be6 {Defending the pawn on d5. It's small threats like these that help
you to remember an opening. Ok the d5 pawn is attacked so Be6 is the right
move.} 9. Nbd2 Nc5 10. c3 Be7 (10... Nxb3 {Why not take the crucial Spanish
bishop? Because after} 11. Nxb3 {White has good control on the d4 square.}) 11.
Bc2 d4 12. Nb3 (12. cxd4 Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Qxd4 14. Nf3 Qxd1 15. Rxd1 O-O {Leads
to some sort of an equal endgame.}) 12... d3 {When I first saw this line a few
years ago I thought to myself White must be crazy. How can he allow the pawn
to come all the way up to d3 and let his bishop get imprisoned on b1? But
slowly I realized that the d3 pawn is not so threatening. Meanwhile if Black
doesn't play dynamically he can easily lose the pawn.} 13. Bb1 ({Hari and Ding
already have had a bout in this line albeit it was just a blitz game.} 13. Nxc5
dxc2 14. Qxd8+ Rxd8 15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Be3 Rd5 17. c4 bxc4 18. Rfc1 Nb4 19. a3
Nd3 20. Rxc2 Kd7 21. Nd2 Nxb2 22. Nxc4 Nxc4 23. Rxc4 Rb8 24. Rac1 c5 25. f4 Kc6
26. Ra4 Kb5 27. Re4 Rbd8 28. Kf2 Rd1 29. Rc2 Ra1 30. Rec4 Rd5 31. R4c3 Rb1 32.
Kf3 a5 33. Ke4 g6 34. g4 Kc6 35. f5 gxf5+ 36. gxf5 exf5+ 37. Kxf5 a4 38. Ke6
Rb7 39. Rf2 Bh4 40. Rf7 Rxf7 41. Kxf7 Rxe5 42. Bf4 Rf5+ {0-1 (42) Harikrishna,
P (2753)-Ding,L (2766) Huaian 2016}) 13... Nxb3 (13... Bf5 {is not good
because of} 14. Nbd4 Be4 15. Nxc6 Bxc6 16. b4 $14 {The d3 pawn falls.}) 14.
axb3 Bf5 {For now the pawn on d3 is secure, but Hari finds a way to play
around it.} 15. Re1 (15. Be3 {is the main move.}) 15... O-O 16. h3 {Taking a
leaf out of Svidler's book. The Russian had tried this move a year ago against
Mamedyarov.} Qd7 17. b4 {Fixing the weakness on a6. The nice thing for White
is that the rook on a1 is active even if the bishop doesn't get out from b1.}
Rfd8 18. g4 Bg6 (18... Bxg4 19. hxg4 Qxg4+ {is an interesting sacrifice but
after} 20. Kh1 $16 {and Nh2 coming up white king should be safe.}) 19. Bf4 {
Through some move transpositions we have reached the game Caruana vs Giri from
Stavanger 2015.} Qc8 {First new move of the game. Previous one between Caruana
and Giri had continued with a5.} 20. Ba2 a5 21. e6 f6 $1 {Keeping the position
closed. White has to play accurately now as Black is slowly but surely taking
over the initiative.} 22. bxa5 Nxa5 23. b4 Nc4 24. Bxc4 bxc4 {This looks
almost like suicide right? Giving Black a protected passer on d3? But
Harikrishna has seen that he can live with them.} 25. Nd2 c5 $6 {Maybe a
crucial mistake by Ding. After this it becomes very difficult to take care of
the c4 pawn. Much better would have been} (25... Qb7 $1 26. Rxa8 (26. Nxc4 $2
Rxa1 27. Qxa1 Qf3 {And you cannot defend everything. f4 bishop is hanging and
so is the pawn on h3.}) 26... Rxa8 27. Nxc4 Ra2 $1 {And it might not be easy
to assess this but Black is much better here. His biggest threat is Qc6
winning the c3 pawn.} (27... Qc6 28. Ne3 Qxc3 29. Nd5 $18) 28. Na5 Qd5 $17) 26.
b5 $1 Be8 27. Rxa8 Qxa8 28. b6 {While the d3 pawn has been on the same square
for quite some moves, the b-pawn has quickly moved towards the finishing line.
Single handedly it threatens to rip apart Black's position.} Bc6 29. Bc7 Rd5
30. Nxc4 $6 (30. Qa1 {would have kept things under control and finished off
the game.}) 30... Qa2 $1 {Black now again has counterplay with threats like
Qxc4 and d2.} 31. Nd2 g5 $6 (31... c4 $1 {was neccessary as after} 32. Re4 Rc5
{Black should be fine.}) 32. Nf1 (32. c4 $1 Rd4 33. f3 $16) 32... c4 (32... d2
$1 33. Re2 Rd3 34. Rxd2 Qd5 (34... Rxh3 35. Ng3 $18) 35. f3 c4 $44) 33. Qd2 Qa8
34. Ne3 Rb5 35. Nxc4 Bh1 36. Ne3 Bc5 37. e7 $1 {Hari has calmly calculated
everything and sees that White is just winning now.} Bxe3 (37... Bxe7 38. Qxd3
$18) 38. fxe3 Kf7 39. e8=Q+ $1 Kxe8 40. e4 Bxe4 41. Qe3 {A fine game by
Harikrishna who was able to outplay Ding in a very sharp theoretical line with
some good opening preparation and superior middlegame play.} 1-0

Giving your opponent a protected passed pawn on d3 requires some strong nerves!

Slowly and steadily it is becoming apparent that Hari can beat just about anyone in the world!

High level of concentration and great self belief - that's what you require to become a world class player.
This is how things stand after three rounds: 

Ranking crosstable after Round 3

Rk.   Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2723 CHN *           1 ½ 1   2,5 0,0 1,0 3,00
2 GM Yu Yangyi 2734 CHN   * 1 ½   ½         2,0 1,0 2,0 3,50
3 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2725 RUS   0 *   1         1 2,0 0,0 1,0 2,00
4 GM Leko Peter 2712 HUN   ½   * ½     ½     1,5 0,0 1,0 2,25
5 GM Wang Yue 2730 CHN     0 ½ *     1     1,5 0,0 0,5 1,75
6 GM Wang Hao 2734 CHN   ½       *     ½ ½ 1,5 0,0 0,5 1,75
7 GM Harikrishna P. 2755 IND 0           *   ½ 1 1,5 0,0 0,0 1,00
8 GM Hou Yifan 2653 CHN ½     ½ 0     *     1,0 0,0 1,0 2,00
9 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2728 UKR 0         ½ ½   *   1,0 0,0 1,0 1,50
10 GM Ding Liren 2778 CHN     0     ½ 0     * 0,5 0,0 0,5 0,75
Hari succumbed to an uncharacteristic first round loss to Bu Xiangzhi. The Chinese player has been in excellent form and is currently leading the tournament with 2.5/3. However, Hari need not have lost the game. Here are some brief analysis of the game taken from ChessBase.com. The analysis has been done by Andre Schulz.
[Event "7th Hainan Danzhou GM"]
[Site "Danzhou CHN"]
[Date "2016.07.08"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "Bu, Xiangzhi"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2755"]
[BlackElo "2723"]
[Annotator "Andre Schulz"]
[PlyCount "114"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Qa4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Nd5 8.
Qb5 Bxd2+ 9. Nbxd2 c3 10. bxc3 Nxc3 11. Qb2 (11. Qd3 Nd5 12. O-O O-O 13. e4
Nde7 $44) 11... Na4 12. Qc2 Nb6 13. e3 O-O 14. O-O {[#] White is a pawn down
but has more space and two semi-open files. Moreover, the bishop c8 is not
developed yet.} Qe7 15. Rac1 Rd8 16. Nb3 Rb8 17. Nc5 Nd5 18. a3 h6 19. Rfe1 b6
20. Nxe6 Bxe6 21. Qxc6 Qxa3 22. Ra1 Qd6 23. Qxd6 cxd6 24. Rxa7 {[#] White won
the pawn back but now Black's b-pawn is very dangerous.} Nc3 25. e4 b5 26. d5
Bg4 27. Nd4 b4 28. h3 $6 ({Komodo 10 recommends the following line:} 28. Nc6 b3
29. Nxd8 b2 30. Bf1 b1=Q 31. Rxb1 Rxb1 32. Kg2 Nxe4 33. Bd3 Bh3+ 34. Kf3 Ng5+
35. Ke3 Re1+ 36. Kd2 Re8 $11) 28... Bd1 29. e5 $6 ({According to Komodo 10} 29.
Nc6 {was best. To support this claim the engine gives the following variation:}
b3 30. Bf1 b2 31. Bd3 Be2 32. Bc2 (32. Bxe2 $2 Nxe2+ $19) 32... Ra8 33. Rb7 Ra1
34. Bb1 $11) 29... b3 30. e6 fxe6 ({After} 30... b2 31. exf7+ Kh8 32. Nc6 Rf8
33. Nxb8 b1=Q 34. Nc6 {Black has a queen for rook and two pawns but the pawn
on f7 and his active pieces give White still some counterplay.}) 31. Rxe6 $2 ({
Better was} 31. Nxe6 {e.g.} b2 32. Rxd1 Nxd1 33. Be4 b1=Q 34. Bxb1 Rxb1 35.
Nxd8 Ne3+ 36. Kh2 Rb2 37. Rf7 Nxd5 $11) 31... Bc2 ({White's idea was} 31... b2
32. Nf5 b1=Q 33. Rxg7+ Kf8 34. Rf6+ Ke8 35. Re7#) (31... Nb5 $1 {was best.} 32.
Nxb5 Rxb5 33. Bf1 b2 34. Bd3 b1=Q 35. Bxb1 Rxb1 $19) 32. Nxb3 Rxb3 33. Ree7 g5
34. Rac7 Bf5 35. Rg7+ Kh8 36. Rgf7 Ne2+ (36... Bd3 $17) 37. Kh2 Nd4 38. g4 Bd3
39. f4 gxf4 40. Rxf4 Rb2 41. Rcf7 Ne2 42. Rf2 Rdb8 43. R7f6 Nc3 {[#]} 44. Rxh6+
$2 ({Less clear is} 44. Rxb2 Rxb2 45. Kg1 Ne2+ 46. Kf2 Nf4+ 47. Ke3 Nxg2+ 48.
Kxd3 Kg7 49. Rxd6) 44... Kg7 45. Rhf6 Nd1 46. Rxb2 Rxb2 47. Rxd6 Bf1 48. Kg3
Rxg2+ 49. Kf4 Rf2+ 50. Kg5 Nc3 51. Rg6+ Kf7 52. d6 Ne4+ 53. Kh6 Rd2 54. Rg7+
Kf8 55. g5 Nxd6 56. Kh7 Bxh3 57. g6 Be6 0-1
Bu Xiangzhi is slowly and steadily making his way to the top ten players in the world
Camera shy?! Ivanchuk and Hari drew their second round encounter
[Event "7th Hainan Danzhou GM"]
[Site "Danzhou CHN"]
[Date "2016.07.09"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"]
[Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A17"]
[WhiteElo "2728"]
[BlackElo "2755"]
[PlyCount "186"]
[EventDate "2016.07.06"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Bb4 6. Qc2 O-O 7. O-O d5 8. cxd5
exd5 9. d4 Re8 10. Bf4 c6 11. a3 Bxc3 12. bxc3 Nbd7 13. Rfe1 h6 14. Nd2 Nh5 15.
Be3 Nhf6 16. a4 Ng4 17. Nf1 Nxe3 18. Nxe3 Nf6 19. c4 Bc8 20. cxd5 cxd5 21. a5
Be6 22. Qa4 a6 23. axb6 Qxb6 24. Reb1 Qa7 25. Rc1 Rec8 26. h4 Rxc1+ 27. Rxc1
Qb6 28. Bf3 Rb8 29. Kg2 Qb4 30. Qxa6 Qxd4 31. Rd1 Qc5 32. Qd3 Re8 33. Kg1 Kf8
34. Rd2 Qa5 35. Qd4 Rc8 36. Kg2 Qc3 37. Rd3 Qxd4 38. Rxd4 Rc5 39. Rf4 Ke7 40.
Nf5+ Bxf5 41. Rxf5 Ke6 42. Rf4 Rc4 43. e3 Ke5 44. Be2 Rxf4 45. gxf4+ Ke4 46.
Bb5 d4 47. Bc6+ Kd3 48. Kf3 Kc3 49. exd4 Kxd4 50. Ba4 Ne4 51. Bc2 Nc5 52. Bh7
Kd5 53. Ke3 Ke6 54. Bc2 Nb7 55. Bb3+ Kf6 56. Kf3 Nd6 57. Kg4 Ne4 58. Bc2 Nc3
59. Kf3 Nb5 60. Kg4 Nd4 61. Bd3 Ke7 62. Kg3 Kf6 63. Kg4 Ne6 64. Kf3 g6 65. Kg4
Ng7 66. Bc4 h5+ 67. Kh3 Nf5 68. Ba2 Ke7 69. Bb3 Nd4 70. Bc4 Kf6 71. Kg3 Nf5+
72. Kh3 Nd6 73. Bd5 Nb5 74. Kg3 Nc3 75. Bc4 Ne4+ 76. Kg2 Nd6 77. Bd5 Ke7 78.
Kh3 Nf5 79. Bc4 Nh6 80. Kg3 Kd6 81. Kf3 Kc5 82. Ba2 Kd4 83. Bb3 Kc3 84. Ba2 Kd4
85. Bb3 f6 86. Bc2 Nf5 87. Bxf5 gxf5 88. Ke2 Ke4 89. f3+ Kxf4 90. Kf2 Ke5 91.
Ke3 Kd5 92. Kf4 Ke6 93. Ke3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Ding Liren is struggling to find his pace and is currently on the last spot

A Russian, an Indian and a Hungarian share a joke at the inauguration ceremony!

The fourth round will take place on the 11th of July at 12 p.m. IST. Harikrishna takes on Yu Yangyi with the black pieces. You can follow the live game here.