Harikrishna, the leader after Round 2 of the elite tournament, lost to Giri to fall back into a tie for third.
Two decisive results in Round 3 of the elite Shenzhen Masters tournament in China turned the standings upside down. Victories by Ding Liren of China and Anish Giri of the Netherlands propelled them into a tie for first, a half point ahead of Pentala Hairkrishna of India and Yu Yangyi of China.
Harikrishna must have been feeling good after winning in Round 2, but in Round 3 he lost a tough game to Giri. His plan in the early middlegame did not work out and it cost him some time for development. That allowed Giri’s bishop pair and pawn center to spring to life.
Harikrishna, Pentala vs. Giri, Anish
Shenzhen Masters |China |Round 3 |25 Mar 2017 |0-1
f515. Na5?!This is not a terrible move, but it must have been the result of a miscalculation by Harikrishna as he soon changes his mind and brings the knight back.
( 15. Rhe1A move like this one, centralizing White's pieces, might even have given White a slight edge. )
15... Bh6+16. Kb1Kf8!Harikrishna may have overlooked this move. The move Nxb7 is not good. 17. Nb3?!An unfortunate move for White.
( 17. Nxb7Nd4And Black wins material. )
( 17. Bxc6Good or bad, this move had to be tried, though the Black bishops look very good after: 17... bxc618. Nb4c519. Nbc6e4! )
17... Kg7White has lost two tempi, which has allowed Black to activate his pieces and secure his center. 18. Rhe1Rhd819. Nc3Rxd1+20. Nxd1Kf6Black is now much better. Giri plays the rest of the game quite well to wrap up a point. 21. Bxc6Rxc622. Nf2Rc423. Re2b624. Nc1Bf8!A sensible regrouping. 25. Ncd3Bd626. b3Rc827. g4Bd528. Ne1Bb429. gxf5Kxf530. Ng2?
( 30. Ned3Bc331. Ne4This move was hardly a bed of roses, but it would have offered a little more resistance )
( 30. Ne4Is also possible. )
30... Ba831. c4f6Now the position is probably beyond saving. Black managed to exchange off his doubled pawn and now the pawn on f3 is a permanent weakness for White. 32. Ne4Ke633. Ne3f534. Ng5+Kf635. Rg2Rc7!Accurate to the end. Black does not allow Nh7, making h6 more effective. 36. Nc2Bc537. b4Bf838. Nh3Bxf3The rest was easy for Black. 39. Rg8Bh640. c5bxc541. b5Rb742. a4a643. Rc8axb544. a5Ra745. Rxc5Rxa546. Nf2Bf847. Rc7Be748. Ne3f449. Neg4+Bxg450. Nxg4+Ke651. Nf2Ra452. Rb7Rb4+53. Kc2f354. Nd3Rc4+55. Kd1Rd456. Kc2b4
Ding ground out a win against Peter Svidler of Russia in what looked like a defensible ending.
Ding Liren vs. Svidler, Peter
Shenzhen Masters |China |Round 3 |25 Mar 2017 |1-0
37. Ba2Black played a pretty unambitious opening and ended up in this symmetrical endgame with two bishops against two knights. Since all the pawns are on the same side, it should be possible to defend, but with his next move, Svidler lets White's piece activity get out of hand. 37... Rc2?
( 37... Rd3!It was very important to keep the bishop off of the a1-h8 diagonal. Black will still have to defend for a while, but his position is robust and devoid of weaknesses. In addition, Black could now meet Ra7 with Rd7. )
38. Ra7!This freezes the knight on e5 by forcing it to defend f7. White is threatening Bd4. Black is now in big trouble. 38... Nc4?
( 38... Kf8Playing a waiting move was preferable, though after: 39. Bd4Nfd740. Bb1!Rc141. Bf5I wouldn't envy Black's defensive task. The position may be beyond saving. )
39. Bd4Black is nearly in zugzwang. The knight on f6 is pinned, Kg6 fails to Bb1, and Bb3 is a major threat. 39... Nd640. Rd7!A final accurate move before time control seals Black's fate. 40... Nb5
( 40... Rc641. Be5!And the pawn on f7 falls because: 41... Nc4Fails to 42. Bxc4Rxc443. Rd6 )
( 40... Rxa241. Rxd6 )
41. Rxf7+Kg842. Bxf6Rxa243. Rg7+Kf844. Rb7Svidler resigned rather than endure Bg7+ next, which would win both of his remaining pawns.
The other game between Yu and Michael Adams of England never really got off the ground. In a tense, but level position, Yu tried to open some lines, but ultimately it just led to mass exchanges.
Yu Yangyi vs. Adams, Michael
Shenzhen Masters |China |Round 3 |25 Mar 2017 |1/2-1/2
25. Qf4Black felt playing a waiting move at this point was more than good enough, and he was probably right. 25... R8a726. Re1Ra827. e4White tries to open the game, but it doesn't change the result.
( 27. Reb1R8a7Would repeat moves. )
27... dxe428. Ndxe4Nxe429. Rxe4Qf630. Qe3Qd631. Rb1Nf632. Re7Nd5The most sensible way. Black forces exchanges. 33. Nxd5Qxd534. Qe5+Qxe535. dxe5Kf836. Rc7Re837. Rxc6The players agreed to a draw as both sides will shortly be left with symmetrical pawns on the kingside.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
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Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
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After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players