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
f5 15. 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. Rhe1 A move like this one, centralizing White's pieces, might even have given White a slight edge.  )
15... Bh6+ 16. Kb1 Kf8! Harikrishna may have overlooked this move. The move Nxb7 is not good.
17. Nb3?! An unfortunate move for White.
17. Nxb7 Nd4 And Black wins material.  )
17. Bxc6 Good or bad, this move had to be tried, though the Black bishops look very good after:
17... bxc6 18. Nb4 c5 19. Nbc6 e4!  )
17... Kg7 White has lost two tempi, which has allowed Black to activate his pieces and secure his center.
18. Rhe1 Rhd8 19. Nc3 Rxd1+ 20. Nxd1 Kf6 Black is now much better. Giri plays the rest of the game quite well to wrap up a point.
21. Bxc6 Rxc6 22. Nf2 Rc4 23. Re2 b6 24. Nc1 Bf8! A sensible regrouping.
25. Ncd3 Bd6 26. b3 Rc8 27. g4 Bd5 28. Ne1 Bb4 29. gxf5 Kxf5 30. Ng2?
30. Ned3 Bc3 31. Ne4 This move was hardly a bed of roses, but it would have offered a little more resistance  )
30. Ne4 Is also possible.  )
30... Ba8 31. c4 f6 Now 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. Ne4 Ke6 33. Ne3 f5 34. Ng5+ Kf6 35. Rg2 Rc7! Accurate to the end. Black does not allow Nh7, making h6 more effective.
36. Nc2 Bc5 37. b4 Bf8 38. Nh3 Bxf3 The rest was easy for Black.
39. Rg8 Bh6 40. c5 bxc5 41. b5 Rb7 42. a4 a6 43. Rc8 axb5 44. a5 Ra7 45. Rxc5 Rxa5 46. Nf2 Bf8 47. Rc7 Be7 48. Ne3 f4 49. Neg4+ Bxg4 50. Nxg4+ Ke6 51. Nf2 Ra4 52. Rb7 Rb4+ 53. Kc2 f3 54. Nd3 Rc4+ 55. Kd1 Rd4 56. Kc2 b4

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. Ba2 Black 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... Kf8 Playing a waiting move was preferable, though after:
39. Bd4 Nfd7 40. Bb1! Rc1 41. Bf5 I wouldn't envy Black's defensive task. The position may be beyond saving.  )
39. Bd4 Black is nearly in zugzwang. The knight on f6 is pinned, Kg6 fails to Bb1, and Bb3 is a major threat.
39... Nd6 40. Rd7! A final accurate move before time control seals Black's fate.
40... Nb5
40... Rc6 41. Be5! And the pawn on f7 falls because:
41... Nc4 Fails to
42. Bxc4 Rxc4 43. Rd6  )
40... Rxa2 41. Rxd6  )
41. Rxf7+ Kg8 42. Bxf6 Rxa2 43. Rg7+ Kf8 44. Rb7 Svidler 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. Qf4 Black felt playing a waiting move at this point was more than good enough, and he was probably right.
25... R8a7 26. Re1 Ra8 27. e4 White tries to open the game, but it doesn't change the result.
27. Reb1 R8a7 Would repeat moves.  )
27... dxe4 28. Ndxe4 Nxe4 29. Rxe4 Qf6 30. Qe3 Qd6 31. Rb1 Nf6 32. Re7 Nd5 The most sensible way. Black forces exchanges.
33. Nxd5 Qxd5 34. Qe5+ Qxe5 35. dxe5 Kf8 36. Rc7 Re8 37. Rxc6 The 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.