Ding Liren’s Greatest Chess Game
Did Ding Liren play the greatest chess game of all-time, the game of the century, a modern immortal game? Only a few months ago, Ding Liren qualified for the Candidates Tournament 2018 by being one of the top two finishers in the Chess World Cup 2017. But this wasn’t the end of a successful and remarkable chess year for Ding Liren in 2017. Only a few weeks ago, he played a mind-blowing game in the Chinese Chess League.
With this game, Ding Liren proofed that he is a world-class attacking player and he is able to execute stunning tactical attacks almost by perfection. Ding Liren sacrificed almost every single piece in order the checkmate his opponent.
Naturally, our commentator GM Eugene Perelshteyn takes a closer look for at Ding Liren’s greatest chess game for us. According to him, the young Chinese prodigy plays like Tal, Morphy and Kasparov combined in this game- simply spectacular!
It’s time to lean back and enjoy Ding Liren’s wizardry:
Chinese Chess League 2017: Bai, Jinshi (2585) – Ding, Liren (2759)
1.d4 Sf6 2.c4 e6 3.Sc3 Bb4 (The game started as a theoretical debate in the Nimzoindian-Defense – Black puts pressure on the centre with his pieces, instead of occupying the centre with his pawns) 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Bg5 c5 6.e3 cxd4 7.Qxd4N. A novelty – White decides to bring his queen in the game very early. The downside, however, is that he doesn’t have time to develop his kingside.
7…Nc6 8.Qd3 h6 9.Bh4 d5 (Black is fighting for the centre and White’s king is still in the centre) 10.Rd1. g5. White still has not developed his light-squared bishop in order to allow his king to castle. Hence, Ding Liren starts to go for an attack. 11.Bg3 Ne4 (another active move) 12.Nd2 Nc5 13. Qc2 d4! 14.Nf3 e5 15.Nxe5 (see the diagram on the left).
Ding Liren sacrifices a pawn, but has a huge lead in development in return. Now, he goes all in – 15…dxc3. A queen sacrifice – White is forced to collect material. 16. Rxd8 cxb2+ 17.Ke2? (see the diagram on the right) – a decisive mistake. 17.Rd2 Rd8 18.Nf3 Bg4 19.Qxb2 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Rxd2 21.Qxd2 Bxd2+ 22.Kxd2 with a balanced endgame was necessary.
Now, Ding Liren doesn’t give Bai Jinshi any chance to come back into the game.
17…Rxd8 18.Qxb2 Na4! (Ding Liren plays forcing moves and doesn’t give his opponent any time to consolidate) 19.Qc2 Nc3+ (Another attacking move – Black doesn’t take his foot off the pedal.) 20.Kf3 Rd4!! (see the diagram on the left).
It’s always useful to look for unusual moves. It looked like the d4-square was protected, but it wasn’t, in fact. With this move, Ding Liren goes for a brilliant rook sacrifice. If it was Black to move again, he could mate White with 21…g4 22.Nxg4 Bxg4#. It’s open season for the White king. 21.h3 (defending against …g4) h5 (renewing the threat) 22.Bh2 g4+ 23.Kg3 Rd2! (another brilliant rook move, attacking White’s queen) 24.Qb3 Ne4+ 25.Kh4 Be7+ (a strong move – it’s often hard to find such backwards moving manoeuvers). 26.Kxh5 (see the diagram on the right).
It seems like White’s king has some time to breathe on h5 now. But Ding Liren finds another fantastic move. This time, he goes for a calm move – 26…Kg7! A really pretty move, threatening …Bf5 and …Ra8 – bringing all pieces into the attack.
Do you want to see the end of Ding Liren’s combination? Then you definitely have to watch the video in which GM Eugene Perelshteyn shows the game right from the start and explains all the tactical ideas in detail.
Ding Liren’s Greatest Chess Game:
In essence, this game is a brilliant example of what happens when one player breaks the basic opening principles. Black played a well-known opening but did not put his king into safety by castling.
Do you want to play spectacular attacking games like Ding Liren on your own? Let’s sum up some the lesson we learned from this game (see the graphic above):
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