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Ding Liren vs Levon Aronian
"On a Ding and a Prayer" (game of the day Apr-23-13)
Alekhine Memorial (2013)  ·  Semi-Slav Defense: Accelerated Meran Variation (D45)  ·  1-0
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Given 5 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Richard Taylor: I solved all this, with all variations, in about 20 seconds!> Appreciate the humor, but forgive me if I take that comment as tounge-in-cheek.

Apparently it took Ding Liren more than 20 seconds as he missed 40. Re1! until he had the opportunity to arrive at the same position by transposition with 42. Re1!

I wonder if Ding thought he had a draw after 36. Nxd5!! exd5 37. Bxg7!, but then realized a few moves later he had a win with 42. Re1! .

Apr-06-14  LIFE Master AJ: I remember this game, (for me) it was too soon to use it as the "Problem of The Day."

As I remember, it was Aronian's only loss in this event.

Apr-06-14  LIFE Master AJ: <patzer2> It sure seems - from the repetition of moves - that White was just playing for the draw. The, at some point, he must have realized that this was a win. The 6.c5, is the reason I would never play the 5...a6; line. (A lot of masters have told me what a great system this is, but every time I play it as Black <on-line>, I have the same kind of problems Aronian had.
Apr-06-14  newzild: <patzer 2> and <Life Master> I think it's more likely he was just playing for the time control or to add some seconds to his clock, as it's clear even at the beginning of the combination that 42. Re1 is the only way to continue the attack (since the queen cannot mate by herself).
Apr-06-14  PJs Studio: These 2700 players are so good I would assume they can all find this answer in a matter of a minute or two. I figured it out only to the draw but didn't see 42.Re1 winning easily. Look how helpless blacks heavy pieces are trapped on the other side of the board. Simple, yet not so for a 2000 rated player.


Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Odd for one down delve b6 to a key d5 clop I cuffed... at free a f6 light forlorn at cad I'm afraid at a call d5 was the culling it ardent in aim dip off a ne8 would give I think a flay d5 light strap g7 in the bones off tender a7 lesson d7 trapped inside d8 too all coming to a head d5 umble door a b6 after ears I efface to the ground line cedes f6 a dangled goodknight rook in d7 stays put kind of sat light b6 all crave a good bind feed d5 put to the sword f6 linger true delight stave off black knight be e8,

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green in gauge fob end a d5 puts him to the sword 35...Nd5 36.Nxd5 exd5 37.Bxg7 Kxg7 38.Qg5+ re too g7 big a friendly queen giant bishop gauged bang goes the truck a gg efface off it embezzled in watch out horde in hammer goods to be won as carry in lighted rook rake row as hand over the castle railed aha re1 next in line off heffalump try fatefuls 38...Kf8 39.Qf6 Kg8 40.Qg5+ in a uff of smoke line lightopts for at checks lucid off luft er tile a f6 again flight as ground a rep in first ere worth while a pin e5 there comes (4.64).

Mowed 40...Kf8 41.Qf6 Kg8 42.Re1 axb4 it zill again aghast by a3 in ar good jangle shaken up clubbed,

info co 42...h6 43.Re7 Kh7 44.Re7 Rf8 45.Qf5+ ahoy in lights cycle cuts a swathe free bone to pick fetch in arrowed hats off to you sir fang tooth 45...Kg7 46.Rxd7 in lights a d7 passer a8 queen am again bottle-necked it remains in read chronic in although black has to sac in e3 or donkey d8 etc going by ah a queen down plus the d8 threat a doosee.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 42 Re1 here is the position.

click for larger view

If 42...f6, why does 43 Re5 now not win?

click for larger view

If 42...f6, how does white win?

click for larger view

For the solution, see the excellent analysis of <Eyal> from April 21, 2013 on page 2.

Apr-06-14  Patriot: White is down the exchange. Black threatens 36...Nxb6.

White could win the exchange back, but why look at mediocrity first?

36.Nxd5 cxd5 37.c6 is menacing.

36.Nxd5 exd5 37.Qg5 f6 38.Bxf6 wins at least a pawn.

36.Nxd5 exd5 37.Qg5 g6? 38.Qf6 looks really good for white.

I'll go with 36.Nxd5.

Apr-06-14  1stboard: Does black playing 37 f5 help instead of Kxg7 ?? At least 7th rank protected with rook and Queen for black .....
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop for a rook.

Black threatens 36... Nxb6 and 36... axb4.

The dark squares around the black king look weak. This suggests 36.Nxd5, removing the only defender of these squares:

A) 36... cxd5 37.c6

A.1) 37... Rxd6 38.Qg3 followed by 39.Bxd6 + - [B vs P].

A.2) 37... f6 38.cxd7 Rxd7 (38... fxe5 39.Qxd8+) 39.Bg3 + - [B vs P].

B) 36... exd5 37.Bxg7

B.1) 37... Kxg7 38.Qg5+

B.1.a) 38... Kf8 39.Qf6

B.1.a.i) 39... Kg8 40.Re1 axb4 41.Re3 bxa3 42.Rg3+ Kf8 43.Qh8#.

B.1.a.ii) 39... Rxd6 40.cxd6 Ke8 41.Re1+ Kd7 (41... Kf8 42.Qh8#) 42.Re7+ and 43.Rxa7.

B.1.b) 38... Kh8 39.Qf6+ Kg8 40.Re1 transposes to B.1.a.i.

B.2) 37... f5 38.Qg5

B.2.a) 38... Rxg7 39.Qxd8+ Kf7 40.d7 Rg8 41.Qxg8+ Kxg8 42.d8=Q+, etc.

B.2.b) 38... h6 39.Bxh6+ and White seems to have a large compensation for the exchange.

B.2.c) 38... Kf7 39.Qf6+ Kg8 (39... Ke8 40.Qf8#) 40.Re1 with the threat 41.Re7 looks winning.

B.3) 37... f6 38.Bxf6 and again White has a considerable compensation for the exchange.

Apr-06-14  scormus: <LIFE Master AJ and patzer2>

Yes, I wondered when I played it through whether W was, in his mind, playing for a win, a draw or keeping his options open. 40 Qg5, the last move before the time control. If it had been 41 Qg5 I might have thought differently.

It is possible that he saw 37 Bxg7 would give him an easy draw at least, so decided to play it knowing that he'd have the option of looking for more .... and with enough time to calculate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <LIFE Master AJ: <patzer2> It sure seems - from the repetition of moves - that White was just playing for the draw. The, at some point, he must have realized that this was a win.> Thanks! I've experienced this in my own games, but it's good to know 2700+ Super GMs sometimes go through the same thing (i.e. finding a win in what first looks like a drawing line).
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheBish: Ding Liren vs Aronian, 2013

White to play (36.?) "Insane"

White is down the exchange (rook for bishop), but that bishop plays a key role in the attack:

36. Nxd5! exd5

Not 36...cxd5?? 37. c6, but White could also win as in the game. Trading knights is better than winning back the exchange, as the knight was guarding f6, a key square in the attack on the dark squares.

37. Bxg7!! Kxg7

If Black refuses the offer (by 37...f5 perhaps), White continues the attack by 38. Bf6 followed by bringing the rook in the game via f2-f4 and Rf3-g3.

38. Qg5+ Kf8 39. Qf6 Kg8 40. Re1 and Black is helpless against the upcoming 41. Re3 and 42. Rg3(+).


Pretty much right on, with the exception of not repeating moves to make time on the clock, and more importantly playing Re5 instead of Re3 to avoid the defense ...Qxa3.

A key point here is that White must avoid 45. Rxh6? Qc1+ 46. Kh2 Qxh6, when White must play for a draw! I didn't think this was overly hard for a Sunday. I didn't remember the diagram position, but on playing over the game (after my analysis), I did recall seeing the game before and remembered the last few moves after the bishop sacrifice, keeping Black's queen away from the attacking rook.

Apr-06-14  LIFE Master AJ: Hello:

Game Collection: SPACE ... don't forget about it!

A new GC I made ... the number two game, (when it is posted); I belive also comes from this same stupid variation. (5...a6?!; 6.c5!)

Apr-06-14  LIFE Master AJ: Hello:

The 4...a6!? and 5...a6!? lines in the Slav/Semi-Slav are highly similar. (See Opening Explorer and Opening Explorer.)

These two links deal with this line ... in case you do not have a ton of chess books, like me. (I have an opening book and a DVD on just about every opening system there is.)

I hope that this information will help anyone who is struggling to come to grips with this opening system. (Like I still am!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <perfidious: <Richard> Y'all mean it took ya more'n a nanosecond? Rough day at the office (wink).> Sorry I meant 1 pico second!<patzer2><newzild> but I solved it in a billionth of pico second.................
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: To be fair I was tired as I'm in the middle of tourney and I thought it was Aronian who won (although I know about Liren he's very good); and I just looked the game up although it didn't look too hard. Quite poetic though. I mean Black was knackered for sure, I thought White could sac or even just somehow keep Black in Zug.

But I was just too tired to even think one move ahead...

The ones earlier in the week are for me!

It's strange how hard it is to calculate relatively simple lines OTB. Then you need to have a good plan and so on.

Great stuff!

Apr-08-14  LIFE Master AJ: Ding,Liren - Aronian,Levon [D45]
[G. Margvelashvili]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 e6 6.c5 Nbd7 7.b4 The main line. In the World Championship match, Gelfand surprised Anand with the rare 7. Qc2 Gelfand was able to get a slight advantage from the opening and eventually convert it into full point. 7...b6 8.Bb2 a5 9.a3 Be7 10.Bd3 0-0 11.0-0 Ba6 Black wants to exchange passive c8 bishop. 12.Ne1!? I really like this move by Ding. White prepares to retake on d3 with a knight and possibly play f3 with the following e4 in the future. 12...Bc4?! a very interesting but risky move. Instead of trading bishops on d3, Aronian wants to exchange bishops on c4, creating passed pawn and more dynamic position. 13.Bxc4 dxc4 14.Qe2 Rb8 15.Ra2! Defending b2 bishop in case black chooses to exchange pawns on c5. 15...b5 16.e4 Rb7 17.Nc2 Nb8 18.Raa1 As a result of 12...Bc4, Aronian finds himself in a difficult position with little counterplay. Ding uses his dominance in center to further increase pressure on black's position. 18...Qc8 19.Rad1 Rd8 20.Bc1! Another strong move by Ding. The bishop has nothing to do on b2, so Ding transfers it to f4, where it controls important squares in center. 20...Na6 21.Bf4 Rbd7 22.h3 Ne8 23.Qe3 Bf6 24.e5 Be7 25.Ne4! The knight goes to d6, where it paralyzes all black pieces. 25...Nac7 26.Nd6 Qa8 27.Qg3 Nd5 28.Ne3! Nc3 allows white to demonstrate the tactical idea of 28. Ne3. Better would be to play 28...Nac7 and continue defending unpleasant position. 29.Rde1 Bxd6 30.exd6 Ne4 31.Qh4 Nd2 looks like black has won an exchange, but... 32.Nd5! Nxf1 33.Nb6 Qa7 34.Rxf1 Nf6? this move looks very natural, but it falls to a beautiful combination. [34...Rb8 would be stronger, forcing White to take the rook on d7, but still after 35.Nxd7 Qxd7 36.bxa5 Ra8 37.Bd2 White has excellent winning chances.] 35.Be5! Nd5 36.Nxd5! exd5 37.Bxg7!! Amazing! 37...Kxg7 38.Qg5+ Kf8 39.Qf6 Kg8 40.Re1! And suddenly black has no defense against the following Re3 or Re5 deadly rooklift. 40...axb4 41.Re5 h6 42.Rh5 Qxa3 43.Qxh6! [43.Rxh6?? would be a huge mistake, since after 43...Qc1+ 44.Kh2 Qxh6! 45.Qxh6 b3 White would be forced to give perpetual check and settle for a draw! This is yet another example that one should never lose his focus, even in the most winning positions.] 43...f6 44.Qxf6 And black resigned. A very impressive performance by the Chinese grandmaster and painful lose for Aronian. But knowing Aronian's resilience, I am sure he will be able to rebound in the upcoming rounds. 1-0

May-16-14  epicchess: This is a very interesting variation, where many "obvious moves" are quickly punished. For example, in this game: M G Isakov vs Srinivasan Ramanujam, 2014
May-17-14  epicchess: 33..Nf3! seems to bring some life into this game, Aronian should have thought a while longer when he realized that all blacks pieces were stuck on the other side of the board!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Analysis of this game:
Apr-23-15  ToTheDeath: What a beauty of a game, and against such strong opposition too! Another jewel in Ding's crown.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: ♫♪♫ Ding, Ding, Ding, goes the Liren!

Clang, clang, clang, goes the bell!

Ding, Ding, Ding, goes the Liren, and dispatches your ass to hell! ♫♪♫

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <FSR> channeling Judy Garland, pretty funny.

(Though I think the cadence (and song's innocent tone) work better with "pieces" vs. "ass", but that's just me) (about 0:40 in)

Or maybe he was channeling Carol Burnett?

May-05-16  iammortal: i call this 1: "the thing!" ;)

p.s. ding comes (also) from german and means thing.

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