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Ding Liren vs Zhang Ziyang
Chinese Championship (2011), Xinghua Jiangsu CHN, rd 2, Mar-31
Slav Defense: Schlechter Variation (D15)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-04-11  twinlark: Makes a person wonder about the psychology of these sorts of games. Zhang was defending the endgame quite nicely, even taking into account swapping his bishop for a knight at move 40, leaving his opponent with two bishops and a passed pawn.

But there was nothing decisive. Looked like Ding was trying to rattle his opponent by opening up the lines to enhance the range of his bishops, which he ultimately succeeded in doing, but he still wouldn't have won without a little bit of help from his opponent.

The critical position is at 48. Kf3:


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and it looks like Zhang made the move 48...Ne7?? reflexively, trying to cover the unprotected h-pawn, and the rest is history, a mistake immaculately exploited by GM Ding.

But Black has a resource here, which I must admit to not even considering until I consulted my trusty calculator, namely 48...d4:


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and THEN he plays 49...Ne7 as he now has the d4 square available to the Knight. There might follow 50. Be1 ▢ Ne7 51. Kg3 Nd5:


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and Black has all the critical points covered with his trusty centralised Knights;

1. if 52. Be2 Nc3! 53. Bxh5 Ne4+ and the d-pawn is strong enough to give Black full counter chances

2. if 52. Kh4 Nxf4

3. if 52. h4 Na3 53. Kf3 Nc4 54. Be2 Ke7 55. Kg3 Nc3 56. Bxh5 Ne4+ 57. Kh3 Ne3:


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Both sides will trade pieces for pawns but will draw if they have their wits about them.

Apr-04-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: At first this seemed like a draw, or one of those games with pawns in the center where the two Knights are as good as the two bishops.
Apr-04-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: I wonder why they call this opening the "Schlechter variation" - it means almost literally the "worse variation", and why would Black want to play one? ;-)
Apr-04-11  twinlark: <paavoh> It's named after the late and very great Carl Schlechter.
Apr-06-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: "ZZ Topped"
Apr-07-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: @twinlark: Yes, I knew it - just a feeble attempt at humor, indicated by the wink ;-)

Seems that I should elevate the level of my jokes too, not only my chess...

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