THREE years ago, 16-year-old Ding Liren burst on to the scene with a surprise victory in the Chinese Championship that unfortunately ended in a controversy.
In a race with favourite Wang Hao, Ding had won his final round game on forfeit when his opponent was a couple of minutes late for the game. An upset Wang proceeded to lose his game and with it the Championship.
By winning a game without making a move – thanks to Fide’s much-derided zero-tolerance forfeit rule (where previously, players had anywhere up to an hour to arrive at the board) – Ding’s tournament victory was tarnished, and it took the gloss off of the teenager being the youngest champion in Chinese history. Some who had warned Fide at the time that their new rule was offering an easy path for game-throwing, pointed out that Ding had no way to prove that his historic victory in the championship of the world’s third-strongest chess-playing country was due to an innocent mistake by his opponent rather than something more sinister.
But Ding – who didn’t defend his title in 2010, owing to school studies – showed his 2009 performance was certainly no fluke when he dominating the 2011 Chinese Championship. Now, aged 19, he’s completed a most unlikely hat trick of wins as he again dominated the 2012 Chinese Championship that ended last weekend in Xinghua, Jiangsu Province.
He top-scored on 8/11, which was enough to secure the title ahead of emerging 17-year-old Yu Yangyi, who pressed too hard in the last round and ultimately lost, to finish a point behind the winner. In third place was three-time former champion Ni Hua.
L Ding - S Lu
Chinese Ch., (5)
Queen’s Gambit Accepted
1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 d4 d5 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 e4 Bb4 6 Bxc4 Nxe4 7 0–0 Nxc3 8 bxc3 Be7 9 Ne5 0–0 10 Qg4 c5 11 Bh6 Bf6 12 Bd3 Re8 13 f4 g6 14 Bxg6! fxg6 15 Nxg6 hxg6 16 Qxg6+ Kh8 17 Bg5 Bxg5 18 fxg5 Re7 19 Qh6+ Kg8 20 g6 Nd7 21 Rf3 Nf8 22 Raf1 Nxg6 23 Rg3 Rg7 24 Rxg6 1–0