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Russian double
Beijing-28The second and final day of the Rapid was bitterly disappointing for the local fans. In the men event their favorites, Wang Hao and Wang Yue, scored only 2 points out of their six games. After his excellent first day, Wang Hao maintained his solitary lead until the sixth round, when Grischuk caught up with him by defeating Ivanchuk with the black pieces. The Russian GM's last round strategic draw in 15 moves against his friend and rival Jan Nepomniachtchi proved a very smart move since Wang Hao lost his last game. The Chinese player might have got tired after his first day string of wins, but facing Aronian with black in the decisive round is not everybody's dream anyway.

The women competition was marked by Gunina's perfect sprint: 3 out of 3 in the second day! The crucial game took place in the penultimate round, when the Russian GM defeated the reigning World Champion and, until that moment, tournament leader - Hou Yifan. This result swapped the two players in the classification, a less favourable trade for the local and worldwide hero, the Chinese grandmaster.

Beijing-33Closing ceremony with the winners of two sections: Chess and Draughts

Rapid Final Ranking: Men

Rank SNo.   Name Rtg FED Pts Res. Vict BL RtgØ
1 1 GM Grischuk Alexander 2828 RUS 5 0 3 3 2762
2 12 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2728 FRA 0 3 3 2768
3 14 GM Wang Hao 2719 CHN 0 3 3 2766
4 2 GM Aronian Levon 2813 ARM 0 3 3 2749
5 9 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2739 AZE 0 2 3 2778
6 4 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2801 RUS 4 0 3 4 2743
7 3 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2811 UKR 4 0 3 3 2746
8 7 GM Wang Yue 2765 CHN 1 2 3 2726
9 13 GM Gelfand Boris 2719 ISR 0 2 4 2742
10 8 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2763 CUB 3 0 2 4 2740
11 6 GM Leko Peter 2773 HUN 3 0 1 4 2750
12 16 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2684 POL 0 1 4 2767
13 11 GM Bacrot Etienne 2731 FRA 0 1 4 2761
14 10 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2738 UKR 0 1 4 2747
15 15 GM Harikrishna P. 2701 IND 0 0 4 2771
16 5 GM Radjabov Teimour 2776 AZE 2 0 0 3 2753

Levon Aronian - Wang Hao

For the leader after the first day of Rapid, Wang Hao, things didn't develop as planned. Wang continued to lead until the very last round but was then paired against Levon Aronian. The Armenian supergrandmaster showed his class and left his Chinese opponent without a chance. He finished the game off with his usual flair.



Flashy. Less romantic minds may just have continued with the quiet 41.Bc2

41...exf4 42.d6 

42.e5+!? Kh6 43.e6 Rxd5 44.e7 Re5 45.Bd8 was another good way to proceed.

42...Bb3 43.Rd2 Kf7 44.Rc3 Be6 45.Bc2 Na6 46.b5! cxb5 47.axb5 Nc5 48.Bc7 b6  And now it is time to wrap things up:


49.Rxc5! bxc5 50.b6 

and Wang Hao resigned.


Beijing-38The gold is mine!

Vassily Ivanchuk - Alexander Grischuk

A big step towards Alexander's victory was made in round 6 when he defeated Ivanchuk with the black pieces. The diagrammed position looks more or less OK for White but Grischuk finds the weak spot in the position:



With the rather crude threat of taking the h-pawn, Ivanchuk decides to sacrifice it but he will not see it back...

34.h5 gxh5 35.Rc1 Bd5 36.Qd2 Qg5 37.Qf4 b5! Past pawns must be pushed:) After the further

38.Kf2 Bc4 39.Ng3 h4! 40.Qxg5+ hxg5 41.Ne4 Kg6 Black had little trouble converting his extra pawn.


Beijing-31Win or loss, chess is always fun

Beijing-34Indeed, it is! Vassily Ivanchuk is still in playing mode, even during dinner time!
And his friends from draughts couldn't say no to a friendly match

Rapid Final Ranking: Women

Rank SNo.   Name Rtg FED Pts Res. Vict BL RtgØ
1 6 GM Gunina Valentina 2552 RUS 0 5 4 2502
2 2 GM Hou Yifan 2600 CHN 5 0 4 4 2516
3 10 GM Ushenina Anna 2489 UKR ½ 3 4 2507
4 7 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2547 GEO ½ 3 3 2507
5 8 GM Muzychuk Anna 2546 UKR 4 1 2 4 2476
6 11 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2485 GER 4 0 3 4 2549
7 9 GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2505 RUS 0 3 3 2554
8 13 IM Muzychuk Mariya 2445 UKR 0 3 3 2522
9 3 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2578 BUL 0 1 3 2521
10 5 GM Ju Wenjun 2555 CHN 0 1 3 2468
11 12 GM Zhao Xue 2485 CHN 3 0 1 3 2562
12 15 GM Harika Dronavalli 2421 IND 3 0 0 4 2561
13 16 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2407 GEO 0 2 4 2543
14 1 GM Koneru Humpy 2611 IND 2 0 1 4 2460
15 4 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2577 RUS 2 0 1 3 2483
16 14 GM Cramling Pia 2443 SWE 2 0 0 3 2526

Hou Yifan - Valentina Gunina

We enter the game at the moment fortune is falling Gunina's way.



Simply 28.Qxa4, as mentioned later on by Hou Yifan herself, would have kept White's advantage, though Black is definitely still kicking after 28...Be3!

28...Bf2! 29.Qxc7 

Hou Yifan had missed that after 29.Bxd5 Qxc4 30.Bxc4 Bxe1 31.Bxe1 Black wins with 31...Rd1!


Hitting both the d2–bishop and the rook on e1. Suddenly Hou Yifan is in trouble.

30.Rf1 or 30.Rd1 Be3!

30...Rxd2 31.Rxf2 Rxc2 32.Kg1 Rxb2 33.Nc3 Rb3 34.Nxa4 b5 35.Nb6 Rxa3 36.Rc2


36...Nxf4!? Adding even more gas on the fire! There was also nothing wrong with the counter-attack 36...Ra6!

37.Rxc7 Ra1+ 38.Bf1 Nxh3+ 39.Kh2 Ng5 

At this point Hou Yifan was terribly short on time which made the task of defending this position even harder.

40.Bd3 g6 41.Nd5 Nf3+ 42.Kh3 (42.Kg2 Ne1+)



Suddenly the white king is under very serious threats. The only way to avoid immediate disaster is by playing...

43.Nf6+ Kf8 44.Ne4 

...but after


Black won the knight and soon after, the game!


A very good day for Valentina: 3/3 in the last and final rounds!
IMG 4274 副本The symbolic and first move was played by the SportAccord General Director, the Romanian Vlad Marinescu
(photo by Gu Xiaobing)

Valentina Gunina - Anna Muzychuk

Naturally this game was very tense and both players missed chances early on, which is not surprising given the tight schedule and the high stakes. Quite an interesting moment appeared on move 34, when the Russian decided to play the brave:


34. Ra5! - fearless move and it proved effective, too, as Black was not able to make use of the rather odd position of the white rook. Soon Gunina was again in the driver's seat but errs with:


58.Rf4? (58.Rd4 Qxc5 59.Rd7!) would have retained excellent winning chances.

58...Rxc5 59.Qe7 

Obviously Valentina counted on 59.Rd4 but the check 59...Qe5+ saves the day!

59...Rc8?! Just 59...b5 would have been fine. Any rook move is still answered by a check on e5.

60.Rd4 Qf5 61.Qxb7 Qe5+ 62.f4 Qe6 63.e4 

Objectively speaking, Black may be possible to hold but with the seconds ticking away on her clock Anna's task was virtually impossible. She eventually succumbed under the pressure.

63...Re8 64.Qb5 Rc8 65.f5 Qf6 66.Rd5 g5 67.Qe2 Re8 68.Qd3 Qb2 69.f6! Qxf6 70.Qg3 g4 71.Rxh5 Qg6 72.Rh4 Kf8 73.Rh8+ and the gold was in the pocket for the ever-smiling Russian!

The rapid marathon has ended in full success for Russia, but the Chinese players are expected to fight for the revenge in the even tougher 30-round blitz marathon of the next three days. And if we think that apart from chess, there are multiple other mind games activities (simultaneous displays with children, chess with dice, visits, conferences, a true micro-cosmos spinning at breathtaking speed) one may wonder how is it possible to keep everything under control. The answer may be simple - the mind is a powerful tool which has almost no limits.
Are you sure about this Geoffrey?! The always kind Hou Yifan couldn't say no to a photo session tomorrow early morning...
We will keep you posted, while the fans of Yifan are hoping for gold in the Blitz competition

Beijing-35A new way to play chess: with dice!! Just be aware that children may give troubles even to famous GMs...

...or General Directors, like Vlad Marinescu, from SportAccord, who had a lot of fun but quite some tough times, too!

The lights turned off for the Rapid event but will get on again for the ten-rounds-marathon soon!

Tomorrow at the usual time, 14 in Beijing, we move on to the next event on the list: the Blitz! Ten games will be played in Day1 of this exciting competition and we expect nothing less than a real show! And blunders too...

Text and photos: Alina l'Ami

More photos: Day2 by Gu Xiaobing

Official website of SportAccord World Mind Games

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