The Russian chess player carried out the sharpest attack and won. And the opponent did not believe his eyes

Dmitry Kryakvin

Dmitry Kryakvin

Nepomniachtchi started with a win

Ian Nepomniachtchi started his journey at the 2022 Candidates Tournament with a great victory!

Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi started the Candidates Chess Tournament 2022 fantastically. In the first round, he knocked out one of his main competitors with black pieces. Apparently, while fighting with Chinese middle-class grandmasters, Ding Liren has lost the habit of being played with a trite checkmate. And Yang, in his brilliant, unique style, at the exit from the opening, offered his opponent a pawn and rushed forward with all his pieces! Ding, not believing his eyes, spent all the time thinking, but it was too late – Yang quickly and elegantly crushed his opponent.

Candidates Chess Tournament 2022. 1st round Ding Liren (China) – Yan Nepomniachtchi (Russia)

1. c4 e5 2. g3 c6 3. Nf3 e4 4. Nd4 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. Nc2 Nf6 7. Nc3 Qe5 8. Bg2 Na6 9. 0–0 Be7
One of the topical positions of the English beginning. White usually tries to “pull out” the strong e4-pawn here by 10. d4 d3 or even 10. Ne1 Nb4 11. f3, but the Chinese has a new plan. He kind of “flows around” this pawn and hopes to conquer it gradually.

10. Ne3 0–0 11. a3 Re8 12. b4 Ng4!?
Suddenly, Nepomniachtchi did not defend the pawn, but offered it as a sacrifice in order for all the pieces to enter attacking positions. Yes, the computer evaluates the situation after 13. Bxe4 Qh5 14. Nxg4 Bxg4 15. f3 Bh3 16. Rf2 Nc7 in White’s favor, but it’s much easier for Black to play – they are coming!

13. Bb2 Qh5

14 h4
The last time the Chinese could accept the Danaan gift was 14. Nxg4 Bxg4 15. Bxe4 Nc7 16. Bg2 Rad8, but even here Black has a good counterplay.

14… Bf6 15. Qc2 Nxe3 16. dxe3 Bf5 17. Na4?!
It was necessary to urgently try to start some counterplay on the opposite side of the board by 17. b5. Ding Liren seems to have forgotten that black wants to get to his king. He continues to act carelessly, only realizing when it was already too late.

17… Bxb2 18. Nxb2 Nc7!
Great move Jan! The knight goes to d5, where it paralyzes White’s play.

19. Nc4 Re6 20. Rfd1 Nd5 21. Rd4 h6 22. Qd2?
Actually Dean’s crucial mistake. It was necessary to prepare an exchange sacrifice 22. Rad1 g5 (or 22… Rae8 23. Rxd5 cxd5 24. Rxd5 with compensation) 23. Rxd5 cxd5 24. Rxd5, distracting Jan with all his might what Nepomniachtchi does best in the world is to arrange the execution of the castling position.

22… Rae8 23. Kh2
Now 23. Rxd5 cxd5 24. Qxd5 Qxe2 is no longer suitable.

23… Bg4 24. Na5
Passive waiting cannot save White 24. Re1 Rf6 25. Kg1 g5.

24… Rf6 25. Kg1 g5!
Forward, to the mat!

26. Nxb7
26. hxg5 hxg5 is not allowed 27. Nxb7 Rh6, and the black pieces visit the white king.

26… gxh4 27. Nc5 h3 28. Rxe4
28. Bxe4 h2+ 29. Kh1 Rxf2 loses.

28… hxg2! 29. Rxe8+ Kg7

Here Ding spent all his last time thinking, but it’s already too late – on 30. K:g2 finishes nicely R:f2+! 31. K:f2 Qh2+ 32. Kf1 Bh3+ 33. Ke1 Qg1#

30… Qh1+ 31. Kf2 Qxa1 32. Kxg2 Bh3+!
A beautiful final blow, and in view of the variations 33. Kxh3 (33. Kh2 Qf1) 33… Qh1+ 34. Kg4 h5+ 35. Kg5 Qh3 with the inevitable mate, Ding Liren stopped the clock.

A great start to the tournament for Jan, reminiscent of his most powerful game in the last Candidates battle, which Nepomniachtchi confidently won. However, everything is just beginning – another favorite in the fight for a ticket to the battle with Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, outplayed Hikaru Nakamura in the overseas derby and also won an important point. And Jan will have to play with him tomorrow.


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