1682046390 Ding signs a depressing tie after missing three winners in

Ding signs a depressing tie after missing three winners in Game 8 of Worlds

It’s dramatic and could have been tragic. Liren Ding shone again in the most difficult game in the eighth game of the World Cup in Astana (Kazakhstan) after losing in the seventh on Tuesday, clearly outperforming Ian Niepómniachi with a powerful offense. But then he missed two winners that were relatively easy for him (as well as another very difficult one) and had to scrap a very disappointing draw. The Russian leads 4.5-3.5 and will have the white checkers advantage in the ninth game of 14 scheduled this Friday.

“It is very difficult to see that I failed in at least two winning positions. But I have to say that I still have six games ahead of me,” said the Chinese with a broken voice at the press conference. Niepómniashi dodged the word “luck” but verbally admitted that he’d had a lot.

The Russian also beat around the bush when EL PAÍS asked him about his very risky choice in the opening (first moves) when he had much more solid alternatives. Ding introduced a new idea on his ninth move, and Niepomniashi agreed to pursue the more complex and dangerous variation, which offered a terrifying direct attack on his king. “It’s true that this position is very acute, but I think if you know it well, as I do, it’s not that dangerous either.”

Niepómniashi, during game eight this ThursdayNiepómniashi, during the eighth game, this ThursdayDavid Llada

But what happened shows that the reality is different: Niepómniashi knew that his rival was very emotionally touched after his third defeat on Tuesday, having achieved an advantageous position. And he decided to risk everything for everything in a fight without shields, because if he emerged victorious, the duel would practically lead to conviction.

The bet went badly, very badly. But as reporters in the newsroom were already preparing headlines highlighting the amazing ability of the Chinese to recover from the third blow, the unthinkable happened. Ding missed two moves (26 Rd3 and 37 Bc6) that are within the reach of any professional player. She even had another chance between the two (32Qxd8), but it is true that this one required a precision in calculation more typical of silicon chess players than flesh and blood.

Some elite stars consulted by that newspaper on Wednesday, such as Russian Vladimir Kramnik, former world champion, and American Levón Aronian, almost always in the top ten, contradict what Ding said before the duel: that he understands chess with more than Niepomniashi. But the truth is that this eighth game once again proves the Asian right: he is a better strategist and the Slav is a very dangerous tactician. There are football teams that prepare the games wonderfully and handle the ball brilliantly, but they are not lethal when shooting or finishing. And they lose or draw by playing better than their opponents. This happens to Ding while Niepomniashi keeps his fangs sharp.

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