Ding Wins Blockbuster Match Against Grischuk

Ding Wins Blockbuster Match Against Grischuk


The 2022 Speed Chess Championship continued on Sunday with a round of 16 clash between world championship challenger GM Ding Liren and SCC qualifier GM Alexander Grischuk. The match, which ultimately ended in a 14-12 victory for the Chinese superstar, was marked by fierce attacking play from the super GMs and a brilliant queen sacrifice!

A one-point buffer was the only advantage Ding could take away after an hour and a half of play, but it proved to be just enough to keep his nose in front heading into the bullet portion, where he consolidated his lead and confirmed his quarterfinal placement.

The next round of 16 match between GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will take place on November 28 at 10.00 a.m. PT / 19.00 CET.

Blitz 5|1: Ding 5-4 Grischuk

The opening stage of the match was a tight tussle, and after a game-one draw, the players began trading decisive results. Ding hit the front first when Grischuk flagged in a completely drawn, albeit imbalanced position. Commentator Pruess foreshadowed the game as a “bullet preview,” a prediction that would later gain merit.

Two games later Grischuk scored a win of his own in a more convincing fashion, taking only 23 moves to dispatch Ding and lock the scores up with some crafty bishop play on the white side of a Ruy Lopez.

Grischuk’s victory sparked a string of six wins for the white pieces in a period that featured some of the most exhilarating chess of the match. Ding’s win in game seven was particularly noteworthy due to a shocking move 19 queen sacrifice that left commentators Xiong and Pruess speechless.

The dazzling combination made it a worthy contender for game of the day, which has been analyzed by GM Dejan Bojkov below.

Chess.com Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov

Poised at 3.5-3.5 and with the 5+1 timer dwindling, Ding scored a win with the Reti Opening: Kings Indian Attack in what would become a critical full point as the match carried on. Ironically, the brilliant move that secured the result was 27.Nxb7, a temporary knight sacrifice on the exact same square as the queen sacrifice two games earlier.

A tame draw closed out the first stage of the match. SCC quarterfinalist and world number six GM Fabiano Caruana provided enlightening commentary via a comment on Twitch, stating that Grischuk was “suffering” in the opening.

Blitz 3|1: Ding 4.5-4.5 Grischuk

By all counts, the 3+1 segment was the closest phase of the match. However, it was Ding who initially stretched his lead after winning the opening game. Continuing to trust in his 1.Nf3 setups, Ding geared up for a brutal kingside assault and crashed through.

Three draws would be succeeded by yet another win for Ding off the back of a savage mating net. The live odds provided by SmarterChess launched up to a 71% chance of a Ding victory in response to the scintillating attack.

With the match slipping away from Grischuk, the three-time world blitz chess champion dug deep and won the final two games of the segment to reduce the deficit to a single point.

Bullet 1|1: Ding 4.5-3.5 Grischuk 

The bullet started in the worst way possible for Grischuk as he lost connection and flagged, gifting Ding a crucial win.

Ding has gone from strength to strength this year. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Fortunately for Grischuk, his connection improved in the following game, and he was able to bounce back and win one of the messiest games of the match. Amazingly, Ding possessed a +8 advantage during the middlegame, but Grischuk was able to survive and turn the tables on his normally precise-moving opponent.

In the next game, the script continued as it had all match though, and Ding was able to punish Grischuk for spending 20 seconds on one move! The indecision from Grischuk was not only damning on the clock but pressured him into blundering on the very next move after the long think.

With less than 10 minutes remaining on the match clock and a three-point deficit encumbering Grischuk, he was able to find the energy to make things interesting once more and won a desperate time scramble, putting himself in a situation where he needed to win consecutive games quickly to tie the match.

Ding was all class on Sunday though and comfortably drew the last game in 82 moves. The long-winded game resulted in match clock expiry and a two-point victory for the Chinese GM. Ding won $3076.92 for his match victory while Grischuk earned $923.08 for his efforts. Having booked his spot in the quarterfinals, Ding will play the winner of the match between GMs Anish Giri and Nihal Sarin.

All Games – Round of 16

Speed Chess Championship 2022 Bracket

The 2022 Speed Chess Championships Main Event starts on the 21st of November and concludes on the 16th of December. Top speed-chess players will compete at three different time controls in a 16-player knockout as they vie for a share of the $100,000 prize fund along with the most prestigious title in online chess.

The likes of GMs Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and many more will battle it out to determine the 2022 speed chess champion.

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