It was the D-Day today in Lindores Abbey Challenge as China’s Ding Liren won an epic see-saw battle to set up a D-Day semi-final clash against Daniil Dubov who whitewashed his compatriot Sergey Karjakin.
Ding Liren – Yu Yangyi all-Chinese battle was decided in an Armageddon play-off after three days of rapid chess left it all-square.
Meanwhile, Dubov battered his countryman Sergey Karjakin 3-0 to end a fascinating Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge tie on top. Ding and Dubov, who revealed he’s been playing with a touchpad, will now meet on Friday in the second of the Rapid Challenge semi-finals.
Following the match, Dubov said he was “really pessimistic” about his upcoming semi because he always loses against Chinese players. “When you play the Chinese it’s sort of a masochistic experience – they beat you and you go home!” he said.
Yu – Ding was the tighter quarter-final than Dubov’s and it started predictably with yet another draw. But in the second, “The Chinese Wall” Ding uncharacteristically collapsed with the White pieces leaving Yu in the lead. Then from 1.5-0.5 behind, Ding came back into it with a vital win in the third.
The final game ended in a draw to take the match into Armageddon tiebreak in which both opponents were playing for time as the clock ran down.
Meanwhile, in the other decider, there were plenty of fireworks in the Dubov – Karjakin match despite the 3-0 final score in Dubov’s favor.
It suffices to say, that in the second game Karjaking just blundered a rook in an absolutely winning position. It ended a thrilling quarter-final tie that saw no draws over the pair’s total of 10 rapid games.
Speaking afterward, Dubov said: “I sort of felt more pressure because of the fact it is Karjakin and he is my compatriot and he knows his stuff…. It’s obviously always tough matches against him. I did not really think about qualifying for something, I just wanted to beat the guy.”
The semis start tomorrow when World Champion Magnus Carlsen takes on Hikaru Nakamura, before Dubov and Ding face-off the following day.