Self-pinning for immortality. Congrats Ding!!
GM Magnus Carlsen

Congratulations GM Ding Liren for becoming the 17th World Chess Champion! This was a match for the ages. It had all sorts of drama in it, with the margin between agony and ecstasy being razor thin. Both players crossed that margin in both directions, sometimes in the same game. In the end the deciding factor was the resilience of Ding. He held on sometimes for the dear life. Some of his choices were odd such as the following one where he self-pinned himself.

I want to acknowledge Ding’s courage to self-pin himself by presenting below position. This comes courtesy of Michael Healey that was playing the White pieces.

Michael wrote a very nice article about it. At this point he asked:
… what would you, as White, do here? Do you long for the security of exchanged queens? Qxb8, Ne4, Rhe1 or maybe even f4 straightening out the doubled pawns? White is after all a pawn up; the rest, as they always say, should be a matter of technique.
Should White keep the queens on with Qg5, then point everybody at g7? Surely Black’s kingside couldn’t survive the firepower of White’s entire army? Or is this a mirage?
Is Rd6 your choice, preventing the queen exchange with an awkward self-pin? Dominating Black like a sumo wrestler sat on a cat?
Or is there something else – something which makes your heart beat faster, dreaming of glory. A taste of immortality. A portal in time to the great chess romantics of the past. To be included in great tomes of tactics books and legendary sacrifices. A kiss from Caissa herself? Can White play Qxf6?!?!…

Michael went for a chance to taste chess immortality with 20. Qf6?! … Probably a younger me would agree in a blink of an eye. A more experienced me would not agree anymore. Black is reduced to a sad defensive pose. There is no need to rush anything. Protect the queen for a move. It would give you enough time to open up the big battery along a1-h8. More than anything there is no need to sacrifice the queen. It feels too decisive and desperate in the same time. There is no clear mate after that.

The analysis that follows is a combination of Michael’s analysis and some of my thoughts on it. Hope you like it, and possibly have a desire to look for a combination that suits you. I believe it is one of those rare positions where there are choices for every type of chess players. We have to thank Michael for sharing it with the World.

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app:
I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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