Who Won Recently? Fearless Fighter Lu Shanglei

Oct 28, 2014
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On October 20th, the prestigious World Junior Chess Championships concluded in Pune, India. The World Juniors, as it's often called, always draws the best U20 players from all over the world and this year had 60 titled players, 18 of whom are GMs, from 60 countries.


This long and tough event brings the best out of these young players because almost every round is hard-fought against the best juniors of their respective country. And it is well known that many of the world's current top players have won or competed here in their early years.

In this edition of WWR, I will feature two games of the winner of the Open Section: Lu Shanglei from China. As a bonus, I also included the winner's notable win in the World Blitz Championship against a very strong & solid player (check the sub-game in the 1st game to find out who!).

The first game I'd like to feature occurred in the critical round 10 in which the Lu faced one of the few leaders and #1 seed in the Open section, Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia.


Lu Shanglei - Fedoseev, Vladimir

World Junior Open 2014 2014.10.16

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3

Lu Shanglei uses his favorite Vienna Variation, which he also used to beat a very strong & solid player in the World Blitz Championship.

2... Nf6 ( His game against the very strong & solid player early this year went 2... Nc6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 d6 5.Na4 Be6 6.Ne2 Qd7 7.h3 Nge7 8.d3 O-O-O 9.Nxc5 dxc5 10.Be3 b6 11.f4 f5 12.Qd2 fxe4 13.dxe4 Qe8 14.Qc3 Nd4 15.Bxd4 cxd4 16.Qa3 Bc4 17.Bf3 Nc6 18.O-O-O exf4 19.gxf4 Bxe2 20.Bxe2 Qxe4! the White player bravely & accurately accepts the pawn sac, but one could argue that it's risky to do so in short-time controls 21.Bf3 Qxf4+ 22.Kb1 Ne5? wrong follow-up, now Lu seizes his chance 23.Qa6+! forcing the king to come out23... Kd7 24.Bg2! ( maybe White only checked the forcing line 24.Rxd4+ Qxd4 25.Rd1 Nxf3 26.Rxd4+ Nxd4 -+ which wins plenty of material for Black.)24... Rhe8 ( Maybe it's best here to close lines of attack with24... d3!? 25.cxd3 Qd4) 25.Rhe1 bringing in the last piece into the attack25... Ke6 26.Qxa7! taking a free pawn while bringing in the queen closer to the enemy monarch26... Re7 27.Re4 Qf2 28.Rde1! with the pressure mounting on the board & clock, Black eventually makes a mistake28... Kf7?? 29.Rf1 Qf6 30.Rxf6+ +- the rest of the game sees Lu consolidating and coordinating his pieces, after which his huge material advantage decides the game.30... gxf6 31.Re1 d3 32.cxd3 Rxd3 33.Qa4 Red7 34.a3 Rd2 35.Bc6 R7d4 36.Qb3+ Ke7 37.Qg3 Kd6 38.Be4 b5 39.Bxh7 b4 40.axb4 Rxb4 41.Qc3 Rbd4 42.Bc2 c5 43.Rc1 Nc4 44.Qg3+ Kc6 45.Ba4+ Kd5 46.Bb3 Rxb2+ 47.Ka1 Rbd2 48.Rxc4 Rxc4 49.Qf3+ Ke5 50.Bxc4 Rd4 51.Qe3+ Re4 52.Qxc5+ Kf4 53.Bd3 Re5 54.Qf2+ 1-0 Lu, S.- Carlsen, M. 2014 FIDE World Blitz Championship. To see the video of the whole blitz match click here.

3.g3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Bg2 Nf6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.O-O Bc5 8.d3 O-O 9.h3 Re8 10.Re1 h6

A normal, quiet position has arisen from the opening in which both sides have equal chances. Now contact begins to take place between the two armies:

11.Be3 Nd4 12.Bxd4 Bxd4 13.Qd2 c6

now both sides try to complete the development of their pieces.

14.Re2 Qb6

this way of arranging Black's pieces may seem attractive, but is weak as it allows White exploit some of Black's misplaced pieces

15.Rae1 Bf5 16.Na4! 16... Qb5 ( other retreats quickly lose a pawn16... Qc7 (16... Qd8 17.Nxe5 +/- ) 17.c3 Bb6 18.Nxe5 +/- )


BD_10663_219_0.pngDiagram #1

The beginning of a cunning tactical idea

17... Rad8 and Black doesn't even sense the danger...

18.c4 Qa6 19.Nxd4 exd4 ( Rxd4 may be a slightly better reply, but White is still on top after 20.Nc5 Qb6 ( Qa3 21.Nxb7 Rxd3 22.Qa5! +/- ) 21.Rxe5 Rxe5 22.Rxe5 +/- )


BD_10663_219_1.pngDiagram #2

The point, White creates a double threat on capturing the B and trapping the Q. Black cannot avoid his queen from getting trapped without losing too much material.

20... b5 21.cxb5 Qc8 22.Rxe8+ Rxe8 23.Rxe8+ Nxe8 24.bxc6 +-

BD_10663_219_2.pngDiagram #3

and the rest was a display of dominating Chinese technique.

24... Bxh3 25.Bxh3 Qxh3 26.Qa5 Qe6 27.Qxa7 Qxc6 28.Qxd4 Nf6 29.Nc5 Qc8 30.a4 Qh3 31.Ne4 Nd7 32.a5 Qf5 33.a6 Ne5 34.Qd8+ Kh7 35.a7 Nf3+ 36.Kg2 Ne5 37.Nf6+

killing Black's last counterplay by force before promoting another queen, so Black resigned.


This next game occurred in the final round in which Shanglei displayed more grit & a strong will to win!


Indjic, A. - Lu Shanglei

World Junior Open 2014 2014.10.19

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.e3 g6 5.h4 Bg7 6.h5 Be6 7.h6! 7... Bf8 8.f4 Bf7 9.Nf3 e6

Black has come out from the opening slightly worse due to lack of space and worse piece placement, but he subsequently outmaneuvers his opponent, gradually imrpoving his chances in a complicated position

10.Ne2 Be7 11.Nc1 Ng4 ( Ne4! Diagram centralizing the N may even be better 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Nd3 Nd7 14.Nde5? 14... Nxe5 15.Nxe5 ( 15.dxe5 Qb4+ 16.Nd2 O-O-O)15... Qb4+! -+ )

12.Qd2 O-O 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Nd3 Nd7 15.Nf2 Ndf6 16.c3 c5!

Shanglei shows his intention by increasing pressure on White's center.

17.Nxg4 Ne4!

a nice intermediate move which may have surprised White

18.Qc2? a mistake, because it gives Black a strong intiative on the kingside.

( To avoid getting worse, White had to play a counter-intermediate move 18.Nf6+! 18... Qxf6 (18... Nxf6 19.Ne5) 19.Qc2 g5!? it may be this idea that White was concerned about, but it actually wasn't dangerous for White at all 20.fxg5 ( 20.O-O-O g4 21.Ne5 = )20... Nxg5 21.Ne5 and White may even be for choice here. By getting "scared of ghosts" White ends up in a bad position but credit also goes to Black for giving White a chance to decide whether this kingside idea was "real threat" or a "ghost".)

18... fxg4 19.Ne5

now Black opens up the game in his favor (enemy king in the middle of the board--remember First Element of Good Positional Play?) and energetically develops his initiative.

19... cxd4 20.exd4 Be8!

BD_10663_219_3.pngDiagram #4

What do I mean by developing an intiative? Constantly creating threats and putting the enemy under pressure so as not to give him time to castle or develop.

21.Qc1 Ng3!

Black invades the enemy camp & brings a piece closer to the enemy king, while he keeps making threats

22.Rh2 g5!

BD_10663_219_4.pngDiagram #5

Do you feel the pressure increasing? I'm definitely sure White did!!

23.Bd3 Rxf4 24.Qd2 Ba4!

BD_10663_219_5.pngDiagram #6

A great attacking move by Shanglei. He prevents White from running away to the queenside while allowing his comrade on a8 to join final battle!

25.b3 Raf8 26.Qe3 ( Now it's too late to castle 26.O-O-O Rf2! as White cannot avoid mate without losing huge material 27.Qe3 Qa3+ 28.Kb1 Qb2#)

26... Nf1

BD_10663_219_6.pngDiagram #7

a cute little tactic that wins material

( Rf1 should also win material but not as much as Nf1, 26... Rf1+ 27.Bxf1 Rxf1+ ( Nxf1 28.Qg1 Nxh2 29.Qxh2) 28.Kd2 Ne4+)

27.Qg1 ( 27.Bxf1 Rxf1+ 28.Kd2 Rxa1 -+ )

27... Nxh2 28.Qxh2 Qc7

the queen joins too, now everyone's at the party!

29.Kd2 Rf2+ 30.Be2 Rxe2+ 31.Kxe2 Qxc3 mate will soon follow, so White resigned.

What a way to win a World Junior Championship! From professional experience and observation, it's always challenging to win the last round or even to just play for some players due to the pressure and fatigue weighing over. But this young man from China showed that grit and fighting spirit (in addition to training & experience) can overcome higher-rated opposition and external pressures during play.

Congratulations to the new and deserving 2014 World Junior Champion Lu Shanglei!


                                                                                                some photos by Amruta Mokal


Have more to add to this article? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below! We will be happy to read your comments.

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