Ding Liren’s secrets out in the open

The bomb went off a few minutes after the eighth game of the World Chess Championship began. After choosing a highly complex line in the Nimzo Indian Opening, Ding launched into a thematic piece sacrifice to open up the h-file for his rook.

The official game databases found no precedent in Ding’s maneuver. However, chess repositories on-line of the specialized platforms have many more sets and, curiously, there was a confrontation from a month ago between two players with a considerably low ELO.

It could be a coincidence, but the investigation had to continue. The two users had played 72 games between them, always at the same pace, in a period of approximately a month and a half. And curiously the other great opening novelty used by Ding Liren during the World Cup had also been played.

There are up to thirteen games, if we take into account the alternation of colors between both players, in which the movement with which Ding surprised Nepomniachtchi in the fourth turn of the second round appeared. A completely surprising fact that has set off all the alarms about whether Ding Liren and his coach during the tournament, Richard Rapport, could hide behind the profiles.

The story, however, began differently. The two users registered on another specialized website, Chess.com. After twelve games, the anti-cheat system denounced one of the accounts, so two days after their last confrontation they both moved to Lichess to continue with the task. The web, in fact, has joked about the situation on its official Twitter account.

The difference between both platforms

What difference is there between playing on one platform or another?, any amateur gamer far from the competitive elite might wonder. It’s simple. While Lichess is an open source platform where all games are made available to users, chess.com it goes a step further and needs to know the user’s name to be able to search for them. It is not possible, in the case of the second platform, find an opening tree generalized to all the games that are played in its interface. “They would never have been caught on Chess.com”says the International Master and coach of the Spanish team, David Martínez.

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Great Masters speak about it

The evidence seems indisputable for one of the best chess players in the world and the most active in the field of content creation. For Hikaru Nakamura, “there is no doubt that they have to be the accounts of Liren and Rapport”. A version that supports Daniil Dubov, who was part of Carlsen’s team during the last World Cup, from the official broadcast of the tournament. “It can’t be a coincidence”.

One of the best Spanish players of the last fifteen years, the Grand Master Iván Salgado (ELO FIDE: 2591), has told this newspaper that he believes that this discovery will be decisive for the rest of the match. “What I have seen is incredible. In those games you can see how the world champion prepares. I have seen more valuable information in these 72 games than in the last 100,000 that can appear on the base”.

The Galician, also a coach on his platform Chess Excelsior, believes that the finding will not be positive for either Ding or Nepomniachtchi. “Ding will not be able to play the variations that have been played. It is clear that the Russian machine will review all the games in detail. Now it is very important to change, but that is not easy because tomorrow he has to find a new opening. For his part, nepo You don’t have an easy situation because your coaches are going to bombard you with games knowing that those variants will most likely not happen. But of course, it would be very stupid if everyone knew about Ding’s games and you didn’t.”, he assures.

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