Ruifeng Li Wins Philadelphia Open

ruifenglilukeharmon Ruifeng Li, here pictured against Luke Harmon at the US Chess School
IM Ruifeng Li scored an undefeated 7-2 at the 10th Annual Philadelphia Open tying for first and winning the $200 first place tiebreak bonus for a total of $5415.  Li tied with GM Aleksandar Indjic who he defeated in round 5.  Indjic scored 3 ½ out of his last 4 games to catch Li who “coasted in” with four draws.  Even though Li made four draws in the last four rounds, many of them were fighting draws and Li had opportunities to win.  His games were 42, 45, 32 moves and it was only in the last round that he played a 15 move draw. Here is Li’s game against his co-champion, GM Aleksandar Indjic:

[Event "10th Philadelphia Open"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2016.03.25"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Li, Ruifeng"]
[Black "Indjic, Aleksandar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B60"]
[WhiteElo "2486"]
[BlackElo "2542"]
[PlyCount "147"]
[EventDate "2016.03.??"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:08:31"]
[BlackClock "0:07:24"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 Bd7 7. Qd3 Rc8 8.
Be2 Qa5 9. Nxc6 Bxc6 10. Bd2 a6 11. Nd5 Qd8 12. Nxf6+ gxf6 13. O-O-O Qc7 14.
Be3 Rg8 15. Rhg1 Qa5 16. Kb1 Qe5 17. Bf3 f5 18. exf5 Bxf3 19. gxf3 Rxg1 20.
Rxg1 Qxh2 21. Re1 Qe5 22. Bd2 Qb5 23. Qxb5+ axb5 24. Rh1 Rc5 25. Rxh7 Rxf5 26.
Rh8 Rf6 27. c3 Rg6 28. Rh5 e5 29. f4 f6 30. fxe5 dxe5 31. Kc2 Kd7 32. Be3 Ke6
33. Rh8 Bd6 34. Rh7 Be7 35. Rh8 f5 36. Rb8 f4 37. Ba7 Bh4 38. Kd3 Kf5 39. Rxb7
e4+ 40. Ke2 f3+ 41. Kf1 Ra6 42. a3 Kg4 43. Bd4 Bf6 44. Be3 Rd6 45. Ke1 Rd5 46.
Rf7 Be5 47. Rf8 Rd3 48. Rc8 Rd5 49. Rc5 Rxc5 50. Bxc5 Bf4 51. b3 Kf5 52. c4
bxc4 53. bxc4 Ke6 54. a4 Kd7 55. a5 Kc6 56. a6 Bg5 57. Kf1 Bf4 58. Ke1 Bg5 59.
Bd4 Bf4 60. a7 Kb7 61. Bb6 Ka8 62. Bc5 Kb7 63. Bd4 Ka8 64. Bb6 Bg5 65. c5 e3
66. c6 exf2+ 67. Kxf2 Bf4 68. Kxf3 Bg3 69. Ke4 Bh2 70. Kd5 Bg3 71. Ke6 Bh2 72.
Kd7 Bf4 73. Ba5 Bg3 74. Bb4 1-0[/pgn]
Li played four GMs in this tournament scoring two wins and two draws.  In doing so, preliminary calculations are that he crossed 2500 FIDE for the first time and made his first GM norm.  Once he achieves his 2nd and 3rd norms, he will receive the title. Li is only fourteen years old and he is currently the highest rated 14 year old in the USA.  He is also ranked number 7 in the world for Under age 16.  He has been rapidly improving having gained nearly 100 points in the last year and recently crossing 2600 USCF.  Li received the IM title last year and appears on the verge of earning the GM title.  Ruifeng played the majority of his games on board one.  He liked the DGT and Monroi broadcasts and the quality provided to the top players.  One of the interesting things about GM norms in Swisses is that the math changes every round.  Li had already played the necessary four foreign players going into the last round.  Had Li been paired up in the last round, he could have lost and still made the GM norm.  Because he was paired down to FM Craig Hilby who was also having a breakout tournament performance, the average rating of his opponents dropped slightly and he needed a draw.  I suspect that was part of the motivation (along with $5000) to make a quick draw in the last round!  Ruifeng often comes to tournaments with his younger sister Rachael and they form a mixed doubles team.  Sometimes she scores more points in her class section than he does!  This time he had a different mixed doubles partner and didn’t win any mixed doubles prize.  Still, I think the $5000 and GM norm made up for it! GM Aleksandar Indjic also tied for first.  Indjic played fighting chess through the tournaments and his six wins were the most victories of anybody in the tournament.  Indjic lost only to Li and he drew Hilby and GM Sam Sevian,.  Indjic defeated GM Ioan Chirila and IMs Farai Mandizha, and Michael Mulyar.  Here is Indjic’s win over GM Chirila.

[Event "10th Philadelphia Open"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2016.03.27"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Indjic, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Chirila, Ioan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A06"]
[WhiteElo "2542"]
[BlackElo "2524"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2016.03.??"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:54:14"]
[BlackClock "0:26:45"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d3 d5 3. c4 g6 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Qc2 Nc6 8.
Nbd2 O-O 9. Be2 Bg4 10. O-O Rc8 11. Rfc1 Bxf3 12. Nxf3 Nd4 13. Bxd4 Bxd4 14.
Nxd4 Qxd4 15. a4 c5 16. a5 Nd7 17. Ra4 Qd6 18. Rc4 Rcd8 19. b4 b6 20. bxc5 Nxc5
21. d4 Ne6 22. d5 Nc5 23. axb6 axb6 24. Qc3 e6 25. Bf3 exd5 26. exd5 Rfe8 27.
h4 h5 28. Rb1 Ra8 29. g3 Rad8 30. Kg2 Re7 31. Rcb4 Rb8 32. Rf4 Re5 33. Ra1 Rbe8
34. Ra7 R8e7 35. Ra8+ Kg7 36. Rc8 Rc7 37. Rd8 Qxd8 38. Qxe5+ Kg8 39. d6 Rd7 40.
Bd5 Nd3 41. Rxf7 Rxf7 42. Qe6 1-0[/pgn]
Craig Hilby tied for third with 6 1/2 points.  He made an IM norm with a round to spare!  This is his second IM norm as he made an IM norm last year at the World Open.  As noted, he drew both of the champions.  He also drew GMs Alexander Fishbein and Sandro Pozo Vera.  His significant wins were back to back wins over IMs Awonder Liang and Zurab Javakhadze in rounds seven and eight.  Here he annotates his round 8 win over Javakhadze.

[Event "Philadelphia Open 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.27"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Javakhadze, Zurab"]
[Black "Hilby, Craig"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2453"]
[BlackElo "2343"]
[Annotator "3/27/16 Craig Hilby"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2016.03.27"]

{I had come in before the game needing 0.5/2 in the last day for an IM norm.
However, 2/2 could get me a GM norm and first in the tournament. I couldn't
make up my mind whether to be satisfied with a draw or to go all out for a win,
so I just decided to try and play the best moves :)} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. b3
{I had actually expected this from him, as he had games in the database with
this strange move before. The idea of course is that if White wants to
fianchetto this bishop, he should do it before Black's bishop gets to g7.
White is playing for a space advantage.} (3. Bg2 {would have actually more or
less taken me out of theory becayse I have never played 2...g6 or King's
Indian before}) 3... Bg7 4. Bb2 O-O 5. Bg2 {I spent most of my time here in my
preparation trying to figure out how Black should proceed, and I (actually,
more like Stockfish) came up with an idea that had not been played very often
at all.} c5 {Natural, putting some grasp over d4. As a Benoni player, I always
like having the pawn on c5.} (5... d6 {was the other main move I had
looked at, with the idea being} 6. d4 e5 (6... c5 {was also interesting, but I
decided I liked what I played better.}) 7. dxe5 Nfd7 8. O-O dxe5 {but I wasn't
really too comfortable with the position after} 9. e4) (5... d5 {and other
moves are also of course, playable.}) 6. c4 {White's LSB on g2 is stronger
than mine on c8. The idea is that if I go d5, White will get to trade DSB's,
and we will get a position with a couple knights and a superior LSB for white.
White will try to use the c- and d-files to infiltrate into the Black position.
} (6. O-O {I thought would probably transpose} d5 7. c4 (7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 e5)
7... e6) 6... e6 $5 {With the idea that I want to play d5, but take back with
a pawn! This is a very rare move but one that I liked while preparing.} (6...
Nc6 7. d4 {I preferred to avoid, even though} (7. O-O e6 {transposes to the
game} (7... d6 {is the main line, which goes} 8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bd7 10. Nc3 {
This position did not really appeal to me})) 7... d5 {should equalize pretty
easily}) (6... d5 {The immediate break does not quite equalize} 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8.
Bxg7 Kxg7 9. O-O Nc6 10. d4 {White will always have annoying pressure, and
Black's winning chances are very slim here.}) 7. O-O Nc6 (7... d5 {was also
perfectly okay} 8. cxd5 (8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nc6) 8... exd5 9. d4 b6 10. Nc3 Bb7
{Black has more or less equalized here.}) 8. d4 {All according to plan} (8. d3
{Has been played before by Radjabov, with the game continuing} d5 9. Nbd2 b6
10. Rc1 {but this just seems too passive to lead to anything for White.} Bb7
$11) 8... cxd4 9. Nxd4 d5 {I have succeeded in creating an imbalance. There
will not be complete liquidification in the center, as I will always take back
on d5 with the pawn.} 10. Nxc6 {A surprise for me, I hadn't looked at this
before the game. I had only looked at positions where I had the isolani on d5.}
(10. cxd5 {giving me an isolani was definitely the most natural.} exd5 {
However, White does not have any real pressure on the d5 pawn, and meanwhile
Black can play Re8 and Bg4 and create his own counterplay very easily. I do
not think Black is worse here.}) (10. Nd2 {I also considered, but that thought
I would be fine after} Re8 11. Rc1 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 e5 13. Bb2 d4) 10... bxc6 11.
Qc2 {Okay, so White's idea is clear. I cannot move my c- or e-pawns forward
without creating serious weaknesses, and meanwhile White will try to control
the dark squares (d4, e5, c5). Meanwhile, Black has to find some way to create
counterplay.} a5 $2 {I wanted my bishop on a6, and was trying to decide
whether or not to include this move. It didn't feel right having my bishop
just unprotected on a6, so I decided that a5 couldn't be that bad. However,
this is probably too slow.} (11... Re8 {was also interesting, trying to play
e5.} 12. Nc3 Rb8 (12... e5 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Rfd1 Bb7 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5
Bxd5 17. e4 $14) 13. Rfd1 Qe7 (13... Qa5 14. Na4) 14. Rac1 {I did not really
see what I had accomplished here though}) (11... Ba6 {Maybe I was just scared
of ghosts, and the bishop being unprotected on a6 did not actually mean
anything. After} 12. Rd1 Rc8 13. Nc3 Qa5 $1 {An advantage of not playing a5;
The queen can now access that square.} 14. Na4 dxc4 15. bxc4 Ng4 {Black should
be fine}) 12. Nc3 Qe7 13. Rfd1 (13. e4 d4 14. Na4 e5 {is definitely okay for
Black}) 13... Ba6 14. Na4 Rfd8 15. e3 $6 {Allowing me to relieve some of the
pressure.} (15. Bc3 $1 {is what I was somewhat afraid of, but I figured that}
Ng4 (15... Bb7 16. Qb2 Ne8 {was my backup line; Black is worse here but not
losing.}) 16. Bxa5 (16. Rac1 $1 {However, keeps the advantage} dxc4 17. Rxd8+
$1 (17. bxc4 Rxd1+ 18. Rxd1 Rd8 19. Bxa5 Rxd1+ 20. Qxd1 Bxc4 $11) 17... Qxd8
18. bxc4 $14) 16... Bxa1 17. Bxd8 Rxd8 18. Rxa1 Nxf2 $1 {would save me.}) 15...
Nd7 $1 {Not only stopping Bc3, but also controlling c5 and b6 and adding Ne5
(putting more pressure on c4) to the list of possibilities.} 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17.
Rd2 (17. Rac1 {was natural, but I thought after} Ne5 (17... Qb4 {apparently,
is better according to Stockfish. The queen is annoying, putting
pressure on the White queenside, and can't be kicked out easily.}) 18. cxd5
cxd5 19. Nc5 Rac8 {my position wasn't too bad}) 17... Rab8 $1 {If I ever play
dxc4, Bxc6 hitting my rook will be annoying. In addition, the rook might be
nice on b4 to attack White's queenside. Also, the concrete point is shown
after White's next move.} (17... dxc4 {I actually thought for about half an
hour on this move, trying to decide if this worked.} 18. Bxc6 $6 (18. Qc3+ $1 {
However, this intermediate move spoils all of my plans} Qf6 (18... Nf6 19. Rxd8
Rxd8 20. Qxa5) 19. Rad1 $1 $16 {the pin is extremely annoying}) 18... Qf6 (
18... Ne5 $5 {I spent quite some time on, but came to the conclusion that} 19.
Bxa8 Rxa8 20. Qe4 Qf6 21. Qxa8 Nf3+ 22. Kg2 Nxd2 23. Rd1 {wasn't enough
compensation at all.}) 19. Rad1 cxb3 20. Qxb3 (20. axb3 Rac8) 20... Rab8 21.
Qc3 {and I saw that} Rdc8 $1 {equalizes}) 18. Rad1 dxc4 {Concretely, this
works. The c4 pawn won't be any less weak than my c6 pawn. Black has fully
equalized here.} 19. bxc4 (19. Qc3+ {does not work due to} Nf6 20. Qxa5 Rxd2
21. Rxd2 cxb3 $1 22. Qxa6 Qb4 $1) (19. Bxc6 Ne5 {is good for Black}) 19... Ne5
20. c5 $2 (20. Rxd8 {During the game, I thought White's best would be to bail
out with trading off all the rooks} Rxd8 21. Rxd8 Qxd8 22. c5 $11) (20. Rd4 {
I saw I could play} Bxc4 $1 (20... Nxc4 $2 21. Nc5 $1) 21. Rxc4 Rxd1+ 22. Qxd1
Nxc4 23. Qd4+ Qf6 24. Qxc4 Rb1+ 25. Bf1 Qa1 {and Black cannot be worse.}) (20.
Qc3 {I think is what he was planning to play, but he may have missed} Rxd2 21.
Qxe5+ (21. Qxd2 Rb4 $17) 21... f6 $1) 20... Rxd2 21. Rxd2 Rb4 {Now, White's
position is starting to become unpleasant. My pieces are more active, and both
of White's plans to attack my weak pawns and control the dark squares have
completely failed. Black's main threat is Bd3} 22. Nb6 (22. h3 {is best for
some reason that I fail to understand.}) (22. Qd1 {is what I thought was best
during the game.} Bb5 23. Nb6 Qxc5 24. a3 {comically traps the rook, though
Black is still better after} Qxb6 25. axb4 axb4 $15) 22... Qf6 23. a3 {I
actually completely overlooked this move, and was pretty lucky that I had a
nice tactical shot here.} (23. h3 {was still best, I guess with the idea to
give the king extra space on the back rank in some variations.} Nc4 24. Nd7 {
is the main point}) 23... Nc4 $1 {taking full advantage of White's weakned
back rank} 24. axb4 {More or less forced} (24. Nd7 Qa1+ 25. Rd1 Qxa3 {does not
look too appealing for White}) 24... Nxd2 25. f4 $2 {Losing on the spot, but
White was already in serious trouble. This was probably the best practical
chance actually. Nothing else put up any serious resistance.} (25. h3 {was
most natural, but} Qa1+ 26. Kh2 Qe1 $1 {wins immediately}) (25. Qd1 {is
suggested by the engine, but this is no help after the simple} axb4 $19) 25...
Qa1+ 26. Kf2 Ne4+ $1 {A cute check, as it looks like Black only has perpetual,
but in fact the queen and bishop work together beautifully to deliver mate if
Qxe4} (26... Nf1 {was my original intention, just attacking h2. This is better
for Black but obviously Ne4+ just ends the game immediately} 27. bxa5 Nxh2) 27.
Kf3 (27. Qxe4 Qb2+ 28. Kg1 Qc1+ 29. Kf2 Qd2+ 30. Kg1 Qe1+ 31. Bf1 Qxf1#) (27.
Bxe4 Qf1#) 27... f5 {The king is completely paralyzed, and White has no way of
stopping Qe1 and Nd2+, winning huge material.} 28. b5 Bxb5 29. Nc8 Qe1 30. Qb2+
Kh6 0-1[/pgn]
Hilby was joined in the third thru seventh place tie with GMs Giorgi Margvelashvili, Denis Kadric, Ioan Chirila, and David Berczes.  Hilby took the first Under 2400 prize of $1900 and the other GMs won $1045 each. Seventh through ninth was split between GM Sam Sevian, IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy and FM Christopher Wu.  Ostrovskiy and Wu shared 2nd Under 2400 and won $712.50 each while Sevian took the $475 for 7th place. There were a total of 516 players in seven sections.  The Open section was 9 rounds while the class sections were 7 rounds.  The winners of the class sections were: Under 2200         Andrew Hoy & William Del Castillio           6 points                                $3563 Under 2000         Bryan Weisz                                                       6 ½ points            $4750 Under 1800         Alan Zhang, Mark Dubnoff, Elliott Wu     6 points                                $2755 Under 1600         Johnson Bolorunduro                                    6 ½ points            $1500    Max prize provisional Under 1400         Jason Zipfel                                                        6 points                                $1500    Max prize provisional Yanal Al Sabbagh                                                                              $2775 Under 1100         Alexander Vekker                                           6 ½ points            $500 Max prize provisional Mixed Double   Tuguldur Tsogtbayar                                       10 ½ points         $950 for the team & Amarjargal Ganbaatar Blitz                        IM Yaacov Norowitz                                        7 ½ points            $230 The tournament was directed by Bill Goichberg assisted by David Hater, Brian Yang, Harold Stenzel, Bob Messenger, Jabari McGreen and Andy Rea for the directing duties and Brenda Goichberg for administration and registration duties. Complete tournament standings and most of the Open section games can be found at Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Good report by Dave, and another comprehensive annotation by young Craig Hilby, who won a Chess Journalists award for one of his thorough dissections two years ago. He swears he does this for all his games, not just those that are published! (I assume that in the note to White's 20th, "22.c5 $11" is a typo that will be corrected.)

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] Li has been improving very rapidly. Within the last few months, he has won the Philadelphia Open, passed a US Chess rating of 2600 and a FIDE rating of 2500 for the first time, and achieved his […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] Within the last few months, he’s been on a winning streak, winning both the National Open and the Philadelphia Open over line-ups of experienced grandmasters. In the process, he passed a US Chess rating of 2600 and […]

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.