Wei Yi youngest Chinese Champion

by Alejandro Ramirez
5/30/2015 – The wunderkind from China strikes yet again! His meteoric rise seems to have no stop - he becomes the youngest Chinese Champion in history after scoring an excellent 7.5/11 in Xinghua. Not only that - his live rating catapults him to the top 30 players in the World. In the Women's section, it was Tan Zhongyi that dominated the event. We bring you a recap of the tournament.

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The Chinese Chess Championships returned to Xinghua, in the province of Jiangsu. Not every top player was present in the strong round robin: some notable players missing were Wang Yue, Hou Yifan and Bu Xiangzhi. Despite that, the tournament was still a very strong round robin, the top seeds being Ding Liren, Yu Yangyi and the eventual winner, the wunderkind Wei Yi.

The pace of the tournament was set quite early. Ding Liren beat Yu Yangyi with great complications:

[Event "ch-CHN 2015"] [Site "Xinghua CHN"] [Date "2015.05.20"] [Round "3.6"] [White "Yu, Yangyi"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2757"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "2015.05.18"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bc4 d6 9. a4 a5 10. b5 Ne7 11. Qb3 Rf8 12. Nbd2 Ng6 13. d4 Nh5 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 dxe5 16. Nf3 Qf6 17. Bg5 Qg6 18. Be7 Nf4 19. Nh4 Qg4 20. g3 g5 $5 {Ding Liren, having a couple of choices on how to win material, decides instead to give up an exchange to retain pressure!} (20... Nh3+ {Leads to some unbelievable complications:} 21. Kh1 Nxf2+ 22. Rxf2 Bxf2 23. Rf1 Bb6 (23... Qxe4+ 24. Ng2 {is also not that clear.}) 24. Bxf7+ Kh8 25. Bxf8 Qxe4+ 26. Nf3 Bh3 27. Be8 $3 {is crazy. For example:} Bxf1 (27... Bg2+ 28. Kxg2 Qe2+ 29. Kh3 Qxf1+ 30. Kg4 h5+ $1 {Only move!} 31. Bxh5 Rxf8 {with a Black advantage in a still messy position.}) 28. Bxg7+ Kxg7 29. Qf7+ {gets Black mated.}) 21. Ng2 Nh3+ 22. Kh1 Qf3 23. Bxf8 Kxf8 {White is up the exchange, but there is some clear positional pressure in the position. White's king feels unsafe, specially with the unguarded f2 pawn.} 24. Qa2 Bg4 (24... Nxf2+ 25. Rxf2 Qxf2 26. Qxf2 Bxf2 27. Rf1 {is clearly bad for Black.}) 25. Rae1 $6 (25. Qd2 $1 { was important, preventing Rd8.}) 25... Rd8 $1 {The rook joins the fray and it is all over now.} 26. Be2 Nxf2+ 27. Kg1 (27. Rxf2 Qxf2 28. Qa3+ Bc5 $19) 27... Qxc3 $1 28. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 29. Kxf2 Rd2 {White has no good way of defending against the multiple threats on the second rank.} 0-1

But it was Wei Yi who really started on fire. After Ding Liren and Wei Yi both started with 2.5/3, they met in round four, and it was the youngster the pulled off an impressive tactical sequence in a Berlin endgame.

Wei Yi with a pretty combination

[Event "ch-CHN 2015"] [Site "Xinghua CHN"] [Date "2015.05.21"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Wei, Yi"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2718"] [BlackElo "2757"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2015.05.18"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Bd7 10. Rd1 Be7 11. g4 Nh4 12. Nxh4 Bxh4 13. Nd2 Kc8 14. Nf3 Be7 15. Rd3 h6 16. Nd4 b6 17. Rf3 Be8 18. Nf5 Bf8 19. b3 Bd7 20. Bb2 Be6 21. Nd4 Bd5 22. Re3 Bc5 23. c4 Be6 24. f4 g6 25. Rf1 Kb7 26. Kg2 Rad8 27. Rd3 $1 {This move is the start of an excellent concept. It seems as if White is pinning himself, but this is not the end of the story.} h5 (27... Bxd4 28. Rxd4 Rdg8 $1 {Preventing the move f5, would have given Black excellent chances to draw the game. However, h5 seemed so tempting...}) 28. Nxe6 {The point:} Rxd3 29. Nxc5+ bxc5 30. e6 {A simple attack on the rook, but it is not so easy to deal with.} Rhd8 (30... Rf8 $2 31. Bg7 {loses instantly.}) 31. exf7 {The pawn on f7 is still quite powerful. Black has a tough defense ahead of him.} Rd2+ $2 (31... Rf8 32. f5 $1 gxf5 33. g5 Rxf7 34. g6 Rf8 35. g7 Rg8 36. Be5 $1 {Still is unpleasant for Black.} (36. Rxf5 $6 Rd2+ 37. Rf2 Rxb2 38. Rxb2 Rxg7+ $11)) ( 31... h4 32. Rf3 $1 (32. Bg7 Rg3+ 33. Kf2 Rd2+ 34. Ke1 Rgg2 {is a computer-like draw.})) 32. Rf2 Rxf2+ 33. Kxf2 Rf8 34. f5 $1 Rxf7 35. Kg3 $1 { This is the point of the combination.} gxf5 36. g5 {Despite Black's overwhelming material advantage, he is completely powerless against the simple g6-g7 followed by the forward king march. Black simply resigned before getting zugzwnaged to death.} (36. g5 Kc8 37. g6 Rf8 38. g7 Rg8 39. Kf4 Kd7 40. Kxf5 Ke7 41. Kg6 Ke6 {and White has many ways to win. He can play Ba3-xc5-f8 and then Kh7, trapping the rook and winning when Black runs out of moves, or taking on h5 and making way for the h-pawn.}) 1-0

Wei Yi had a magnificent tournament - he had a one point lead over Yu Yangyi going into the last round. However he was taken out by Lu Shanglei! The 2600 grandmaster played a great version of a Grand Prix Attack Sicilian and won a clean game. Yu Yangyi, however... also lost! Jun Zhao was his executioner, just proving that every grandmaster in China is very strong.

This allowed Wei Yi to take the tournament half a point ahead of Ding Liren.

The winners with their awards

Overall the tournament had many exciting games, which translated into many decisive games. With this, China has a new Champion. Wei Yi becomes the youngest Champion in China's history, breaking Ding Liren's record. He is currently 15 years old, and will turn 16 in a few days: June 2nd. He is also now one of the top 30 players in the World:

# Name Rating
1 Carlsen 2876.0
2 Caruana 2804.9
3 Anand 2804.0
4 Nakamura 2802.1
5 Topalov 2798.0
6 Kramnik 2782.8
7 Grischuk 2780.5
8 Aronian 2780.1
9 So 2775.8
10 Giri 2775.2
11 Jakovenko 2762.2
12 Navara 2754.0
13 Karjakin 2753.2
14 Gelfand 2750.9
15 Ding Liren 2749.3
# Name Rating
16 Li Chao 2748.0
17 Dominguez 2745.6
18 Tomashevsky 2745.1
19 Wojtaszek 2740.9
20 Adams 2740.0
21 Svidler 2739.8
22 Radjabov 2738.0
23 Mamedyarov 2735.0
24 Vitiugov 2733.6
25 Harikrishna 2733.0
26 Ivanchuk 2733.0
27 Vachier-Lagrave 2726.1
28 Wang Yue 2725.8
29 Naiditsch 2725.0
30 Wei Yi 2720.9

These are the current live ratings as of today, thanks to 2700chess.com, with the new FIDE rating list being released between today and tomorrow.

In the Women's section things were a little different Tan Zhongyi started with an awesome 3.0/3, including wins against Guo Qi and Ni Shiqun, but she drew and lost in her next two games, leaving the lead to Shen Yang and Ying Dixin, while Lei Tingjie also had 3.5/5. However after that it was all about Tang Zhongyi! She won her next four games in a row, finished with two solid draws and wrapped up the tournament comfortably.

The new Women's Champion: Tan Zhongyi

A crucial game was Tan Zhongyi beating Shen Yang with White. This photo is from last year's championship.

Ding Yixin, who tied for third with Lie Tingjie, here is white against Shen Yang

Chinese Championship games:

Click on drop-down menu for all games

Women's Chinese Championship games:

Click on drop-down menu for all games

Final Standings

Women's Chinese Championship

Chinese Championship

Photos from the official website


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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oputu oputu 6/1/2015 06:19
One word: 'Cheating?'
jefferson jefferson 5/31/2015 03:15
Because Wei Yi will probably be world champion in 10 years, it's worth asking: What's the "chess culture" like in China?
Deep_Port Deep_Port 5/31/2015 11:24
He should play a match against a pre-2k chess program like Fritz 5.32 on something like a Pentium III 800MHz/128mb hash

FIY: Polgar lost to Fritz 5.32 on a k6 450mhz/64mb hash
DBRussell DBRussell 5/31/2015 04:15
Go Wei Yi!

ff2017 ff2017 5/31/2015 03:45
Lu Shanglei keeps on getter the better of Wei Yi. First taking the World Junior Championship from Wei Yi last year and now beating him in the final round.
Josue Josue 5/31/2015 03:42
Great promise and almost reality of the Chess world, I can't wait for him to be challenging Magnus. Wei Yi is clearly more humble than the norwegian.
Rational Rational 5/31/2015 01:47
Wild Card for the Candidates? He is clearly the most likely World Champ to follow Carlsen
Jonmeista Jonmeista 5/31/2015 12:47
Wow, just wow. This guy is the real deal. I'm a Magnus fan, but I also root for Yu Yangyi and Wei Yi.