Game of the Week #573: Xu Zhihang vs Wei Yi

by Merijn van Delft
6/22/2023 – In his Game of the Week show #573 Merijn van Delft takes a close look at a line of the Catalan that has recently become popular and seems to offer Black good chances. | Merijn’s show is available on-demand with a ChessBase Premium Account. You can register a Premium account here.

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Game of the Week #573

The Catalan is a beautiful and rich opening with many possible strategies and ideas for White, but the same goes for Black! A recent trend for Black in the 4...Bb4+ variation is to push a5-a4 early on to gain space on the queenside. What follows is even more ambitious.

We will study the game Xu Zhihang vs. Wei Yi from the Chinese league, in which all the ideas of the variation were nicely executed by Black.

White also fought very hard, which made it a real game of the week.

Warm-up question: What would you play here with Black?

This week’s show

The flexible Open Spanish

In this opening Black opts for active piece play and is not afraid to fight for the initiative from an early stage. One of the many good features of this opening is that Black is often the side which controls the pace of the game.

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Merijn van Delft is an International Master from the Netherlands who lived in Hamburg for many years and is currently based in Amsterdam. After scoring a GM norm in 2017 he is eager for more. His ChessBase show on Wednesday evenings has been running for over ten years now.