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Hainan Danzhou and Wei Yi’s immortal game

by Sagar Shah
7/4/2015 – The 6th Hainan Danzhou tournament is being held in Danzhou, with top Chinese players. The event will be remembered for a game that is already being labelled "Game of the Decade" and was played by a 16-year-old youngster rated 2724. We asked Garry Kasparov to comment for us, and he did so with one word: "Impressive!" We have annotated it for you in somewhat greater detail.
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6th Hainan Danzhou and Wei Yi’s immortal game

The 6th Hainan Danzhou tournament is being held from the 2nd to 11th of July 2015 in Danzhou. Located on an island on the southern-most region of China, this tournament requires special attention from chess fans because all the super-strong Chinese players who have been splashing chess news pages with their fantastic performances in the past year or so are playing here.

The major attractions of the tournament are the top rated Chinese player and the guy who has worked with Magnus Carlsen Ding Liren; the winner of the Capablanca Memorial and the strongest open tournament ever held, the Qatar Masters Yu Yangyi; and the youngest person in the world to break into 2700 Wei Yi.

Apart from these three big stars, the tournament also features: the first Chinese player ever to cross 2700, Wang Yue; a member of the Gold winning Chinese Olympiad team and back into 2700, Ni Hua; the youngest grandmaster in the world at the age of 13 in 1998, Bu Xiangzhi; and the two promising and upcoming youngsters Wang Chen, who is still an IM, and the reigning World Junior Champion Lu Shanglei. These eight Chinese players have been joined by Cuba’s number two Batista Bruzon, and India’s number five Krishnan Sasikiran.

The opening ceremony was well attended

The participants of the 6th Danzhou Hainan: Yu Yangyi, Wei Yi, Wang Yue, Ni Hua, Bu Xiangzhi,
Batista Bruzon, Krishnan Sasikiran, Lu Shanglei and Wang Chen (Ding Liren is missing)

The vice mayor of the Danzhou Zhang, who made this event possible

The drawing of lots ceremony

The tournament has a total prize fund of 320,000 Yuans (approximately US $51,560) and a first prize of 100,000 Yuans (US $16100). After two rounds this is how things stand.

Three players lead the event with a score of 1.5/2: Wei Yi, Wang Yue and Yu Yangyi

While there have been only three decisive games out of the ten that have taken place, the talk of the town is definitely Wei Yi’s win over Batista Bruzon in round two. The game was so well played by 16-year-old youngster that people have started calling it the game of the century or the game of the decade – or as the Indian GM Vishnu Prasanna puts it: “the longest combination he has ever seen.”

Wei Yi who is only 16 years one month and two days old, already
has a live rating of 2728 and is 27th on the live world rankings

I could just show you Wei Yi’s brilliancy along with the analysis. I am sure you will be awestruck by the Chinese GM’s tactical abilities. But if you want to learn something from this game you should try putting yourself in the shoes of the Chinese grandmaster. Hence, I have selected five positions from the game and posed questions to you. If you look at the game after trying to solve them you will be in a much better position to appreciate Wei Yi’s play.

Wei,Yi (2724) - Bruzon Batista,Lazaro (2669) [B40]
6th Hainan Danzhou GM Danzhou CHN (2.4), 03.07.2015

Position after 21…Nxd5

This is where it all began. Black has just taken the knight on d5.
What should White play? (thinking time: two minutes)

I hope that you did not think about the mechanical recapture of the knight with exd5 but instead found the sparkling sacrifice 22.Rxf7!! Of course the details are intricate and it is impossible to calculate everything right to the very end. But a good intuitive attacker will never miss such a chance.

Position after 23…Kxf6 (variation from the game)

The black king looks exposed and weak. How should you finish him off?
(thinking time: three minutes)

24. Rf1+ looks the most natural and tempting. But turns out that it is a mistake and after 24…Nf4! Black can hold his position together. The easiest way to win from the diagrammed position is to just play 24.exd5! when the Black king gets mated very quickly.

Position after 24…Kxd5

The black king is running away! How do you stop him?
(thinking time: two minutes)

One of the golden rules of attacking is to not let the king escape from the scene of action. Easier said than done! If the black king were to get to c6, he would be untouchable. Hence Wei Yi came up with the beautiful decoying move 25.Be4+!! The king is dragged into the open.

Position after 25…Kxe4

The king has been lured forward. There are two moves that win now, both them related to the control of a crucial square. Wei Yi found one of them. Can you find both? (thinking time: five minutes)

The most important square in this position is d5. Hence, the two winning moves are 26.Qf7!! as played by Wei Yi and 26.c4!! as shown by guys like Komodo, Houdini and Rybka.

Position after 28...Ke4

White can give a discovered check over here. But unfortunately his own queen
is also attacked. What did Wei Yi come up with? (thinking time: two minutes)

29.Qb3!! is the only winning move here. This not only brings the queen to safety but also threatens a mate in one.

The above answers are not comprehensive. If you have any doubts, please go over the game on our JavaScript board below or download the PGN file and look at it on your ChessBase software. You can find all the detailed analysis in it.

[Event "6th Hainan Danzhou GM"] [Site "Danzhou CHN"] [Date "2015.07.03"] [Round "2.4"] [White "Wei, Yi"] [Black "Bruzon Batista, Lazaro"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2724"] [BlackElo "2669"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2015.07.02"] {There is something about the way this young Chinese kid plays. He doesn't just beat his opponents, he crushes them. And his combinations are so crisp that you are left with this simple question in your head: "How does he do it against the best in the world?" Have a look at this game against Bruzon Batista which many say is the "Modern day Immortal Game."} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 a6 4. Be2 Nc6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Qc7 {The game has now transposed into a Sicilian Taimanov.} 7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 Be7 {This move transposes into the Sicilian Scheveningen. An opening which has a rich tradition and always leads to interesting positions.} (8... Bb4 {Pure Taimanov players prefer this move.}) 9. f4 d6 10. Kh1 O-O 11. Qe1 $5 {This idea of putting your queen on g3 is common in the Scheveningen – thousands of games have been played in the past. } Nxd4 12. Bxd4 b5 13. Qg3 Bb7 14. a3 {Usually a move like a3 is a waste of time in the Sicilian. But here it is totally justified as it is important to keep the knight on c3.} Rad8 15. Rae1 Rd7 {It might seem funny to think about why exactly Black placed his rook on d7. But in doing so, he vacated the d8 square for his queen. This setup of Rd7-Qd8 is very effective against a e4-e5 break.} 16. Bd3 Qd8 (16... Re8 {is what you see in more games.}) 17. Qh3 g6 ( 17... h6 {is the computer's move. But as Scheveningen experts already know, this is a very dangerous move and any sacrifice later on h6 would be almost decisive.} 18. Re3 $40) 18. f5 $1 {A strong attacking move. Something has gone horribly wrong for Bruzon right out of the opening.} e5 19. Be3 Re8 {Little did Bruzon know that leaving the f7 point undefended would lead to a beautiful combination.} 20. fxg6 hxg6 21. Nd5 $5 Nxd5 {[#]It is here that Wei Yi's brilliant combination begins.} (21... Bxd5 {is the lesser of the evils but after} 22. exd5 $16 {Black's position is pretty bad.}) 22. Rxf7 $3 {The term bolt from the blue looks pretty clichéd here. Bruzon, a 2669 rated player, must definitely have anticipated this move, right? It is a very common pattern of dragging the black king out. What exactly did he have in mind against Rxf7 is unclear, because even a minute's glance is enough to convince you that the attack is very dangerous, even though it cannot be calculated to the end.} Kxf7 (22... Nf6 {is met with} 23. Qe6 $1 Kh8 24. Bg5 $18 {When Black is absolutely busted.}) 23. Qh7+ Ke6 (23... Kf8 24. Bh6# {is easy to calculate.}) (23... Kf6 {The computer thinks that this is the easiest move to refute, but I disagree. Rf1+ is very tempting and it leads to a draw. The correct move here is to take the knight.} 24. exd5 $1 (24. Rf1+ $2 {is incorrect due to} Nf4 25. Rxf4+ exf4 26. Bd4+ Ke6 (26... Kg5 $2 27. h4+ Kg4 28. Qxg6+ {with mate to follow in short order.}) 27. Qh3+ (27. Qxg6+ Bf6 $19) 27... Kf7 28. Qh7+ Ke6 $11 {and White has nothing more than a draw at this point.}) 24... e4 25. Rf1+ Ke5 26. Qxg6 exd3 27. Qf5#) 24. exd5+ Kxd5 {Once again we reach a critical crossroad. Black is threatening to run away with Kc6-c7. White must stop him at any cost.} ( 24... Bxd5 {White has only one way to win at this point.} 25. Bxg6 $1 (25. Qxg6+ Bf6 26. Bf5+ Ke7 27. Qh7+ Bf7 $19 {And the black king has been nicely cordoned off.}) 25... Rf8 26. Qh3+ Kf6 27. Rf1+ $1 Kxg6 28. Qh6#) 25. Be4+ $3 ( 25. Qf7+ $2 Kc6 $19) 25... Kxe4 {[#]} (25... Ke6 26. Qxg6+ Bf6 27. Qf5+ Ke7 28. Qh7+ Ke6 (28... Kf8 29. Bh6+ Rg7 (29... Bg7 30. Rf1+ $18) 30. Bxg7+ Bxg7 31. Rf1+ $18) 29. Bf5+ Kd5 30. Bxd7 $18 {Pawn up with the opponent's king on d5. Things couldn't get better!}) 26. Qf7 $3 {An extremely difficult move to foresee. Such moves are reminiscent of Tal who used to sacrifice material without care and then make a quiet move taking control of the important squares. Here the d5 square was the most important. Even though a piece and rook down Wei Yi takes control of that square.} (26. c4 $3 {The engine points out this fascinating move which helps to get the c4 square later on also wins.} bxc4 27. Qxg6+ Kd5 28. Qf7+ Kc6 (28... Ke4 29. Qxc4+ Kf5 30. Rf1+ Kg6 31. Qf7#) 29. Qxc4# {Now we see why c4 was such an amazing move!}) 26... Bf6 27. Bd2+ ( 27. Bb6+ Kf5 28. Rf1+ Kg5 29. Be3+ Kh5 {It might seem that Qh7 would end the game here, but unfortunately the rook on d7 wouldn't allow that. In fact the black king is pretty safe on the h5 square.}) 27... Kd4 28. Be3+ {No harm in repeating the position to gain some time. But it just shows that things were not so easy for Wei Yi on the board. He had not yet found the exact way to win the game.} Ke4 29. Qb3 $3 {Once again fantastic control shown by the young lad. Qd3 is a mate and something must be done about it.} (29. Qxg6+ $2 Kd5 $19 { losing control over the d5 square is unforgivable.}) 29... Kf5 30. Rf1+ Kg4 { What to do next? The black king looks like a ripe juicy target, but is there a way to finish him off?} 31. Qd3 $3 {Isn't this unbelievable? Black has so many pieces, but none of them can come to the rescue of their king. And by the way this is the only winning move.} (31. Bh6 $2 Kh5 32. Qh3+ Bh4 $19 {and White falls short of ammunition.}) (31. Bd2 Kh5 32. Qh3+ Bh4 {is similar.}) (31. c4 { trying to get the queen into the game from d1} Bxg2+ 32. Kxg2 Qa8+ 33. Kg1 Qe4 $11 {and once the black queen enters the defence, things become very complicated.}) 31... Bxg2+ {Unable to find anything Bruzon gives up his bishop in desperation.} (31... Rg7 32. Qe2+ Kh4 33. h3 Qd7 34. Kh2 Bxg2 35. Qxg2 Bd8 36. Qf2+ Kh5 37. Qf3+ Kh4 38. Rg1 $18) 32. Kxg2 Qa8+ {The queen finally enters the game, but it's too late.} 33. Kg1 {Unfortunately the black queen has no squares in the centre from where she can join in the battle.} Bg5 (33... e4 34. Qe2+ Kh4 35. Rf4+ Kg5 36. Rxe4+ Kf5 37. Qf3#) 34. Qe2+ Kh4 (34... Kh3 35. Bxg5 $18) 35. Bf2+ Kh3 36. Be1 $1 {There is just no way to prevent the mate with Rf3 or Qd3. What a mind Wei Yi must have to see all these mating patterns in this king hunt, and that too with the clock ticking on!} (36. Be1 Bf4 37. Qd3+ Kg4 38. Qxg6+ Bg5 39. h3+ Kxh3 40. Qf5#) 1-0

Magnus Carlsen, here I come!

We sent the game to Garry Kasparov in Skype and received a one-word commentary from him: “Impressive!" Garry, who chooses his words carefully when it comes to appreciating someone’s play, surely liked what he saw! Incidentally the game reminds us of the following historic classic, known as "The Immortal King Walk":

[Event "London casual"] [Site "London"] [Date "1912.10.29"] [Round "?"] [White "Lasker, Edward"] [Black "Thomas, George Alan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A83"] [PlyCount "35"] [EventDate "1912.10.29"] [EventType "game"] [EventCountry "ENG"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1998.11.10"] 1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Bxf6 Bxf6 6. e4 fxe4 7. Nxe4 b6 8. Ne5 O-O 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. Qh5 Qe7 {[#]} 11. Qxh7+ Kxh7 12. Nxf6+ Kh6 13. Neg4+ Kg5 14. h4+ Kf4 15. g3+ Kf3 16. Be2+ Kg2 17. Rh2+ Kg1 18. Kd2# ({Instead of the once-in-a-lifetime move:} 18. O-O-O#) 1-0

If you haven't had enough of the Wei Yi game, here is an this 18-minute video by ChessBase author Simon Williams, whose enthusiasm and especially metaphors reach historical heights (really, Simon, weasel poo on a doorknob?):

And here is half an hour of analysis by Tryfon Gavriel:

Also you may want to listen to Domnic Lawson speaking about the game on BBC4 (starting at 1:49:55)

The tournament is extremely interesting from the point of view of predicting the winner. With Wei Yi’s scintillating form he looks like a favourite here, but players like Yu Yangyi and Ding Liren will surely give him a tough fight. What do you think? Write your opinions and predictions in the comments section below.

Pictures taken from the official website


Links

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 and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.
Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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Topics China

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alekhina alekhina 7/4/2015 06:22
Chinese are very strong at the early 20's and stop playing at the age of 40.
RaoulBertorello RaoulBertorello 7/4/2015 07:39
I think Yi Wei is a couple of steps above the others. I bet he will win the tournament. Well it's an easy forecast after such a win against an experienced player like Bruzon.
frankiekam frankiekam 7/4/2015 07:44
A truly amazing game. Tal lives on in this Chinese player. I wish I could have seen the time left remaining for each player at each move. That would bring things into perspective - to be amazed how Wei Yi was able to calculate the combination despite his clock ticking. This game is art at the highest level. Simon's Youtube commentary is pure entertainment. Kingcrusher's analysis is a cerebral delight.
Bill Alg Bill Alg 7/4/2015 08:08
Good attacking game, but not game of the decade IMHO. It is a matter of taste, I guess.
Anthony Migchels Anthony Migchels 7/4/2015 08:09
Classic destruction of the white squares......Just think about it: Rxf7, Qxh7, Qf7 (threatening the mate on f3), Qb3 (threatening the mate on d3).

Looking forward to Carlsen Yi WC match 2020!
excalibur2 excalibur2 7/4/2015 08:35
I don't know why 21.Nd5! is given a (?!) in many of the analyses of this game I've seen. Surely it was this powerful novelty that befuddled Bruzon in the 1st place? This is arguably the strongest move in the position.
Tye Tye 7/4/2015 09:04
I am a 962 rated player and found all the puzzle moves quickly except the last one....I went for Bb6...guess that's why I'm 962...obviously....the clues were a big help...
Exabachay Exabachay 7/4/2015 09:25
WOW WOW WOW and many many more WOWs until the end of my life.
Phillidor Phillidor 7/4/2015 10:37
I love the way Simon explained the feeling we get when playing such moves as Rxf7 (from 9:25 onward). Would have been interesting to see Wei Yi's expressions during the game too.
eja616 eja616 7/4/2015 11:31
Great combination by Wei. But between 26. C4!! and 26. Qf7!!, the former was a better continuation in that it would have finished the king off sooner.
Aard Aard 7/5/2015 12:26
OK, Carlsen now knows that he should not play the Sicilian against Wei Yi, it is as simple as that.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 7/5/2015 01:54
If Wei Yi saw all that when he played Nd5, then there's your future World Champion, folks.
yesenadam yesenadam 7/5/2015 02:52
The Cuban guy's name is NOT "Batista Bruzon" as he's called here twice. That's just his 2 last names put the wrong way around. It's Lázaro Bruzón Batista, or as it seems he's more usually called, Lázaro Bruzón. In Spanish, the 'z' is pronounced like an 's'. The accent marks, as always in Spanish, tell you merely which is the accented syllable, but don't otherwise change the pronunciation. Ok? (We are so sorry the way "Vishy" got his name so mangled by the world! :-) But hopefully things can stop there.)
KevinC KevinC 7/5/2015 03:35
@Bill Alg, I have to agree. No question it was an excellent attacking game, but I would have been more impressed it most of it was not just intuition. Tal played MANY games like that. You play the sacrifice, and see that you are at least drawing, but might win, so you play it.
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 7/5/2015 04:16
Man, the Chinese are producing some really excellent players. I really liked Bu Xiangzhi, Wang Yue, and that generation, but the new guys seem even stronger. Amazing.
fusoya fusoya 7/5/2015 05:25
I'm confused to how the commentator believes this is an immortal game/combination but is so critical of Batista for allowing Rxf7. I don't think you can have both.
jhoravi jhoravi 7/5/2015 05:47
@alekhine
How do you know that they stop playing at the age of 40 when none of them yet is 40?
Maturner Maturner 7/5/2015 07:44
What an incredible game!
samirkasparov001 samirkasparov001 7/5/2015 09:24
its normal game .. any GM can find this moves .. i really wake up from sleep right now and open the chessbase.com and when i see this game i try to solve them and i solve them all in less time than they gave for each one .. thy all so clear .. china try to create a hero by media tools .. its normal .. me be if we search in playchessonline.com we will find more ammzing games and moves .. its big to give the name of game of decade for this easy and normal game ..
Pionki Pionki 7/5/2015 11:15
Have you noticed the game Lasker-Thomas from 1912? This one was incredible! Lasker must have seen that by sacrificing Q Black will be checkmated.
rollschu rollschu 7/5/2015 11:53
I wonder how much of this combination was based on home preparation. Somewhere it was mentioned that the first new move was 21. Nd5. If that is the case then it can be assumed that Wei Yi played through the combination with a Computer before the game was actually played. Nevertheless it is always nice and enjoyable to play through such beautiful games.
Pentium Infinite Pentium Infinite 7/5/2015 12:52
"samirkasparov001 3 hours ago
its normal game .. any GM can find this moves .. i really wake up from sleep right now and open the chessbase.com and when i see this game i try to solve them and i solve them all in less time than they gave for each one .. thy all so clear .. china try to create a hero by media tools .. its normal .. me be if we search in playchessonline.com we will find more ammzing games and moves .. its big to give the name of game of decade for this easy and normal game "

The sad part on your part is that you will never produce games like this in your next 10 lives.
But keep talking, it helps.
daftarche daftarche 7/5/2015 01:01
this boy is in his element in tactical complications for sure. organizers should invite him to top tournaments. are you not tired of seeing old faces? i can not wait for tata steel 2016.
firestorm firestorm 7/5/2015 06:01
Its a sparkling game, for sure. Its unfair to criticise the game because it has been talked up, or whether there was a level of preparation, though if w had played c4, that really would have been a wonderful finish.

Criticising the moves as obvious is also easy because you're being given a position and a big hint with it saying "YOU CAN BASH BLACK HERE". Bit of a giveaway to look for obvious candidate combination moves, and the quiet moves are also not hard to find in the circumstances. Try playing over the game and analysing it out with Nd5 N:d5 R:f7 instead- a lot harder.
Leonilo Leonilo 7/5/2015 07:16
Amazing! Wei has just created art and it is a present for all of us chess lovers. Definitely this game is Wei's immortal game. This game was Tal's style; sacrificing pieces to get "just" attacking chances, not a forced line to mate.
Wei must be proud, he's just made history in chess and he's just 16!
bronkenstein bronkenstein 7/6/2015 01:23
Pity Wang Hao isn`t playing. I wonder was the "immortal" simply prepped!? Anyway, nice game.
leenn leenn 7/6/2015 09:51
Before naming it the game of the millennium let us wait three months to see whether the game at least makes it to Game of the month (at ChessPro). I am sure it will make it to their short list of 20 games.
alec goudreau alec goudreau 7/6/2015 09:58

If Francis J, WellMuths's classic The Golden Treasury of Chess is ever updated it's a game worthy of being added by a future editor of the book.

A delightful game :)

Steven E DuCharm Steven E DuCharm 7/6/2015 10:01
Sadly he lost his next battle
Rational Rational 7/14/2015 09:40
He is a great talent , a possible future world champion and we should see more of him in top tournaments with his excellent style. It's great that it some attention worldwide - even got on the BBC National Morning News Show called Today. Nice that it is so crisp with lines all leading to mate rather than wins on material.
So an excellent game for the public.
But for Chessbase users it was not that difficult surely? The moves in the puzzles were not too hard to find it's generally easier to find mates involving the queen
rpurba rpurba 6/9/2016 05:41

What a beautiful game, The new Morphy was born from Asia! Waiting for fighting with Magnus Carlsen.


--Regards--
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