Who is the world's best junior? Wei Yi vs Richard Rapport

by Marco Baldauf
12/22/2016 – Wei Yi and Richard Rapport are the world's top two juniors and both are known for their entertaining and uncomprosing attacking chess. From 20th to 23rd December they play a match in Yancheng, China. Wei Yi won the first game, Rapport the second, the third was a draw and this leads to a current score of 1.5-1.5. Analyses and photos.

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The match Wei Yi vs Richard Rapport

The match is played in Wei Yi's hometwon Yancheng, a town with 1.5 million inhabitants situated about 300 km north of Shanghai. Wei Yi and Rapport play four games with classical time-control. If the match is tied after four games, two blitz-games with a time-limit of 5+3 will follow and should the match still be tied after these two games, an Armageddon game will decide the winner.

The Chinese Chess Federation organizes the event

Richard Rapport (left, 19 years old) and Wei Yi (right, 17 years old) at the press conference.

The first game starts


Rapport recovered well after this loss and won the second game convincingly:


The beginning of game two

Game three saw a rather unspectacular draw - analyses will follow in in the final report tomorrow.

All games


Marco Baldauf, born 1990, has been playing since he was eight. In 2000 and 2002 he became German Junior Champion, in 2014 he became International Master. He plays for SF Berlin in the Bundesliga.
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vladivaclav vladivaclav 12/23/2016 09:59
SULAYI_LANG SULAYI_LANG 12/23/2016 08:13
By beating both Ivanchuk and Kamsky and finishing on top eight during the World Cup at the age of 16, So was way ahead of them in terms of strength. Rating somehow didn't correspond to actual strength. So had also won Dubai Open and Aeroflot invitation in his teen years. He was probably one of the youngest national champion in any nation at the age of 12! Without much exposure to invitational tournaments because of lack of financial support, but still he managed to breach 2600 at the age of 16. a remarkable record.
MichelDeNostredameDeEchecs MichelDeNostredameDeEchecs 12/23/2016 05:30
It does win the Bishop, but White gets a very dangerous attack: it's typical to sacrifice a piece to speeds up the attack by gaining tempo(i). The White Q will snatch the g7 pawn hence forcing Rf8 and the Rook on a1 will join the attack by threatening Black's Q. Now the Black King is stuck in the middle of the board for the rest of the game, while the d5 pawn is soon going to fall. That's more than enough for the Bishop.
e.g. 19...Nxf3+ 20.Bxf3 Qxd2 (not 21.Rad1 now because after 21...Qxb2 22.Qxg7 runs into 22...Qxe5 and the Rook is defended.) 21.Qxg7 Rf8 22.Rad1 with a raging attack coming.

An engine would probably defend the position in a regular game, but a human GM has no reasons to enter in such complications if (s)he thinks there are better options. Moreover Wei Yi has already proven to the world to have attacking skill second to none. i.e. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1795096
Having said that the position is still very sharp even after the continuation Black chose in the game. After 23...Kd8 White still seems to have plenty of play for two pawns. Indeed Rapport couldn't hold it.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 12/23/2016 05:19
Monster talents. One or both will be playing for WC in less than eight years.
AsaltedRook AsaltedRook 12/23/2016 03:54
I am quite sure that in the 1st game. After 19. Bd2???? Nxf3+ and Rapport wins the Bishop @ d2.
mellekvese mellekvese 12/23/2016 03:44
Let me also add that Rapport doesn't even have a coach.
mellekvese mellekvese 12/23/2016 03:42
neither of them will be WC contender

They both have much higher ratings than So had at similar age. So is the most likely WC contender. Sooo what do you know that we don't?

fixpont fixpont 12/23/2016 01:06
neither of them will be WC contender
AzingaBonzer AzingaBonzer 12/22/2016 10:53
Actually, I'm fairly sure Rapport is actually 20 years old, not 19. He turns 21 in March of 2017.
Malcom Malcom 12/22/2016 10:44
So Fairfield now the rules of what exactly is a junior at chess must be to your liking!?
Sorry dude you're REALLY (like REALLY REALLY!) not cute or charming enough to change the minds of anybody... so for now give Rapport his due and change profile pic! ;-)
Fairfield1466 Fairfield1466 12/22/2016 10:23
Wei Yi is the top junior. He's 17 years old. Richard Rapport is young but he's an adult at age 19.