Wei Yi vs Richard Rapport: The Armageddon Decides

by Marco Baldauf
12/24/2016 – Only ten rating points separate Richard Rapport (2717) and Wei Yi (2707), the world's two best juniors. And the match they played from 20th to 23rd December in Yancheng, China, was close. A 2-2 tie after four classical games required a blitz-tiebreak. After two blitz-games and another 1-1 tie, an Armageddon game decided the match in favor of Rapport.

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Wei Yi vs Richard Rapport, Games 3 and 4

In the first game of the match Wei Yi delighted his fans with a spectacular attack, in game two Richard Rapport countered with a convincing technical win.

In game three the young Hungarian again showed strong positional chess. With Black he tried the rarely played but interesting Tartakower Variation of the Caro-Kann and obtained a clear advantage in a queenless middlegame. But he missed a good chance and allowed Wei Yi to build a fortress in a minor piece ending which secured the draw.

Wei Yi has White in game three but fails to find a recipe against Rapport's opening.


On a recent ChessBase DVD Nigel Davies tells you more about the attractions of this line.

Nigel Davies: The 4...Nf6 Caro-Kann

In game four Rapport repeated the Trompowsky from game two but this no longer caught Wei Yi by surprise. A spectacular opening led to an endgame with opposite-colored bishop in which Wei Yi had some pressure but not enough to overcome Rapport's defence.


After four games the score war 2-2 and a blitz-tiebreak with a time-limit of 5+3 had to be played. But after two games this tie-break ended with another 1-1 tie and an Armageddon game had to decide. Rapport won the Armageddon and the match.

All in all this win was deserved: in games two and three Rapport outplayed Wei Yi, and in the first game, which Wei Yi won, Rapport had a good position but tried too hard and lost. In game one Wei Yi showed his attacking skills but all in all the 17-year old Chinese seemed to be slightly worse.

The tie-break games


All games


Source of the thumb picture: http://praguechess.cz/index.php?langue=en

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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