Rapport vs Wei Yi: Spectacular Match In China

Rapport vs Wei Yi: Spectacular Match In China

PeterDoggers
Dec 23, 2016, 7:44 AM 28,708 Reads 25 Comments Chess event coverage

GM Richard Rapport won a friendly match against GM Wei Yi. The match, held in China, provided exactly the entertainment you would expect from these two young and fighting players

Photo: cca.imsa.cn

The concept of friendly matches seems to be rather popular in China these days. This week, Rapport and Wei Yi played the "Bai Xue Chess Institute" Cup 2016, in Yancheng, Jiangsu, China—Wei's birthplace.

The match was played in the city where Wei Yi was born. | Photo: cca.imsa.cn

In this "summit match," as the Chinese organizers called it, two of the most interesting young players faced each other—They are also first and second on the current FIDE Juniors' rating list:

FIDE Juniors Top 10, December 2016

Rank Fed Name Title Rating B-Year
1 Rapport, Richard g 2717 1996
2 Wei Yi g 2707 1999
3 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof g 2684 1998
4 Xiong, Jeffery g 2666 2000
5 Dubov, Daniil g 2660 1996
6 Artemiev, Vladislav g 2653 1998
7 Bluebaum, Matthias g 2640 1997
8 Oparin, Grigoriy g 2616 1997
9 Nyzhnyk, Illya g 2616 1996
10 Van Foreest, Jorden g 2605 1999

The battle in Yancheng was a four-game match at the standard FIDE time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with a 30-second increment from move one. 

The players flanked by organizers and sponsors. | Photo: cca.imsa.cn

And it started with a bang. The first game saw Rapport typically playing an off-beat opening (his 3...b6 in the Tarrasch French is pretty rare), and Wei spicing up the position at an early stage with 6.c4.

Black's opening wasn't bad at all, but then Rapport took some risks. "Never take on b2, even when it's good" is an expression that comes to mind in this game!

1...e6, 2...d5 and 3...b6 eventually went wrong for Rapport.Photo: cca.imsa.cn

What a game to start with! Well, the second wasn't bad either. Rapport opened with the Trompowsky, and Wei again replied in a most principled way by grabbing the center with 5...e5. But wasn't White better developed there?

With some forcing moves, Rapport made sure that the enemy king lost its right to castle, then he spoiled his opponent's structure and got a great endgame with knight versus bad bishop. He then chose to liquidate to a pawn-up rook endgame and proved to be right in that decision.

An excellent second game by Rapport. | Photo: cca.imsa.cn

Games three and four were drawn, and so a playoff was needed to determine the winner. This was played after the fourth game, on Friday, with two blitz games (five minutes plus a three-second increment).

First Wei won as Black, then Rapport did the same. And then, in the armageddon game, Rapport again won as Black to decide the match:

Thus, we may conclude that Rapport is the world's best junior by 10 Elo points, and by the tiny difference of an Armageddon win.

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