15-Year-Old Wei Yi Wins First National Title

15-Year-Old Wei Yi Wins First National Title

| 37 | Chess Event Coverage

China's biggest talent made the next step in his career. On Friday 15-year-old GM Wei Yi finished clear first at the Chinese Championship, ahead of former champions GMs Ding Liren, Wang Hao and Yu Yangyi.

The Chinese Championship took place 18-29 May at the Xinghua Tianbao Garden Hotel in Xinghua, China. Although big names such as Li Chao, Wang Yue, Ni Hua and Bu Xiangzhi did not participate, it was fairly strong nonetheless with four 2700 players.

GM Yu Yangyi was defending his 2014 title. Last year he edged out on tiebreak GM Ding Liren, who played this year as well. The third ex-champion in the field was GM Wang Hao, and then there was the rising star GM Wei Yi.

Wei took sole lead in round 5, and after 8 rounds he had increased the gap to 1.5 points. Eventually he won the tournament with 7.5/11, despite his first and only loss in the last round.

He drew his games with Yu Yangyi and Wang Hao, but beat Ding Liren in round 4 with an interesting exchange sacrifice in a Berlin Ending.


It must be noted that in round six Wei was incredibly lucky. He was putting pressure on his opponent from the start, but somehow Liu Qingnan was just hanging on. But in what must have been time trouble, he refrained from his plan and blundered checkmate.


In round 8 Wei won a nice Ruy Lopez against Wen Yang, who had started the tournament as strongly as Wei, with 3.5/4. The new champion ground down his opponent deep in the ending:

After ten rounds, with on to go, Wei had a one-point lead over the reigning champion, Yu. He still had a chance to catch the leader because Wei lost his only game of the tournament in the last round, a bit like a 1980s computer would lose against a human:

However, Yu also lost his last-round game. (And even if he'd won, Wei would have won the tournament on SB points.)

Wei finished on 7.5/11, half a point ahead of Ding, and entered the world's top 30 in the live ratings thanks to a modest 2.9 Elo gain.

Wang Hao played a nice game in round 8:

2015 Chinese Championship | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB 
1 Wei,Yi 2718 2729 7.5/11  
2 Ding,Liren 2757 2692 7.0/11  
3 Wang,Hao 2710 2663 6.5/11 33.00
4 Yu,Yangyi 2723 2661 6.5/11 31.75
5 Zhao,Jun 2613 2638 6.0/11 33.75
6 Zhou,Jianchao 2589 2640 6.0/11 29.75
7 Wen,Yang 2583 2641 6.0/11 29.25
8 Lu,Shanglei 2606 2607 5.5/11  
9 Lin,Chen 2460 2523 4.0/11 21.00
10 Wan,Yunguo 2472 2522 4.0/11 20.50
11 Liu,Qingnan 2523 2518 4.0/11 18.75
12 Wang,Chen 2536 2444 3.0/11  


24-year-old Tan Zhongyi won the women's championship with with 8.5/11, half a point more than Shen Yang. Reigning champion Ju Wenjun did not play, and Zhao Xue, Ruan Lufei, Huang Qian didn't either.

Hou Yifan participated in the men's (or rather, open) championship last year, but didn't play this year.

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