Junior Speed Chess Semifinal: Wei Yi vs. Firouzja

Junior Speed Chess Semifinal: Wei Yi vs. Firouzja

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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43 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday Wei Yi of China plays Alireza Firouzja of Iran in the second semifinal of the Chess.com Junior Speed Chess Championship, sponsored by ChessKid

The match winner will play Jeffery Xiong in the final in early August. The date of the final will be announced shortly. The American GM had eliminated Parham Maghsoodloo last week. 

You can watch Wei Yi vs. Alireza Firouzja on Sunday, July 28, at 8 a.m. Pacific (17:00 CEST) with commentary by GM Robert Hess and IM Danny Rensch on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.

Junior speed chess championship bracket

 

Born in Yancheng, Jiangsu, China, the 20-year-old Wei Yi (@LOVEVAE) is the top junior in the world and consequently the top seed in our championship. He crossed the 2700 mark on February 5, 2015 at the age of 15 years, 8 months and 3 days—only two years after becoming a GM.

The Chinese GM started the Junior Speed Chess Championship with a 14.5-11.5 win against Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa R (who is playing excellent chess in the Xtracon Open in Denmark this week). After that, Wei was clearly too strong for Dutch GM Jorden van Foreest: 18.5-8.5.

Van Foreest did miss some chances here and there, but Wei consistently won in all three time controls with a margin of several games.

The last bullet game in this match saw a funny finish that put a smile on the face of the winner. Wei must have had auto-queen on. After the game, it was explained to him that holding the alt-key permits underpromotion even with the auto-queen setting on. Let's see if he has learned that lesson for his semifinal!

"I think he is a very strong player, and I think he made big progress this year," Wei said about his next opponent, Firouzja. "We played last year and I won that game, but I think he was not in his best form. This time everything is unclear." 

He also said he will prepare because Firouzja "is very strong in blitz and bullet."

Wei Yi Junior speed chess championship

The 16-year-old Firouzja (@firouzja2003) from Babol, Iran, is the third-rated junior in the world, behind his opponent Wei Yi and the player who has already made it to the final: Jeffery Xiong.

Firouzja will probably be playing from Ankara, Turkey, where he has participated in the Isbank Turkish Super League, on the third board for the Tatvan team, together with Vassily Ivanchuk and Ivan Saric. For several days in a row the young Iranian was on the brink of obtaining a 2700 live rating.

In the round of 16, Firouzja had no problems with Jose Martinez Alcantara: 18-7. And then, even against Sam Sevian, he won by a fairly big margin: 17-10. That was mostly because he dominated the 1|1 portion—this guy is good in bullet, that we know!

After his match with Sevian, Firouzja said he was looking forward to meeting Wei in the semifinal: "I think it will be a close match, but I don’t know how I can evaluate it. I have been much better in bullet, but I don’t know. It will be a very interesting match."

Alireza Firouzja Junior speed chess championship

The match will start with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, continue with 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and end with 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet. (Find all regulations here.)

The prize fund for the semifinal matches is $2,400 each. The winner earns $1,200 and advances to the final, while the remaining $1,200 is split by win percentages.

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. All JSCC matches are broadcast live with chess-master commentary on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.

You can watch Wei Yi vs. Alireza Firouzja on Sunday, July 28, at 8 a.m. Pacific (17:00 CEST) with commentary by GM Robert Hess and IM Danny Rensch on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.

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