Wei Yi Plays 21st-Century Immortal Game

Wei Yi Plays 21st-Century Immortal Game

Jul 3, 2015, 12:00 AM |
95 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Wei Yi might just have played the 21st-century version of the Immortal Game. The Chinese super-talent beat Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon just brilliantly today in Danzhou.

Yesterday the sixth edition of the annual tournament in Danzhou started. This website has a lot of information (in Chinese), and according to Google Translate it is called the “Rural Credit Cup.” The prize fund is 100,000 yuan (€14,500/$16,100).

Again it is a 10-player round robin this year with GMs Ding Liren (2749), Yu Yangyi (2736), Wei Yi (2724), Wang Yue (2716), Ni Hua (2703), Bu Xiangzhi (2695), Lazaro Bruzon Batista (2669), Krishnan Sasikiran (2640), Lu Shanglei (2595) and IM Wang Chen (2521).

Most chess columnists will have already delivered their latest article for tomorrow's newspaper, but they don't need to think longer for next week's topic. Today Chinese super talent Wei Yi played a 21st-century Immortal (or Evergreen) Game in round two against Cuban Bruzon.

After quite a normal opening (a Classical Scheveningen), White suddenly sacrifices a rook on f7 and then also gives up a bishop to drag the enemy king towards him. The beauty of this classic king hunt lies in the many “silent” moves played.

It doesn't really matter that the computer finds a quicker win at some point — although that one is rather nice too!

So how did this happen in modern-day chess? Well, Bruzon might have been tricked into this Scheveningen via an irregular move order. The Cuban only played it once before in his career, which was 12 years ago.

If he had known the games Bok-Hansen or Kamsky-Stellwagen, he would have been warned that 16...Qd8 already looks dubious. But enough talk; sit down and enjoy this modern-day brilliancy! 


A collection of king marches “into the wild” was given by Edward Winter here. Famous examples of “steel kings” — wandering monarchs whose dangerous-looking routes end up winning, instead of losing — are given in Tim Krabbé's Chess Curiosities.

Update: FM Mike Klein added some examples in the comments below!

If you'd like even more analysis of this instant classic, check out GM Simon Williams, who shows why Wei Yi's play was "slicker than greased weasel [excrement] on a doorknob!"

Only two rounds have been played so far in Danzhou, but there's nobody left with a perfect score. Wei Yi shares the lead with Wang Yue and Yu Yangyi, who are all on 1.5/2. We'll definitely return to this tournament at a later stage.


2015 Danzhou | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Wei Yi 2724 2899 phpfCo1l0.png     ½         1   1.5/2 1.00
2 Wang Yue 2716 2839   phpfCo1l0.png     ½     1     1.5/2 1.00
3 Yu Yangyi 2736 2808     phpfCo1l0.png         ½   1 1.5/2 0.75
4 Ding Liren 2749 2710 ½     phpfCo1l0.png   ½         1.0/2 1.25
5 Ni Hua 2703 2693   ½     phpfCo1l0.png       ½   1.0/2 1.00
6 Bu Xiangzhi 2695 2635       ½   phpfCo1l0.png ½       1.0/2 1.00
7 Wang Chen 2521 2667           ½ phpfCo1l0.png     ½ 1.0/2 0.75
8 Lu Shanglei 2595 2536   0 ½         phpfCo1l0.png     0.5/2 0.75
9 Bruzon,L 2669 2523 0       ½       phpfCo1l0.png   0.5/2 0.50
10 Sasikiran,K 2640 2438     0       ½     phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2 0.50

Update: our member Mander08 sent us the following game, which he played 21 years ago. It was awarded the 1st Beauty Prize in the International Open of Montecatini, Italy, 1994 and does share some elements with the Wei Yi game!

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