Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

A new name has been added to the list of remarkable youngsters who have become grandmasters at an early age. This time, it is a Wei Yi of China, who got the title at the age of 13 years, 8 months, 23 days in the recent Reykjavik Open.  He placed sixth, a half point behind the leaders. The current record for the youngest grandmaster is held by Sergey Karjakin. He was 12 years, 7 months, 0 days.

 Here is one of the efforts of Wei Yi, from another tournament, against a fellow countryman, Liu Qingnan. The game shows not only great combinative ability, but also savage home preparation.  


Wei Yi, (2502) vs. Liu Qingnan, (2500), 2011



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1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Bc4 The Fischer-Sozin Attack. Sozin is Veniamin Sozin (1896-1950), a Russian/Soviet theoretician. The “Fischer” is American Bobby Fischer who took Sozin's ideas in this line and developed them into a feared attacking system. 6. … e6 7. Bb3 Nbd7 8. f4 b5 9. f5 Trying to soften up the diagonal for White's bishop. 9. … Nc5 Defending e6 and at the same making possible the capture of White's dangerous bishop on b3 10. Qf3 Theory has not been very kind to this line, with Black doing much better than the players of the white pieces would like. Better tries, at least, statically are with 10. fxe6 or 10. Bg5. 10. … Bd7 11. e5 was a White threat. 11. Bg5 b4 Here’s the move that had been doing well, though in a very small sample of games, but after this game, I doubt that we will see it again 12. fxe6 fxe6 13. e5!! (Diagram) Looks like the refutation of this line. Black never seems to recover. 13. … dxe5 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Rd1 Not 15. 0-0-0 as this allows Black to take the bishop with check. Now he can still take it but that allows 16. Nc6 winning Black's queen or allowing mate with 17. Qh5. 15... exd4?! Loses by force. The “Silicon Terror” thinks that 15. … Bd6 is a better chance at survival but Black’s troubles are well illustrated by 16. Nf5! Kf8 17. Qh5 Be7 18. Qh6+ Ke8 19. Qg7 attacking the rook and winning the h-pawn. Also, if 15. … bxN then there is a very nice line with 16. Qh5+ Ke7 (If 16. … exN, then 17. Qh5+ leads to mate on f7) 17. Qh5 Ke7 18. Nf5+ exN 19. Qf7 mate. See how strong that b3-bishop is! 16. Qh5+ Ke7 17. Qxc5+ Kf7 18. Qh5+ Ke7 19. Ne4 The smoke has somewhat cleared and for all his troubles and exposed king, Black is only up a very weak pawn. 19. … Qb6 Trying to hold on to the only thing he has to show for his troubles — his extra pawn on d4. Another try was 19. … Bb5 to also stop White from castling but after 20. Qf3 Bg7 21. Nc5 winning the e6 pawn and still with a lot of pressure. 20. O-O Bg7 21. Nc5 Be8 22.Qg4 Bh6 23. Nxe6 Be3+ 24. Kh1 Bg6 25. Nxd4 Bxd4 26. Rxd4 Rhd8 27. Re1+ Kf8 28.Qf4 The rook is immune as 29. Qh6 is mate. 28. … Kg7 29. Re7+ Kh8 30. Qh6;1-0 As the only defense to 31. Qg7 mate is 31. … Rg8 but then after 32. Rh4 and there is a no good defense to 33. Qxh7+ with mate to follow.