Monday, September 16, 2013

Boy wonder Wei Yi shows grandmasters the Chinese way at World Cup

3320 Mark Hebden v Keith Arkell, British championship 2013. Two old rivals met in a tight contest. How did White (to play) score the point? Photograph: Graphic
Wei Yi, aged 14, stole the early show in the current World Cup at Tromso when he knocked out two eminent grandmasters and gave China its best prospect yet. The boy is already the youngest GM in the world and the fourth youngest of all time.
Beijing has long hankered to match its dominance in women's chess with a similar rise in the men's game but until now its best GMs have stalled at the top 20-50 level. Now China will pour financial and technical resources into ensuring that the fast improving Wei Yi fulfils his potential.
More generally the early World Cup games showed that Russia and Ukraine possess elite GM strength in depth which other nations can only dream of. The round of the last 32 had 17 GMs from Russia/Ukraine and five of these reached Saturday's quarter-finals.
Vladimir Malakhov, 32, who abandoned a career in nuclear physics to become a chess pro, will remember Tromso with horror. He was short of time but crushing the No2 seed, Fabiano Caruana, and could have mated by a queen-rook crossboard checking sequence so simple that it is taught to children as 'The Lawnmower'. Malakhov missed it. Two moves on he could have won Caruana's queen for nothing by a couple of obvious checks. Malakhov missed that, too.
The quarter-finals this weekend will offer free and live online coverage at, where a single page shows all four games, Houdini computer analysis and live video commentary by Nigel Short.
The US champion, Gata Kamsky, played a fine attack below, though his 18 f5! sacrifice was good for only a draw until Black weakened by 23...Kg7? (Qb6) and 26...Bd6? (Be7). White's final rook offer leads to gxh5 31 Rf6+ Kg7 32 Rg6+ Kh7 33 Qg7 mate or Kxh5 31 Qg7! Rh8 32 Qxg6+ Kh4 33 Rf5 and mates.
Gata Kamsky v Shak Mamedyarov
e4 c5 Nf3 e6 d4 cxd4 Nxd4 Nc6 Nc3 Qc7 f4 d6 Be3 Nf6 8Qf3 a6 Bd3 Be7 10 O-O O-O 11 Kh1 Bd7 12 Rae1 b5 13 a3 Rab8 14Nxc6 Bxc6 15 Qh3 Rfd8 16 Bd2 d5 17 e5 Ne4 18 f5! Nxd2 19 fxe6 Ne420 exf7+ Kh8 21 Nxd5 Bxd5 22 Rxe4 g6 23 Ref4 Kg7? 24 e6 Rf8 25 Qe3 Bc5 26 Qe1 Bd6? 27 Rh4 Be7 28 Qe3 h5 29 Qd4+ Kh6 30 Rxh5+! 1-0
One of the fastest wins, where Black's 18...Rad8? (Bxf3!) allowed the decisive 21 Bd5!
Pavel Eljanov v Sergey Karjakin
Nf3 Nf6 c4 b6 g3 c5 Bg2 Bb7 O-O g6 Nc3 Bg7 d4 cxd4 8Qxd4 d6 b3 Nbd7 10 Bb2 O-O 11 Rfd1 Ne4 12 Qe3 Nxc3 13 Bxc3 Bxc314 Qxc3 Qc7 15 Qe3 Nf6 16 Rd4 h5 17 Qh6 Qc5 18 Rad1 Rad8? 19Ng5! e5 20 Bxb7 exd4 21 Bd5! 1-0
3320 1 Nd6+ Kg5 2 Nf7+ Kf5 3 g4 mate.

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