FM (2010); IM (2012); GM (2013); Asian U12 Champion (2010); World U12 Champion (2010).
Born in Jiangzhou province, Wei Yi is the world's youngest GM, displacing Suri Vaibhav who was the youngest until Wei Yi won his title. At 13 years 8 months and 23 days (1), he became the fourth youngest GM ever after Sergey Karjakin, Parimarjan Negi and Magnus Carlsen, the latter of whom is his favorite player "because he is so strong!" (2). He is also the only GM born after 1998 and one of only four born after 1997 (the others being Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Vladislav Artemiev and Kayden W Troff). Furthermore, he is the only GM in the world who is under 16 years old and the youngest to reach 2600.
Wei gained his FM title by winning the World U12 Championship in 2010. He won his IM norms at the Aeroflot Open 2012 B, and at the Asian Continental Chess Championship (2012) (a 20-game norm), becoming an IM a few weeks before his 13th birthday. His GM norms came at the World Junior Championship (2012), the 2nd Indonesia Open Chess Championship (2012) and at the Reykjavik Open (2013).
<Youth> In 2010, he was outright winner of the Asian Youth Chess Championship 2010 - U12 with 7.5/9; his rating at this stage was 2240, and this win barely affected his rating, being offset by losses during the rating period to Wang Hao , Wang Yue and Ni Hua in the Chinese Chess League Division A. Late 2010, he travelled to Halkidiki in Greece to win the World U12 crown, scoring 9.5/11, a half point ahead of 2nd place getter Kayden W Troff and a point ahead of 3rd placed Jan-Krzysztof Duda. (3)
<Junior> The 13 year old competed at the World Junior Championship (2012) and in his first attempt was in contention for first place, leading the field at one stage. By the penultimate round he stood fifth, a point behind the lead, but lost his last round game to place 11th, having scored 8.5/11 and recording a TPR of 2613. Had he won, he would have placed 3rd, a draw would have resulted in fifth place thanks to the fact that he had the highest tiebreak of the event (sum total of opponents' Elo ratings less the lowest rating). His participation in the World Junior Championship (2013) did not live up to (possibly unrealistic) expectations; seeded 10th on rating, he placed 7th with 9/13. Unlike last year he finished well off the lead and was out of contention before the last round, scoring many draws against lower rated players, although he remained undefeated. He came very close by winning silver at the World Junior Championship (2014), leading in the later rounds, but a critical loss to Vladimir I Fedoseev cost him the clear lead, while a final round draw with Jan-Krzysztof Duda enabled the winner, Lu Shanglei, to pip him at the post with a final round win.
<National> Wei first appeared in FIDE dispatches when he contested the Chinese Championship Group B in 2007, aged 8, scoring 5/11; this included, quite remarkably, a win against FM Chen Fan and a draw against GM Zhou Jianchao. Although he did better in the 2008 version of that event with 5.5/11, the only positive result against a master was a draw against IM-elect Wu Xibin. His next effort after these events and the 2008 China team Championships Group B (see below) was to dominate the U11 division of the 5th World School Chess Championship Open, with a score of 8.5/9, 2 points clear of the field. In the 2009 edition of the Group B Chinese Championship, 10 year-old FM Wei scored 6/11, recording wins against IM Yang Kaiqi and IM Liu Qingnan, as well as another draw against a GM, namely Wu Wenjin; in addition he scored wins against 2351-rated Li Haoyu and then 2515-rated and current GM Xiu Deshun. In August 2011, he scored 7/11 in the China Chess Championship 2011 Group B, amassing 24 Elo for this event. In April 2013, he placed =4th in the Chinese Championships (2013) with 5.5/11 and in March 2014 he placed =3rd with 6.5/11 at the Chinese Championship (2014).
<Continental> He won his 2nd IM norm (a 20 game norm) and his IM title at the Asian Continental Chess Championship (2012), when he scored 4.5/9 against 6 GMs, 2 IMs and a WGM, adding a further 27 points to his rating.
<World> He took his first tilt at the World Championship cycle by competing in the 2011 Asian Zonal, where he scored 4.5/9, adding a further 20 ELO points to his rating. In August 2012, he competed in the Chinese Zonal competition and scored 7/10, a half point from the lead. One of the President's nominees to play in the World Cup (2013), he defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi in the first round and Latvian #1 Alexey Shirov in the second round but lost to Azeri GM and twice World Junior Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the third round. He competed in Zonal 3.5 in 2014, coming out the clear winner with 8.5/11, qualifying for the World Cup in his own right, and barring mishap, will enter FIDE's official top 100 players list for the first time in December 2014.
Wei Yi competed in his inaugural Olympiad in 2014 when he played board 5 for China at the Chess Olympiad (2014). He did not play enough games to be in contention for a board prize, but was able to help his country win its first gold medal at an Olympiad.
Wei competed in the 2008 China Team Championships Group B, where he scored 5.5/9, including a draw against 2364-rated Hong Jiarong. This contest, and his forays into the Chinese Championship Groups B, provided Wei with his inaugural FIDE rating of 2138 at the age of 9. He spent the latter part of 2010 in the A and B division of the Chinese League (playing for the Jiangsu club). Returning to China after winning the World U12 Championship in 2010 to continue in the Chinese League, he recorded a win against Chinese super-GM Ni Hua. In November 2012, he participated in the 2013 Chinese National Team Selection Tournament, easily winning with 8.5/9 and adding another 15 points to his rating to bring it to over 2500 for the first time. Wei Yi still plays for the Jiangsu Taizhou club in the Chinese Chess League, and in the 2012 competition he scored 10.5/17 with a TPR of 2550, helping his team to 3rd place in the nearly year long event. In the 2013 season, he played for the same team, which placed 4th out of 12, Wei Yi scoring 13/22.
In other team events in 2013, Wei Yi played top board for China "A" in the U16 Olympiad, scoring 8/10 and helping his team to 5th place. He also played top board for the Wuxi team in the Asian Cities Championship, scoring 7.5/9 and winning individual gold and helping his team to win bronze. He played for China in the Asian Nations Cup (2014), helping his country to win gold. He also played board 2 for the Turkish club T.S. Alyans Satranç Spor Kulübü in the 2014 Turkish Superleague, his team coming 8th out of 13. (4) In November 2014 he scored 3.5/4 playing for China in its match against Romania. He played top board for his team Jiangsu in the 2014 Chinese League, helping his team to win the gold medal.
Wei Yi scored 3.5/9 against a strong field in the XingQiu Open (2009), adding 20 ELO points to his resume. In October 2011, he scored 5/9 (+3 =4 -2) in the 1st Qin Huangdao Open, accumulating another 23 rating points. He won his first IM norm, narrowly missing a GM norm, at the 2012 edition of the Aeroflot Open Division B when he scored 5.5/9 (+4 -2 =3) with a TPR of 2551 and added 40 points to his ratings resume. In October 2012, he scored 5.5/9 at the 2nd Indonesia Open Chess Championship (2012), earning his 2nd GM norm. He won his 3rd GM norm, and the GM title, in round 9 of the Reykjavik Open (2013) at the age of 13 years 8 months and 23 days, placing =4th (6th on tiebreak), scoring 7.5/10 - a half point from the lead - and adding 25 points to his rating. He also received the prize for the best junior in the tournament. In his first outing as GM-elect, Wei Yi played in the 3rd HD Bank Cup (2013) in Ho Chi Minh City, and lead after round 5 with 4.5/5. However, after a heavy 6th round loss to Zhou Jianchao, he only managed 2 draws in the final three rounds, finishing with a minor rating boosting result from his result of 5.5/9 (placing =16th). In May 2013 and seeded 10th, he participated in the 4th Danzhou Tournament (2013), a category 15 event. After a poor start where he only scored two draws in the first 5 rounds, he finished with 4.5/9 placing 7th with a TPR of 2622. Wei Yi saw out 2013 with an excellent =1st at the North American Open held in Las Vegas from 26-30 December 2013; he was 2nd on tiebreak behind GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and ahead of GMs Sergey Erenburg, Timur Gareev, Aleksandr Shimanov, Varuzhan Akobian, Aleksandr Lenderman, and IM Wang Chen, scoring 6.5/9 and leaving him with a live rating at the end of the tournament of nearly 2617. He immediately followed this tournament by participating in the powerful Bay Area International starting 2 January 2014, where he scored a par for rating 6.5/9.
Wei Yi started 2014 by competing in the Tradewise Gibraltar (2014) event, his 7/9 being good enough to place him =10th and add a few points to his rating resume. Similarly, his 5.5/9 at the Asian Continental Open Championships in April was enough to give him a minor placing =10th, and adding a few more rating points. His best result to date came in January 2015 when he won the Tata Steel (Group B) (2015) outright with a powerful 10.5/13, nearly sending his rating into the 2700 zone.
Rating and Ranking
At the age of 14 years 5 months and 23 days, Wei Yi is the youngest player ever to achieve 2600.
Wei's standard rating as at 1 January 2015 is 2675, his highest rating to date. He is now ranked as the #1 U16 in the world. Other ranking statistics relevant to the 15-year old are that he is ranked #8 in China and #2 Junior (U20) in the world. His rapid rating is 2600, while his blitz rating is 2588.
Sources and References
(1) Wei Yi's birthday was found at http://ratings.fide.com/toparc.phtm...; (2) Interview at http://www.reykjavikopen.com/wei-yi...; (3) An image of these three players on the podium can be found here: http://www.chessbase.com/news/2010/...; (4) http://superlig2014.tsf.org.tr/tr/c...
Interview and article dated 7 March 2013 by Alina L'Ami: http://en.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/...; Article about Wei Yi reaching 2600: http://chessbase.com/post/wei-yi--y...
Latest update 26 Jan 2015