FM (2010); IM (2012); GM (2013); Asian U12 Champion (2010); World U12 Champion (2010); Chinese Champion (2015, 2016, 2017); Asian Champion (2018)
Born in Jiangsu province (Yancheng County), Wei Yi was his country's youngest GM when he gained 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 the youngest player to reach 2600 and the youngest to reach 2700.
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 finisher 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 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 Fan Chen 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 Kaiqi Yang 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 Championship (2013) with 5.5/11 and in March 2014 he placed =3rd with 6.5/11 at the Chinese Championship (2014).
In May 2015, 15 year old Wei Yi broke through to win the Chinese Championship outright, half a point ahead of the favorite, Ding Liren.
<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. 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 (2015) in his own right, a result that propelled him to enter FIDE's official top 100 players list for the first time in December 2014. At the World Cup of 2015, he defeated A R Saleh Salem in the first round to progress to the second round where he defeated Ukrainian GM Yuri Vovk in a long and exciting struggle culminating in blitz tiebreakers after the two had exchanged blows in a see sawing match through the standard games and rapid game tiebreakers. He beat Alexander Areshchenko in round three and compatriot Ding Liren in the Round of Sixteen (round four) to move to the quarter final where he lost to Peter Svidler in the second set of rapid tiebreakers (10+10) to bow out of the Cup.
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. In 2015, he again played top board for Jiangsu, helping his eleventh seeded team to sixth place.
In March 2015, he played for the Chinese team that defeated India in its summit match that was held in Hyderabad. In July 2015, he was on the Chinese team that won the 9th China - Russia (2015) and also on the Chinese team that participated in the China - Russia Challenge (2015). His best team result to date was a brilliant effort on board 4 at the FIDE World Team Championship (2015) to win individual gold for his board and was instrumental in China winning the team gold.
In March and April 2016, Wei Yi represented China in the Asian Nations Cup. He was in poor form, shedding a significant number of ratings points.
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 Hainan Danzhou GM (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 Gareyev, Aleksandr Shimanov, Varuzhan Eduardovich 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 Challengers (2015) outright with a powerful 10.5/13, nearly sending his rating into the 2700 zone, and qualifying him for the A Group next year. He scored 7.5/10 at Tradewise Gibraltar (2015) to place =3rd, a point behind the winner Hikaru Nakamura and half a point behind runner-up David Howell. In July 2015, he was a relatively rating-neutral outright 4th with 5/9 (+2 -1 =6) at the category 17 Hainan Danzhou GM (2015) behind Wang Yue, Ni Hua and Ding Liren respectively. His only loss was to the winner, Wang Yue. In November 2015, Wei Yi won the China Chess Kings (2015) in a knockout event that started with eight players. His year was thus looking to end well, but a mediocre finish in the Chinese League and a poor performance in the Qatar Masters (2015) where he scored 4.5/9 cost him 30 rating points and dropped him back to the low 2700s.
2016 started with Wei Yi's inaugural participation in the Tata Steel Masters (2016), where he placed in the middle of the field with 6.5/13 and gained 8 rating points. He followed up in March with a mediocre 5/9 in the Aeroflot Open (2016), shedding 14 rating points landing him at the 2700 threshhold. His next participation was for China in the Asian Nations Cup 2016 (see below) where he has performed poorly, shedding more ratings points to fall well below the 2700 level.
Wei Yi defeated David Anton Guijarro by 2.5-1.5 (+1 =3) to qualify for the final of the annual 4-player 28th Leon Rapid (2015) knockout event. There he met Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, whom he also defeated by the same margin to claim the prize.
Rating and Ranking
Wei Yi entered the world's top 100 in December 2014. At the age of 14 years 5 months and 23 days, he is the youngest player ever to achieve 2600. On 29 January 2015, at the age of nearly 15 years and 7 months, he reached a live rating of over 2700 but had to wait until 1 March 2015 before he officially crossed into a 2700+ rating. At the age of 15 years and 9 months, he is the youngest player ever to do so.
Comparison with Carlsen
Wei's highest rating and ranking to date are 2734 and #23 respectively, as of 1 September 2015. At almost the same age, Carlsen had been rated 2693 and ranked #22 in the world in April 2007, four months after his 16th birthday, although he had been rated #21 in the rating period commencing 1 October 2006.
As of 1 April 2016, Wei Yi's rating was 2700 and ranked #39 in the world. At the nearest equivalent point in his career, Carlsen was rated 2714 and was ranked #16 in the world; at that date (October 2007), there were only 22 players rated over 2700.
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...
Live ratings: http://www.2700chess.com/
Wikipedia article: Wei Yi