Wednesday’s match will determine the opponent for Alireza Firouzja, who beat Sam Sevian in Tuesday’s quarterfinal match.
Born in Yancheng, Jiangsu, China, the 19-year-old Wei Yi (@LOVEVAE) is currently the top junior in the world as the only player younger than 21 with a published 2700+ rating. (Another JSCC participant, Jeffery Xiong, joined the 2700 club as well in the live ratings last weekend at the World Open.)
Wei crossed the 2700 mark at age 15, only two years after becoming a GM. His successes so far include:
- Wins against both Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexei Shirov at the 2013 FIDE World Cup in Tromso
- Winning the 2014 Tromsø Olympiad
- Winning the 2015 challengers group in Wijk aan Zee
- Winning team gold at the 2015 World Teams
- Winning the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Chinese championships
- Reaching the quarterfinals of the 2015 FIDE World Cup in Baku
- Winning the 2017 Danzhou super-GM tournament
In the round of 16 of the Junior Speed Chess Championship, Wei eliminated the Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa in a fairly close and highly combative match with just two draws. This was one of the most exciting games:
About his next opponent, Wei said: “He is a talented player, and he is good at opening preparation. His playing style is positive, overall, so he is not an easy opponent to play with. So it is unclear who will win this match. I hope I can win.”
For preparation, Wei plans to check out Van Foreest’s games.
“But the most important thing is the internet [connection],” Wei said. “I hope it will be OK, especially when I have a winning position.”
With a classical rating of 2612, the 20-year-old Van Foreest (@joppie2) is number 13 in the world among juniors. Born in Utrecht and living in Groningen, he is currently the fifth grandmaster in the Dutch rankings.
Jorden is the oldest among several chess-playing siblings. His younger brother Lucas (18) is a grandmaster as well. The two of them tied for first place last week in the Dutch championship and it was Lucas who beat his older brother in the playoff to win his first national title. Jorden has won it once as well, in 2016.
In the first round of the Junior Speed Chess Championship, Jorden defeated Aryan Tari of Norway in an incredibly close fight. The Dutchman led for most of the match, but Tari came back and took over the lead in the bullet before Van Foreest eventually decided matters in the last bullet game.
“I don’t know much about Wei Yi except for that he is clearly a very, very strong player,” Van Foreest said. “The match between him and Praggnanandhaa was quite close, which gives me a good feeling about my chances.”
He is also planning to do some prep: “Like last time I will try to prepare some openings, he said, “and try to get some more practice in both the 3|1 and 1|1 controls, where I was lacking last time.”
The match will start with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, continue with 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and end with 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet. (Find all regulations here.)
“It is clear to me that in the first match I was playing much better chess in the 5|1 portion compared to the 3|1 and 1|1 sections,” said Van Foreest. “This was surprising to me because before the match I expected it to be the other way around. It is clear that I have to improve in these areas before my next match.”
Like his opponent, Wei feels he is most comfortable in the five-minute games: “Because I have more time to calculate,” he said.
About his match with Praggnanandhaa, the Chinese GM said: “I learned a lot. But the most important thing is I need to play faster in the three-minutes games.”
The prize fund for the quarterfinal matches is $1,200 each. The winner earns $600 and advances to the first semifinal, while the other $600 is split by win percentage.
The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world’s number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. All JSCC matches are broadcast live with chess-master commentary on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess.
Here’s the full schedule for the quarterfinals:
- Firouzja vs. Sevian: July 9 at 9 a.m. PDT
- Wei Yi vs. Van Foreest: July 10 at 8 a.m. PDT
- Maghsoodloo vs. Sarana: July 11 at 9 a.m. PDT
- Xiong vs. Gledura: July 16 at 11 a.m. PDT