Wei Yi was clearly too much to handle for Jorden van Foreest in Wednesday’s Junior Speed Chess Championship quarterfinal match. The Chinese GM won 18.5-8.5 and will now face Alireza Firouzja in the semifinal.
It’s no surprise to see Wei, the top seed in the tournament, advance to the semifinals. Even though Van Foreest missed several chances, this was a clear victory for the Chinese grandmaster, who won with a 10-point margin.
Scoring consistently in all three segments, Wei was always in control and roughly followed the SmarterChess predictions.
The match was balanced at the start, with the players trading wins and scoring with the white pieces in the first five games. A key moment was game six, where Van Foreest had a slight edge in the endgame but forced matters too early and then missed a chance given by his opponent:
From this point onward, Van Foreest’s play became more unstable. From time to time he would make fairly big blunders, which spoiled several promising positions. It’s fair to say that losing this match with a 10-point margin was a bit too much.
An example was game seven:
After a draw, the Dutchman lost a game that he should have won. This concluded the five-minute segment, when Wei was leading with four points.
5|1 section | Scores
|2||Jorden van Foreest||@joppie2||2858||2670||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||½||0||2.5/9|
The bleeding didn’t stop for Van Foreest as Wei started with two wins in the three-minute segment, and after two draws, another three wins. The difference was already nine points (12.5-3.5) and few were willing to bet on a comeback for the Dutch GM.
In game 12, Van Foreest missed a knight move that he might have been able to find if someone had just whispered “Deep Fritz versus Kramnik” to him.
Just when commentator Danny Rensch started to joke that perhaps it was time for a “next-game-wins” decision, like kids sometimes do when one of them has to leave the playground, Van Foreest suddenly won three games in a row to bring back some intrigue.
Game 17 saw the first big blunder by Wei.
|2||Jorden van Foreest||@joppie2||2824||2759||0||0||½||½||0||0||0||1||1||3.0/9|
Van Foreest’s third win came in the first game of the bullet segment, but then Wei had enough of it. He won four straight games to remove all doubts and secure victory. The last bullet game had a funny finish that put a smile on the face of the winner.
Wei must have had auto-queen on, and so afterward it was explained to him that by holding the alt-key, you can still underpromote with the auto-queen setting.
|2||Jorden van Foreest||@joppie2||2649||2789||1||0||0||0||0||1||½||0||½||3.0/9|
Van Foreest commented afterward about how to deal with being behind in the score.
“When the 5|1 section was over I took a quick break and I told myself to think of it as a new match, but it didn’t really help,” he said. “Actually I wasn’t affected that much by the previous games. I mean, my play was just bad in all games! I just tried to play better but I was just thinking about continuing the match.”
In general he thinks one should take it one game at a time.
“I think that’s always good,” Van Foreest said, “that’s what I do during normal tournaments as well. In blitz it’s easier to lose a couple of games and to win a couple of games because you are affected by the previous games. When I won those two games in a row I think maybe Wei Yi already thought he had the match in the bag so he was playing a little bit less focused.”
Van Foreest earned $189 based on win percentage; Wei won $600 for the victory plus $411 on percentage, totaling $1,011. He moves on to the semis, where he will face Firouzja.
“I think he is a very strong player and I think he made big progress this year,” Wei said about his next opponent. “We played last year and I won that game but I think he was not in his best form. This time everything is unclear.”
He also said he will prepare, because “he is very strong in blitz and bullet.”
The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world’s number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen GMs age 21 or younger play in a knockout format with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess.
You can replay the live broadcast here.