China’s top young rising star continues to produce some brilliant victories. In the following game, his victim is one of India’s best players.

It always pains me to see my friends lose, and I hope Surya Ganguly forgives me for writing about this game. But Wei Yi played extremely well, using an opening finesse to disrupt the coordination of Ganguly’s pieces and then following through with some excellent strategic play.

Wei Yi vs. Ganguly, S.
TCh-CHN 2016 | China CHN | Round 21.1 | 04 Dec 2016 | ECO: D00 | 1-0
1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Nd2 c5 5. c3 Nc6 6. Ngf3 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bb5! Definitely the best way to play this variation in this opening.
8. Bd3 b6 It has been demonstrated in many games that Black is fine in this position.  )
8... Ne7 9. Bd3! The point of White's play; the Black knight is poorly placed on e7.
9... c4 10. Bb1 b5 11. Bh4
11. e4!? This move also looks tempting to me.  )
11... Ng6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6
12... gxf6!? This move looked interesting. The pawn will be very effective when it gets to f5.
13. e4 b4! and Black is more prepared than White to open up the position.  )
13. h4! An energetic and strong move.
13... e5 This move feels incorrect.
13... b4 I think Black should be trying to open the queenside.  )
14. h5! Ne7 15. dxe5 Bxe5 16. Nxe5 Qxe5 17. Nf3 Black is now left with a backward d5 pawn and a passive bishop.
17... Qd6
17... Qf6 18. Qd4 Qxd4 19. Nxd4 I prefer this to the game continuation, but it's not much fun for Black in any case.  )
18. Rh4 Rb8
18... h6 19. a4! The pawn on c4 is poorly defended:
19... b4 20. Rxc4  )
19. Bc2 b4 20. h6!
20. Rxc4 Ba6 And Black will have some counterplay.  )
20... gxh6
20... g6 21. Rxc4 Ba6 22. Qd4! This is a big difference. Now the pawn on b4 will fall and White will be up two pawns and Black will have no compensation.  )
21. Rxc4! bxc3 22. bxc3!
22. Rxc3 Rxb2 There is no need to give up this pawn.  )
22... Qa3 23. Rc7 Black's position is coming under fire from all sides. His king is in the open, his pieces are passively positioned, and his pawns are weak.
23... Re8 24. Qd4 Be6 25. Qxa7 The simplest solution. White has a huge advantage.
25... Qb2
25... Qxa7 26. Rxa7 I can't imagine Wei having much trouble converting this position into a win.  )
26. Rb1! Qxb1+
26... Qxc2 27. Rxb8 Qc1+ 28. Ke2 Qc2+ 29. Nd2 Out of checks and out of luck  )
27. Bxb1 Rxb1+ 28. Ke2 The rest of the game requires no comment.
28... Nc8 29. Qa3 Bg4 30. Qa4 Rb2+ 31. Kf1 Re4 32. Qa8 Rc4 33. Rxc4 dxc4 34. Kg1 Kg7 35. Nd4


Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.