Li Yi, the Eternal Star of Renju

On December 21, we lost a young talented renju player, and a very important friend. Just a few days ago, Mr. Li Yi left us unexpectedly, leaving the renju games which he loved, at the age of only 30. However, everyone should remember what he had brought into the world of renju. This is an article describing the career of Li Yi in renju.

Li Yi was born in Beijing in October 1989. In 2004, at the age of 15, he began to learn the professional rule of renju. It was his first time to participate in official renju tournaments in 2005. Although he was still a newcomer on the stage of renju, he had a good performance in his first renju tournament. He participated in the National Invitational Tournament, winning the 10th place in the Youth Group, and was awarded 1 dan.

In August 2007, the 1st National Youth Championship took place in Qinhuangdao, and Li Yi won the 1st place in this tournament. This is the first time that Li Yi won the national youth champion, just three years after he began to learn renju. He was awarded 4 dan due to his excellent performance in the tournament.

Li Yi in National Youth Championship 2007

In the autumn of 2007, Li Yi entered the Department of Civil Engineering of Tsinghua University. As a college student, he was still participating in renju tournaments in his spare time. He won the 15th place in National Championship 2007, and the 9th place in National Championship 2009.

In 2010, Li Yi joined in the 8th Team World Championship, which was held in Tokyo. As a member of the Chinese Team, he won the champion together with Cao Dong, Yin Licheng and Xi Zhenyang. This was the first time that the Chinese renju team had ever won the team world champion.

Li Yi vs. Nakamura Shigeru in Team World Championship 2010
Li Yi with Chinese Team in Team World Championship 2010.
From left: Cao Dong, Yin Licheng, Xi Zhenyang, Li Yi

After the Team World Championship, Li Yi continued to show up with good performance in National Championships. He won the 7th place in both 2010 and 2011. At the same time, in 2011, he graduated from university, and began to work.

In 2013, he won the national team champion eventually, as a member of the “Qixin Yuyue” Team, together with his teammates, Qi Guan and Lan Zhiren. In October, he reached the semifinals for the first time of the National Championship, and won the 4th place eventually. He was awarded 5 dan.

Li Yi in National Team Championship 2013

During this period, Li Yi was active in the renju forums with the name of “屏蔽” (Shielded), working as the promoter. Within those years, he wrote hundreds of game comments and technical articles in the Baidu Tieba, and his own blog, “复平面” (Complex Plane). He always elaborated his almost every game with rational analysis and then published them voluntarily. From 2011 to 2013, he translated the Japanese renju opening book of Saito Shuuichi to Chinese, and then distributed it for free.

After 2013, Li Yi had not participated in renju tournaments for several years — until July 2019, when he appeared in the National Open Tournament. This time, he reached the best result in his renju career so far — 3rd place, and awarded 6 dan.

Li Yi in National Open Tournament 2019

In the second half of 2019, Li Yi was very active in attending renju tournaments. He joined the National Open, Zhejiang Open, Anji World Open, National Championship and the National Elite Tournament. In these tournaments, Li Yi showed up with very good and stable results. In the National Championship, he got the 1st place, winning the title of National Champion.

Li Yi in Anji World Renju Open 2019
Li Yi in National Championship 2019

After Li Yi restarted to show up in tournaments, he reopened his blog on the Wechat platform, and also opened a personal column on Renju Caffe. On these platforms, he wrote a lot of technical articles, including commenting his personal games, broadcasting the Japanese Meijinsen Match, and proposing renju puzzles. A lot of renju enthusiasts were attracted by his blogs. He was also helping to upload the game of the National Championship to, which showed that he was a very responsible man.

On December 15, Li Yi participated in the Guangdong Winter Tournament as usual, and won the first place, ahead of many other strong players. Everyone was talking about Li Yi, the new rising star in renju.

Li Yi vs. Wu Di in Guangdong Winter Tournament 2019
Li Yi winning the 1st place of Guangdong Winter Tournament 2019

On the night of December 20, he was talking about his plan about uploading more games to He also had some more plans, to join in the upcoming tournaments. However, this may be the first time, that he has missed his promise. This time Li Yi has left us forever, and will not return any more.


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