Duda Leads At Brand New Chess Festival In Prague
David Navara playing chess in a tram in Prague, to promote the new tournament. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr/Prague Chess Festival.

Duda Leads At Brand New Chess Festival In Prague

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Mar 11, 2019, 7:09 AM |
22 | Chess Event Coverage

Jan-Krzysztof Duda leads the Prague International Chess Festival masters with 3.5/5, ahead of Nikita Vitiugov and Radoslaw Wojtaszek. The Czech capital is hosting the event for the first time.

It's not so strange that a new and rather big chess event was born in Prague. The Czech Republic has a long chess tradition (Oldrich Duras! Richard Réti! Rudolf Charousek! Salo Flohr! Lubomir Kavalek! Vlastimil Hort!) and strong grandmasters currently, such as David Navara and Viktor Laznicka. These days Pentala Harikrishna is living there as well, after getting married to a Serbian lady.

Organized by the Novy Bor Chess Club and AVE-Kontakt, the first edition of the festival takes place March 5-16 in the four-star hotel Don Giovanni in Prague. There's a typical idea behind it: to give young and upcoming players, as well as top Czech players, a chance to face the world's best on home soil.

Press conference Prague Chess Festival
A pre-tournament press conference with Nguyen Thai Dai Van, Pentala Harikrishna, David Navara, Boris Gelfand, Ju Wenjun, organizer Petr Boleslav and chief arbiter Pavel Votruba. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr/Prague Chess Festival.

And the organizers are ambitious as well: "The long-term goal of the project is to establish a tradition of organizing a chess festival on par with the world's finest events, at both tournament str[e]ngth and organizational levels."

Like in Wijk aan Zee, there's both a masters and a challengers group, although here both are 10-player round-robins. Besides those there's a big open, and smaller tournaments for amateurs. In this report, the focus is on the top two groups.

Masters:

The participants here are David Navara (CZE, 2739), Richard Rapport (HUN, 2738), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL, 2731), Sam Shankland (USA, 2731), Pentala Harikrishna (IND, 2730), Nikita Vitiugov (RUS, 2726), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL, 2722), Vidit Gujarathi (IND, 2711), Viktor Laznicka (CZE, 2670) and Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2655).

Masters Prague Chess Festival 2019
The 10 masters in Prague at the opening ceremony. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr/Prague Chess Festival.

The 20-year-old Duda is leading the main event after five rounds during the rest day on Monday. It all started with a long first-round game where he tried the Classical Pirc, and was under pressure against Rapport.

Not able to break through, the Hungarian GM went for a material imbalance that just wasn't working for White—or did he forget that e4 was hanging in that line? In any case, Duda ended up with two knights for a bishop and two pawns, and won that 46 moves later.

Duda Prague Chess Festival 2019
Duda leads the Prague masters after round five. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr/Prague Chess Festival.

In the third round it actually went wrong for Duda. Probably caught by surprise in the opening, his early mistake was in fact a theoretical novelty. It wasn't easy to see the Qh4 move that attacks both f4 and d8.

A win vs top seed Navara got Duda back to plus-two. He had already reached a pleasant isolated queen's pawn position when his opponent missed a nasty tactic. This one was also based on the theme of double attack.

Duda Navara Prague Chess Festival 2019
Duda vs Navara. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr/Prague Chess Festival.

Vitiugov, currently sharing second place on a plus-one score, won an excellent game in round two. It got the best game prize (great to see the organizers taking up this old and somewhat forgotten tradition!) for that day.

Vitiugov Harikrishna Prague Chess Festival 2019
Great attacking play from Vitiugov, who is more known as a positional player. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr/Prague Chess Festival.

Prague Masters | Round 5 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Duda,Jan-Krzysztof 2731 2853 0 ½ 1 1 1 3.5/5
2 Vitiugov,Nikita 2726 2775 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/5 6.75
3 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2722 2788 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/5 6.25
4 Harikrishna,Pentala 2730 2730 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 7.25
5 Gelfand,Boris 2655 2727 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 2.5/5 6.75
6 Shankland,Samuel 2731 2713 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 2.5/5 6.25
7 Vidit,Santosh Gujrathi 2711 2704 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 2.5/5 5.75
8 Navara,David 2739 2643 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 5.5
9 Rapport,Richard 2738 2643 0 0 ½ ½ 1 2.0/5 4
10 Laznicka,Viktor 2670 2579 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1.5/5

Challengers

The participants here are Alexei Shirov (ESP, 2667), David Anton (ESP, 2643), David Paravyan (RUS, 2627), Mateusz Bartel (POL, 2600), Jiri Stocek (CZE, 2592), Ju Wenjun (CHN, 2580), Jan Krejci (CZE, 2570), Peter Michalik (CZE, 2565), Thai Dai Van Nguyen (CZE, 2546) and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (IND, 2532).

It's a bit odd to see a former super-GM like Shirov not playing in the top group, but that's part of the idea behind the tournament. The Czech participants are all getting a chance to play him!

Back to representing Spain, Shirov is on a modest 50 percent so far. He was on the wrong side of the game of the third day, indeed an excellent game by Stocek:

There's a four-way tie for first place at the moment among local heros Michalik and Krejci, and also the more known Anton and the one female player in the two groups (something to improve for next year?), Ju Wenjun.

The latter was on plus-two in fact, but today she lost to the Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa after dropping a pawn early in a Petroff—a move that was a (bad) novelty.

Ju Praggnanandhaa Prague Chess Festival 2019
Ju gave away a pawn and then faced Praggnanandhaa's endgame technique. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr/Prague Chess Festival.

Prague Challengers | Round 5 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Michalik,Peter 2565 2667 0 1 1 ½ ½ 3.0/5 8
2 Ju,Wenjun 2580 2653 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 3.0/5 7.25
3 Anton Guijarro,David 2643 2666 0 ½ ½ 1 1 3.0/5 7
4 Krejci,Jan 2570 2659 0 ½ ½ 1 1 3.0/5 6.75
5 Stocek,Jiri 2592 2592 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 2.5/5 6.75
6 Praggnanandhaa,R 2532 2589 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 2.5/5 6.25
7 Nguyen,Thai Dai Van 2546 2595 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 2.5/5 5.5
8 Shirov,Alexei 2667 2602 0 0 ½ 1 1 2.5/5 4.25
9 Bartel,Mateusz 2600 2449 ½ 0 0 1 0 1.5/5 4
10 Paravyan,David 2627 2437 0 1 ½ 0 0 1.5/5 3.75

Games via TWIC.

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