Rising Polish Star Duda Grabs Dortmund Lead
Duda defeated Nisipeanu and leads in Dortmund. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Rising Polish Star Duda Grabs Dortmund Lead

| 16 | Chess Event Coverage

Jan-Krzysztof Duda has been going up in the FIDE ratings, and won this year's Polish championship. Yesterday he took the lead at the Sparkassen Chess Meeting as the only winner so far.

Duda scored against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, who had shown such excellent preparation yesterday against Kramnik. It seems that he has done some serious work for Dortmund, because in round two he played, for the first time, 3.Bb5+ in the Sicilian.

That might have been the reason for Duda to deviate from his usual repertoire, the move 3...Nd7, which Kasparov often played as well. With 3...Bd7, Duda equalized rather easily thanks to the remarkable 10...Nf6-g8. "I wanted a game," he said.

Nisipeanu answered Duda's castling queenside with "a series of idiotic moves," as he said himself. He lost a pawn like an amateur, and never saw it back.


With such an impressive win, one can't help but get excited for Duda's upcoming debut in our own Speed Chess Championship. He'll be facing off against one of the tournament's favorites to win it all, Russian superstar Sergey Karjakin, in the first round:


Last year's Dortmund winner Radek Wojtaszek got pairing number one, which means two white games in a row in round robins like this. His second opponent was Vladimir Kramnik, the 10-fold winner in Dortmund.

Wojtaszek lamented that he gave away too easily his opening advantage. "It's important in such a short tournament," he noted.

Having a slight edge, Kramnik gave up his queen for rook and bishop, hoping to touchdown his d-pawn. Wojtaszek held it under control easily; a queen is a pretty strong piece...And so, after four earlier draws, this game between these two players also ended peacefully.

Kramnik Wojtaszek Dortmund 2018

Vladislav Kovalev vs Ian Nepomniachtchi was another 3.Bb5+ Sicilian and here Black did play Kasparov's 3...Nd7. Nepo kept playing fast as he was following is main repertoire.

A key moment was move 26, when Kovalev played an interesting knight sacrifice that led to a similar material balance as in Wojtaszek-Kramnik. Despite all this, Nepomniachtchi kept playing incredibly fast; after 69 moves he still had about two hours on the clock!

He is a known football lover and supports Spartak Moscow, which might suggest he was hoping to catch the World Cup final between France and Croatia...

Not all grandmasters had to miss out on the World Cup final. The game between Georg Meier and Anish Giri ended in a draw quickly out of a Catalan, which Meier had also played last week against Leinier Dominguez in the Speed Chess Championship Invitational Qualifier.

Giri Meier Dortmund 2018

Giri vs Meier, the quickest draw. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

"If only I had known Georg is a football fan!" Giri remarked. Meier said his decision wasn't really about the football: "I thought, if we get this line of the Catalan on the board, then a draw is OK for me."

Dortmund 2018 | Round 2 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Duda,Jan-Krzysztof 2737 2854 ½ 1 1.5/2
2 Kovalev,Vladislav 2655 2747 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.25
3 Giri,Anish 2782 2693 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
4 Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2757 2719 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
5 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2733 2710 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
6 Meier,Georg 2628 2757 ½ ½ 1.0/2 1
7 Kramnik,Vladimir 2792 2703 ½ ½ 1.0/2 0.75
8 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2672 2574 0 ½ 0.5/2

Round three pairings, Tuesday, July 17 at 3 p.m. (6 a.m. Pacific, 9 a.m. Eastern): Kramnik-Meier, Duda-Wojtaszek, Nepomniachtchi-Nisipeanu, Giri-Kovalev. You can follow the games in Live Chess.

Games via TWIC.

Earlier posts:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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