11 - 22 February 2020

The opening ceremony of the 2nd edition of the Prague International Chess Festival was held this evening in hotel Don Giovanni in Prague. 

The opening ceremony was attended by the players, arbiters, members of the organizing team, many distinguished guests as well as chess fans and accompanying persons. 

The evening started with the welcome speech of the Festival Director Mr. Petr Boleslav, who greeted all the present and announced the great fights on 64 squares throughout the next 11 days.

“I wish the players give their best and fulfill both their ambitions and the expectations of the fans. It was their, I dare to say, enthusiastic response to the last year's premiere, which filled us with the new energy for the months of organizational preparations. I'm glad you are here and now again with us”, said Mr. Boleslav.

The President of Novy Bor Chess Club and the representative of AVE, the main sponsor of the Festival, Mr. Roman Mužík, addressed the audience and gave the special thanks to the Magistrate of the city of Prague and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of Czech Republic, who gave great support to the Festival.

“I wish all the players great chess experience, great games and I hope you will enjoy your stay in Prague”, stated Mr. Mužik.

Mr. Viktor Novotny, the Chairman of the Czech Chess Federation, greeted all the present on behalf of the Federation. 

“I am proud we are able to host such a high-class event in the Czech Republic. I hope the Czech players will do well and I trust this Festival will last for many years”, said Mr. Novotny.

Mr. Michal Vavra, a famous lawyer from Brno and a chess player and enthusiast, who was also the moderator of the ceremony, thanked all the sponsors: AVE, Don Giovanni hotel, Czech Inn hotels, City of Prague, Czech Chess Federation, Czech glass and design company LASVIT, Czech clothing company BERNHARDT, Chess24 and the legal office Bulinský, Vávra & Partners. 

Mr. Vaclav Klaus Jr., a Czech teacher and politician, was among the honoured guests at the opening ceremony.

“I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak at the opening ceremony of this Festival. This event has only 2-year tradition but is already standing side by side with other world high-class events. All the players are very competative and I am sure it will be a great tournament. I wish all the players the best of luck, the spectatots to have a good time, and the organizes to stay strong”, said Mr. Klaus in his speech.

Mr. Petr Pisk, Manager of the Czech Youth Team expressed his satisfaction that the Festival has the “Futures” tournament as the innovation this year.

“It is an honour for me to be here and the see all of you and the world chess stars here in Prague. I am happy to say the Czech Chess Federation hosts many events, but this event is absolutely unique and I am really looking forward to it”, stated Mr. Pisk.

Mr. Vavra reminded the guests present at the ceremony about the schedule of the side events during the Festival and invited them to pay a visit: the Exhibition of chess photos from the 1990 Prague Grandmaster Chess Tournament, the lecture “How Václav Havel played chess”, the Children’s day, Simultaneous exhibition of Grandmaster Boris Gelfand, and the Film Festival in Aero Kino.

The audience was entertained by the group Ilusia, who showed a spectacular performance which ended with the light show of the Prague Chess Festival and the main sponsors’ logo.

After the video introduction of the players, the Chief Arbiter Mr. Pavel Votruba briefly introduced the rules of the tournament and invited the players for drawing of lots.

Two famous Czech athletes were the honored guests at the opening ceremony of the Festival -  Mr. Milan Hnilička, legendary hockey player and member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, and Mrs. Helena Sukova, double silver Olympic medalist in tennis, who had the honor to assist the players during the drawing of lots.

Below are the starting ranks of all three events:




1. Grandelius

1. Nguyen

1. Gulenay

2. Firouzja

2. Krejčí

2. Gurel

3. Vitiugov

3. Bartel

3. Brožka

4. Vidit

4. Stefansson

4. Vagman

5. Navara

5. Piorun

5. Němec

6. Duda

6. Van Foreest

6. Finěk

7. Shankland

7. Kriebel

7. Kanov

8. Anton

8. Esipenko

8. Chinguun

9. Ragger

9. Černoušek

9. Klimkowski

10. Harikrishna

10. Abasov

10. Nadzamova

All the details about the Film Festival can be found here. The full schedule of the tournament as well as of the side events can be found here

The first round of the Masters, Challengers, and Futures starts on Wednesday, 12th February at 3.00 pm (CET) in hotel Don Giovanni. All the chess lovers and fans are welcome to visit the venue, and for those who are unable to come in person, the organizers provided the live commentary with Grandmasters Vlasitmil Babula and Pavel Šimáček.