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The stars of world chess have come to Prague

27 Feb 2024

The 6th year of the Prague International Chess Festival was successfully launched!

The 15th world champion Viswanathan Anand introduced the ceremony at the Don Giovanni Hotel. In his speech, he highlighted the uniqueness of the festival - a large part of the players in the main Masters and Challengers tournaments are young talents. As a bonus compared to other events, the youngest chess hopes will also be starting, namely in the Futures tournament.

The Czech Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil also shared his enthusiasm for the royal game with the audience. In his youth, he said, he was interested in Alexander Alekhine's career. He then immediately used his knowledge in the exhibition game, in which the youngest participant, Tomáš André, helped him to challenge Viswanáthan Anand.

The program was further diversified by dance performances by the Ilusias as well as a speech by festival sponsor Karel Janeček.

Let's take a look at the first round of the draw itself.

Masters

A difficult task awaits the Czech players, both of them drew black pieces against the top-seeded opponents. Nodirbek Abdusattorov in particular has been proving recently that he is a dangerous opponent for absolutely anyone. However, Van has a bulletproof repertoire. It is not easy to gain any advantage against him from the start.

We can look forward to a battle of originality in the Gukesh - Rapport game. Both players are well known for their unorthodox starts and particular style of play.

Fans of the quieter game will also have something to look forward to. We can expect a positional battle in the party of two young stars Praggnanandhaa – Keymer.

Finally, the combative course of the first round ensures the fight Bartel - Maghsoodloo. Maghsoodloo, in particular, likes to win with black pieces, but this could allow Bartel to get an interesting positioning right from the start.

Challengers

Two Czech hopes - Václav Finěk and Richard Stalmach - will meet in the opening round. At the age of 13, Václav is already known for his knowledge of "Catalan" type constructions. Will he use them or will he have a surprise for Richard?

Just like Václav, the Spanish Grandmaster Latasa Jaime also likes to play construction with a house. In the game against him, the new international champion Štěpán Hrbek will make his Challengers debut.

The Mishra - Gurel match could become a blockbuster for the audience. The youngest grandmaster in history against a Turkish superstar. Ediz Gurel has gained more than 100 rating points in the last year and placed 15th in the European Championship.

Futures

Even in the tournament of young hopes, the Czech derby between Severina Jakubše Tamae and Zuzana Stará awaits us in the first round. The advantage may be that both our players will be able to prepare together for the rest of the tournament, without revealing their start to an upcoming opponent.

We can expect big fights in all games as young chess players’ games are full of tactics and sharp variants.

Photogallery

Město Praha
Karel Janeček
Šachový svaz České republiky
Don Giovanni Hotel Prague
Czech Inn Hotels
Decision 21
K CERO INVEST
1. Novoborský šachový klub
Šachy.biz
European Chess Union
Radiožurnál Sport | Český rozhlas