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The first three rounds brought games full of twists and turns

01 Mar 2024

In the Masters tournament, the first three rounds were not short of combative games. Nguyen Thai Dai Van had a rough start with his initial two games not going as expected. However, he bounced back in the third round, pulling off a victory against Mateusz Bartel in a balanced rook endgame.

A game full of twists and turns ended unfortunately for David Navara. Despite holding his own against the intense pressure from his Uzbek opponent Abdusattorov during the middle game and even gaining a
strong winning position, things took a turn for the worse. Abdusattorov set a cunning trap in the critical moment of the game. Navara fell for it, resulting in a loss of an exchange and ultimately, the game itself.
 


Parham Maghsoodloo brought his A-game to the tournament. After three rounds, he is leading the tournament with 2.5 points, tied with Abdusattorov. His game against Praggnananda was particularly noteworthy, earning him the award for the best game of the second round.

 

In a time scramble, Praggnanaandhaa completely overlooked his opponent’s next move. In the position on the diagram, 38.Rxf6! was played. The rook cannot be taken due to Qg8+ leading to checkmate, and at the same time, the knight on e6 is hanging. Therefore, black decided to resign the game.

The tournament started excellently for Praggnanaandhaa, as he defeated Vincent Keymer in an attacking game. Thanks to his daring sacrifice of the knight on g5, the game was voted as the best of the first round.

Even in the third round, Pragg’s game was the center of attention. With the white pieces, he managed to outplay Richard Rapport cleanly. However, just like in the previous round, he stumbled under time pressure. Instead of bringing the game to a winning conclusion, he was hit with a cold shower - his opponent’s pawn unexpectedly made it all the way to promotion, deciding the game.

On Wednesday, there was an autograph session with the tournament ambassador - former world champion Viswanathan Anand. There was great interest in meeting the chess legend. You can judge for yourself from the following photograph.


In the Challengers tournament, the lead is currently shared by three players. The 15-year-old Ediz Gurel is putting on a dominant performance. He convincingly defeated Vaishali Rameshbabu with the white pieces. Playing black, he didn’t run into any problems, even when facing higher-rated opponents. Especially in the third round, he spent almost no time for most of the game against the experienced Maxim Rodshtein!

Ediz Gurel


Abhimanyu Mishra, who earned the grandmaster title at just 12 years old, is proving that it was no fluke. In the third round, he gradually overcame the solid position of Václav Finěk, which earned him shared first place.

The young Czech players are also holding their own in the tournament. So far, Richard Stalmach is performing the best with three draws. Václav Finěk and Štěpán Hrbek each have two draws and one loss. Good news for the Czech fans is that both Hrbek and Stalmach have already managed to draw against the tournament favourite, Anton Korobov.

In the Futures tournament, Indian player Aansh Nandan Nerurkar is currently dominating. With his tournament seeding rating of 1786, his fast and flawless play would certainly be a nightmare for any player in an open tournament. Pawel Brzezina from Poland is trailing by just half a point, and we can look forward to his match against the tournament leader in the next round.