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The Grand Finale

08 Mar 2024

The conclusion of the festival brought thrilling battles for medal positions. In the Masters tournament, all eyes were on the Abdusattorov – Maghsoodloo game in the 8th round. A victory would have secured Abdusattorov the first place regardless of his result in the final round. Conversely, if Maghsoodloo had won, he would have overtaken the leading Abdusattorov and could have fought for the most precious metal in the final round himself. And the game did not disappoint. It saw several major twists, sacrifices, and attacks. Later, both players received the Lubomír Kaválek award for the best game of the entire festival.

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After a thrilling battle, Abdusattorov won the tournament and also moved up to the 4th place in the world rankings!

In the final round, therefore, it was a fight for the second place. In the group of players with 4.5 points were Nguyen Thai Dai Van, Parham Maghsoodloo, and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu. Nguyen managed to cleanly outplay Vidit, who was struggling in his game. The critical positioned appeared on the board after 24…Kh7. White had several winning continuations.

However, Nguyen didn’t manage to calculate all the complications after moves like 25.Bd7! and eventually decided to head for the endgame after 25.Qa3, Qc5, which ultimately allowed Vidit to escape with a draw. Therefore, second place had to be decided by the remaining two games. David Navara managed to hold a rook endgame with black pieces against Praggnanandhaa, so the last one who could overtake Nguyen in points was Parham Maghsoodloo. His game against Gukesh looked very promising for him for a long time. Before the time control, he even managed to win a piece. However, in a critical position, he couldn’t find a beautiful combination and Gukesh managed to save the game.

Nguyen Thai Dai Van thus took a sensational second place thanks to better tiebreaks, which he secured with his win over Maghsoodloo in round 6. Even though he was the last seed in the tournament and started with two losses, he managed to improve on his third place from 2022.

The third and fourth positions were decided by the game from the second round, in which Maghsoodloo emerged victorious over Praggnanandhaa. David Navara also made his mark in the tournament. He only lost to the winner and managed to defeat Gukesh, securing him the 5th place.

RK. Name ELO FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 PTS DE SB
1.   GM Abdusattorov Nodirbek 2744 UZB   1 1 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 6,5 0 5
2.   GM Nguyen Thai Dai Van 2630 CZE 0   1 ½ ½ 1 0 1 ½ ½ 5 1,5 3
3.   GM Maghsoodloo Parham 2715 IRI 0 0   1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5 1 3
4.   GM Praggnanandhaa R 2747 IND 1 ½ 0   ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 5 0,5 3
5.   GM Navara David 2667 CZE 0 ½ ½ ½   ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 4,5 1,5 1
6.   GM Rapport Richard 2717 ROU ½ 0 ½ 1 ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ 4,5 1 1
7.   GM Gukesh D 2743 IND ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½   0 1 ½ 4,5 0,5 2
8.   GM Bartel Mateusz 2660 POL 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1   ½ ½ 3,5 0,5 1
9.   GM Keymer Vincent 2738 GER 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½   1 3,5 0,5 1
10.   GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2747 IND ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0   3 0 0

The two leading players went into the last round of the Challengers tournament with 5.5 points. Jaime Santos Latasa was the favourite for first place, playing black pieces against Vaishali Rameshbabu. A tough task awaited the young Ediz Gurel, who had to fight with black pieces against the top seed Anton Korobov.

Santos managed to create excellent chances, however Vaishali defended brilliantly and ultimately held the game Aware that a victory would secure him the first place, Gurel strategically executed his game. He navigated the complexities of the middlegame excellently and gained a clean pawn. Even the tough resistance of the Ukrainian grandmaster in the endgame couldn’t stop him, and Ediz Gurel won the Challengers tournament with a fantastic performance. The cherry on top for him was achieving the final grandmaster norm and the prize for the best game of the last round.

Santos Latasa ended up in second place, with the bronze going to Erwin L’ami. Among the Czech players, Richard Stalmach was the most successful. With a heroic performance in the last round against Rodshtein, he saved a hopeless rook endgame and improved his score to 4/9. The last place was shared by Štěpán Hrbek and Václav Finěk with 2.5 points each. However, both only lost a few Elo points in the tournament and played many interesting and combative games, which will surely have them aiming for higher ranks next time.

RK. Name ELO FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 PTS DE SB
1.   IM Gurel Ediz 2560 TUR   ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 6,5 0 25,75
2.   GM Santos Latasa Jaime 2612 ESP ½   ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 6 0 25,50
3.   GM L'ami Erwin 2636 NED ½ ½   ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 5,5 0,5 22,00
4.   GM Mishra Abhimanyu 2627 USA ½ ½ ½   0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 5,5 0,5 21,25
5.   GM Korobov Anton 2666 UKR 0 0 1 1   0 ½ 1 ½ 1 5 0 19,75
6.   GM Rodshtein Maxim 2590 ISR ½ 0 ½ ½ 1   ½ 1 0 ½ 4,5 0 20,00
7.   IM Stalmach Richard 2434 CZE ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½   0 1 ½ 4 0 17,50
8.   IM Vaishali Rameshbabu 2481 IND 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 1   1 ½ 3 0 10,75
9.   IM Hrbek Stepan 2426 CZE 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 0   ½ 2,5 0,5 11,25
10.   IM Finek Vaclav 2429 CZE 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½   2,5 0,5 9,75

The Futures tournament of the youngest talents was dominated by India’s Aansh Nandan Nerurkar. He only allowed his opponents two draws. Pawel Brzezina from Poland also went undefeated through the tournament, finishing second. The third place was taken by Slovakia’s Tomáš Andre.

RK. Name ELO FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 PTS DE SB
1.   Aansh Nandan Nerurkar 1786 IND   ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 0 31,25
2.   Brzezina Pawel 1914 POL ½   ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 6,5 0 27,00
3.   Andre Tomas 1915 SVK 0 ½   1 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5 1 19,25
4.   Jakubse Tamae Severina 1738 CZE ½ 0 0   1 1 1 1 ½ 0 5 0 20,50
5.   Markina Sofiia 1724 CZE 0 0 1 0   1 0 1 0 1 4 1 15,00
6.   Siskou Evangelia 1745 GRE 0 0 ½ 0 0   1 1 ½ 1 4 0 13,50
7.   Stara Zuzana 1678 CZE 0 ½ ½ 0 1 0   ½ ½ ½ 3,5 0,5 14,25
8.   Guntaka Aayansh R 1767 USA 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½   1 1 3,5 0,5 13,00
9.   Peglau Paul David 1822 GER 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0   0 3 0 13,50
10.   Mrozowski Nikodem 1636 POL 0 0 0 1 0 0 ½ 0 1   2,5 0 9,75

In the Open tournament, Greek GM Stamatis Kourkoulos-Arditis dominated with eight points out of a possible nine, qualifying him for the next edition of the Challengers tournament. Czech Grandmaster Petr Neuman also achieved an excellent result. His seven points resulted in a performance of 2624, earning him fourth place in the tournament and a qualification to the closed championship of the Czech Republic.

Author: Richard Mládek

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