11 - 22 February 2020
2020 Edition

A specific format is entwined through the entire Festival. In particular, the winner of the Challengers event will receive, apart from the main prize and trophy, an invitation to participate in the 2021 Masters tournament. The question remains - Who will be the next Masters qualifier?

We have already introduced the participants from the Czech Republic (Jan Krejčí, Van Nguyen, Tadeáš Kriebel and Lukáš Černoušek) in the previous article. Famous Icelandic Grandmaster Hannes Stefansson secured his spot in the Challengers event in March this year, by winning the Open tournament of the Prague International Chess Festival.

The top seed of the Challengers event is Nijat Abasov from Azerbaijan, who achieved Grandmaster title in 2011. At the 42nd Chess Olympiad, he was member of the second national team of Azerbaijan. In late 2016, he won the highly competitive Zurich Christmas Open and reached his highest rating of 2655 over the course of this year.

Poland will be represented by Grandmaster Mateusz Bartel, who will have a chance to improve this year's performance, as well as the 2017 Polish Champion and five-time World Champion in Chess Problem Solving, Grandmaster Kacper Piorun.

The youngest participant in the Challengers event will be talented Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Esipenko, former U-10 and U-16 European, and U-16 World Champion.

Jorden van Foreest, Dutch #5, completes the line-up in the Challengers tournament. He comes from a great chess family, with all of his five siblings playing chess. Last year, his younger sister Machteld van Foreest shared 3rd place in the World Youth Chess Championship in the under 12 category and his brother Lucas is the current Dutch champion.

Name FED Year of birth ELO

Nijat Abasov

AZE 1995 2655
2 Andrey Esipenko RUS 2002 2636
3 Mateusz Bartel POL 1985 2636
4 Jorden Van Foreest NED 1999 2632
5 Kacper Piorun POL 1991 2623
6 Jan Krejčí CZE 1992 2578
7 Van Nguyen CZE 2001 2548
8 Hannes Stefanson ISL 1972 2546
9 Tadeáš Kriebel CZE 1995 2516
10 Lukáš Černoušek CZE 1983 2461

Photo: khantymansiysk2019.fide.com