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Alexei Shirov is the Challengers #1

27 Jan 2019

Seven names of the Challengers' participants have already been published. The Czech grandmaster quartet comprises of Jiří Štoček (2588), Peter Michalík (2567), Jan Krejčí (2558) a Van Nguyen (2542). Hot rating favourites are the Polish grandmaster Mateusz Bartel (2606), Russian youngster David Paravyan (2627) and Spanish grandmaster David Anton Guijarro (2642). However even though Alexei Shirov (2657) has lately suffered some rating swings, he is currently showing his class once again and as the first seed of the tournament he is definitely one of the biggest favourites.

It will definitely be very difficult to escape a lot of media attention for the 13-year old Indian chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (2532). And the ruling Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun (2575) will definitely enjoy the well-deserved fruits of her successes as well. Recently she publicly stated a new goal of reaching the 2600 ELO rating and desire to play more world-class tournaments. "I wish all the best to the sympathic World Champion and hope her dreams will come reality as soon as possible, that is in Prague. I'd be very glad to invite her to the Masters 2020 as the winner of Challengers," says Petr Boleslav.

1. Alexei Shirov rtg 2657
2. David Anton Guijarro rtg 2642
3. David Paravyan rtg 2627
4. Mateusz Bartel rtg 2606
5. Jiří Štoček rtg 2588
6. Wenjun Ju rtg 2575
7. Peter Michalík rtg 2567
8. Jan Krejčí rtg 2558
9. Thai Dai Van Nguyen rtg 2542
10. Rameshbabu Praggnandhaa rtg 2532

The Open C Tournament is an indispensable part of the Festival as well and its starting list already features quite a few well-known names. The current first seed of 60-man field is the Dutch grandmaster Erik Van den Doel (2612) followed by the Serbian grandmaster Nikola Sedlak (2607). However let us wait and see who else will fight for the promotion into Challengers 2020.