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Boris Gelfand heading to Prague again after 4-year break

14 Mar 2023

We are three months away from the opening of the 5th year of the Prague International Chess Festival. And the fans are now eager to learn some of the big names of the Masters or Challengers tournaments. 

Prague, or more precisely the Hotel Don Giovanni Prague, is going to welcome the legend of the chess world, the world champion title challenger Boris Gelfand. He participated in the Masters tournament in the very first year of the Prague International Chess Festival in 2019. He defeated the last-year title defender Pentala Harikrishna in the last round, and thanks to this victory he shared the second spot in the final ranking. 

Even though the Israeli chess star is going to celebrate his 55th birthday on 24th June during our festival, he’s not any close to leaving the chess battlefield. The Serbian town of Vrnjačka Banja hosted the European Individual Chess Championship and Gelfand gained 7,5/11 points. In May he’s going to attend the prestigious TePe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament in the Swedish city of Malmö. „Having such a renowned name on the start list is a great honor for any chess event, including ours,“ says the festival Director Petr Boleslav excitedly. 

Boris Gelfand has done more for the Festival during its five years of existence than just attending in 2019. In 2020, the second year of the Festival, he took the role of the Futures tournament Ambassador. He prepared a lesson of the simultaneous exhibition for the young talents and the visitors could also see a document about his life aired in the Aero cinema, called Album 61 and directed by Halil Efrat. „I remember that year very fondly, also thanks to Boris. He immediately adopted the idea of becoming the ambassador and he came to Prague without any hesitation,“ says Petr Boleslav. 

Several participants have been announced, except the Czech duo of David Navara and Thai Dai Van Nguyen and the title defender, Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna we have to list Vincent Keymer who won his right to attend the Masters tournament by winning the Challengers tournament last year.