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Both excited and patient youth from Challengers

20 Apr 2023

The greatest hopes of top-world chess are gathering in the Czech capital for the 5th Prague International Chess Festival. The second most significant category of the June tournament consists of ten names including three Czech chess talents. Do they stand a chance against older grandmasters?  

Hosting nation representatives in the Challengers category include Jan Vykouk from the Zikuda Turnov chess team, the silver medalist from the European Youth Chess Championship. He will be joined by the European Online Chess champion Richard Stalmach from the Beskydská šachová škola, and Václav Finěk from Turnov, a super-talented player who won a silver medal at the World Championship in the under-10 category. 

Václav Finěk, Jan Vykouk and Richard Stalmach

The Czech youth will be tested by experienced world grandmasters including Erwin L’Ami from the Netherlands, who is also the second of his stellar fellow Anish Giri. Front-runners include Mateusz Bartel from Poland and Alexander Motylev, last year‘s Open champion from Russia. The Challengers category will also include Benjamin Gledura from Hungary, Slovak #1 player Jerguš Pecháč and junior US champion Christopher Yoo. 

Prague will finally welcome Akash Ganesan from India. The youngest national chess champion won his way to the Challengers category in 2020 by dominating in the Open. „He couldn’t make it due to covid., but we kept in touch every year and I promised to save a spot for him whenever it works out for him. And it’s working out now,“ says the Festival director Petr Boleslav.

GM Akash Ganesan won the Open tournament 2020

The best chess tournament in Czechia will take place from June 21 to 30 at the four-star Hotel Don Giovanni in Prague, with the opening ceremony scheduled for June 20, as well as the draw for all categories. Participation is free of charge for all visitors. 

"Thanks to our general partners, Czech Inn Hotels, Komerční banka and Ernst & Young, we can invite the stars of the chess world to our tournament," says tournament director Petr Boleslav.