Prague: Keymer in the lead of the Challengers, Abdusattorov just behind

Three rising stars

A very interesting line-up has been put together in the Challengers section of this year’s Prague Chess Festival. Three players from top 10 in the junior ranking were invited: Hans Niemann, Vincent Keymer and Nodirbek Abdusattorov. Up-and-coming talents are all likely to become stable players rated over 2700, and they top the charts in the Czech capital.

After five rounds, Keymer picked up three wins and two draws to take the lead by a remarkable 4/5. Abdusattorov, who is also undefeated, is down half a point, while Niemann is one of three players on +1 – the American grandmaster has won twice after losing in the second round.

Niemann has already drawn his direct encounters against his top 10 colleagues. Keymer and Abdusattorov, on the other hand, have yet to face each other in round 7, when the Uzbek star will get the white pieces.

All three won their Round 5 matches on Monday. Niemann caught Krishnan Sasikiran in a mating net in a double-edged queenless stance.

33.Bxc7+ Kc8 34.Be6threatening a deadly discovered check, 35…Tg2+ 35.Rf1 Te2 and White was able to play a nice cross check to end the game.

The rook and the light-squared bishop are attacked, but black cannot grab either piece. Sasikiran quit instead of playing the single move 36…Kxc7, which would be followed by 37.Rc8#

Hans Niemann, Kirshnan Sasikiran

Concentrated — Hans Niemann and Krishnan Sasikiran | Photo: Vladimir Jagr

In round 4, Dutch grandmaster Max Warmerdam got the better of Peter Michalik with the black pieces. A very interesting endgame appeared on the board, in which Warmerdam had a queen and pawn against Michalik’s rook and two very advanced connected setters. As GM Karsten Müller showed, black could have held the draw from the following position:

Michalik’s 74…Kd2 allowed white to create zugzwangs later, which, combined with a2-a3 later, was enough to unravel his position and get rid of dangerous passers. Instead, 74…Re2 would have been a draw for Black!

Check out GM Müller’s full analysis in the player below.

Results Round 5 – Challengers

Ranking after the 5th round

All the games

Le and Harikrishna always on top

Meanwhile, in the Masters section, Monday’s five draws kept Le Quang Liem and Pentala Harikrishna at the top of the standings.

We also received an in-depth analysis from GM Müller of the fourth round of the Masters. Hari’s victory with black over Parham Maghsoodloo was certainly the highlight of the day, as he reached the Troitsky Endgame.

GM Muller writes:

Two knights against a pawn was studied in great depth by the Russian endgame theorist Troitzky. When the pawn is firmly blocked by a knight, it gave a line where the attacker always wins. If the pawn is stuck at a5, b3, c4, d5, e5, f4, g3, h5 or less then the attacker still wins, but the 50 move rule is ignored. Here the pawn has crossed this line and so there is a draw and a losing zone for the defending king. The drawing area starts from the safe corners and the losing area from the dangerous corners. Here b7 is safe and h8 is dangerous.

A great opportunity to learn more about this rare configuration!

David Navara

david navara | Photo: Vladimir Jagr

Round 5 Results – Masters

Ranking after the 5th round

All the games

Connections

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