The Czech Wimbledon begins with wins for Duda, Vidit and Vitiugov
It's only the second edition of the Prague Masters 2020, but everyone is already calling it the Czech Wimbledon! Jan Krzysztof Duda is the top seed of the event and with a rating average of 2707, it is one of the strongest round robin events out there. At the last moment Wei Yi was replaced by Alireza Firouzja because the Chinese GM wasn't able to travel due to the Corona virus. Two Indian GMs are also in the fray - Vidit Gujrathi and P. Harikrishna. In first round itself three out of five possible decisive results meant that a lot of blood was spilled. An extensive tournament report by Tanmay Srinath.
The field of 10 players for the Prague Masters 2020 is perfectly chosen - the experienced Navara, Harikrishna and Vitiugov have been here for a long time and are still scarily strong, the younger lot of Duda,Vidit, Shankland and David Anton are looking for that next spike that will take them into inner circle of the world's best, while the young phenom Alireza Firouzja is a welcome addition to any tournament - his fighting spirit and enthusiasm towards every single game he plays is a treat to watch! Of course, let us not forget the dark horses of this tournament - Grandelius and Ragger have had extensive experience dealing with world's best and can thrash anyone on their day. This tournament promises to be a roller coaster ride! Now, on to the games - I will first cover the decisive results and then take a look at the two draws. Before looking at the most instructive game of the round, it makes sense to give a puzzle for the readers to solve, from one of the games today - the answer will be given in the annotations to the game:
Navara 0-1 Duda:
Easily the game of the round, and perhaps one of the games of the tournament! The sheer energy and power with which Duda has played this game is remarkable in itself, but the fact that his moves were of a very high accuracy throughout is commendable. Let's have a look:
Below are the detailed annotations to the game:
Vitiugov 1-0 David Anton:
Vitiugov is the defending champion and would be looking for an encore at the second edition. His first round game against David Anton Guijarro was a comedy of errors, with Anton making the final mistake. Here are some of the highlights:
Vidit 1-0 Shankland:
A very clean game by the newly minted India No.2. After following his preparation for 15 moves, Vidit managed to induce Shankland's only mistake of the game and proceeded to finish him off, continuing his dominance over the American (Vidit won in Biel ahead of Sam last year!). Here are a few critical moments:
Speaking about the game, Vidit said, "In the opening I was spending lot of time, and I was not expecting this line so I had to improvise. I think Nb8 & c6 was very passive, because I had tactical trick with Qb1 and took initiative. The only problem was I was in time pressure as I had to calculate a lot"
Grandelius 0.5-0.5 Harikrishna:
Not much happened in this game, but there was one interesting opening decision by Nils which was amazing to see:
Firouzja 0.5-0.5 Ragger:
Again, only one interesting moment in this game: