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Prague 2019 R01-03: Vidit beats Gelfand, Hari's beauty against Duda

by Sagar Shah - 09/03/2019

The Prague Chess Festival has organized six events simultaneously - Masters, Challengers, Open, E, F, G tournaments. All eyes are on the Masters section where we have eight out of the ten players above the rating of 2700 fighting it out for the top spot. You know it is a strong event when Boris Gelfand is the last seed. India no.2 and 3 Harikrishna and Vidit are both participating in the event and the duo have shown some sparkling chess in last two rounds. Vidit managed to beat Boris Gelfand by showcasing flawless technique, while Harikrishna showed how important development is in chess by beating Jan Krzsyztof Duda. After three rounds Vitiugov, Duda, Vidit and Wojtaszek jointly lead the tournament.

Prague is home to a very strong event. There are 10 players and only two of them are below the rating of 2700. One of them is the local star Viktor Laznicka and the other is World Championship Challenger Boris Gelfand. Two of our strongest players - India no.2 Harikrishna Pentala and Vidit Gujrathi are participating in the event. 

(Top Row left to right): David Navara, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Sam Shankland, (Bottom Row left to right): Nikita Vitiugov, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Vidit Gujrathi, Viktor Laznicka, Boris Gelfand. | Photos: Vladimir Jagr

Starting rank list of players

No. NameFideIDFEDRtg
GMNavara David309095CZE2739
GMRapport Richard738590HUN2738
GMDuda Jan-Krzysztof1170546POL2731
GMShankland Samuel2004887USA2731
GMHarikrishna Pentala5007003IND2730
GMVitiugov Nikita4152956RUS2726
GMWojtaszek Radoslaw1118358POL2722
GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi5029465IND2711
GMLaznicka Viktor316385CZE2670
GMGelfand Boris2805677ISR2655

After three rounds that have been played Vidit has scored one win and two draws, while Harikrishna is on 50% with one win, one draw and one loss. Vidit's win came against Boris Gelfand, and he drew his games with black against Wojtaszek and Rapport. Harikrishna had an edge in round one against Shankland but had to split the point. In round two he lost to Vitiugov after he overlooked a powerful move in the opening and in round three he played a superb game to beat Jan Krzysztof Duda.

Vidit is beating many of the legends he grew up reading about. In January it was Kramnik and now in March it is Gelfand! | Photo: Vladimir Jagr

Vidit opened the game with 1.e4 and Gelfand played the Petroff. They followed the line of Carlsen vs Caruana in the World Championship 2019. The position was around even when Gelfand committed a positional/tactical blunder.

Vidit vs Gelfand, Round 2

Gelfand has just pushed his pawn to c4. What did he miss?

Vidit grabbed the opportunity with both his hands and played Nd4! The knight now threatens to jump to c6 and f5. Without moving the bishop on d3, the problem had been solved!

White is a pawn up. Gelfand had decent drawing chances, but he was unable to hold against Vidit's excellent technique.
IM Sagar Shah analyzes Vidit's win over Gelfand

Gelfand is not pleased with his position even in the post-game analysis session!

Harikrishna has had a mixed event in the first three rounds | Photo: Vladimir Jagr

Vitiugov vs Harikrishna

Vitiugov surprised Harikrishna in this position with a very interesting move. Can you spot it?

Bh6! Objectively the move may not give White a concrete advantage, if Black defends correctly, but the psychological effect was so huge that Black crumbled on the next move itself.

Harikrishna rarely loses games in this style. Well, it was time to for revenge! In the third round Hari played a fantastic game to beat Jan-Krzysztof Duda.


Harikrishna vs Duda

According to Harikrishna ...Ng6 by Duda was a mistake

White is completely dominating here. How should he continue?

Bd2! It's a simple move once you see it, but sometimes quite easy to miss it. It includes the final piece in the play and threatens both Bb4 and Ba5.


After 2.0/2 Duda suffered his first loss in the tournament

Standings after round 3

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
GMVitiugov NikitaRUS27262,00,02,752
GMVidit Santosh GujrathiIND27112,00,02,752
GMWojtaszek RadoslawPOL27222,00,02,001
GMDuda Jan-KrzysztofPOL27312,00,01,502
GMHarikrishna PentalaIND27301,50,02,501
GMNavara DavidCZE27391,50,02,251
GMGelfand BorisISR26551,50,01,752
GMLaznicka ViktorCZE26701,00,02,001
GMShankland SamuelUSA27311,00,01,502
GMRapport RichardHUN27380,50,01,001

In the Challengers section Praggnanandhaa has 1.0/3. He lost his first round to Polish GM Mateusz Bartel. In rounds two and three he drew against Jiri Stocek and Nguyen Thai Dan Van | Photo: Vladimir Jagr

Rank after Round 3

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
GMJu WenjunCHN25802,50,04,002
GMMichalik PeterCZE25652,00,03,002
GMNguyen Thai Dai VanCZE25462,00,02,751
GMAnton Guijarro DavidESP26431,50,01,752
GMKrejci JanCZE25701,50,01,751
GMStocek JiriCZE25921,50,01,502
GMPraggnanandhaa RIND25321,00,01,751
GMParavyan DavidRUS26271,00,01,501
GMBartel MateuszPOL26001,00,01,002
GMShirov AlexeiESP26671,00,01,001

Live games begin every day at 7.30 p.m. IST and you can follow them on ChessBase Live.

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