The joy of the Czech Open Games Festival

by Albert Silver
8/1/2016 – The Czech Open held in Pardubice is one of those events that is just a joy to follow and see unfold. Although chess is its greatest focus with a very strong open, followed by opens of all kinds for every variant there is such as Chess 960, bughouse, problem solving… you name it, it is a festival of games from classics such as bridge, go and backgammon, to Rubik’s cube, Mankala and Smoking Cat! Here is a huge pictorial with commented games.

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All photos from official site (click on images for larger versions)


Pardubice is the epitome of old Europe and was founded in 1340 roughly. Less than an hour's drive away is the famous and spectacular looking St. Barbara's Church.

The church was first started in 1388, but due to countless interruptions and issues, it was only completed in 1905!

A fascinating tour awaits the visitor with beautiful stained glass, breathtaking architecture and more

A thrilled group of children enjoyed the tour

Chess in all shapes and forms

The opening ceremony takes place with players ready at their boards

There were many times many opens, covering all formats, each with their own sponsor

For example, the Team Open was sponsored by Konica Minolta

ChessBase is always a partner to this lovely festival and sponsors the Youth Team tournament

The winning teams and many more will leave with a variety of ChessBase goodies

That is hardly the end of it, and there is a tournament of bughouse chess for the aficionados

No, this is not Exam Week, it is the competition for Problem Solving

Top Czech player David Navara (left) is a fan of Chess 960 and won the competition dedicated to it

The starting position is posted on a large board for all to see

This chess variant is Polgar Superstar Chess

Judit Polgar was there herself to sign autographs and give out the prizes

Some visitors from Kaliningrad showed their appreciation by bringing the organizers a special bread

The grandmaster open was the main draw and Indian GM Ganguly (2676) was the top seed

Second seed GM Movsesian eventually met him, and in a surprisingly quick game, defeated the Indian in just 22 moves. This turned out to be a key moment as he subsequently took sole first with 7/5/9 and a 2760 performance.

Movsesian - Ganguly

[Event "Czech Open 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.29"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Movsesian, Sergei"] [Black "Ganguly, Surya Shekhar"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2666"] [BlackElo "2676"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Bd3 Nf6 8. O-O b5 9. Nxc6 Qxc6 10. a3 Bc5 $2 {A hole in the Indian GM's armor.} (10... Bb7 {is the overwhelming best move.}) 11. Qf3 Bxe3 12. Qxe3 $2 ({Perhaps caught by surprise, the Armenian grandmaster misses the most effective punishment, though he will get another chance soon enough.} 12. fxe3 $1 {was best.} { The king is goin g to be stuck in the center a while since} O-O {would lead to a disaster after} 13. Qh3 {and the threat is e5 and ideas such as Rxf6 and Qxh7 mate.} e5 {the only way to really prevent it, albeit very ugly.} (13... h6 $2 14. Rxf6 $1 gxf6 15. Qxh6 {and Black is helpless against the many threats.} f5 16. Qg5+ Kh8 17. Rf1 {and it is game over.})) 12... d6 13. a4 b4 14. Nd5 $1 Rb8 (14... Nxd5 15. exd5 Qc5 (15... Qxd5 {loses a rook to} 16. Be4) 16. dxe6 Bxe6 17. Qe2 O-O 18. Bxa6 {and White is much better.}) 15. Qg5 $1 {White now plays impeccably and wraps up the game in record time.} Nxd5 16. Qxg7 $1 Rf8 17. exd5 Qxd5 18. Rfe1 {A master class in attack. Black's king is going nowhere and White has other trumps in the position such as a torpedo pawn on the h-file even if mate is not delivered.} h5 19. Rad1 Qc5 20. b3 Ke7 21. Bc4 Qf5 ({If} 21... Bd7 22. Rd5 Rg8 23. Qh7 Qc6 24. Qxh5 {and Black's position is collapsing.}) 22. Rxd6 (22. Rxd6 {Black resigned in view of} Qf6 (22... Kxd6 23. Qxf8+ Kc6 24. Bd3 Qf6 25. Be4+ Kc7 26. Qc5+ Kd7 27. Rd1+ {etc.})) 1-0

Viktor Laznicka was the third seed and took second on tiebreak in a group of nine players with 7.0/9

Israeli GM Tamir Nabaty also scored 7.0/9 but was sixth on tiebreak

Of note also were a pair of brilliant 10-year-olds, such as Jakovhir Sindarov from Uzbekistan, rated 2374, who scored 5.5/9 and a 2501 performance. This earned him an IM norm with a half point to spare.

Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa, the world's youngest IM ever at age 10, looked like he might score a GM norm, but eventually came a bit short and scored 'only' 5.5/9 with 'only' a 2507 performance.

Praggnanandhaa - Krejci

[Event "Czech Open 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.29"] [Round "8.24"] [White "Praggnanandhaa, R."] [Black "Krejci, Jan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A06"] [WhiteElo "2429"] [BlackElo "2504"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. d3 Nd7 5. O-O Ngf6 6. Qe1 e5 7. e4 dxe4 8. dxe4 Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Bc5 10. Nd2 O-O 11. Qe2 Re8 12. a4 a5 13. Bg2 Nf8 14. Nf3 Ng6 15. b3 Qc7 16. Bg5 Nd7 17. Rad1 h6 18. Bh3 Ndf8 19. Bc1 Rad8 20. Bb2 Ba7 21. Bf5 f6 22. Ba3 Qf7 23. Nd2 Ne6 24. Nc4 Nd4 25. Qg4 Nf8 26. Bxf8 Qxf8 $2 { A losing mistake. The youngest IM in history has finally led his opponent astray.} ({The zwischenzug} 26... Nxf5 $1 {was necessary to neutralize the danger on the light squares around Black's king.} 27. exf5 Rxf8 28. Nxa5 Rd5 { White is better thanks to the extra pawn, but Black's centralized pieces and strong bishop provide some compensation.}) 27. Bg6 Re7 28. c3 Nxb3 29. Rxd8 Qxd8 30. Rd1 Qf8 31. Nd6 Nc5 {[#] White had plenty of time, so possibly a case of nerves or just an oversight, he misses the easiest and most straightforward win.} 32. Qe2 $2 (32. Bf5 $1 {was best, and not hard to find consideering the nature of the position. The idea is just Qg6 and Qh7 mate. The knight on d6 covers the light squares so Black cannot prevent this with his queen.} Bb8 { (what else?)} 33. Qg6 Bxd6 34. Rxd6 Rc7 35. Rxf6 $3 {and possibly White missed this tactical shot in his analysis if he saw this line at all.} Qxf6 36. Qe8+ Qf8 37. Bh7+ Kxh7 38. Qxf8 {and White is crushing thanks to the disjointed black pieces. Ex:} b6 39. Qf5+ g6 40. Qxe5 {and the passed pawns are all powerful.}) 32... Rd7 33. Qc4+ Kh8 34. Nf7+ Qxf7 $2 {not at all forced.} (34... Rxf7 35. Bxf7 Kh7 36. h4 g6 {was only the exchange down and left the queen alive, but perhaps Black thought it was necessary to enter desperation mode and try to confuse the issue as best as he could.}) 35. Bxf7 $2 (35. Qxf7 $1 { was best. Black is still facing imminent mating threats through the light squares with the queen and bishop duo.}) 35... Rxd1+ 36. Kg2 Rd8 37. Bg6 Rb8 38. h4 b5 39. axb5 cxb5 40. Qf7 Bb6 41. Qe7 b4 42. cxb4 axb4 43. Qd6 Ba7 44. Qc7 Ra8 45. Bf7 b3 46. Bd5 b2 47. Bxa8 b1=Q 48. Qxa7 Nd3 49. Bd5 Kh7 50. Qa8 h5 51. Bf7 Ne1+ 52. Kh3 1-0

After his game Movsesian shares his win over Ganguly with an audience in the Party tent, an area where people went for a drink or food, or just some rest

The Games Festival

It wasn't all chess though. There was also a Shogi event, the Japanese chess variant much liked by top chess players such as Garry Kasparov, notable aficionado GM Peter Heine Nielsen who is Magnus Carlsen's second, and GM Larry Kaufman, who is a bonafide master.

The purpose was less a hardcore competition than a way to introduce it to newcomers who had never seen it. Note for example the beginner boards with the fewer squares and pieces. One of the curiosities of Shogi is that just like bughouse, pieces that are captured can be placed back on the board as a weapon.

The other classics such as backgammon were also present

However there were also less common games such as Abaku, and...

... Smoking Cat! This is very much a Czech card game that this author had to look up online.

It is a card game played with four players, each on his or her own. The rules can obviously be found at the official website of the Smoking Cat World Union. Everyone knows that of course, right?

One of the most popular events in the Czech Open is the multi-faceted Rubiks Cube event

Players will compete in normal format, one-handed competitions, competitions with more than three by three cubes such as the six by six above...

... and even Rubiks...pyramid.

The giant playing hall where it all took place

There were also those who preferred healthier competitions with suitable prizes

A victorious team celebrating their choice of fitness

More Czech health food

Final standings after nine rounds

Rk. SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB 
1 2 GM MOVSESIAN Sergei ARM 2666 7.5 2487
2 3 GM LAZNICKA Viktor CZE 2654 7.0 2458
3 62 IM VISAKH N R IND 2431 7.0 2442
4 65 IM VETOSHKO Volodymyr UKR 2430 7.0 2438
5 7 GM GOPAL G.N. IND 2565 7.0 2433
6 5 GM NABATY Tamir ISR 2622 7.0 2420
7 9 GM STOCEK Jiri CZE 2550 7.0 2417
8 13 GM ZAKHARTSOV Viacheslav V. RUS 2532 7.0 2415
9 21 GM SCHLOSSER Philipp GER 2509 7.0 2415
10 19 GM KOVALEV Andrei BLR 2513 7.0 2380
11 1 GM GANGULY Surya Shekhar IND 2676 6.5 2454
12 25 IM YUFFA Daniil RUS 2502 6.5 2437
13 4 GM KRAVTSIV Martyn UKR 2631 6.5 2415
14 16 GM CVEK Robert CZE 2522 6.5 2404
15 6 GM KONONENKO Dmitry UKR 2621 6.5 2400
16 32 IM SMIRNOV Anton AUS 2478 6.5 2365

Click for complete standings


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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Former Prodigy Former Prodigy 8/2/2016 07:07
Looking at the third picture from above, one tends to think that there were quite many victims among the participants.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 8/2/2016 05:50
Im afraid Hikaru, no Go in this report.