NC World Masters: Anand leads with one round to go

by Patrick Zelbel
7/24/2022 – Viswanathan Anand goes into his last game with a half-point lead over direct opponent Michael Adams and Dmitrij Kollars at the No-Castling World Masters in Dortmund. Meanwhile, Pavel Eljanov leads the Deutschland Grand Prix after beating Matthias Blübaum on Saturday. Bogdan-Daniel Deac also won and still has a chance of winning the tournament | Photos: Michelle Lassak

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The NC World Masters of the 49th Dortmund International Chess Festival saw Daniel Fridman facing Viswanathan Anand and Michael Adams facing Dmitrij Kollars on Saturday. After losing to Anand for a second time in the event, Fridman confessed:

My preparation was finished today when I went on stage. I saw that the seat opposite Dmitrij was already occupied, and I had prepared for the black game against him. Then I improvised against Vishy.

We saw 1.Nf3 on stage for the first time in No-Castling Chess. An interesting position emerged after the opening, in which Black had everything under control. Fridman entered a slightly worse endgame, and when he got a chance, the drew the game by a triple repetition.

The game between Adams and Kollars again saw the popular motif of f3 or ...f6 to place the king on f2 or f7. White captured the bishop pair, but the black pawn structure was intact. Both contenders played strongly, so the game was deservedly drawn.

There is still a lot to play for in the last round: the game between Anand and Adams will decide who gets the tournament title.

Standings after round 5


All games


Eljanov and Deac score

There were two impressive victories in the Deutschland Grand Prix on the stage of the Golden Hall at the Congress Centre of Westfalenhallen Dortmund.

When Pavel Eljanov went into the press centre after the game, there was special praise from Vishy Anand, who described his game as “very impressive”. Rarely do you see someone defeat European Champion Matthias Blübaum in such strategic manner. Eljanov grabbed the bishop pair early on, and improved his pieces bit by bit.

Eljanov decisively captured the pawn on e4, and went to win the game to get the sole lead in the standings before the last round.

Luke McShane has played a strong tournament so far, but in round 6 he lost against Romanian star Bogdan-Daniel Deac. Deac started the game super sharply, so both players were in time trouble early on. In zeitnot, the youngster kept the advantage and cold-bloodeldly exploited McShane’s mistaken 32...Ng6.


After move 40, Deac found himself in a winning position. For McShane the tournament is over, as he is free on Sunday and will be commentating live on the last round.

The decision will be between Eljanov and Deac. For Deac it is not only about tournament victory, but also about surpassing the magic 2700-rating barrier.

Pavel Eljanov

Current standings


All games


Artem Lutsko on course for an IM norm

In the Sportland NRW Cup for women, a WGM norm is no longer possible, but in the Sportland NRW Youth Cup an IM norm for Artem Lutsko is within reach.

Lara Schulze is playing an outstanding tournament and was the sole leader before the eighth round. On Saturday, too, things went well for her at the start of the game. But the advantage evaporated and then Schulze made a big blunder, gave up a piece and lost the game.

Schulze is tied for the lead with Zoya Schleining. But the WGM norm is unfortunately no longer within reach.

The leader in the Sportland NRW Cup, IM Jonathan Carlstedt, also lost his game today. He later explained, praising his opponent:

Leonardo Costa was clearly the stronger player today, played very well, and I deserved to lose. Luckily I accumulated a few mistakes in one game today and didn’t scatter them over different games.

Artem Lutsko, meanwhile, defeated GM Alexander Bagrationi with Black. The young Ukrainian is playing a great tournament and is now tied on points with Carlstedt. A draw against the last player in the table, Timo Leonard, will be enough for him to achieve the coveted IM norm in Sunday’s final round.

Jasper Holtel remarkable in the Sparkassen Open A

The winner of the A-Open of the International Dortmund Festival is almost decided after sole leader Max Warmerdam’s draw. Behind him, Jasper Holtel is attracting attention.

After refusing an early draw and winning in the previous round, Warmerdam was very satisfied with a draw against GM Andreas Heimann. Heimann accepted the draw offer after 13 moves with Black. Warmerdam thus leads by one point before the last round, and the tournament win will hardly be taken away from him on Sunday (the round kicks off at 13:30).

The duel between FM Jasper Holtel and GM Tornike Sanikidze also ended in a draw. Sanikidze had an advantageous bishop ending, but it was not enough to win.

Holtel now has 5 wins and 3 draws, two of them against grandmasters.


Patrick Zelbel is the press officer at the Sparkassen Chess Trophy yearly event in Dortmund.