Dortmund: Donchenko sole leader in the open

by Patrick Zelbel
6/30/2023 – While the participants of the No Castling Masters had a rest day, the contenders in the A-Open and the Sportland NRW Cup played the sixth rounds in their respective tournaments. Alexander Donchenko defeated Matthias Blübaum for the first time in a classical tournament game to take the sole lead in the open, while Dinara Wagner caught Ruben Köllner in the lead of the Sportland NRW Cup. | Photo: Michelle Lassak

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First-ever win over Blübaum

On the second board of the A-Open at the 50th International Dortmund Chess Festival, Germany’s number 2 and number 3 were faced against each other: Alexander Donchenko had white against 2022 European champion Matthias Blübaum.

With deep opening preparation and great positional skill, Donchenko won the game after three hours. “I’m very happy that I finally won a tournament game against Matthias”, Donchenko said afterwards. He then explained the game to press officer Patrick Zelbel.

Alexander Donchenko

Check out the post-game interview (in German) on the festival’s YouTube channel | Photo: Michelle Lassak

Since Indian grandmasters Aryan Chopra and Leon Luke Mendonca drew their game on the top board, Donchenko is now the sole leader and the favourite to win the A-Open of the 2023 Dortmund Festival. Mendonca, who has been touring chess tournaments in Europe for around four months, praised his opponent’s idea of placing the queen on a8. Chopra thus equalised with black.

Michael Adams played at his regular spot, the third board, and had to settle for a draw in his game with the black pieces against Indian GM Raja Rithvik.

A particularly rare occurrence was seen on the board-12 encounter between Dennis Wagner and Enis Zuferi. The German grandmaster moved his rook to a4 and back on moves 11 and 12 before castling long on move 21. Neither of the players noticed this rule violation, and White won the game despite having castled illegally.

Standings - Round 6

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Donchenko,Alexander, 5,5 21,5
2 Aryan Chopra, 5 23
3 Svane,Frederik, 5 22
4 Mendonca,Leon Luke, 5 21
5 Raja Harshit, 5 19
6 Seemann,Jakub, 5 18,5
7 Samunenkov,Ihor, 5 18,5
8 Adams,Michael, 4,5 22,5
9 Kobo,Ori, 4,5 21
10 Ponomariov,Ruslan, 4,5 21
11 Vogel,Roven, 4,5 20,5
12 Guo,Arthur, 4,5 20,5
13 Dudin,Gleb, 4,5 20,5
14 Svane,Rasmus, 4,5 19,5
15 Souhardo Basak, 4,5 19,5
16 Pranav Anand, 4,5 19,5
17 Safarli,Eltaj, 4,5 19,5
18 Raja Rithvik R, 4,5 19
19 Bailet,Pierre, 4,5 19
20 Wadsworth,Matthew J, 4,5 19

...328 players

All available games - Round 6

Replay games from all rounds at

Sportland NRW Cup: Wagner catches Köllner

All eyes were on the game facing 11-year-old Hussain Besou aginst Dinara Wagner in the Sportland NRW Cup. Besou, playing white, blitzed out his moves in the opening, as he went for a piece sacrifice in the Najdorf Sicilian. But then he confused move orders and quickly had no compensation at all for the piece. Wagner easily converted her advantage to win the game, and thus caught Ruben Köllner atop the standings.

Köllner faced Dutch FM Artur de Winter. De Winter’s tournament start didn’t go according to plan, but today he played a nice game and checkmated Köllner in style.

Karthik Venkataraman is a half point behind the leading duo after his win over Jana Schneider, who is in the cellar of the standings. Meanwhile, Georgios Souleidis failed to gain an advantage in the opening against GM Mihail Saltaev, and the game quickly ended in a draw.

Tomorrow morning, the cancelled game between Besou and Vadim Petrovskiy (from round 6) will be played.

Dinara Wagner

Dinara Wagner is sharing the lead | Photo: Michelle Lassak

Standings - Round 6

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Köllner,Ruben Gideon, 4,5 4
2 Wagner,Dinara, 4,5 3
3 Karthik Venkataraman, 4 3
4 Souleidis,Georgios, 3,5 2
5 De Winter,Arthur, 3 2
6 Besou,Hussain, 2,5 1
7 Saltaev,Mihail, 2,5 1
8 Petrovskiy,Vadim, 2 1
9 Bagrationi,Alexander, 2 1
10 Schneider,Jana, 0,5 0

All games


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